View Full Version : Environment art for next gen. console games?
01-01-2005, 05:32 PM
I was curious if anyone knew/had any predictions about the kind of polycount and texture sizes that would be reasonable for environment assets in upcoming next gen. console titles? Also, Are environment assets going to be more regularly given normal/bump and specular maps? I realize that this would vary greatly depending on the type of game...so lets say FPS and adventure/platform games like Ratchet and Clank.
01-02-2005, 05:07 AM
Well, they've announced that Nvidia is developing the GPU for PS3, and that it uses technology from the current gen of video cards...so my conservative estimate is games will be able to push a level of detail similar to the Unreal 3 demos (or maybe less, if those screenies are doctored/un-"real world"-ish.)
I wouldn't get caught up in numbers, just look into the kinds of shaders a game with a look like Ratchet and Clank's would benefit from.
01-02-2005, 08:17 AM
I'd look at the current crop of cutting edge games that are being released like halflife 2. I'm not certain of any specifics but i am sure if you browse through the related mod sites you'll find all the info you need. Everything is always engine specific anyway so theres little point to too much speculation. But one thing is certain PC Games lead and then console game follow. (due to the fixed nature of console technology)
I would recomend practicing your conceptual skills for enviroments too, next gen stuff will require allot of pre priduction since the actual creation process will be allot more time consuming.
i doubt things will look like ue3, runs 30 fps on a 6800 ultra :/
my guess is, ut2004 amount of detail with a lot of per-pixel shaders and lighting.
01-02-2005, 10:49 AM
Texture resolutions and polycounts shouldn't change much. We still cant add enough grass and trees to make something look good. I'd rather aim for more trees and vegetation (ala FarCry) and atmosphere rather than less with more polys.
Depending on the game, environment assets will get normalmaps or not, specially for console titles you might want to save that precious memory for something else. It all comes down to the importance of the object in the scene, that will usually determine how much love it gets.
Also, if you can get away with tiling textures that are reused in other parts (or several tree meshes as example) then you can get away using bump/spec/normalmaps too.
It really depends of the situation and platform.
01-03-2005, 08:39 AM
Fish - 30 fps isn't that bad for a console game. Most PS2 games run at 30fps, and it's usually hard to notice. I still agree though, that the art quality won't quite be to Unreal3 standards.
Strangefate, I agree and disagree with you. I think the higher the target is, the more the textures will remain the same. For example, the PS3 is getting 256MB of ram. This will allow us to use texture sizes that we previously only used on Xbox or PC. With a larger percentage of the populous owning HDTV sets, it should be handy. For Xbox2 and PC however, I think the texture sizes will remain more of the same.
As you said though, it's really dependant on the situation and platform. If you game has closed off enviornments, you can go hog wild with polys and textures. But with open-area games like UnrealTournament 2 or FarCry, you'll have to budget everything carefully, as to not kill your fill rate or memory budget.
On a side note, I'm EXTREMELY pleased to see that Sony has chosen an Nvidia chipset for their graphics solution. Their proprietary "emotion engine" and gpu were crap.
01-03-2005, 10:16 AM
I think you answered your own question when you mentioned that poly counts etc will vary greatly on next-gen consoles. Some titles will showcase detailed, pixel-shader laden artwork, others will get by nicely without any such advanced tech, and plenty of others will split the difference by using pixel shaders but won't put much additinal time into art asset creation so the pixel shader art won't be hyper-detailed or super polished. FPS shooters will probably become increasingly more realistic, and games like Rachet and Clank will continue to be stylized and not use fancy tech all the time. Budgetary considerations will have lots to do with it, since only the bigger and well-funded developers can start spending 2-3 times as much on art assets for their projects.
01-03-2005, 12:05 PM
Vassago, remember that current gen consoles usually have one map per material. Many next gen games will use multiple maps per material (i.e. base/normal/spec).
It is also more than likely that PC's will continue to have more memory than consoles, on average.
01-04-2005, 06:17 PM
I agree, doc. PS2 in particular, chokes when it has to handle more than one map per mat. Xbox though, can handle far more.
It'll be a fine day when enviornment artists can use base/normal/spec combos on console assets /images/graemlins/laugh.gif /images/graemlins/laugh.gif
01-13-2005, 09:12 PM
I wouldn't expect to see a huge leap in assets themselves, more of a press for larger environments with much more fill. More grass, more trees, sightlines to the horizon, etc.
01-16-2005, 02:24 PM
I think you are all right! Basically depending on the game some areas will improve and some won't, and any company developing games for all 3 next gen platforms will still be bound by developing solely for the primary seller and downgrading for the other platforms, not much point tuning art to look awesome on xbox2 when 5 times as many people own a ps3. And you will still spend some of your graphic power to handle the overflow from AI or other such things. Artists working on a next gen console specific game will have a much easier time creating fancy looking art as they do not need to make sure it works on the other two platforms and they can also take advantage of the hardware specific to that console without worrying that the other two consoles don't support. I'd like to point out that when the ps2 started getting some press before it was released they had quite a bit of propaganda, like the old man head which was all hi res but that was all the console could do, basically the guy's face was like modeling an entire level, so don't be surprised when you see unbelievable demos and videos of games on ps3 and then you get the hardware and it is half of what you expected. Also more texture ram means larger and more volume of textures to load and unload which can cause a bottleneck, and what is up with those load times right in the middle of a level in half life2? Do they need to flush the giant textures only to make room for more giant textures?
01-16-2005, 05:08 PM
In Halflife 2, I believe they are loading multiple bsp's per level, which is why it has to stop and load the next one. The maps can only be soo large, so that's expected. The load times are pretty short though.
As for the topic, I agree that it will be easier to develop for. With PS3 getting a real gfx chipset this time (go nvidia!), we don't have to worry about scaling back for PS2 from Xbox. I don't think that having more vram and larger textures will create a bottleneck though, Malcolm. It's really dependant on your programming staff, though. If they are kick ass, they can clear memory buffers and cache extremely fast. For those of us using pre-made engines though, we always have to stick to it's own tech limits.
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