Monday, 31 May 2010

First Pro Evo 2011 Images and Details

 Today the Internet has been flooded with new information on Konomi's next football iteration Pro Evolution Soccer 2011.
As you can see the game has had a big overhaul in the graphics department including a nice motion blur effect. The games sounds, especially supporters chants have been improved to add greater immersion - expect more real to life chanting at better sound quality.

This picture below shows the new power bar that is situated directly below the football player in control that was leaked last month.
Playstation Move support is all but confirmed, take a look at this image below:
As you can see the image shows a interface for the PS3 version of the game that is very similar to the Nintendo Wii's version of the game. It has the drag and drop method of squad selecting which before now only the Wii version had.

I'm sure a lot more information will be revealed in the coming weeks about the game, E3's just two weeks away. However the Pro Evo franchise is going to have to do a lot more if it is to better EA's almost perfect football game.
UPDATE: Many more details of the game have emerged:
  • Defence "has changed massively". Using the dash button to close down and press the player with the ball has been replaced by a three-pronged system using the X button and directional input. For example if you hold X while directing the stick towards your goal to hold up play, a relatively passive option that makes it difficult for the attacker to pass you. The second option is simply to hold X and release the stick entirely. This stops your player and, if timed correctly, will halt the advance of the guy charging at you with the ball.
  •  The feints system has been overhauled. These tricks can still be performed manually using button/stick combinations; but there's the option now to automate and chain moves together into combos.
  •  A reworked animation system, with Konami claiming some 1000 new animations in PES 2011, equating to over 100 hours of motion capture.
  •  360 degree control
  •  Around 6000 players and "Yes" their are new licences
  • An option to change the game speed. You can change the speed at any point via the pause menu, from -2 to +2, with zero being the regular setting.
  • The promise of a major "surprise" to come.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 is expected to release in October this year.

The Art Behind God of War III

Due to the popularity of The Art Behind Uncharted 2 and The Art Behind Battlefield Bad Company 2 I have made put together this one on God of War III. This one however is much more in-depth and therefore does get a bit technical. I have tried to keep it simple for anyone to read but at the same time offer quality information for those looking into creating games.

Let me start by saying God of War III is an amazing game; it not only looks amazing but it plays fantastically as well. If you haven’t played it go out and get it, you won’t be disappointed.

God of War III can easily be considered as the greatest looking console game of all time, maybe even across all platforms. Its huge scale and extensive amount of detail produce a breathtaking display of awesomeness. This article will show and discuss how Santa Monica Studio managed to raise the bar in video game graphics.

Traditional art skills are still very much key in creating games and maybe even more so these days as more detail is needed. Programs such as ZBrush allow game artists to virtually sculpt their models on the computer, anatomy plays a major role in the designing of characters and creating believable animations. Without traditional art skills you cannot become a games artist. Luckily for Santa Monica Studio they have some very good talent in their team.

During the game design process the entire art department is linked together. For example the Art Director tells the Concept Artists what he/she wants and the Concept Artists create image references that then go to the Environment Artists who then work with the Level Designers etc. Complete team collaboration is essential and although GOW 3’s development team was around 130 people, these people worked together and created an epic experience.

PS3 technology has really increased the scale of the game. GOW1 and 2 used a lot of smoke and mirrors but GOW 3 does not. A good example of this is the huge titans that in previous versions of the game only a busk of the titan was used and some animation however in GOW 3 the titans are fully their and interactive.

To get this kind of scale and improvement in graphics more effort is required so bigger teams are hired. For example for GOW 2 the cinematic environment team consisted of just one person, on GOW 3 it moved up to 8 people.

The picture below shows a texture map of a dead man’s face. This image is then placed onto the model inside of Maya and then rendered in the game:

Where would the world be without Photoshop eh?

