Second part: Technical analysis.
Playing and watching Wii FCV can be concluded with accuracy, that the code of the original game was not modified in the necessary proportion to take advantage of the CPU and GPU capabilities of the Nintendo white console.
We can affirm that the bulk of the work resided in deactivating the effects that the Wii console does not do natively and create the basic interfaces for sound, peripherals and the graphic API, getting to run the XBOX code with the least investment of time, in the Wii Hard.
It is such that can be seen as just where the XBOX to a texture effect, on the Wii there is a strange lighting or a sudden change in lighting in that area. In the models of the enemy soldiers this becomes evident, especially in the areas of internal mapping, such as caves, huts, not on the ground in the open air, where the lighting tends to be in only one direction.
More facts, we can notice in the hand of the character as when we go out and enter a cabin we can see a Normal Mapping effect on the hand. We deduce that there was, at least, an attempt to recreate this. It seems that the EMBM of the Flipper is used, which I will talk about later, but it does not occur with the ideal configuration to simulate the effect as it is in XBOX.
This can be understood as in 8 months (Calculation = since it was announced, and taking into account that it starts before production) it has been possible to carry out the conversion to Wii of the work that was carried out for the XBOX, a extensive project of almost two years. Two years to pass the work of PC to XBOX, machines with strong similarities. In the conversion for Wii the time has been very small in proportion to the previous conversion, in addition the similarities of the hard of the Wii with the PC are not as close as those said for PC and XBOX.
Where is the Normal Mapping? EMBM?
The question that any amateur of the Wii is made is this: Is it possible to see graphics similar to those of the original XBOX? And why has not it been done in this case? Answers that I will try to answer with the greatest seriousness and respect for the work of the professionals of UbiSoft Montreal. The fastest and clearest answer is in the next title: The Conduit. Is Normal Mapping possible on Wii? As such, no. As it is processed according to the standard of current GPUs, no. But in another way and with almost equal results, Yes. We can achieve this effect through well optimized software, see ONE of N-GAGE of the Spanish Digital Legends team. Or hardware, taking advantage of some feature or several of the Wii GPU. As we have said the Wii has an algorithm called EMBM, which recreates a relief texture with a mapped reflection, this effect uses a base image with height data, like the image used by Normal Mapping. Well, with this effect and a lighting map combined with the reflection texture for each X frames, we can get an illumination with relief, which is close to the original effect.
Also after a lot of research through the network, I have come to another idea maybe faster in the face of processing. Combine the Emboss Bump effect, by hard on the Wii chip, with the EMBM. You could get surfaces with reflection, relief and change of lighting. More beautiful shadows mapped, we would be finished almost next gen. 😉 There are a few demos of the EMBM:
Memory and TEV’s of the Wii.
Limitations such as memory are a hindrance to get large areas with detail using the exposed effect. But making a rational and skilful use of textures in the level and model designs, we can get to have surfaces completely full of this effect. In addition to using other tricks, such as emptying the memory data that is not displayed on the screen or are far from the vision, even replace with simplified elements in real time.
In addition, TEVs of the Wii GPU can be used. These are units for processing textures in parallel, up to 16. That is, we can get materials by combining up to 16 layers of textures according to parameters that are defined between layer and layer.
Links for curious, or navigators with knowledge to do things ;-):
Without HD, now what do we do Mr. UBI?
The loading of levels, or the data that the player needs during the game, is done as we move around the map, the engine selects the information based on the player’s proximity and erases what is far enough away to avoid it is seen, or degrades it in detail so that it occupies less memory. The reading is therefore very intensive and at certain times if the levels are not optimized well, too intense for a DVD unit. In the XBOX version this problem does not arise or it is not possible, because the reading rate is greater when using an HD. As I said, the levels and the amount of data should be optimized better, so as not to exceed the reading limit, causing no longer popping if you do not stop the program to read. It’s not that the Wii can not move what is there, it’s that it can not read it. Stops are patent in certain places or popping in too many places. In Red Steel the same problem arose, in the middle of a hard battle :-); go friend site ;-).
