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Sunday, March 12th

Report from Dave Astle:

On the last day of the conference, being done with my interviews, I relaxed and enjoyed myself spending more time on the expo floor playing games and checking out new technology.

The highlight of the day was that we were invited by Epic to look at their Playstation 2 port of Unreal Tournament. Having worked on the port for only 2 months, what we saw was quite impressive. There is nothing new being added, but almost all of the game features are already there, with only a few problems remaining to work out.

The most exciting part of the Epic meeting was was the preview they gave us of the technology for their next game. To the Unreal engine, they have added an outdoor engine, which looks simply amazing, with highly detailed and realistic trees. At this stage, the engine includes no LOD, so there is no popping. The reason LOD isn't used is because they are pushing over 150,000 polys at over 30 fps on a GeForce. They said that LOD probably will be implemented to accommodate slower hardware, but it will only be activated when needed. In addition to the outdoor engine, they showed us some high-poly character models, which, combined with facial and skeletal animation, look better than anything I've seen in this type of game. They did not give us any information on what their next game will be, but for the eye candy alone, I'm looking forward to it.