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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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'FlatOut: Total Carnage' (X360) Current vs. Last-Gen - Screens

by Rainier on March 16, 2007 @ 2:50 a.m. PDT

FlatOut: Total Carnage is a re-imagining of FlatOut 2 rebuilt from the ground up and specifically developed to make use of the additional feature sets and improved processing ability of third generation technologies.

Developed by Bugbear Entertainment, FlatOut Ultimate Carnage is rebuilt from the ground up and specifically developed to take advantage of the additional feature sets and improved processing ability of the Xbox 360 to produce an entirely new, breathtaking FlatOut experience.

Some of the many brand new design and gameplay components featured in FlatOut Ultimate Carnage include 12 cars racing on screen up from eight in FlatOut 2, five all-new single player and two all-new multiplayer game modes over the Xbox Live online game service, over 8,000 dynamic objects per track up from 5,000 in FlatOut 2, widescreen High Definition resolution (720p), dynamic lighting and shadowing all with proper real-time environment mapping on all vehicles, downloadable content via Xbox Live, and 20,000 polygons per car up from 7,500 in the previous generation.

Upon initial viewing, the most noticeable aspect of the screenshots is the massive increase in texture resolution in every aspect of the game in comparison to the previous iterations of the series on Xbox. FlatOut Ultimate Carnage uses normal mapping on all surfaces seen in-game as evidenced by the cracks in the dirt tracks, by the pock marks and texture in the tarmac streets, and the overall 3D appearance across all the circuits. This aspect of FlatOut Ultimate Carnage stands out next to other driving games in which the surfaces the cars are driving on appear much flatter with little or no textures.

The following screenshots highlight some of the brand new graphical and technical features which appear in FlatOut Ultimate Carnage.

Both of these screenshots highlight the phenomenal increase in the level of water rendering between FlatOut 2 on Xbox and FlatOut Ultimate Carnage on Xbox 360. The water areas in FlatOut Ultimate Carnage feature real-time, full-scene reflections including buildings, surrounding landscape, grass, trees, cars, dynamic objects with animated water ripple effects which consists of flat planes of triangles combined with complex mathematical algorithms on top to generate a realistic, surface ripple effect. These techniques along with diffracted sunlight give the surface water a ‘wet’ look.

HDR lighting is a processor-intensive means of simulating the vast range of luminescence perceptible to the human eye. Usually, this range is hopelessly reduced on conventional and flat screens, as illustrated from the FlatOut 2 screenshot at the top of the page, but HDR lighting allows a greater contrast in extreme conditions, letting the player pick out scenic details in very bright environments, such as searing sunshine as exemplified in the FlatOut Ultimate Carnage screenshot above, and very dark ones.

The above screenshot illustrates perfectly the level of shadow-mapping in the game, with shadows cast from the surrounding scenery falling dynamically across the surface of the car, track and ground level foliage. All vehicles and objects in the game are highly detailed and dynamic, with real-time shadows that accurately cast on their surroundings.

The improved level of Car Shaders in FlatOut Ultimate Carnage for 3D objects such as metal, glass, rubber and chrome is highlighted in the above screenshot. The unified pixel and vertex shader architecture gives the cars more realistic reflections, better lighting and shadows, richer and more varied colours. There are now four times as many polygons per car from the original FlatOut, 20,000 up from 5,000, which is the same number used in most rendered images. This is in-game! Headlights and wheel arches should now appear perfectly curved and not jaggy.

The addition of Parallax mapping in FlatOut Ultimate Carnage is illustrated perfectly in the above screenshot, showing the highly detailed skid marks on dirt tracks. This 2D effect simulates the 3D bumps and indentations of uneven surfaces. In FlatOut Ultimate Carnage these deep grooves remain throughout the entire race and are made by all the racing vehicles skidding and sliding through the dirt, mud and gravel.

FlatOut Ultimate Carnage will be available on the Xbox 360 in June 2007.

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