Square Enix shows impressive DirectX 11 tech demo

Is this how games would look if they weren’t targeted at ancient console hardware? If so, wow. Final Fantasy series developer Square Enix has posted some screenshots and a four-minute, real-time demo of its DirectX 11 Luminous Studio engine in action, and it all looks rather amazing. See for yourself:

The particle effects and simulated shakycam are a little over the top, but the demo’s graphical fidelity is clearly above and beyond what we’re seeing today. Even PC versions of titles with added DirectX 11 eye candy don’t look nearly as good. Some do have prettier scenery, though—I’d say the Agni’s Philosophy demo could use a little extra greenery and sunlight.

Square Enix chief Mike Fischer spoke to the guys at Shacknews about the demo. He said the Luminous Studio engine doesn’t target "any specific hardware," but he added that the thought of next-gen consoles being too slow to handle the technology doesn’t keep him up at night. Interesting. Fischer might know more than he’s letting on, but even if he doesn’t, I’d certainly trust a studio like Square Enix to make the right assumptions about the way forward.

Check out the image gallery below for some still screenshots from the demo.

Comments closed
    • TurtlePerson2
    • 7 years ago

    Square sees the games that are successful in the West and adapts their own games in response.

    The weird hair styles and magic of Final Fantasy are combined with ambiguous Middle-Eastern men with assault rifles. All of this takes place in a Brazilian favela.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Shakycam: Makes everything look really good*

    *E&OE

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    I want No One Lives Forever 3. On this engine.

    Once they figure out how to colorize it, I mean.

    • echo_seven
    • 7 years ago

    Have we finally managed to cross the uncanny valley?

      • Mourmain
      • 7 years ago

      Looks like it to me…

    • FrankJ
    • 7 years ago

    Remember this is just a rendering demo, there is no game playing. Adding in physics, AI, ect, will cut down significantly on what can be drawn. Also there are a lot of cheats and precalculations that can be taken advantage of when doing a cinematic that cant be used when rendering a game in real time. For instance, you could open up a door on that block, and in the cinematic there would be nothing there, but in a game you would expect there to be an inner building and stuff.

    • AssBall
    • 7 years ago

    This would be a lot more impressive if they didn’t have that silly nauseating camera movement BS.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    Hah, wouldn’t it be funny if the great and powerful console makers, by trying to milk the current generation for all its worth, has actually sewn the seeds of discontent with any sort of technology that clings to its malnourished state like a anorexic high school girl trying to impress her prom king b/f?

    Poetics aside, Square Enix isn’t exactly a company that runs around tooting its horn about good graphics for PCs or even making them exclusively for that… I think that’s more of a sign then anything.

    The demo looks pretty bitchin’ btw.

    • Arclight
    • 7 years ago

    I can haz youtube link?

      • cheddarlump
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://youtu.be/UVX0OUO9ptU[/url<]

        • Arclight
        • 7 years ago

        Thank you!

    • CHECHNYAN
    • 7 years ago

    i would be more interested to hear about the long negligible Story of legacy of kain series

    • can-a-tuna
    • 7 years ago

    I thought she drank coca-cola in a moment of distress. But impressive, yes.

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      Oh, come on now. It was clearly 7up. Every time I catch a stray bullet from an AK, a swig of lemon-lime bubbly goodness makes me good as new.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 7 years ago

        The exact brand of drink probably won’t be determined until the payment clears from the product placement folks.

          • Namarrgon
          • 7 years ago

          Didn’t look like she enjoyed the taste much.

            • nico1982
            • 7 years ago

            Honestly, the idea of ‘transmuting’ a soft drink bottle in a medicament trough some kind of power, giving it a thaumaturgical albeit painful effect, is a neat one.

            • Mourmain
            • 7 years ago

            As a hobbyist grammar nazi, I have to say that’s a nice vocabulary you’re sporting there.

            • nico1982
            • 7 years ago

            I’m not an english native speaker (obviously) with little time to lookup on wordreference.com when typing from work. Am I forgiven for my sins? 😀

    • internetsandman
    • 7 years ago

    It would be interesting to see a demonstration in which stuff like character clothing is randomized, or swapped through a few different options, to show that this was a real-time rendering of the script, and not just a pre-rendered scene as I’m sure some people would be suspicious of. Some games have cut-scenes which rely on rendering the outfits and weapons that current characters are wearing, and they can be randomized due to the progression that the player has made in the game, and therefore they’re usually lower quality than the pre-rendered scenes you might see in the same game.

    These tech demos are very impressive, but seeing them applied to real world scenarios will always be even more imnpressive

    • Shambles
    • 7 years ago

    What starts out as being impressive ends up being a shaky cam mess. Definitely has a lot of potential though despite the poor tech demo implementation.

