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Unreal Tournament 2007 Progress Report

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Taken from - http://www.ign.com/articles/2006/03/01/ut2007-progress-report

[New vehicles, new screens, and shiny stuff!


While Midway showed off some pretty interesting titles at its recent Gamer's Day event in Hollywood, Unreal Tournament is arguably its feather in the cap -- so we waited with bated breath as the lights turned low and two people stepped onstage for the first presentation: Epic Games' Mark Rein and Jeff Morris. With UT2007 rolling along behind them on a huge projection screen, they tag-teamed discussion of the game and revealed a few new tidbits and showed off some ideas they were still working on. Since the game isn't optimized yet, they needed quite a beast to run it, and nVidia stepped in with a quad SLI rig. That means four video cards running in one system. Yowza. They also mentioned that Dell would be selling such a rig, called the "XPS Renegade," and it's supposed to be available any time now. I imagine it would be a tad pricey.


At any rate, Rein and Morris started out by showing us a deathmatch map named Carbon Fire and explained some design philosophies evident in the level. They tell us that the UT2K7 team was oriented towards making the environments feel real and fairly familiar (for a science-fiction setting). Every map is supposed to feel like it serves a function as part of a larger world, rather than feeling isolated and "gamey" like we see in other shooters; imagine sections of a space ship under siege, or a land-based battle that feels like a slice of a large-scale war. There's also a massive sense of scope on some maps -- on Carbon Fire, scurrying around in some warrens eventually brought us out to a platform, revealing a huge, futuristic cityscape topped by a rotating planetary shield.




Beyond the feel of the maps is the look of these environments. Apparently the guys at Epic really hate bland or repeated textures. Again, they're trying to steer clear of gaminess, this time by applying what they call "grungification." Virtually every surface gets grunged up so that the level doesn't look like it just popped out of a carwash. It feels like a place that other people have used before you. And there's also the look and feel of the weapons, which have all apparently been visually redesigned to incorporate moving parts (particularly the tri-barrel Rocket Launcher, which will show each rocket getting loaded into the tubes as you fire them off, rather than rotating and locking like in previous incarnations of UT). We didn't get an official list, but it sounds as though the arsenal won't see any huge alterations from UT2004.


Oh, and there's also a few new vehicles that haven't been talked about before. First is the Paladin (first introduced in the UT2K4 Editor's Choice Pack), which is a defensive weapon that's also useful as an escort. Its key feature is a shield projected about ten feet in front of it, which can also be rotated to block fire from multiple directions. It has a cool purple glow that's reflected onto the vehicle and ground. Another vehicle is the second UT2K4 ECP alumni called the SPMA, a long-range artillery cannon that can strike targets beyond visual range. Lastly we have the Cicada, visually similar to the Manta but capable of sustained flight like the Raptor. It's described as a close support vehicle, and it can lock onto a target while you load up a bunch of missiles. The target can eventually be completely out of your view, but the missiles will still track their way over to it, as long as you've locked on beforehand. Oh, and just like the other two vehicles, the Cicada was introduced in Unreal 2004's Editor's Choice Pack.





From there, Rein and Morris moved on to the character models of two human teams. The Twin Souls have red and black outfits and the Iron Guard are decked out in gold and black, and it's still quite impressive to zoom in on them and actually get more detail the closer you get -- beard stubble, facial scarring, individual teeth, that sort of thing. You probably won't get to enjoy these close-ups in UT's very fast-paced environment, but the PC version of UT2K7 is scheduled to ship with the Unreal Engine 3.0 SDK, so modders will probably appreciate such attention to detail. There is, however, no official release date.



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