No, The Order: 1886’s Graphics Weren’t “Downgraded”

May 24, 2014 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment


Yesterday, we were lucky enough to see new gameplay footage from The Order: 1886, an upcoming game for the PS4. While some fans who tuned in were disappointed when the stream only lasted for three minutes, and others were quite satisfied with what they got to see, there were a few who found something else to complain about–the graphics.

Yes, The Order is the latest game to be accused of having its graphics “downgraded” from previous builds. This sort of criticism has cropped up multiple times lately, but Ready at Dawn isn’t taking it.

Founder Andrea Pessino was quick to announce that the graphics have actually improved. And while the stream showed frame rate issues, that, as well as the other “downgrades,” were a problem with the stream, not the game itself. Pessino also clarified the importance of the plot.

If you missed the stream, check out the new gameplay footage now.

Some players are concerned The Order won’t have anything to set it apart from other shooters besides its unusual setting, but we’ve certainly seen some interesting weapons in this new footage. As noted by DualShockers, the M-86/FL Thermite Rifle is a machine gun with a very interesting secondary use, where it “acts like a two-stage grenade launcher. First you shoot the thermite round and wait for the cloud to spread, then you need to shoot a second round to ignite it.”

The Order definitely wants to be a third-person shooter unlike any other out there. Do you think it will succeed?

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Explore Realistic Environments in Dragon Age: Inquisition

April 12, 2014 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Dragon Age screenshot 5

Bioware keeps revealing more screenshots from Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the company has a right to be proud. While there is much we don’t know about Inquisition, we can definitely say it has some beautiful environments.

These environments and the technology behind them was the subject of a recent blog post. Lead Environment Artist Ben McGrath cited the realistic water effects as one of the graphical advances they’ve made. It has “realistic reflections, and also realistically ripples and splashes as you walk through it.”

A technique called displacement mapping is what makes this possible, by pushing texture details out to make them more noticeable. Water and terrain will be much more vivid and realistic as a result. We’ve also seen some impressive lighting effects in the latest screenshots.

Dragon Age screenshot 4

Of course, you’re probably wondering what gameplay in these environments will be like. Well, in that same blog post, Senior Environment Artist Andrew Farrell made it clear that players should “look under all the rocks, under all the bridges, and in all dark corners of the map. Take the path less-traveled and you might something interesting… or surprising.”

We can’t wait to explore these new locations in Dragon Age: Inquisition and see how our actions affect them, as each location has its own ecosystem influenced by the Inquisitor’s actions.

If you’re planning to play Inquisition on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One, rather than the PC, PS3, or PS4, we’ve got another piece of news for you: you’ll be able to use Kinect voice commands, similar to those used for Mass Effect 3, and there are plans for SmartGlass integration, as well.

Share your thoughts on Inquisition in the comments below.

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The Witcher 3: Griffins and Occlusion Culling

April 10, 2014 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Witcher 3 griffin

The official Facebook page for the Witcher series just shared an image of a griffin. Griffins will appear in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and the picture was accompanied by the following description:

“The griffin looks like a combination of a ferocious cat and a giant bird. It usually inhabits primeval highlands and builds its nests on unreachable mountain summits. The griffin preys on large mammals and, being a highly territorial creature, fiercely defends its hunting grounds.”

Sounds good to us!

Additionally, CD Projekt RED is using occlusion culling technology. Basically, at any given moment, only the pieces of the scene that are actually visible will be rendered. This way, the unseen pieces won’t use up memory and put added pressure on the video card.

This process was explained at GDC, so feel free to check out the slides from the presentation for technical details and examples of how the technology works.

The bottom line is that this should allow them to make the graphics even better. All in all, Wild Hunt promises to be pretty impressive.

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The Order: 1886’s Graphics Could Still Improve

April 1, 2014 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

The Order 1886

Everything we’ve seen so far from The Order: 1886 has had pretty spectacular graphics, so it’s interesting to note that the developers feel they can improve even further.

Graphics and Engine Programmer Matt Pettineo recently mentioned that they’re still dealing with some lighting issues in the game.

Statements by Intel Tech Lead Andre Lauritzen suggested that they’re also looking into speeding up the encoders that deal with the texture compression, which would allow them to optimize things even further.

Additionally, Founder/CTO Andrea Pessino mentioned that “everything that moves in the game is simulated using soft bodies and a very accurate material-in-medium model,” and that you will be able to blow up lots of stuff even though that isn’t the central feature of the game.

