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The Tech of the Colossus 62

Posted by Zonk
from the specular-fur-make-me-smile dept.
Via a Cathode Tan post, a gloriously in-depth look at the technology behind the PS2 title Shadow of the Colossus. From that article: "In games such as DOOM3 on the PC, the model used for generating the shadow volume is almost equivalent to the character itself. But with SOTC, in order to speed this up, we made use of a simpler model with much fewer polygons in. The main character generally consists of 3,000 polygons, but the colossus can be around 18,000 polygons, depending on the type. But the model used for shadow generation will contain a substantially lower amount than this. For example, the simple model seen by the player will probably only use 1/40th of what the original model contained."
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The Tech of the Colossus

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  • by vasqzr (619165) <vasqzr@netsc[ ].net ['ape' in gap]> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:30PM (#14877643)

    I see this in lots of games these days.

    It's a very neat effect. But I find it distracting, and my eyes are constantly trying to focus, and I end up getting a headache after a while.
  • Letdown.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by otis wildflower (4889) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:32PM (#14877672) Homepage
    ... From the subject I was anticipating something about either the Colossus computer [wikipedia.org] or the Colossus of Rhodes [wikipedia.org].

    Or even something about this [wikipedia.org]
  • by Josiah_Bradley (867692) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @03:06PM (#14877977)
    It's a good thing that developers keep developing for older hardware and game consoles as it allows for optimizations that can be passed onto newer hardware for visuals that could not of been achieved before. If software developers were to keep relying on the hardware to improve to get better visuals, then people would have to spend 1000s each year just to see a game that looks moderately better. While playing SOTC I was amazed at the way they did the lighting and how the landscape was so vast and looks so real. It is a real treat to read how they actually achieved such awesome graphics.
  • eww, you suck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ender Ryan (79406) <[ ] ['' in gap]> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:10PM (#14878528) Journal
    Eww, you suck :)

    I think SotC would have been a real letdown on any other console. The effects, which are nothing short of amazing, may have been used to cover up the lack of a huge poly-count in some cases, but they're really what gives the world in SotC it's beauty. The main character, I agree, does look kinda crappy. The horse isn't too bad. But the world looks absolutely amazing, and so do the Colossi.

    The PS2 doesn't have the raw power of the Xbox or the Cube, but it is capable of some really amazing visual effects. It's really a shame that most developers haven't taken full advantage of it. OTOH, there's still some great games coming out on that ancient thing.

  • by Brunellus (875635) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:20PM (#14878607) Homepage
    As for the light bloom, blurs and other effects, while producing a neat result, especially in stills I tend to find distracting during gameplay. I've seen several games with these kinds of effects and the majority tend to overdo it. It's like I have cataracts or something. Someone with good eyesight doesn't see the world that way. I realize they're going for a cinematic feel, but at least don't overdo it.

    Amen. "lens flare" effects are overdone to DEATH...I love how it seems that in games, all the "lenses" have nearly circular apertures, a bad problem with internal reflections/ghosting, and what look like dozens of air/glass interfaces. It seems to me that if you care enough to put flare/ghosting effects in, you should at least bother to make them believable (polygonal apertures instead of circular, effects of flare on overall image colour/contrast, etc).

  • Re:SoC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Knos (30446) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:25PM (#14878644) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it's simply because you are meant to sink in this atmosphere of dread. I mean, it's bound to be voluntary for this particular universe to be almost devoid of any advanced lifeforms. The way you have to wander around in those deserts, making you feel like if you were even more dead than the one you are trying to revive. Even the colossi are ambiguous.. part machines part animals. Golems of some sort.

    It does create more sensations than it tells a story.. I think it does it pretty well even.
  • by Have Blue (616) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @04:35PM (#14878719) Homepage
    Well, imagine how good the game would look with the following changes:
    • Instead of being designed to run anywhere between 15 and 60 frames per second, put out a solid 60fps at all times.
    • Instead of having to trick around with "superlow" backgrounds and composited rendering, have a greater normal draw distance for fewer artifacts and a less complex engine. Not only can the graphics card keep up with this now, you can hold far more data in RAM and stream off a faster drive.
    • Instead of manually placing scene boxes and using a hacked bloom effect, do true HDR rendering.
    • Increase detail of shadow objects, fur shader hack, etc without noticeably performance cost.

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