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The face of tomorrow: How PS4 and Xbox 3's visuals will change gaming

What does the next-gen hold? We ask the man who knows...

Page 4 of 4

PROCEDURAL CONTENT GENERATION

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Image: The Hunter

Why it will change gaming
Building things by hand - different trees, buildings, topologies - involves economies beyond mere storage and processing power. If the studio can't afford to pay people to make it, or can't afford the time it adds to the schedule, then everything else is meaningless. Procedurally generated worlds - environments spun by formulae in real time - have previously been seen in the likes of Oblivion, The Hunter (PC, above) and Fuel.

The developer says...
"You can use procedural generation to significantly reduce art times, but it can make worlds repetitive if you use it wrong. But if you're not going for a photorealistic look, but an alien world, you could do some interesting stuff - like what's going on outside the industry on procedural worlds, such as quickly creating forests for movies. The tricky stuff for developers is tying the material that's procedurally generated to the game systems and AI data."

SUPER TEXTURES

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Image: Mass Effect 2

Why it will change gaming
Two words: Mass Effect. The faces are detailed enough, the costumes are porridge. If you make a game about detailed characters in a cinematic world then something's got to give elsewhere: such is the austerity of old console hardware. Pictured is the PC version of Mass Effect 2 modded to include much higher-res textures. But is that all it takes?

The developer says...
"On current-gen hardware you can throughput some big textures, but you can't do many of them on many models at a time. With more memory you can load more stuff. That's the easy win. The more exciting thing for me is what you'll be able to do with shaders; layer-up advanced shader techniques like subsurface scattering and reflections, plus add detail maps for things like fabric and skin pores. So rather than everyone just looking to increase the texture resolution, there are more efficient ways to cover those edge cases."

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