Autodesk Maya is main tool used in creating 3D models for God of War. It is used to create the basic shape of objects which are then taken into ZBrush to add detail to the object, such as scratches. This video below shows how detail is sculpted into the 3D models using ZBrush after they have been made in Maya:

Autodesk Maya is used to create the games 3D models and also the games animations, whether that is for Kratos or for particle effects. The images below show how Kratos' path is set out on a titan:

Below are images of an article which interviews some of the key Santa Monica Studio’s art team. It is a very insightful read that outlines the enormous amount of work that was put into God of War III:

Here are some in-depth videos on the art of GOW 3, however be warned they do include SPOILERS:

For more great behind the scenes look at God of War III I recommend you check out this play list on YouTube
God of War III is without a doubt a fantastic achievement in video game creation, setting the bar higher for all games to follow. If you are yet experience this game then you are truly missing out on a classic.

PS3 3D Firmware Next Week

UPDATE: This is for Japan only. Sony state that North American & PAL details are to come “shortly”.

Sony Japan have today announced Firmware 3.20 for PS3, which supports the option of going 3D, will be released on June 10. In other words next week.

The first games to support 3D are Wipeout HD, Super Stardust HD and Pain, all of which will receive and update some time soon. Motorstorm: Pacific Rift will also support the 3D feature, although only as a demo that will be included with sales of new PS3s and 3D Bravia TVs this summer.

Below is a Sony video commercial for the 3D feature:

Additionally, Sony says that it plans on updating the PlayStation 3 firmware to support 3DBD video playback. This will be available by the end of the year.

Is the 3D feature just a gimmick or is it the future? From early reports it seems to have potential, I guess we wont have to wait long to find out for ourselves.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

New L.A. Noire Images

Team Bondi's L.A. Noire started development way back in 2004 but little of the game has been shown. A batch of images where released a while back and today I bring you a fresh batch of images which are in game screenshots.
L.A. Noire is set in the late 1940s of Los Angeles, with players being given an open-ended challenge to solve a series of murders. The game will have a heavy focus on narrative and user decisions. It's also one of the first Rockstar titles in some time that doesn't use Rockstar's RAGE engine, rather Team Bondi's proprietary engine.

The game seems like it is going to be very mature, not just in explicit content (as you can see from the images the game is not shy on showing blood) but rather a mature way similar to Heavy Rain's approach. L.A. Noire is definitely one of the most ambitious Rockstar titles to date and I can't wait to get my hands on it.

L.A. Noire is expected to release later this year.

UPDATE: Here are some more new images:

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Art Behind Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves arguably one of the best looking games in history, a game that has won numerous awards for looking so good.

Released October last year Uncharted 2 quickly became one of the best critically acclaimed games of this generation. The game upped the ante in almost every way. The game utilises many new development techniques and is a reel showcase for the Playstation 3. The images below are articles on Uncharted 2’s development by Naughty Dog’s artists. It is a really good read, very insightful and informative. Even if you are not an artist or haven’t played Uncharted 2, if you have an interest in the ‘behind the scenes’ of how games are made these articles are well worth a read.

So how does a games graphics get to look so good? This is how:


The next article is based on an interview with Uncharted 2: Among Thieves', Art Director Robh Ruppe. I find it really interesting how he says Naughty Dog functions like no other company and has no managers. It seems as if Naughty Dog has hit the nail on the head in creating a motivated team that enjoys work.


It just goes to show how much thought and effort goes into creating the games we play and enjoy. If you enjoyed this article the check out this similar one for Battlefield Bad Company 2

If you have yet to play Uncharted 2: Among Thieves it is available now. I highly recommend you play it.

inFAMOUS 2 To Be Revealed In Next Issue of ROPS

inFAMOUS 2 in their next issue. The magazine ends with a picture showing the eyes of the first game’s protagonist Cole MacGrath and the following words underneath: “The announcement of a great PlayStation 3 exclusive in the next ROPS” (ROPS is the Portuguese abbreviation for the magazine).

An inFAMOUS sequel should come as no surprise seeing as it has been widely rumoured for a long time, with Sony even registering domain names.

The Art Behind Battlefield Bad Company 2

This article is an excellent read for anyone interested in game development and even more so for aspiring artists looking to get into the gaming industry.

It talks about how DICE's game engine, Frostbite, provided the artists with a lot of freedom and how the game went from concept art to the final product.

This article also shows how technology is ever advancing but traditional art skills are key to the development of the games we play. I'm sure many of you will find this article very insightful like I have. A lot of thought and effort goes into creating the games we play and enjoy.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 is available now on the PS3, 360 and PC.