Clear Sky Tech Trailer

By Jim Rossignol on April 22nd, 2008 at 10:45 am.


There’s a Clear Sky DX10 tech trailer over on GamersHell. Normally I’d embed it here, but I can’t get it to upload to GameTrailers, and our poor little server might not be happy about much heavier traffic than it’s getting already. Anyway, the video shows off some pretty spectacular DX10 technologies (realistic watery surfaces, realistic gas and smoke, etc) and makes me suspect that I might need to beef up my PC in the next couple of months. Definitely worth a download.

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35 Comments »

  1. Cigol says:

    But did they need to improve the graphics? It was already pretty enough, a bit workmanlike perhaps but that only enhances the atmosphere. Would have been more fruitful (as far as I’m concerned) to have knuckled down and focused exclusively on the gameplay. Hopefully it delivers.

  2. Pavel says:

    Well, the improvements to the engine look like they are made to improve atmosphere, and not just to add eyecandy for vista users..the rain and smoke look very good.
    But I wonder whether it would be possible to make it on DX9 as well – because look at Toy Shop demo, several years old, and still looking better than Crysis (and running on x1800).

  3. Craig says:

    “makes me suspect that I might need to beef up my PC”

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2286011,00.asp

  4. araczynski says:

    been running damn vista on my work rig since it came out. NO WAY IN HELL am i installing it at home just for stupid DX10, or DX11, or DX12, until they fix the problems with it.

  5. Howard says:

    @Cigol – yeah ‘cos good graphics are what make gameplay bad….?

    @Craig – good news but wont help. The engine does not make use of quad core. What is needed is a shiny GFX card.

  6. phuzz says:

    I don’t suppose there’s any recommended specs out yet are there?

    The dynamic smoke looks like it would kill most any rig, but the rain on surface effects are very pretty :) Running around in the dark with just lightning to see by will be a pain in the arse though.

    (ps Vista works fine for me, there’s always one isn’t there?)

  7. Irish Al says:

    I wonder if it’ll be like Shadow Of Chernobyl when released, i.e. needing needlessly huge system specs and about two major patch releases away from being release quality.

  8. cHeal says:

    Probably, but if its even half the game Shadow of Chernobyl was then I’ll still be happy.

  9. Paul Moloney says:

    “What is needed is a shiny GFX card.”

    Isn’t there a probem that the new nVidia 9*** cards aren’t much shinier than the 8*** cards? Not enough to fork out for an upgrade. So to get the equivalent perform on Vista as you do on XP, will people have to wait for another year for the 10*** cards?

    P.

  10. Steve says:

    Don’t fret phuzz, I’ll stand by you – Vista works fine for me too.

  11. derFeef says:

    @araczynski
    Which problems? Vista is running flawlessly for me

  12. Max says:

    Vista’s fine. I know it’s “cool” to complain about it, but if you have a decent computer it’s great. Yes it requires a faster computer with more memory than Windows XP but that’s the fricking nature of upgrades. Get over it.

    As for the trailer, looks cool. Anything with God beam effects can’t be all bad.

  13. Howard says:

    @Paul Maloney
    I have run Vista Ultimate 64 for a year now with my 8800 GTX and, Crysis excluded, there is not one game I cannot run at max details and resolution. The team have stated in many places that their engine has been overhauled for performance and even SoC was running FAR better come the later patches. The original STALKER was only a system hog due to bad design and the fact that, if we are really blunt, the team lacks experience and talent (though they do have ideas in bucket loads). I am very confident that when (if?) Clear Sky ships it will in fact run better than the original.

  14. Morte says:

    What I really want to see is the same sequence done twice, once in DX9 and once in DX10, using the same video card, with framerates given for each.

    Then we might get some useful idea of what DX10 is worth and what it costs.

  15. Cigol says:

    STALKER was obviously just poorly optimised across the board as it ran flawlessly on many peoples rigs, awful on others. Dynamic lighting was the biggest FPS eater for a lot of older card owners.

    @Howard; yes, pretty graphics can be a detriment to gameplay if one neglects the other. The STALKER engine was pretty enough in my opinion, I’d have preferred them to focus exclusively on delivering the game we were all promised initially. Still, I’ll judge when I play it.

  16. Howard says:

    @Cigol
    NO THEY CANNOT! Sorry, but this REALLY infuriates me. Anyone who thinks that improving the GFX of a game can have a detrimental effect on any other part of it due to some bizzare, fantasy reallocation of resources clearly knows not one damned thing about creating games. There has not EVER in the history of gaming been an occurance of this phenomenon whereby good GFX = bad gameplay. The only examples anyone can list are games that are just bloody aweful but happen to have a good engine.

    Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is not applicable here.

    /rant

  17. Jochen Scheisse says:

    I agree with Howard. There’s lots of mediocre games with good graphics, but it’s maybe a little bold to assume that if those FPS looked worse, the graphics resources would somehow go into a good story or original game mechanics.

  18. Cigol says:

    Well it’s difficult if not impossible to substantiate an argument for or against, I can only judge the end product and draw conclusions from that. Off the top of my head (and I do mean off the top of my head) games which I have personally felt missed the mark in terms of focus could include; Neverwinter nights, Europa Universalis 3 and Medieval Total War 2 (the latter two concerning their strategic maps) – I’m sure there’s a raft of other games that have pursued 3D graphical doo-hickery at the expense of other aspects such as artistry and gameplay as well but that’s neither here nor there….

    …I was merely expressing my opinion that I’d like them to focus exclusively upon the gameplay. The engine is fine, great even, there’s absolutely no need for them to improve it (especially if it means antagonizing those of us who aren’t being ass raped by Vista). Give the engine folks the year off, use the money that pays for their salary to hire some better folks to work on the gameplay and everybody is a winner. Well, except the marketing department, they’ll need to work twice as hard!

  19. Hans Bratwurst says:

    Das sieht schon ziemlich gut aus, was die Jungs da abliefern. Daumen hoch!

  20. Monkfish says:

    Normally, though, the people that focus on developing the graphics engine would differ from those that deal with the core gameplay, so there wouldn’t necessarily be a conflict. There’d obviously be a degree of crossover, but with a decent team the issue of graphics versus gameplay shouldn’t really be a problem.

    I think in Shadow of Chernobyl’s case, GSC Game World were simply overambitious with what they “promised”. I don’t think there was ever a hope in Hell that they would’ve achieved everything they originally wanted to, even if they had concentrated on the gameplay so much, they could only use poorly-drawn stick men for the graphics.

    The fact that STALKER managed to deliver as much as it did, makes me thirsty for more. I’m certainly looking forward to Clear Sky, and don’t begrudge them for augmenting the X-Ray engine with more atmosphere enhancing graphical trickery.

  21. Fazer says:

    @Max
    “Vista’s fine. I know it’s “cool” to complain about it, but if you have a decent computer it’s great. Yes it requires a faster computer with more memory than Windows XP but that’s the fricking nature of upgrades. Get over it.”

    The true nature of upgrades is to make something run better, faster and less buggy. It has been done flawlessly on latest Ubuntu 8.04, only Windows requires more and more resources with every release. And yes, I can run XP games on linux.

  22. Mark says:

    Looks like I’m the only one who wasn’t impressed?

    I can see how it’s computationally impressive, but I found it quite absent of the artistic lighting and rain effects of Gears of War or even what I can infer from the GTAIV screens and trailers. Considering they highlighted it, the water looked very ‘frantic’ given how tranquil the weather appeared.

    What impressed everyone else?

  23. theapologist says:

    Dearie me – grumping about Vista, and fretting about a game having nicer graphics than expected…we are all in a bad mood today.

    For my money, Vista is solid as a rock, SoC was a surprisingly great game, and now I can’t wait for the even better looking Clear Skies. Bring it on!

  24. propanol says:

    I ran Vista until it decided to lock me out after I’d replaced the motherboard in my box, citing the license agreement as saying that I’m only allowed to use it on one system at a time and that this copy was running on a different system than it had originally been installed on. Now, here’s my perception of computers: they’re machines to do my bidding, not the other way around. Software should not lock me out because the creator thought it’d be good/clever/whatever; it should just do what I tell it to and nothing else.

    After that ordeal, I went back to XP, obviously.

  25. dhex says:

    mark: i thought the rain running down the signage was pretty neat.

  26. Seth Tipps says:

    The only case where a pretty graphics engine might cut into the possible game play would be a game like dwarf fortress, where the AI or some other feature is so complicated (and unoptimized) that it can eat some serious processor speed. Even then, most graphics engines are more gpu then cpu intensive. In any case, it usually requires a different team to do the graphics. In-house graphics are rare, aside from the engine itself. Most of the art is contracted.

    In this case, I am amazed that a game that claims to have fully implemented the A-Life system sports prettiness of the degree we have just seen without quad-core support. Dwarf Fortress can eat up quite a bit of a single processor. Imagine fully functioning independent AI for each stalker in the zone. That’s gotta burn through some cpu. IMHO, they are going to implement quad core, or scrap some of the A-Life system. So this might be a case of graphics vs. gameplay after all.

