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5th year of Xbox 360 : The Unreal Engine Effect.

Forums - Microsoft Discussion - 5th year of Xbox 360 : The Unreal Engine Effect.

The Xbox 360 is now in it's 5th year on the year on the market. And Unreal Engine 3 has been at the forefront of the technical capabilities of the Xbox 360. Lets face it, the top 3 games on 360 for technical reasons are without a doubt Gears Of War, Mass Effect and Bioshock. However you'd be gobsmacked to see just how many top 360 games all use Unreal Engine 3. This may not be a problem you say. But the treal point is Unreal Engine 3 is not designed around getting the most out of 360 hardware. Tim Sweeney from Epic Games is quoted saying " Unreal Engine 3 is not optimized as a 360 engine. We do not utilize the specialized EDRam chip on the Xbox 360 for example at 'ALL'. This is evident in Gears of War series where the first game on recieved no AA whatsoever, and the 2nd game recieved 2xMSAA on just static objects.

Gears Of War 1 had no AA at all!

Further apparent is UE3's multiplatform design looking at both ME1 and Mass Effect 2. The former recieveing no AA and the later recieveing 2xMSAA on all except transperencies and effects. IT's this that has held the 360 back. Although in 2006 UE3 did wonders for the 360 putting it well out in front with Gears Of War, since then Sony have had numerous First and Second parties working solely on Engines for the PS3 hardware. Using all it's capabilities.

However 2010 onwards looks like the 360 is about to get what it deserves. Purpose built engines pushing 'ALL' it's limits. First and foremost it's hard to miss the E3 technology award winning game Alan Wake. Basic info is the game runs native at 720p and is locked at 30fps. Most impressively though is that the game runs with 4XMSAA on the entire picture, including shadows. MSAA can be extremely taxing on any systems resources ( those of you who use PC's will often see 10 FPS drops when upping AA). The fact that the EDRam has been able to give this free on 360 is 'HUGE'. IT frees up all the normal resources to spend on better detail animation etc. One thing for sure is Alan Wake will be the clearest crispest game yet on game consoles.

Alan Wake utilizing EDRam Chip. Every image for last 4 years confirmed by Remedy as 360 screens!

Then theres the 2nd to utilize EDRam this year. Reach boasts 720p, 30 FPS and 4xMSAA on entire image. But more impressively is what that free chip allows the devs to add to the rest of the game, 60+AI + Vehicles + flying = most impressive fights in an FPS on consoles.

In effect UE3 has helped the 360 initially to wow audiences but also hindered it's progression. All the top games apart from 1 ( Forza 3 ) use UE3 which means there is a wealth of games not using 360 to it's potential. Even Splinter Cell Conviction is running on Unreal Engine 3.5. It's time we have devs really pushing 360 like Remedy and Bungie. Every game should utiliz EDRam chip as it saves huge resources for other things and allows the crispest games ever seen on a console. Remedy state EDRam chip essentially gives them 5 free alpha blends. They have full 4XMSAA on everything including foliage ( which is the most taxing on a system ). 5 years in, and we are only just seeing it's potential. Heres to the next 2 years of Xbox 360 technical capabilities. I dont know whether to thank UE3 or curse it now.

Possibly the most technically advanced game your going to see in at least 2 years! Halo Reach.

 



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good article and I hope less reliance on UE3 (lazy) and more bespoke engines will give us even better visuals etc.



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I m not sure those will beat the kings that Gears1/2 or Uncharted2 are

It is not a question about PS3 or 360, it is just that Halo Reach is focusing on upgrading from Halo3 gfx using a new engine able to run a lot of item on screen. I doubt it will become a graphical king contender.
Halo Reach could still be the prettiest Halo ever made and maybe the best one too.

Same goes for Alan Wake : a 4 (?) years game started for PC then going 360 exclusive is not gonna define the new graphical king.
Alan Wake may still be the GOTY 2010 with an insane atmosphere and story and particularly pretty lighting effect.

Neverthless, you are right on the "no specific engine for the 360" ... that is true.



Time to Work !

I hate UE3. Only Gears should use it.



Theres some truth to this post but personally i think the unreal engine is perfectly fine. Sure AA makes things look better but it isnt a make or break thing. But lets hope developers try and "max" out the 360.



I mostly play RTS and Moba style games now adays as well as ALOT of benchmarking. I do play other games however such as the witcher 3 and Crysis 3, and recently Ashes of the Singularity. I love gaming on the cutting edge and refuse to accept any compromises. Proud member of the Glorious PC Gaming Master Race. Long Live SHIO!!!! 

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libellule said:
I m not sure those will beat the kings that Gears1/2 or Uncharted2 are

It is not a question about PS3 or 360, it is just that Halo Reach is focusing on upgrading from Halo3 gfx using a new engine able to run a lot of item on screen. I doubt it will become a graphical king contender.
Halo Reach could still be the prettiest Halo ever made and maybe the best one too.

Same goes for Alan Wake : a 4 (?) years game started for PC then going 360 exclusive is not gonna define the new graphical king.
Alan Wake may still be the GOTY 2010 with an insane atmosphere and story and particularly pretty lighting effect.

Neverthless, you are right on the "no specific engine for the 360" ... that is true.


Alan Wake started dev on 360 form day 1, just so you know. Also, I never referred to graphics as such. But technical capabilities. Graphics are 20 % of providing good tech. I was more referring to an engine as a whole. having 4xMSAA on a console game is astonishing. first time ever. And at no cost to the resources. Simly play Crysis on an uber PC and see the FPS difference between changing MSAA up and down to see the performance hit.

Both Alan Wake and Halo Reach as Engines are truly ahead of UE3 by miles and miles.



If Unreal Engine is going to keep costs down and get quality games out quicker then I'm fine with it. These silly graphical effects it may be missing or not be good at are meaningless. If awesome games come out and not one looks better than Gears of War 2 I couldn't care less. Cutting edge graphics in the middle to back end of a console cycle are so overrated. I'd rather them work on getting more enemies on screen, better AI, have more destructible crap, better physics, etc. and drop the quality of graphics to make it happen.



Tag: Became a freaking mod and a complete douche, coincidentally, at the same time.



I hate UE3 every game using this engine they all look the same to me... especially the grays n brown colors they all focus onto... Its time the 360 gets what it deserves, no doubt. typed via Wi



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Good to have you back Selnor.
I've said for a while that the 360 needs to stop relying on UE and go for engines that use the 360 capabilities to their fullest for the games running on them.
This is where Sony have got it right and why their games look good.
I've always believed the 360 could match it but to use a Sony fanboy term devs have been lazy and stuck to UE.
I understand it cuts cost and games don't have lenghty development timescales but they haven't pushed the 360.
MS has also been slack by not offering enough help. Somewhere else Sony got it right.

All indications is MS have learned these lessons.



selnor said:
libellule said:
I m not sure those will beat the kings that Gears1/2 or Uncharted2 are

It is not a question about PS3 or 360, it is just that Halo Reach is focusing on upgrading from Halo3 gfx using a new engine able to run a lot of item on screen. I doubt it will become a graphical king contender.
Halo Reach could still be the prettiest Halo ever made and maybe the best one too.

Same goes for Alan Wake : a 4 (?) years game started for PC then going 360 exclusive is not gonna define the new graphical king.
Alan Wake may still be the GOTY 2010 with an insane atmosphere and story and particularly pretty lighting effect.

Neverthless, you are right on the "no specific engine for the 360" ... that is true.


Alan Wake started dev on 360 form day 1, just so you know. Also, I never referred to graphics as such. But technical capabilities. Graphics are 20 % of providing good tech. I was more referring to an engine as a whole. having 4xMSAA on a console game is astonishing. first time ever. And at no cost to the resources. Simly play Crysis on an uber PC and see the FPS difference between changing MSAA up and down to see the performance hit.

Both Alan Wake and Halo Reach as Engines are truly ahead of UE3 by miles and miles.


ok ok ok , I got your point

but, remember, free ressources dont exist ;)

1337 Gamer,

AA is extremely important because it makes a game looks more organic and real. when Soul calibur was released on Dreamcast peolple were blown away because the AA of dreamcast was very powerfull, particularly compared to the non-AA capacities of the PS2



Time to Work !