Richard Jones' Log: More Video Game Than Meets The Eye

Mon, 15 Mar 2004

Melbourne House is producing a Transformers video game, and it looks very promising. The Transformers appeared on TV after all I'd already had my fill of Macross and Star Blazers and it just seemed like so much of a cheap US ripoff. But I digress. The game sounds like it's going to be quite fun, and quite a technical achievement as well:

From the five (of the eight) levels I've played so far, it's certainly one of the most exciting console games in prospect for the entire year. Control-wise, it's instantly accessible, with a solid, convincing feel - so important in a game that could have so easily become yet another clunky, dull mechalike.
the combat department ... conveys an immensely satisfying sense of fierce, futuristic battle, with enemies always providing a harsh but fair contest - forcing you to go to war with intelligence and tactics rather than merely all guns blazing.
But all this would mean very little if it weren't for the impressive power of Melbourne House's game engine which seems capable of rendering an almost impossible degree of scenic detail at vast distances, not to mention immensely impressive character models - some of which truly have to be seen to be believed.

I wonder whether they'll have a Mini Cooper r50 playable? :)

Comment by toby on Mon, 15 Mar 2004

Good stuff. Word has it that if they don't make good with this title, they run the risk of being closed down by Infogrames.

Comment by toby on Mon, 15 Mar 2004

Oh, and regarding the caption in the article: Just cos you can 'go there', doesn't mean that it's not (currently) a sky box.

Comment by Richard on Tue, 16 Mar 2004

Regarding "going there" ... sure, but I get the feeling it is The Real Thing, taking into account the other comments in the review. Also, skyboxes are generally really obvious...

Comment by toby on Tue, 16 Mar 2004

For very distant geometry, it's almost always a win to render it to a skybox which you update at a very low framerate. For middle distance geometry, you have individual impostors for which you do the same.

From those screenshots, there's no way that they could push the number of triangles that they'd need to in order to draw the whole scene every frame, so it's almost a certainty that they'll be doing something like I've described. I don't doubt that the geometry actually exists, but I _do_ doubt that:

a) it's all currently in memory.
b) it's all being displayed in realtime.

Of course I'd like to be proved wrong (especially with source code. ;) ).

Comment by Richard on Tue, 16 Mar 2004

Sure, you can do tricks like that. I guess I was really saying that *static* skyboxes are generally pretty obvious :)

(and hopefully I've fixed the newline formatting in comments too ;)

Comment by korg on Wed, 17 Mar 2004

Actually I know one of the guys working on it ;). Ive even seen a 'daily' which was funny because all the video was hand drawn stills and the vocals were Phil doing every voice ;). Didnt sound right, as an australian accent. :)