It sounds like Ready At Dawn is putting a lot of effort into make this game look and run great. We hope we’ll hear more gameplay details soon, too. Share your thoughts on The Order: 1886 in the comments below.

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Watch Dogs Will Look a Bit Better Than Its Trailers

March 30, 2014 by Samantha Lienhard - Leave a comment

Watch Dogs logo

It seems as though every day, Creative Director Jonathan Morin answers new questions about Watch Dogs. Just yesterday, we learned that the footage in the recent trailer was from the PS4, and today he confirmed that the actual game will look slightly better than what a trailer can show.

He also clarified that the PC version’s graphics have improved over what was shown at E3 2012.

Some fans had questions about differences between console versions. According to him, the major difference between playing Watch Dogs on old-gen consoles vs. new gen consoles is lower “graphics and AI density.” He couldn’t give a definite answer about the game’s resolution, however.

On the other hand, Animation Director Colin Graham says the PS4 and Xbox One versions look about the same.

Both he and Morin discussed the multiple difficulty levels in Watch Dogs, from an Easy mode to a very challenging “Realist” mode, as well as other gameplay details.

Sadly, however, you won’t be able to try out a demo before the game is released.

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Don’t Buy Titanfall Based on Faith Alone

February 17, 2014 by Staff - Leave a comment


Titanfall’s beta is now out, and as we reported yesterday, it has been opened up to the public. So far, it’s been met with high praise, although there are some players who have criticized it for certain issues—server difficulties, ping issues, and so on.

One of the developers responded to the complaints on the official Respawn forums. He clarified some of the concerns about the problems, but he did more than just defend Titanfall. He doesn’t want players “to buy the game on faith.”

Instead of letting the hype and excitement determine your decision, the developer wants you to “try the beta” or at least get feedback from other people who have played it, and “make an informed decision based on that.”

He concluding by advising players to just not buy the game if the gameplay isn’t up to par, and to tell Respawn, EA, and Microsoft why.

Later on, he addressed criticisms of the combat’s simplicity by saying, “There’s a lot of depth in [Titan vs. Titan] that might not be apparent at first glance” and pointed out that the beta doesn’t have access to all of the weapons and abilities that will be in the main game.

It’s refreshing to see a developer who openly wants people to buy the game based on its own merits, and it shows the amount of confidence Respawn has in Titanfall. Have you tried out the beta yet? Let us know what you think of it, and if you plan to purchase Titanfall when it releases this March.

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Titanfall’s Graphics with the Sharpening Filter Removed

February 16, 2014 by Staff - 1 Comment



One of the “features” of the Xbox One that received a ton of criticism from fans was a filter that made the graphics look unusually sharpened when a low-resolution game was viewed at 1080p. Microsoft listened to the complaints and removed the filter on Friday in a quick update.

Now, you can see what Titanfall looks like with and without the filter, and compare the two, something encouraged by Titanfall’s producer, Drew McCoy.

If you’ve already updated your Xbox One, you can still see the difference thanks to screenshots uploaded by NeoGaf user nbnt. The difference is most noticeable when you view the images at their full size and watch the animated gifs. It has the biggest effect on objects in the distance.

Check them out and see what you think. Are you glad Microsoft made the change at last?

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Phil Harrison on offloading console tasks to the cloud

September 26, 2013 by Staff - 1 Comment


Microsoft Corporate VP Phil Harrison spoke during a panel event at the Eurogamer Expo today and gave his view on how the power of the cloud could improve graphics on the Xbox One (a view which differs to that held by PS4 lead architect Mark Cerny by the way – more on that further below).

Harrison said that tasks that might otherwise be carried out by the console itself could be “offloaded” to the cloud, freeing up console resources for other things (and presumably better graphics etc…).

It’s also about cloud processing and AI. This is where some of the computational effort of a game can be offloaded to the dedicated CPUs on the cloud, to make your game experience even better, better graphics, better lighting, better physics… This is an example of where we think the the cloud is going to push the next generation of game development in new and creative ways, that will make the experience even more better.

Mark Cerny (also known as the “father” of the Playstation 4) has a different view however, and thinks that while it’s true there are some tasks that can be offloaded to the cloud, it won’t translate directly into higher quality graphics…

It’s possible to do computing in the Cloud, PlayStation 4 can do computing in the Cloud. We do something today: Matchmaking is done in the Cloud and it works very well. If we think about things that don’t work well… Trying to boost the quality of the graphics, that won’t work well in the Cloud.

So who do you believe?

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