    • UltimateImperative
    • 7 years ago

    [i<]I'd certainly trust a studio like Square Enix to make the right assumptions about the way forward.[/i<] Absolutely! These are the people who made the awesome boss fights in Deus Ex: Revolution, after all! Also, FFXIV!

      • Newmu
      • 7 years ago

      1) Edios Montreal made Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

      2) Edios Montreal subcontracted the boss fights out to another studio.

        • cynan
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah. I just wish they’ed hurry the heck up with Thief 4.

        • UltimateImperative
        • 7 years ago

        I know. I know people from the small company they subcontracted to. Squeenix said “jump!”, Eidos said “oh crap boss fights hey youguys can you try to do something”

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t know about “the way forward”, but they surely should have some of the most experience making polished 3D tech demos – y’know, seeing as how they made that Final Fantasy feature film over a decade ago and a couple of straight-to-DVD FF7 full length films as well.

        • I.S.T.
        • 7 years ago

        The FF7 film was actually a theatrical release in Japan, but I believe a somewhat limited one. I dunno about that director’s cut deal they put out when Blu-Ray was new though.

    • jamsbong
    • 7 years ago

    Many of the graphic features are not unique. HDR lighting, DOF, smoke and particle effects. But one bit caught my attention, feathers and hair. So far, there hasn’t been games out that really try to show this in real time. Most game heroes have helmet on or has no hair to make life simple.

    I guess the HD7970 or GTX680 might be fast enough to render a bit of hair in real-time.

      • Jigar
      • 7 years ago

      You know this demo might have required Quad SLI or Quad crossfire of the babies that you mentioned.

      • Zoomer
      • 7 years ago

      Hair has always been a square obsession, ever since they could show it in their FF series.

    • Duck
    • 7 years ago

    Just some thoughts…

    – This could have been rendered in stages and then edit together like a movie with a soundtrack added afterwards. It cuts away so many times that each ‘level’ could be just a few seconds long.
    – It’s not clear what resolution it was rendered at but it’s probably a low one such as 360p and 30FPS max.
    – It looks great like raytracing. Maybe it was rendered by a supercomputer or something like a GPU compute based renderer. It’s not a real game so you don’t have to worry about latency. With enough computing power networked together, you could theoretically render it at a 30+ FPS average and then call it realtime.

      • The Dark One
      • 7 years ago

      “[i<]It's not clear what resolution it was rendered at but it's probably a low one such as 360p and 30FPS max.[/i<]" You realise you can crank the youtube clip up to 1080p, right? Anyway, it's very pretty, but there's a big difference between a pretty graphics renderer and an engine that also supports AI, networking, player input, and real-world constraints like slow consumer hard drives and memory constraints.

        • Duck
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah. I tired it. Didn’t like it. I assumed it had been up-scaled afterwards.

          • Meadows
          • 7 years ago

          Oh, you “assumed” so many other things.

            • Arclight
            • 7 years ago

            Do you think you’re better than people who assume things?

            • Namarrgon
            • 7 years ago

            Sounds like an assumption to me…

      • bcronce
      • 7 years ago

      “It cuts away so many times that each ‘level’ could be just a few seconds long”

      Yes, the video could have been spliced together, but who cares? The point is this kind if real-time graphics is within the realm of our generation.

      I’ve seen tech demos that only got 5-10 fps with low-medium settings, getting 60fps+ only a few year later.

      “It’s not clear what resolution it was rendered at but it’s probably a low one such as 360p and 30FPS max.”

      Said by someone who has never had to play video games at 240p/320p.

      Based on how smooth the video was, had to be more than 30fps. Lots of fine-grained movement that didn’t have skipped frames.

      “It looks great like raytracing. Maybe it was rendered by a supercomputer or something like a GPU compute based renderer.”

      Was made using using a DX11 device in real time. Means no ray tracing and I’ve never seen a “DX11 Super computer”.

      Between the post having points that make guess at “ray tracing” and “super computers”, but the article obviously says “DX11”, and your name, I have a feeling this was a troll post. I responded in case it raised doubt as it was a decent quality troll based on the responses.

    • glacius555
    • 7 years ago

    Three things: light, face animation and motion physics.

    When this kind of games finally come out, I shall buy all console versions and set them on fire to celebrate!

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Looks great, for cutscenes that is. It would start looking pretty bland once you remove the directing of the various scenes and start putting it into a gameplay scenario.

    • indeego
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]The particle effects and simulated shakycam are a little over the top,[/quote<] Just a tad. Wow.

    • Meadows
    • 7 years ago

    I like the animation of the humans in this one, it avoids the single biggest issue with videogames ever since 3D was invented: [b<][i<]crappy animations[/b<][/i<]. No disturbing interpolation, no over-smoothed animations in this one: you can see sudden movements in the leader's arm, and fast facial/speech animation, looks a lot less fake than most anything else you get in videogames today.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, animations were very sudden. First you’re still then you’re in full swing. The other thing that bugged me was shimmering textures. The bright, contrasty blanket on the buffalo at the beginning are a good example.

      • Duck
      • 7 years ago

      The original Prince of Persia had great animations (sort of a DIY motion capture approach with a video recorder and one cooperative brother). So depressing that almost no games have been able to match it since. So many games are so empty, hollow and superficial; especially next gen titles with their fancy graphics. Such a shame.

        • indeego
        • 7 years ago

        The real shame is the abandonment of AI development in games. I detect a *MASSIVE* hole where some shop can come along and take advantage of all the unused cores/threads and knock us humans off our feet.

        A game like Crysis 1/2/3 with even double the AI would be one I’d be paying for. AI! We have incredible computers, let’s show off their skillz!

          • Duck
          • 7 years ago

          AI is [i<]really[/i<] hard to do. You need a supercomputer to do the AI of something like a rabbit in realtime I think. But maybe things have moved on further than I realize. It's probably not worth it. Just make multiplayer games instead.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            It requires a supercomputer to simulate a rabbit’s brain, it doesn’t require one to mimic it.

        • UltimateImperative
        • 7 years ago

        Rage had really awesome animation. Even better than HL2, which was one of the best animated 3d games.

        • marraco
        • 7 years ago

        The firsts Tomb Raider had acceptable animations (only for Lara). The latter would be forgettable if they were not annoying.

      • bwcbiz
      • 7 years ago

      Well, except for the fact that animations in videogames have to tie to the AI, while this was a cinematic. In a real game, a lot of crappy animation is due to jumps between animation routines triggered by AI state changes. Making ALL of the possible transitions look smooth is beyond a lot of development budgets.

      Definitely an impressive render, nonetheless. The rendering detail and fluidity is a pre-requisite for everything else involved in an immersive game experience.

        • Meadows
        • 7 years ago

        Animations don’t link to the AI, or vice versa. (In an optimal future scenario, they will, but the two are completely separate today.)

          • superjawes
          • 7 years ago

          They kinda are. AI reacts to stimulus, follows programmed routine. If routine is interrupted by new strimulus, new routine begins. Handling the momentum between each state is how you’re going to solve it…probably.

          Really, though, it’s tied to those triggers. Animations can be wierd on player models, too, because moving from state to state is…well…weird. You can mimic a specific human action and do it well, but real human reflexes are much harder to imitate because they aren’t determined by the starting state, and are natually more fluid than something that has to follow commands.

    • codedivine
    • 7 years ago

    *removed*

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 7 years ago

    Even the lowly Bobcat has been DX11 from the start. And all the new consoles are using AMD GPUs, right?

    For consoles, which are 100% dedicated to running games, it shouldn’t be a matter of whether or not they’re “too slow to handle the technology,” but whether or not they support it.

      • Rand
      • 7 years ago

      With all the media features being added to consoles these days, I’d say Nintendo is the only console vendor purely dedicated towards games. I’d actually go as far as saying games on the XBox 360 is strictly a secondary consideration for Microsoft.

        • Game_boy
        • 7 years ago

        Nintendo spent their whole conference talking about Facebook and Twitter and social messages from your friends via Miiverse than games. Speaking as a long time Nintendo fan who’s bought every console from the NES to 3DS, I’m tapping out over how oppressive the social media and tablet tech focus is with Wii U.

          • Chrispy_
          • 7 years ago

          I’m hoping the social media “bubble” bursts at some point. It’s ruining almost everything it touches.

            • Flying Fox
            • 7 years ago

            Hasn’t it burst already with FB going down almost every day? 😛

            • yogibbear
            • 7 years ago

            Seconded.

      • BestJinjo
      • 7 years ago

      It’s not enough to support DX11 – you still need the GPU horsepower to pull it off real time graphics of this caliber. The graphical effects, details, textures, depth of field/bokeh, tessellation in this demo are so advanced, it would probably require 3x GTX680s to run it smoothly. PS4 or Xbox360 will have AMD GPUs which are not only slower at tessellation, but more importantly they won’t even be at the level of HD7870 (right now rumored at just HD6670 level for both, which is pathetic). However, this demo shows what can be done in DX11. That’s promising for us PC gamers since our hardware will be capable to run this level of graphics in 2-3 years when HD9000/Maxwell launch. Looking forward to the next “Crysis” style DX11 revolution.

    • I.S.T.
    • 7 years ago

    This is definitely the modern day equivalent of that FF7 PS3 tech demo…

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