    BTW did anyone notice that moving anomaly? and not just another lightening dohickey either. That might take some getting used to (I for one liked to memorize anomalies rather than continually throw nuts ahead of me in the tunnels).

  27. ravuya says:

    I’d imagine the “A-Life” system is doing things at a somewhat lower granularity than “single NPCs” in regions you’re not currently present in. It might not be truly honest, but it’s not like people will notice.

  28. Turin Turambar says:

    Pretty graphics cut into the gameplay in an indirect manner. It’s time, people and money used in the development studio that it could be used to make a better gameplay, plot, or whatever.

  29. UncleLou says:

    Pretty happy here with Vista – can’t even remember the last time I used my dualboot setup for XP.

    Anyway, the trailer looks fantastic.

  30. MeestaNob! says:

    Enough Vista discussion please.

    Anyway – so whats the difference between this engine and say, the Unreal Engine 3? Answer: These guys have made an interesting game with there’s.

    Discuss.

  31. much2much says:

    Talking about what was promised for the first Stalker.

    I am grateful that they actually released the game at all. Poor chaps spent so bloody long on the thing without even being able to sell one copy. This could just as easily have been shelved and never seen the light of our screens.

    I can imagine that releasing it and having people love it in spite of it not living up to expectations (all the while seriously wowing people with some elements) was a huge shot in the arm for the developers. Not to mention they now have cash that they have generated from their first game to make the second.

  32. Scandalon says:

    Meesta: Which brings up the question…why didn’t they just use Unreal Engine 3 (or whatever) in the first place?!? Sure, with any engine there’s some things that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for, some modifications have to be made, but seriously, when you contemplate the pure man-hours that have been spent and re-spent on “solving” the same problems over and over again in different engines… (Not to mention how much is accomplished with terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad tools… You wanna know why Each HL2 episode takes so long? The engine/tools are from the dark ages!)

    As for the contention that pretty graphics don’t adversely affect gameplay…BS. Now, obviously, by themselves, they don’t hurt. But there’s almost always tradeoffs, esp. w/ a still-in-process technology (see previous paragraph on engine re-use). There’s only so many programmers, so many QA testers (or money to spend on them), so much time available to track down bugs, for design decisions, etc… Do I know for a fact that implementing eye candy effect “X” in STALKER resulted in the lack of feature “Y” or breaking of missions 3, 6 and 42? No. Do I have an educated guess that wrestling w/ the tech contributed to pet peeves I have w/ the AI? Yes.

    Ideally, everyone would make their games w/ flat-shaded white boxes, spheres and cones, then add the eyecandy on top and refine/adjust after that, and it would all be on a solid, easily maintainable, scalable, cross-platform codebase. In the realworld, however, some tradeoffs are necessary. (But teams seem to consistently pick what I think are the wrong ones. But I’m just Some Dude. ;)

  33. Pace says:

    To me the pretty eye candy is a big part of the experience. Detailed and realistic visuals really add to the immersion, and I think can be enjoyable in and of themselves. I mean sometimes I like to just look at the scenery. One of the reasons I really liked stalker is because of its unique (and impressive) look.

  34. Muzman says:

    There are actually two quite concrete examples of where attention paid to the graphics killed or badly restricted the gameplay of a game ; Deus Ex: Invisible War and Thief: Deadly Shadows. A desire for slightly ahead of the curve visuals and shakey management made sure those games were spending large amounts of their time cutting and reworking ideas to suit the graphics renderer.

    Anyway, you really can’t begrudge GSC for sprucing things up a bit. Everyone said Stalker had “dated” looking visuals (most of the time I have trouble thinking through what utterly absurd graphics whores many reviewers must be to say this about every other game, but this one really took the cake. Stalker has some of the most awesome visuals around, and some of the most astounding naturalistic design, but there’s always some twit performing some specular highlight based accountancy. Aye yie yie).
    If Clear Sky had pretty much the same standard as the old game I’d be very happy indeed. Shame I’m unlikely to be walking through any self curling mist in some lab, but oh well.

  35. UncleLou says:

    Everyone said Stalker had “dated” looking visuals (most of the time I have trouble thinking through what utterly absurd graphics whores many reviewers must be to say this about every other game, but this one really took the cake. Stalker has some of the most awesome visuals around, and some of the most astounding naturalistic design,

    I entirely agree. I was completely baffled by these reviews (and some gamers said it as well). The NPCs looked a little old, but apart from that, Stalker is one of the best-looking games I’ve played, with a still unmatched grasp of natural lighting.