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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Action
Publisher: THQ
Developer: GSC World

About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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'S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl' - Screens

by Judy on Jan. 24, 2005 @ 1:22 a.m. PST

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow Of Chernobyl will provide players with extremely dynamic gameplay of fast and tough combats, where players are to oppose dangerous and wise enemies, a large set of multifarious weaponry, possibility to control various machinery, incredible detailing and game world interactivity, story-driven single player with original team gameplay, a well-balanced multiplayer with numerous modes: DeathMatch, CTF, Cooperative, various team games and much more.

It is now for the second time that the black Chernobyl erupted to open a Zone – a new horror of ill mankind. It was at that moment that hundreds of people turned into wordless toys of invisible forces, into insane toys with erased personalities. And there were futile attempts of the army to cope with the new disease of the planet, at least to prevent its development and spread, but to no avail. The Zone grew bigger. Only rarely people dared to set off for the Zone to find out, to procure evidence of weird and uncanny changes around Chernobyl Atomic Plant. Only a handful returned, bringing strange objects and stories of deadly traps and eerie animal mutants, they found out of somebody inside controlling the evolution of humanity, forcing it to leap towards unknown final. They became stalkers, those who leave for the changing world of the Zone to explore it and find artefacts, those who cross the Zone of immense territory covered with ulcers of black lakes, scorched earth, poisonous fogs, deadly anomalous zones, populated by sapient pseudo-animal mutants.

Features :

  • Levels combining closed spaces as well as enormous open areas
  • Visualization optimized for hardware TnL (both FF and shading capable parts)
  • Continuous level of detail technology for all the geometry
  • ~100 000 polygons per frame at 60 fps on average hardware
  • Detailed character models (500-10 000 polys)
  • Powerful skeleton-based animation allows usage of motion-capture hardware and produces smooth and realistic motion of characters
  • High-speed blended animation system capable of up to infinity number of bone interpolation & modulation
  • SSE/3Dnow! Technologies used for skinning and forward kinematics
  • Vertex shaders used on shading capable hardware
  • Detail objects (grass/small stones/etc)
  • Portal-style, non-linear subdivision based visibility detection system
  • Optimized for T&L hardware in the way of grouping primitives to large-size batches
  • Greatly reduces overdraw - which is the main slowdown on even high-level video boards
  • Usage of antiportals (aka Occluders) for occlusion culling
  • Intelligent hardware state caching technology
  • Both Direct and Radiosity lighting models
  • Colored dynamic lights and dynamic "soft" shadows
  • Character shadowing
  • Intelligent light sources selection, clipping, merging
  • Makes possible more than 50 dynamic lights per frame at reasonable FPS-es
  • Ordinary stuff: flares, coronas, etc
  • Intelligent shader subsystem
  • Dynamically generated textures
  • Reflections, chrome effects, etc.
  • VR-Simulation engine optimized for massive payload
  • High-performance collision detection allowing simultaneous motion of large number of characters in high polygonal environment
  • Realistic physics simulation (ballistic, motions, fluid engine, snow, rain, explosions, etc.)
  • Motion compensation scheme
  • Hides many visual artifacts produced by FPS-es instability
  • Particle system with real physics
  • High quality HRTF 3D-sound with clipping and partial wave tracing
  • "Low-penalty" & "low-delay" reaction technology (less then 1ms to start HRTF 3D Sound Source to play)

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