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View Full Version : Microsoft Game Studios selects Unreal Engine 3 for next gen. XBox platform



somnambulance
04-21-2005, 01:30 PM
I was happy to see this happen, here is the epic games press release: http://www.epicgames.com/microsoft_press_release.html

I was a little pessimistic that even the next generation consoles would run this engine. I am looking forward to any release with Unreal 3, it should be amazing.

Lamont
04-21-2005, 06:28 PM
The next round of consoles will finally be on par with PC's when it comes to processing power (maybe more).

Captain Obvious
04-22-2005, 02:27 AM
The next round of consoles will finally be on par with PC's when it comes to processing power (maybe more).
Nah, I doubt they'll surpass computers. At least not dual or quad-processor ones. The Cell is nice enough, but it's not quite as amazing as Sony would have you believe. Same thing for the processor in the Xbox 2 and Revolution. They'll be powerful enough, though, that you can be sure of.


Good news, though, for me as a Mac user! Since the Xbox 2 is PPC, just like Macs, it increases the chances of seeing a Mac version, as well as a better performing one. The Unreal 3 engine is exiting, I'd say. Finally we'll have real-time HDR. About darn time, I'd say, since all video cards for the past how many years have been able to use 32-bit floats for all calculations... It irked me that I couldn't do proper gamma adjustment in Doom 3.

Lamont
04-22-2005, 02:42 AM
If Sony/MS do half of what they claim, we are looking at machines with single 3.2~4ghz processors, and the possibility of 3 dual core for the XBox. Sony is not about to loose a spec race, so I see a dual core chip, maybe two. Nintendo usually understates the power of the hardware, but they have said nothing in regards to specs of the Revolution.

Dual core chips have just been released in the past couple of weeks. AMD released theirs today (Opterons starting at $1,500 up to $2,600..).

Captain Obvious
04-22-2005, 02:44 AM
The specs are through the roof, but the Cell's per-clock performance is not all that great. Same thing for the PPE or whatever it's called in the Xbox 2.

A quad PowerMac G5 will most likely wipe the floor with the PS3 and Xbox 2, in terms of processing power. (That is the best comparison, after all, since it's also PowerPC, also built by IBM, but a personal computer/workstation, instead of a toy.)

somnambulance
04-22-2005, 09:56 AM
I dont know about any $1000 chips being inclued in a $300-$400 platform. I also dont really think they will be up to par with the latest PC's either, if it is maybe it will be nice for render farm as well?

Ever since I saw the video from E3 about Unreal 3 I have been going crazy over the things that could be done with that engine and even worse is what could be done with some minor modifications to the engine. That new set of tools will probably add to the realism in games in more ways than thought.

JML
04-22-2005, 10:35 AM
I don't think you can't compare both, a computer can run a lot of different programs, a game system is specialized into 1 thing, gaming.
that's why if the xbox has 256 or 512 of ram, which is nothing compared to a computer but it might run better because there is heavy OS and is well optimized for the system.

what I think might happen in the future is that the game systems might works better than most PCs in gaming.
(except maybe high-end PCs)

and to get back on the subject,
I can't wait to see the quality of future games on the new Xbox,
the unreal 3 engine is incredible..

http://www.unrealtechnology.com/html/technology/ue30.shtml

Emmanuel
04-22-2005, 10:38 AM
On one hand I would say the stuff shown so far looks actually doable, but on the other hand, the promo vids for the U2 engine looked much better than what we actually got with the game and spin-offs.
What frightens me is that the amount of work required is absolutely insane compared to games You can buy now.
Either You as a publisher spend insane amounts on it (which means that a flop can become a real problem) or a loooooong time with less money.
That's a whole new level we are talking about.
But considering that the HL engine is still in use, I guess that there is still room for less sophisticated games :)

Lamont
04-22-2005, 11:47 AM
The programs to make such art work and the software to support it has pretty much kept pace with hardware advances. I honestly think that games will not take longer to develop, or increase in manpower dramaticly. What needs to change is how the game industry works. There are tons of areas that are not optimized. If studios do not take a look at how they work, or have worked in the past, and adapt it to next gen, they will not make it.

