More Unreal 2 Details, Screen Shots [Updated]
2:24 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
Not to be outdone by the flood of Gamestock/X-box related information flooding the Web, Infogrames (who bought GT Interactive and Epic last year) has released more details about Unreal 2, the sequel to the original title which brought "unreal" visuals and sound to the first-person shooter genre. FGN Online has produced a very impressive report on the new game and its features, and frankly this sequel seems poised to give both solo and multiplayer games of the next year a run for the money -- in both features and visuals. Unreal 2 is under development at Legend Entertainment, the company that did the PC-only title Wheel of Time.
The FGN report reveals some astounding details about the multiplayer game that will be included with this primarily solo title. Combining the best traits of titles such as Tribes, Unreal Tournament and even an element of resource management, the hybrid assault mode should thrill anyone unsatisfied with simple capture-the-flag. Here are the details on multiplayer:
Multiplayer comes in the form of deathmatch, team deathmatch, last man standing, capture the flag, and a new expanded multiplayer game that mixes action and strategy…The FGN also confirms and expands upon details of the new engine technology that were revealed in previous releases. With a tenfold increase in detail levels and many new animation and mesh features Unreal 2's visuals have taken a quantum leap forward, and may have even gone beyond future competitors such as Halo and the PC-only title Planetside. Here is an excerpt with technology details:
In the new expanded multiplayer game, player teams will fight for control of planet surfaces and alien artifacts using nanotechnology replicators to build ever more sophisticated weapons such as automated gun turrets, force fields, sensors, recon and repair robots, and more.
Players will choose one of three player classes at the beginning of play – class selection establishes a balance of speed, special abilities, armor, and firepower. All races, abilities, weapons, equipment, and tactics will have precedents in the single-player game – but the expanded multiplayer experience is said to bring everything together at the same time.
Key new technology features include a tenfold boost in poly counts in environments and characters, realistic outdoor scenery generated by a new large scale terrain system, procedural character animations and blending using a new skeletal animation system with component level controllers, and a particle system that allows to realistically model fire, smoke, cloth, hair, weather effects, and breaking glass. This may sound like a pile of techspeak, but it translates to one word: astounding. Supposedly the tenfold increase in poly detail comes at little or no cost to performance due to an advanced use of Transform & Lighting properties of certain advanced video cards (NVIDIA GeForce 2 and 3, ATI Radeon). This has yet to be demonstrated, but we've got a feeling that there will be a tech demo of the improved engine at E3 in May.
Other technical improvements include upgraded NPC AI, a real-time dialog system for communicating with NPCs, texture compression, alpha blending, distance fog, a new version of the Unreal level editor, advanced particle physics with forces and particle collisions, and per-poly collision detection for characters.
And finally, if the huge onslaught of details at FGN isn't enough to satisfy you, Gamer's Domain has posted a collection of all of the official screen shots from the game released so far, including two outdoor shots that are simply beyond belief. If you click no other link today, click the ones that lead to these screen shots -- unfortunately, the game itself is most likely at least a year away. As we have said in related articles, there are currently no plans for a Mac OS version of Unreal 2, but as the core of the engine has already been ported and UT was quite a popular title on our platform, we feel this is an eventuality rather than a mere possibility.
Official Unreal 2 Web Site
In related news, several news sources have just pointed out that Ledegn's official web site for the game has just gone live, offering a teaser of what is to come. Check it out, and leave your comments in our forums.
Unreal 2 Screen Shots, Sketches at Games Domain
FGN Online Report on Unreal 2
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