Originally Posted by Vardant
Also, it's pretty obvious, that the small objects used in the demo to build the structures have low details for a reason. Tessellation looks more impressive that way. The tech demo is all about the future, where developers don't have to spend so many resources on the details, because tessellation will do it for them, thus making everything cheaper.
The details come from displacement maps, usually generated from a high res mesh.
So the same amount of work is there, much like today we have low res meshes using normal maps generated from high res meshes.
There is however much less geometry to send to the card, as its created on the GPU, and you can scale the geometry density very well providing dynamic LODing.
using JUST tesselation to smooth things out doesnt require extra content though, but thats generally not what you want.