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Into The Sector: Digital Extremes' Steve Sinclair
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Into The Sector: Digital Extremes' Steve Sinclair

February 5, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 5 Next

Are there any similarities between the tech that you guys have done and the Unreal tech, since you guys were pals in the past?

SS: I think maybe in some ways, it might have influenced the programmers, that experience, [as well as] maybe some of our respect for the demands of console development and the demands specifically of resource tracking memory leaks and that sort of thing.

These are the things that we paid very close attention to in initial design because of our experience with putting Unreal on the Xbox. But I guess that's where the similarities end. There is a sort of sameness in the next-gen techniques that people are using, like normal mapping, and bloom, and the depth of field and the high dynamic range lighting. There is a little bit of convergence that happens there, but I don't know.

Yeah, that's kind of across the board. Have you played Unreal Tournament III?

SS: I have.

What do you think?

SS: It's probably got the most gorgeous levels I've ever seen. Absolutely.

I was wondering, since both Gears of War and Unreal Tournament III are out, is there an extra push to one-up them? I mean, just mentally?

SS: I hope that one day, we might be able to one-up them. I think us humble Canadians are content, yet driven, to just compete. Those guys have got it together, and they have an established base with which they grow from. They are definitely one of the competitors that we want the developers to be.

But I have the same kind of rage and lust for Naughty Dog titles and Valve titles, and the same kind of hero worship for Chris Butcher at Bungie and all sorts of things. But we look at all that big stuff with a careful eye, because we've worked with them in the past, for sure. And they have some really great techniques that they've done, in terms of the way they use instancing, and prefabricated models.

Epic's popular third-person shooter Gears of War

I want to ask about the weapons switching, and other stuff. The thing that seems like it would take a lot of tuning -- because when I was watching, it looked very difficult -- is how long the [three-sided throwable player weapon] glaive takes to come back. Because when you're out of ammo, you're just waiting. How much work did that take, to figure out how long it should be, like how long it should be away, how far it should go -- that kind of stuff?

SS: I would say that one level you saw where you didn't have any other bullets for your offhand gun -- those two fights are the only fights where that happens, and then after that, you're constantly in this kind of dual-wielding mode. What that allows us to do is actually to make the return time for the glaive a little bit longer, so you are balancing the guns with the glaive.

That's just been something that's organically evolved, just nudging the values here and there -- that sort of thing. But once we did the dual-wield, we went back to the market and re-specced all weapons and added two more pistol types and pulled out two back weapons, because the pistols take a greater emphasis in the game now, because of the dual-wielding.


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