Man years ago, AGEIA pulled our attention to what's possible with physics in games with the introduction of its physics processing unit (PPU). The company got acquired by NVIDIA and the latter implemented PhysX in its GeForce cards. Baldur's Gate developed Larian believes the next big step for video game physics will be cloud-based rendering.
In an interview with WCCF Tech, Larian CEO Swen Vincke remarked that cloud-based platforms like Google Stadia will enable things that aren't possible with local rendering. He said this is much more revolutionary than the next generation of consoles, which will adopt SSDs:
To be fair, people have SSDs in their PCs already, so it’s not that much of a revolution. Streaming is a very important technology for modern games, so the faster you can stream your data, you can put more of it, and you’re going to have higher quality assets, which is pretty much what everybody expects there to be. The big questions are going to be how much memory do you get to actually do that? Is there sufficient memory to fool around with? How much CPU power are we getting? Because that’s also important, but it’s the classic things that we see with every generation. I mean, how much GPU power do we get? But at the end of the day, it’s always going to be more, it’s going to be more detailed, it’s going to allow us to do more accurate simulations.
I think that the more interesting question is how stuff like Google Stadia will change things. It gives developers something different. In the data center, these machines are connected to each other, and so you could start thinking of doing things like elastic rendering, like make a couple of servers together to do physics simulations that may not be possible on current local hardware. I think you’ll see a lot of evolution in this direction.
Larian is currently working on Baldur's Gate III, this new RPG title will be released for Windows and Google Stadia. The release date is unknown.