Originally Posted by cmsmith
Besides, in order to do Avatar type graphics, there will have to be Ray Tracing involved. Between the processing and bandwidth involved for such a thing, it's not going to happen on the Xbox720. The next Xbox perhaps, but not this one.
Raytracing was not used for everything, mainly for a pre-processing step when calculating GI into pointcloud/spherical harmonics and refraction/reflection. (pre-processing pass used GPUs for tracing)
Actual rendering was done with prman. (pixars renderman a micropolygon rasterizer)
First problem in rendering assets from Avatar would be memory usage, texture maps for each character were tens of GB.
Rendering character also would need full character rigging from the movie which included muscle and flesh simulations and so on.
All this woud be before any rendering can be done..
So no we will not be seeing the quality with next gen machines, not even close.
If the GPU in nextbox is DX12/SM6 GPU we will see some amazing things though.
I fully expect things like this voxel conetracing for GI will be common place in next generation.