Every challenge becomes a software challenge eventually

Posted by Unspector Blog on Monday, May 9, 2022

But every challenge is a hardware challenge first

When we look at cutting edge software we must note, that it cannot run well on mediocre hardware. This has been somewhat offset by using the nearly infinite performance supplied by cloud computing, though the limit is still visible with applications like blockchain mining, gaming and physics simulation (which all tend to use the same hardware ressources).

Software solutions are available first and hardware performance “just follows”. And with Moore’s Law and processing power this has been true for the last few decades: The most memorable example has been Crysis in 2007, which couldn’t run exceptionally well on any PC you could buy, but ran okay on my laptop in 2011 and on a decent machine in 2021 the fans aren’t even spinning up playing it, because we have so much excess capacity in our most basic machines.

Moore’s Law seemed dead during the stagnation of the Intel Core-i-era, though it is coming back with a vengeance with the new generation of Apple’s ARM-based CPUs. And as long as this trend continues, the sky is always the limit, when developing software: eventually the performance will be available.

Compared to that dogma it is highly irritating, that so little development is happening in the VR/AR-space. Sure: There has been a lot of lip service by nearly every major tech company, but the first wave of VR-games have arguably peaked with the cheap and resource conservative PlayStation VR headset. Facebook’s VR division may develop ever greater new headsets, but VR/AR is a software challenge first, therefore developers should take leaps of faith like Crysis did in 2007, the correspdonding hardware will exist eventually.