Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

E3 tech demos offer a glimpse into the future of games

2:30 PM on 06.12.2012 // Allistair Pinsof

After a long week of E3 press conferences and demos, we are no wiser on what next-gen consoles will look like, but we do have a general idea of how their games will look.

Behind closed doors, we saw the new engines and tech that will drive forward gaming for the next five or more years. PC will get its first glimpse at the power of these engines before consoles, naturally, but it’s only a matter of time until you play a new Final Fantasy and first-person shooters that look like the demos below.

Among all the games and conference hype, it’s easy to miss some of these presentations and announcements, so I’m summarizing what these heavyweights brought to E3 this year. Though I’m not an expert on the tech that runs games, I know a pretty graphics engine when I see one and -- hot damn! -- these are some pretty-looking engines!

Unreal Engine 4

Considering the large amount of current-gen games that run on Unreal Engine 3, Epic Games showing off its next engine is big news. One thing is for certain: It did not disappoint. Between the eye-catching particle effects to the detailed lava that realistically glowed as it flowed downstream, Epic's Elemental demo looked like a Blizzard cinematic. Except, there is one key little detail: This was all being done in real time on hardware that we aren't far off from having in our own PCs and consoles.

Take a look at the gorgeous demo above and then we'll start breaking down the important features going on within it:

  • Global Illumination System

In real time, all light sources can be moved and completely changed without effecting render time for a scene. There is no re-calculation necessary. While this is good news for developers, it also means a lot for everyone that plays games. Where developers once needed a painterly hand to build these scenes, now complex lighting will dynamically happen within the engine, opening up the possibilities for how designers can present their world. The orange hue of a player's flashlight can naturally clash with the blueish tint of a room's lighting, creating an immersive, natural environment unlike anything Unreal Engine 3 could accomplish.

  • Dynamic Textures

As you may have discovered, nothing can ruin or build the reality of a virtual world quite like textures can. Whether it's the shallow, stretched textures of a budget Wii game or the massive textures of Max Payne 3, this is a key aspect of games that continue to evolve alongside tech engines. UE4 is taking things to the next level by creating dynamic textures and materials that can absorb and reflect lighting. Factors such as object temperature, material type, and room lighting will change how objects react to light. An opaque object and a heavy, heated object will treat light in completely different ways true to their defined feature set. UE4 makes materials feel alive and complex.

  • Advanced Particle Effects

Ever since Unreal and Unreal Tournament, particle effects have largely defined what we call "eye-candy" in games. Seeing smoke, fire, and other particle effects come closer to reality has been a treat for a long-time game enthusiasts. UE4 takes things a couple notches further with particles increasing in number and being able to reflect light in real time. You can walk around a smokestack and see how different it looks with the sun in front of it and behind it. Even more impressive is the ability to simulate over a million of particles on screen through GPU computing.

Luminous Engine

Square Enix's tech has been at the forefront of every console the company has been a part of. Just like how its Final fantasy VII PS3 tech demo teased and blew away audiences in 2006, its recent Agnis Philosophy demo set a new standard for next gen with incredibly detailed player models, realistic lighting, and particle effects that give UE4 a run for its money. Even the physics on the animal's hair and detail of the girl's feathered dress in this demo are realized with great detail and depth. Unfortunately, we don't know much about what's going on beneath the hood, so you'll just have to bask in the gorgeousness of the above demo. In good news, unlike the FF7 tech demo, Square Enix is asking fans if this is a game/world they'd like to see realized. So, go fill out this survey if you'd like to see this more realistic, gritty take on Final Fantasy get made.

CryEngine 3

While CryEngine 3 has been around since the launch of Crysis 2, developer Crytek showed off some noteworthy improvements to the engine at E3. The engine now supports very-high tessellation that smooths out facial structures, making them look much more realistic and smooth like those found in Heavy Rain. The engine also introduces adaptive tessellation on textures, taking a flat texture of a brick wall and turning it into a complicated, jagged structure with thousands of polygonal points. More than any other engine mentioned here, CryEngine is about giving convenience to designers. For example, the engine now enables automatic navigation for AI units in levels. All you need to do is dictate the constraints and the engine will figure out what objects they should have access to and how they'd reach them.

Star Wars 1313

It's hard to believe this is running on Unreal Engine 3, the same one that introduced us to Gears of War, six years ago. I guess anything can be made possible when you get Industrial Light and Magic involved. Without a doubt, this was the best-looking game of this E3. Maybe, it will be the best-looking one next year, as well.

Watch Dogs

Ubisoft created a new engine to run this E3 demo which was running on an advanced PC, even though the game is slated for current-gen consoles. It's difficult to believe that such advanced lighting and reflections can be done on current hardware. Nevertheless, the visuals were a big reason of why this demo left such an impact.

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I don't think it will happen, but if the NX is turns out to be a VR device, I will be the saddest boy in the milky way.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
There's something so fucking delicious about a toasted Hawaiian roll, smoked ham, Swiss, some spinach and a dollop of mustard. #FatKidPosts
Still in work clothes.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, wrote up a blog for that there bloggers wanted. Its me bitching about Bioshock Infinite! Again! Yay!!!!!!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Just finished watching The Phantom Menace. Yeah, Jar Jar is as bad as people say. Baby Vader is so cute and also kicks some serious ass. One of the best lightsaber battles of the series, if not the best one. It was pretty neat!
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Can't decide where I should upload my latest project. Either on my YouTube Channel or on Game Anyone. On the one hand YouTube gets more exposure, but Game Anyone is where some of my more popular walkthroughs are. The game is 3D Land if anyone is wondering
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Thanksgiving dinner for days!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone know if the Bethesda games on sale on Amazon for a certain amount of time, or through Monday?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
The night brims with defiled scum, and is permeated by their rotten stench. Just think, now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content! #FashionBorne [img][/img]
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Two more days to get in on the unofficial Christmas Card! [Url][/URL]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django has got a mystery sale on T Shirts and Tank Tops atm, $5 for each. Only catch is they're random. But I've had some good luck, got a Captain Falcon one before, Zombies ate my Neighbors and a Persona 4 X Earthbound crossover.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -