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'Reign of Fire' Developer Kuju Unveils New Reactive Fire Engine - Screens

by Rainier on May 8, 2002 @ 2:05 p.m. PDT

Bam! Entertainment just send us some explosive new screenshots of its upcoming blockbuster game Reign of Fire. Currently in development at Kuju Entertainment’s London based studio, Reign of Fire for PS2 will throw gamers into ferocious battles between two ancient species fighting for survival: humans and dragons. Check out these "blazing" screens!
An action-packed third-person arcade adventure set in the near future, players will choose to take the side of either the humans - struggling to fight back against their seemingly insurmountable foes - or the dragons themselves: an awesome army of fire-breathing beasts intent on incinerating everything in their path.

Based on the forthcoming multi-million dollar Spyglass Entertainment movie of the same name, Reign of Fire will provide PS2 players with all the film’s atmosphere, excitement and cutting-edge special effects in one scorching new game.

These hot new screenshots show the sizzling action that gamers can expect to encounter as they struggle to survive on their post-apocalyptic world. Blazing fireballs, white-hot flames and liquid napalm will sweep the environment as the few surviving human forces desperately attempt to flee the scorched Earth and fight back against the overwhelming winged hordes.

In order to recreate the way that fire spreads in real life, Kuju have created a completely unique and new ‘reactive fire system’. This pioneering technology means that every single item in the game is flammable, each has its own flash point, burn rate and the ability to set alight items near it. Essentially the fire ‘lives’, it moves from object to object heating its surroundings as it burns. For example, a small crop fire left unchecked will quickly spread, engulfing everything in its path from humans, to livestock and military hardware.

On top of the fire system sits a sizeable number of special effects controllers linked into the engines particle systems. For intense fires on some objects these systems create the main fire effects, fire detail effects, sparks, and smoke. For a small fire containing just 30 objects this system may contain over 2000 active particles at any one time.

With this level of fire control and effects, it wasn’t a huge surprise when we started to hit the PS2’s drawing limit. Despite requiring very little CPU time, Reign of Fire pushed the PS2 to its limits to render its fire.

With such a system in place the aesthetics of the fire had to equal the realism of its behaviour. Using an advanced particle and level of detail system, large scale fires look great no matter what your viewpoint. Whether you’re far away looking at a cloud of smoke rising from behind the hills, from atop the hill as you survey the inferno below, or up close as the fire rages around you with smoke and spitting embers obscuring your view, it always looks realistic.

This fire system has generated new levels of fire fighting gameplay: with precious few crops left to feed the surviving human outposts, players will need to fight fires quickly and effectively. To do this they are given access to an armoured fire engine equipped with a water cannon and water grenades. Smart players will quickly learn that in addition to extinguishing fires they will need to douse the objects around fires to make them wet and make them harder to set fire to, thus creating natural fire breaks. The result is a dynamic gaming environment that’s constantly evolving and challenging players to keep both the dragons and the resulting fires at bay.

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