somnambulance
04-22-2005, 11:53 AM
Yes Emmanuel, it really is up to the creators to decide if it will have graphics like what is in the Unreal 3 demo. Chances are that most of them won't. Once a game hits the market that has been done with the best graphics ever, the bar will be raised for everyone. People are already trying to shortcut the artwork by using cartoon shaders to give games a comic book feel and people will try even more once this hits the market next December. The price of games will probably go up too. I wouldnt doubt to see them from $75-$80 when first released. I had some friends who were expecting Halo 2 to be $70 and they would have paid it. Think about it, if you made that game with those graphics, yes people would pay that if there is no other game with graphics like that. However, somebody will make a game with a few spirts here and there of excelent graphics and drive the price down... who knows, I am just thinking at this point.

wacom
04-22-2005, 12:26 PM
It doesn't always take the most fancy pants graphics to trun a buck- just look at some of the most popular games in Japan and Europe. That being said, I think it's not wise try and compare the power of a game machine to that of a computer. As many have stated before they are only for one thing: games. The CPU's they use on them often have instructions cut out of them that aren't needed for games. They also often run at lower resolutions (though that will be changing).

In terms of graphics "power" it seems that consoles play leap frog with PCs. Consoles are more static once they come out, where as PC graphics evolve on a continual basis. At the same time it's the static and unified nature that lets developers squeeze every bit of juice out of them...

All this can mean one thing for people in the 3D industry: Even MORE employment! Who's going to make all of those models and do all of that texturing? The amount of texturing work that goes into even current games like RE4 and HL2 is mind blowing once you consider just how large these games are.

It seems though that the closer games move towards having graphics of a pre-rendered quaility the more impossable it will be to make ones that are hugely expansive and still use every graphical bell and whistles along with great models and texturing- it's just way too much work unless game companys start making one game a year with the same amount of team memebers it took to make five. Hello procedural textures!

Then again maybe it would be wise to open a studio that is devoted simply to making all sorts of models and textures for games so that the content can be bought up by game companies and the library re-used over and over again (like a specilized turbo fish). I can just people playing Mario Bros 30 and seeing the same building that was used in Halo 5, RE 9, and GTA 12! I mean why rebuild downtown NY when you can just download it, change a few textures- and use it over and over? Well look for less style in the way games are modeled then...

With film it's not always this same problem (at least on the same level) since the director is always the one in control of what gets seen and not seen.

wacom
04-22-2005, 12:31 PM
There are tons of areas that are not optimized. If studios do not take a look at how they work, or have worked in the past, and adapt it to next gen, they will not make it.

You must be a manager at EA! ;)


You should try that question on a few of their team members...

Emmanuel
04-22-2005, 04:16 PM
"stock art", yeah, I know what You mean, but there are already companies that kind of service.
Personally, I guess its unlikely to happen, because customers are paying for new games with fresh and unused content.
Its tempting for producers, and it probably would work in the low-budget segment (and even there most companies are looking for original art), but I doubt that You could sell HL4 with the graphics of Far Cry 3.Or vice versa.
In my opinion, the work required for a game of the next generation will be three times the work required for a game like, lets say, Call of Duty or Painkiller.
The highres models must be made, the low res ones must be made, the normal maps must be made, the standard textures must be made...I just hope that there won't be a standardized look to the games of the future, I mean, photorealistic is photorealistic, how many variations of a rusty crate can You create that don't look the same to most people ?
The next most important job will obviously become level designer or production designer or gaffer, like in the movie industry, to give games an individual look.
The modeler/texture artist will be reduced to a worker bee.
Today, painting textures is still an artistic task, but tomorrow, when everything is photoreal, You "just" need talented modelers and talented texture mappers who can handle photos and procedurals to create photorealistic surfaces.
No more "painting", just "processing".
To me, that modern mapping stuff (parallax, normal etc) fits best with photorealistic objects, less with cartoony stuff like Prince of Persia, Rayman etc.

