The Game Developers’ Conference – as the name suggests, this conference is primarily for game developers to get together, share notes on programming/design techniques through lectures and workshops, and get caught up on the state of the industry. It’s much less of a dog and pony show like E3 where publishers are there to show off their wares. It isn’t a complete waste of time for journalists though, as there are usually a few things for us to cover, and once in a while (Xbox announcements with Bill Gates in 2000), something big. This year was relatively quiet, but we did get to peek at the new Unreal engine technology from Epic Games, Counter-Strike Condition Zero, and a 3D RTS called Highland Warriors.
Unreal Performance Test 2002
As we reported yesterday, Epic officially announced a new benchmark called the Unreal Performance Test 2002. This particular test is based on the technology being used in Unreal 2 and Unreal Tournament 2003, but is actually not a straight timedemo from either of the two games. As was explained to me by Epic’s Steve Polge, the benchmark actually leverages more cpu and graphics intensive technologies that the engine is capable of, but will not necessarily appear in either upcoming game due to the need for each game to work on machines that are less powerful.
In other words, the Unreal Performance Test is purportedly designed from the ground up as a benchmark meant to tax even the most powerful setups out there, so that there are definite and noticeable gaps in performance between different levels of CPUs and video cards. The bad news is that we were told that they wouldn’t be distributing the benchmark for “a few weeks.” We’ll be on their case for sure over the coming weeks to try out this benchmark and possibly include it in our suite of hardware tests.
Unreal Tournament 2003
While hanging out in the Epic booth we also got a look at Unreal Tournament 2003. Unfortunately there was no way to play against someone so I was only able to run around a CTF map and test fire a few weapons. A lot of your old favorites will be there, including the Flak Cannon, the Impact Hammer, and the Translocator. These have all been given new, funky complicated model representations in-hand, just as you’re used to with an Unreal game. The sniper rifle when zoomed in, has an interesting look on screen. The circular area of the cross hair looks clear, but the area around the circle that is normally blacked out you can actually still see around. It’s as if you’re using the sniper rifle cheat in Counter-Strike where the blacked out area is unobscured, allowing you more peripheral vision while zoomed in. The difference is that with the sniper rifle in Unreal Tournament 2003, the outer area is slightly fuzzed out with interlacing lines. Developed by Digital Extremes, UT 2003 is due out this summer.