Rainbow Six has changed a lot since the days when we ordered our blocky SWAT soldiers around bright terrorist houses. Rainbow Six Vegas shows off the very best of the Xbox 360's graphical prowess, and its new cover and rappelling systems take the tactical series in a more accessible direction.
But what about the face-mapping technology that's been implemented? Lead Game Designer Jean-Pascal Cambiotti explains how it came about and just how far the technology goes. We've also included some in-game shots of our own Andy Robinson as Team Rainbow's newest recruit. For the lady(s)...
CVG: How did the Vision Camera idea come about and was it particularly challenging to implement?
Cambiotti: It was actually very easy to implement. We're using third-party software from Logitech called DigiMask and all we're doing is running DigiMask and generating a mesh that's unique for the Unreal Engine. So it's just a kind of plug and play thing for us.
We did have to play around with the different settings of the camera to get it user-friendly in terms of having sliders so the user can control the brightness and the exposure, and translating that into actual user-friendly settings. We had one programmer working on it and it didn't take him very long to get it up and running.
CVG: The whole face-mapping thing has been tried and aborted once or twice in the past due to controversy. Are you worried that RSV might be affected by this?
Cambiotti: It doesn't worry me at all because at the office we use it, a lot of people talk about it in the sense of "how cool would it be to play co-op with your friends from the office - seeing your real life friends in your team in the helicopter," It's another one of those things that just seems to fit right into the whole Rainbow Six Vegas feel.
I think that in terms of controversy Microsoft does have in place certain features and certain parental settings that do prevent inappropriate pictures from taking place.
So for example the DigiMask technology looks for eyes, nose and a mouth and if you don't have those present in your picture it just won't accept it, and Microsoft has a feedback system, so if you see an inappropriate picture you can flag it as inappropriate and it'll get removed.
CVG: So there's no chance of taking your arse online then?
Cambiotti: Apparently not.
CVG: So what would your response be to the complainers of the world who will say that it's wrong that you can put other peoples' faces into the game and shoot them?
Cambiotti: Well it stays at its heart a videogame - it is a game, you want to have fun. If you are a parent that's concerned and you don't want your child to see certain things or you just don't want to see peoples real faces or you want to hide your face from certain people, you do have the global settings to choose not to see an scanned faces at all or you can choose just to see the ones from your friends, so you kind of have some flexibility.
CVG: Back to the game. Why did you decide to go with Las Vegas? What interested you in that location?
Cambiotti: Vegas is really interesting in terms of its richness and diversity. It's an urban city which fits very well with Rainbow Six and it's not just inside a casino. We now have these new game mechanics like 'take cover' and 'rappel' and they're things that we introduced for Vegas and so they work really well in its environment.
CVG: So what direction did you want to take Vegas? Did you want to keep it very simulation-based and tactical or did you want to water it down for a more mainstream audience?