First, I agree that the first screenshot in particular looks quite bad but a) we haven’t seen that area for the other systems and b) CVG is known to have low quality screenshots with weird contrast at times. These are probably scanned images from PC Zone that then got transferred to their website. The rest of the screenshots look nice and not far from other systems’ versions of the game. of course we can’t exactly judge due to their size.
Anyway, what’s big news about this (imo) is not that the Wii is getting a version of Splinter Cell: Double Agent (though I’m sure it makes some happy) but the fact that since Ubisoft is converting this, it means the Wii can handle Unreal Engine 3 acceptably and has support for technologies like Normal Mapping which is especially good.
More importantly, the Wii’s ability to do that can expand third party support a lot, even if the games have to be toned down a little in the visual area (and depending on your view toned up in the controls, as most UE powered games are FPS or shooters of some sort) as Unreal Engine 3 has already been licenced by many companies and spawns some of the hottest upcoming games for PC and consoles.
I doubt it is running on Unreal 3 Engine, actually. Ubisoft, when porting the original Splinter Cell over to PS2, used an entirely different engine (ironically, the Unreal 2 Engine). It’s likely that they are doing the same in this case, as Unreal 3 Engine requires extremely high specs to run properly.
Eh? The original Splinter Cell (and probably all the sequels except the latest) was developed using Unreal Engine 2 (or 2.5?) for all system versions as far as I know. Of course with enhancements such as the dynamic shadows and what not.
I also doubt it’s easier to port all the game mechanics and assets to an older engine (which while still Unreal is vastly different to the newer edition) compared to toning down settings, effects, etc, on the new engine the game was built for…
Alright, I did some digging (dammit, why do they hide that info so well) and you guys are right. Double Agent is in fact using Unreal Engine 2.5 though it is enhanced with newer technologies. Apparently it is an improved version of the Splinter Cell: Pandora Tommorow engine according to a Q&A at GameSpot.
I guess I assumed too much when I thought that since Rainbow Six: Vegas uses Unreal Engine 3 then so does the other Tom Clancy game being developed at the same time.
Anyway, sure some my (main) points about the Wii in the topic don’t apply anymore, but atleast we still know it can handle normal mapping, dynamic shadows, pixel shaders and other such effects that will help keep it looking good and sharp. I don’t mention HDR here because while the game certainly includes the technology, it could be cut from the Wii version due to performance loss. I can’t tell that effect just by looking at screenshots.
Actually, now I recall that it was a given the Wii could do normal mapping atleast, Nintendo had event patented some normal mapping-like technology or something if I remember right. But I still didn’t really notice it used in any of the games shown so far. Or if it’s used then it’s done subtly.
Anyway, I’ll have to disagree about how good Double Agent looks TA. I didn’t think it’s running on UE3 for nothing. You should watch some of the good trailers that show off the large urban areas complete with civilians, explosions and debris everywhere or the snowy landscapes with the ice surfaces you can swim under and break below the enemies’ feet or… Everything screams next-gen in my opinion. Well, current-gen by now. Perhaps not as loud as other upcoming titles but loud enough. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkY2Nmu8CZw)
Hey thats fine,
I thought it looked poor to say the least . Poor frame rate, poor characters models and terrible animation Thought that?s pretty much a trade mark of the series, with Sam walking around like he?s filled his pants . In my view Tomb Raider onthe 360 looked better .
Guess I need to see the game running in full High Res before knocking it too much though
Hmm… Looks like you gents are right. I’d read a post mortem on the development and I could’ve sworn they said that they overcame a lot of the technical issues when porting it to PS2 by using the Unreal Engine 2, but I may have just misinterpreted that.
(Can’t access the article anymore as it’s not accepting my password anymore :`( )
Last year when Ubisoft first showed the “Splinter Cell 4” teaser I do seem to remember that either they said it would use UE3 or everyone was assuming that. It may have actually been the plan to use it for the high spec versions if UE3 had been ready, the assets development clearly isn’t tied to a particular engine given that it’s coming to nearly everything.
Well yes, the assets could be reused in whatever engine you wanted as the artists would simply export/compile them to the needed formats. However, if you are going to use the same assets then different engines wouldn’t make much of a difference, except for overlaying features like lighting techniques and other special effects, though those can probably be toned up/down as needed in the newer engines anyway.
However, the actual coding of the game would require much more work than it’s worth imo so it would be best to use the same engine for all versions (of course adapted to each system as Epic offers SDKs for most of them). Since it is the Unreal Engine, the gameplay development is generally done with Unreal Script which is an asset that has been overhauled and changed a lot for Unreal Engine 3 as far as I know.
This would mean a lot of the game code would have to be redone from scratch rather than simply ported over as you could potentially do if it was done using a standard language like C++ (though I imagine that with vastly different engines, porting is hard even if they use the same language).
The different versions of Unreal Engine for different systems (but same engine version) on the other hand are known to be very easy to share assets and coding, it’s one of the things Epic advertises. Develop once and have a game for all available platforms that have a version of the engine SDK working on them.