Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2013 - 10:05 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: txaa, PhysX, pc gaming, nvidia, infinity ward, call fo duty, Activision
Activision recently announced a technical partnership with NVIDIA at GamesCom. The two companies are "working hand in hand" on the development of the PC version of Call of Duty: Ghosts to implement the kinds of graphical features and technologies that PC gamers expect of a new triple-A title.
According to a NVIDIA Geforce blog post, NVIDIA developers are working on-site at Infinity Ward. NVIDIA is helping Infinity Ward to enhance the Sub D tessellation, displacement mapping, and HDR lighting. Additionally, the NVIDIA engineers are working to integrate support for the company's TXAA (temporal anti-aliasing) and PhysX technologies. The Infinity Ward game developers are also taking advantage of the APEX Turbulence PhysX tool-kit to enable realistic, physics-based, smoke clouds that will react with the environment and player actions.
Activision and Infinity Ward are also enabling the use of dedicated multiplayer servers for Call of Duty: Ghosts. In addition, Call of Duty Elite will be available for the PC version of the game including a smartphone app that allows stat tracking and profile management from a mobile device.
The Geforce blog claims that the PC version is intended to be the definitive CoD: Ghosts version, which is always nice to see. More graphical effects and features are being worked on, but IW and NVIDIA are keeping them under wraps for now.
The PC is in a really good place right now between console cycles where developers are finally starting to realize the power of the PC and what it is able to offer in terms of graphical performance and control options. PC-first development is something that I have been wanting to see for a long time (develop for the PC and port to consoles rather than the other way around), and now that PC versions are once again getting due credit and development attention (and resources), along with the upcoming consoles being based on x86 hardware... these types of technical partnerships where the PC version is being positioned as the best version are hopefully the start of a trend that will see a new surge in PC gaming!
Subject: General Tech | April 1, 2013 - 11:54 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: next generation character rendering, GDC 13, gaming, Activision, 3D rendering
Activision recently showed off its Next-Generation Character Rendering technology, which is a new method for rendering realistic and high-quality 3D faces. The technology has been in the works for some time now, and is now at a point where faces are extremely detailed down to pores, freckles, wrinkles, and eye lashes.
In addition to Lauren, Activision also showed off its own take on the face used in NVIDIA's Ira FaceWorks tech demo. Except instead of the NVIDIA rendering, the face was done using Activision's own Next-Generation Character Rendering technology. A method that is allegedly more efficient and "completely different" than the one used for Ira. In a video showing off the technology (embedded below), the Activision method produces some impressive 3D renders in real time, but when talking appear to be a bit creepy-looking and unnatural. Perhaps Activision and NVIDIA should find a way to combine the emotional improvements of Ira with the graphical prowess of NGCR (and while we are making a wish list, I might as well add TressFX support... heh).
The high resolution faces are not quite ready for the next Call of Duty, but the research team has managed to get models to render at 180 FPS on a PC running a single GTX 680 graphics card. That is not enough to implement the technology in a game, where there are multiple models, the environment, physics, AI, and all manner of other calculations to deal with and present at acceptable frame rates, but it is nice to see this kind of future-looking work being done now. Perhaps in a few graphics card generations the hardware will catch up to the face rendering technology that Activision (and others) are working on, which will be rather satisfying to see. It is amazing how far the graphics world has come since I got into PC gaming with Wolfenstein 3D, to say the least!
The team behind Activision's Next-Generation Character Rendering technology includes:
|Javier Von Der Pahlen||Director of Research and Development|
|Etienne Donvoye||Technical Director|
|Bernardo Antoniazzi||Technical Art Director|
|Zbyněk Kysela||Modeler and Texture Artist|
|Mike Eheler||Programming and Support|
|Jorge Jimenez||Real-Time Graphics Research and Development|
Jorge Jimenez has posted several more screenshots of the GDC tech demo on his blog that are worth checking out if you are interested in the new rendering tech.
Subject: General Tech | May 22, 2012 - 05:27 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Bungie, Lawsuit, Activision
Contracts between Activision and certain developers are public evidence thanks to litigation between Activision and the former Infinity Ward executives. It turns out Bungie, of Halo fame before they left Microsoft to partner with Activision, is developing their titles for the PC after their first Xbox-exclusive release. The proposed style of game has “massively-multiplayer client-based mission structures with persistent elements”.
… truth be told I have been disappointed with their games after Halo 2 when they focused on fan lip service...
But as a result of recent litigation involving their publisher we have found out that Bungie is working on a massively-multiplayer game with persistent elements. According to the contract published as evidence we will see certain versions are planned to be developed for the PC supposedly in-house.
This is the first time since the 90’s where Bungie has developed a game for the PC in-house -- excluding the small assistance which Bungie provided to Microsoft Game Studios and Pi Studios for Halo 2 Vista.
Yeah… the comments for this post won't surprise me...
(Photo: Bungie, Inc.)
If you wish to see a little behind-the-scenes of game publishing then you might like to check the contract out. A lot of amusing information such as royalty rates and bonuses are not-too-buried within the legalese. The formatting makes it actually quite human legible to skim through for the most part.
Even if Activision is ultimately successful in their lawsuit against former executives West and Zampella it would certainly be one of their most annoying victories -- at best. They lose if they win and they very lose if they lose.
Now if only Heart of the Swarm release date was important for the trial…
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