An amazing example of true next generation gaming has been discovered behind closed doors at LucasArts. A Star Wars game with new technology known as DMM - Digital Molecular Matter. In an exclusive first look at this new school of physics CVG sat through a tech demo that first saw a plank of wood with balls being chucked at it - it broke down the middle in the generic physics style. This, we were told, is how other games work. We were then presented with a plank of plywood that LucasArts technicians bombarded with beeping R2D2s. The wood splintered, it wobbled, it broke along its grain - it looked amazing. Like real life - only real life in a galaxy far, far away and somewhat long ago.
The deal is that LucasArts have created a technology that allows them to assign material values to every single solitary object in their world - and with only minor hyperbole it has to be seen to be believed. I was then shown a Jar Jar encased in Carbonite (see! LucasArts do still have a sense of humour...) and at first they made its texture like that of soft metal. R2s were again fired, and dimple marks were left - bending, moulding and denting Jar Jar's stupid Gungan face. Then the developers turned the hated creature into rubber - and as he distorted this way and that, the R2s bounced hither and thither. It was hugely, hugely impressive. And this was even before we saw Jar Jar's carbonite form encased in ice - slightly translucent, slightly reflective, all real and all shatterable - a project of Lucas cross development between the games division and ILM. Great, great stuff.
We know little of the game itself, only that it's Star Wars, it's being released in 2007 and that you can play a character with darkside force powers. Clues, however, lie in the artwork secreted around the LucasArts booth - photos of which you can see here. The game certainly deals with Darth Vader, although perhaps not playing as him. One piece of artwork sees a group of four mercenaries apparently under the command and tutelage of Vader himself. Another sees three clearly light-side characters dealing righteous death to Stormtroopers. Another again sees Vader battling Wookiees on Kashyyyk. Will you play the mercenaries, or will you play the good guys - or both? That's up for question - but it certainly takes place soon after Episode III (as shown by the presence of Felucia in the demo - the fungus planet briefly shown when the Jedis all get killed in Revenge of the Sith) and it's certainly the first LucasArts project to truly and fundamentally impress in a long while.