Besides that, I guess we will see the potential employees become less, so far with a bit of hard work, You could create modes, models, textures for games like HL, Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, now with three times the work required, there will be a natural selection in the community and less artists will be able or willintg to work their way up from sheer hobbyism towards professional development.
Which means the industry will see a decrease in apllicants that really are able to handle the work required given the current quality standards.
In other words, its gonna be hard to keep up for newbies AND seasoned artists, and specialisation is more important than ever before.

wacom
04-24-2005, 02:19 AM
In the end gameplay will be the winner here. Hopefully the game industry will figure out what the film industry is just getting- that high budget uber real bling bling doesn't always mean the largest money maker. You'd figure they'd have figured it out with games like Tetris, Myst, Darmacy, WarioWare, Dance Dance Revolution, etc. You don't have to be #1 in sales or budget to have a large profit margin.

Hopefully network interaction will be the most major part of the next gens. There is a lot of potential there and it has little to do with graphics.

somnambulance
04-24-2005, 10:34 AM
Think about this though, Blizzard already does their high poly modeling, for their cinematics. This could also force more people into doing more cinematics as well. It seems like back on the Nintendo and Super Nintendo the endings of games had stories that went with the credits or preceded the credits and with a few exceptions (GTA for example) now days almost all games just kind of end. That is something I hope comes back, you felt like you got something for finishing/winning the game.

As for the artists being worker bees, maybe the guy that will have to go back and trace the high poly model to make the low poly models, but not the rest. All the texturing and modeling will have a touch of style from the artist. How many different photo realistic rusty crates can you make? You could go to a shipping yard in Seattle and I am sure you will see enough different crates to keep you busy for a while and if you were to set the game in the 1800's the crates would be much different.

As for a stock agency for 3D models, yeah TurboSquid.com will get bigger or something else will pop up. Perhaps even an agency more private like a stock agency for photos where the photographers are selected by the agency, the models would all be accurate and they would only have a hand full of modelers. I think this will happen because if the game is going to be a realistic murder mystery game and the designer wants a 1971 Chevy Malibu for the main character, it could very well be the same 1971 Chevy Malibu that Rock Star bought for GTA Sin City. If it is an accurate model, it doesn’t make a difference.

The artist creativity will always remain in games, even if they all were to be photo realistic. I say that because there are only a small percentage of games that actually take place in our time and everything in the game is real. Web-slinging super heroes, intergalactic space carriers, legendary swords, pneumatic super generators, and twelve foot tall fire breathing stone creatures sent from hell will all have to be created by artists and can be photo realistic. It would make since though that you use the same model of NYC for your monster tuck game as the one someone else used for their Red Scare game.

Captain Obvious
04-26-2005, 06:10 AM
Think about this though, Blizzard already does their high poly modeling, for their cinematics. This could also force more people into doing more cinematics as well. It seems like back on the Nintendo and Super Nintendo the endings of games had stories that went with the credits or preceded the credits and with a few exceptions (GTA for example) now days almost all games just kind of end. That is something I hope comes back, you felt like you got something for finishing/winning the game.
Doom 3 wins the award for most disappointing end ever. ;) I really prefer finishing some old Final Fantasy game instead, where completing it actually has some kind of purpose.

wacom
04-26-2005, 12:44 PM
Doom 3 wins the award for most disappointing end ever. ;) I really prefer finishing some old Final Fantasy game instead, where completing it actually has some kind of purpose.

So I take it you haven't played Halo 2? It doesn't end- it stops.

Captain Obvious
04-26-2005, 12:46 PM
So I take it you haven't played Halo 2? It doesn't end- it stops.
No Xbox... no Halo 2. I did play the first, and found the end fairly disappointing. But at least the end of the gameplay was kind of exiting. The end boss in Doom 3 was just silly.

somnambulance
04-27-2005, 10:08 AM
So I take it you haven't played Halo 2? It doesn't end- it stops.

I was SO MAD at the end of Halo 2. I bought it the day it came out, took it to a friends house and we won it that same day on heoic (Legendary is IMPOSIBLE). I thought it was a prank or a joke when it ended. I thought that maybe the 2 year delay was so they could make Halo 3. Halo's cinematics suck anyway.

