Back in February Quantic Dream showed off its tech demo of The Old Man, which (needless to say) looked damned impressive. Now The Old Man has been expanded upon in another tech demo called The Dark Sorcerer, where he features a full body (arms and legs included) instead of a floating head in naturalistic lighting.
The initial tech demo of The Old Man is one of the very few videogame models that I managed to confuse with looking the closest to genuine realism, not to be confused with “realism” that just plummets into the realms of the Uncanny Valley.
Having said that, the Uncanny Valley is very much a subjective concept – what looks real to X may not look so real to Y – but what were the technicalities behind the tech demo? What made it so lifelike?
Well, thanks to a rather shaky video by TheAireaidLord during E3, Quantic Dream’s QA manager Gavin Niebel explained quite a number of behind-the-scenes details to a crowd before watching The Dark Sorcerer’s demo.
The tech demo itself is Quantic Dream’s “first venture into the PS4 territory,” and has been in development for about six months (prior to prior to E3, I assume). Niebel stressed to the crowd that the tech demo is rendered 100 percent in real-time, that there’s no pre-rendering, no post-production, no video inserts…it’s “all in-engine.”[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqeuHGESZBA]
The entirety of the demo is Quantric Dream’s first iteration into the PS4’s development cycle. Though they didn’y have full access to PS4 development tools they created the demo using the same development cycle as they did on the PlayStation 3 for Beyond: Two Souls. The difference being that Quantic Dream were just “shoving in a bunch of high-fidelity assets.” The demo was also running in native 1080p resolution with 1080p textures included, along with volumetric lighting and even real-time rendered shadows.
Curiously enough the tech demo only used half the the PS4’s GDDR5 RAM capacity, meaning it only used 4Gb out of 8Gb. To me this opens up questions of what the remaining 4Gb could be doing whilst playing a next-gen titles of The Dark Sorcerer’s fidelity. Having said that, the tech demo is only just a demo, so if any finished product were to come from this it may go over 4Gbs in the end.
The “set” of the tech demo was made with about one million triangles (or polygons) and 350Mb of texture data. Maurice, the goblin, is made of about 67,000 triangles, 40 shaders and 150Mb of texture data. Not only that but Maurice’s attire reacts independently to the environment, meaning things such as jewelry, hair and cloth all interact of their own accord and are not pre-animated.
Even though The Dark Sorcerer is just a tech demo (and an impressive one at that) I seriously hope any upcoming title by Quantic Dream has the same lighthearted comedy to it.
What do you think of Quantic Dream’s ‘The Dark Sorcerer’ tech demo? Let us know in the comments!
Chirps to DualShockers. Thank you for reading, and I’ll catch you next time!