Lamont
04-27-2005, 10:57 AM
I never finished Doom 3.. or Halo 2. I just can't get into them. Doom was too boring, and Halo 2, I just needed to get into more, I know it can be fun.

JML
04-27-2005, 12:21 PM
I never finished Doom 3.. or Halo 2. I just can't get into them. Doom was too boring, and Halo 2, I just needed to get into more, I know it can be fun.

I was too very disapointed of halo2 and doom3.

Far cry and half life 2 are beautiful games.
(if you have a good Pc though..)

Lamont
04-27-2005, 12:28 PM
HL2.... oh man. I played that game non-stop!! I played till 3am on the second day I had it. I got motion sickness, but I kept saying "just one more level...".

Lamont
04-28-2005, 12:57 AM
I sent this to a few folks this morning. From what my friends who are working on X-Box 2 projects they say that this is not far off from what it can do:

http://www.steelmonkeys.com/screenshots/dtv/dtv_11.jpg
2 Days to Vegas (http://www.steelmonkeys.com/eng/projects/projects_item_6_1.html)

One of them also said that now they can model individual tank treds.

Captain Obvious
04-28-2005, 05:17 AM
Have you seen GT4? That's not really too far off from that, and on a six years old console, no less!

Lamont
04-28-2005, 09:29 AM
GT4 is VERY far off... poly count for the GT4 car is probably equal to the tire and brakes on the car above. This game seems to use real time HDRI and softshadows. Normal/paralax mapping, more articulated vehicle models. Realtime environment reflections.

http://ps2media.gamespy.com/ps2/image/article/526/526276/gran-turismo-4-20040624103004568.jpg

somnambulance
04-29-2005, 05:18 PM
New screenshots (http://www.onlynewz.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=74)

WizCraker
05-10-2005, 05:36 AM
I prefer these Ingame Screenshots better. Granted this is the PC version as the Xenon [Xbox 2 code name] versions are not seen by the public. But this is still kind of sweet.

http://www.elderscrolls.com/images/art/obliv/obliv07B.jpg

Elder Scrolls Oblivion (http://www.elderscrolls.com/art/obliv_screenshots_01.htm)

Captain Obvious
05-10-2005, 08:43 AM
One thing that kind of sucks with Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, though, is that there are no shadows. That really takes away a lot of the depth that games like Doom 3 have. This image is a good example. Look at the helmet, it almost looks like a poor Photoshop job. It's a pity, really, since it seems to make awesome use of specular and bump maps, and is generally well made.
http://static.elderscrolls.com/images/art/obliv/obliv22B.jpg

JML
05-15-2005, 12:12 PM
you can have a powerful engine and ugly games, it all depends on the talent of the game company that makes it.

on www.gamespy.com , there is now the full characteristic of the xbox 360
very impressive..
"3 symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each "

and on www.fileplanet.com , you can download the video preview of test drive unlimited on xbox360 , very nice..

Red_Oddity
05-16-2005, 07:23 AM
www.gametrailers.com lot's of Xbox 360 footage..

Check the Gears of War footage...does that creature that comes bursting through the wall look familiar?

somnambulance
06-09-2005, 04:09 PM
So does anyone know if/when there will be any games coming out with the Unreal 3 engine which can be modded?

Any word on using Lightwave with Unreal 3?

Lamont
06-09-2005, 07:31 PM
It would be nice to have LW support, but right now the big things these engines use are shaders and normal/paralax mapping. Right now those pixel shaders aren't supported in Lightwave and normal mapping is done via a plug-in that crashes under 8 when you try to render.

Granted ATI/nVidia have tools to help with this, but I would like it to be in the package.

Making normal maps from a high-res mesh should be built in Lightwave for the next version. But it's not worth it if the viewport slows to a crawl when you have a 250,000+ poly model.

somnambulance
06-09-2005, 08:19 PM
So for now what applications are being used to create the models? I was trying to think of how the low poly/high poly displacment map works. I have only been working in Lightwave and just getting my feet wet with Modo so it is kind of hard to comprehend what process has to be done to acomplish that deform. :confused:

Lamont, what engine(s) are you working with?