The shadows are all mapped, there is none with Raytracing (Possible in Wii, since it has Stencil Buffer) as in Xbox and PC, but these are not filtered as in Xbox, they are at the same resolution. Another thing is the amount of objects and type that cast shade. These cover other objects such as Xbox and PC. They are drawn within a distance of the player who distinguishes perfectly, because you see a spherical area around, that has some distance is drawing the shadows mapped in real time, on the pregenerated shadows of the engine on the mesh of the terrain. But these layers of shadow do not fit well, because on Wii there are objects that do not cast a shadow, only flat meshes with masks, tree branches, straw roofs, but no barrels, vehicles, weapons, or humans throw them, while on Xbox and PC yes. The reason must be, the use of the memory of this effect in the Wii version. It is clear that the Wii has more memory than the Xbox 1, distributed in a different way but more memory.
Wash your hands Jack.
The normal mapping on the Wii or an attempt can be seen in the hand of Jack, in some very marked wrinkles, on Xbox were also like that, but the texture was not so apparently dirty, when trying to implement the EMBM this texture on Wii looks very dirty. You should see retouched the colors of the same for this effect, or to see implemented the effect well. In some trees it seems that we are also trying to implement the EMBM effect and some metal surface.
Cry water Muaaaa!
There are no reflections in the water, it is seen that they tried, in some capture and videos that seem really can be seen. You could see it done, as it shows several games of Wii, Sonic and rings, it does it fast … they are fast reflections capture in a buffer the objects that are going to reflect and map them in real time in a mesh and applies a wave effect, in addition to adding an amount of transparency to the object, does not include refraction.
The refractions in the water if you have them, very basic, but as they are done in most games next gen.
PsudoHDR, as my cousin says: For this, no thanks.
The HDR Psudo is the same as the Xbox, but has a problem, when losing the normal mapping textures, the roughness of the surfaces, and therefore the dark clearings of these reliefs balance the exposure, shaping the objects well, with the amount of bloom effect configured. On Wii gives me the impression that they have not touched it. In some areas, such as on a not very advanced beach, the game saturates the lower part of the image very much, in the area of the sand, so that the bad guys hardly distinguish themselves from the sand. In Xbox to have the models of the bad guys and the beach this extra rugosity on its surface, and the sea the reflection of the trees and the sky, the bad guys managed to see themselves despite the underexposure of the image for having a lot of light. The Wii effect should have been better calibrated by deactivating the roughness effect of human models and some areas of the mapping. The effect does not work well with such high contrasts of luminosity.
The light that illuminates everything or almost.
The glitches or glitches by the non-testing, where the lighting for other versions was different occur in interiors such as caves, cabins or buildings. Lighting in these places is not the same as outdoors. The engine prerendered shadows only on the mesh of the terrain, in function of all the objects that are available. This pre-lighting is static, and it is only a mask layer on the texture of the ground. Then as we said before, the mapped shadows of the GPU are drawn. Well inside these areas, which are actually independent terrain meshes, the lighting on them is directly from the GPU, in this case Gourand Shading, in the case of the Xbox uses the Gourand Shading plus the Pixel Shaders. The illumination of light sources on these meshes is irregular, in addition to revealing the joints between meshes, having made them to be illuminated with pixel shaders. This flaw is also seen in the models of humans, in certain parts of the clothing or skin that were shaded by shaders, which shows how the information of the Xbox version has been reused quickly.
As we can see in the following image, inside the building it seems that there is light, it should be darker. Here it looks perfectly like rendering the engine. In the Xbox version, inside this room the shadows or the shaders make it dark. On Wii, by deactivating certain mapped textures, as we have said, he presents the room as seen. It is also curious to see how some places, in the dark distance, when you approach you are illuminated, that is, the mapped shadow is not drawn and the pre-generated shadow is lost.
GPU to another GPU: Transparencies come. RUN!
The transparencies are, but they look dirty, because the color used, or the amount of bits that are being used, causes a poor quality of transparency, especially in particles such as smoke or water. You should have retouched the color, texture format, or color depth. The cause may also be that transparencies are the most common cause of frame dropping (frames), in 3D graphics, and the “quick” solution may have gone down in detail in this aspect in the Wii version, instead to look for the most optimal solution or correct the consequences of degrading quality, so that transparencies do not look so bad in the game.
Count the polygons… 1,2,3,4,5… Many.
There is no doubt that the same polygons on the screen as in Xbox 1, although they may seem less by not using the Pixels Shaders. Precisely the magic of the Pixel Shader, is to make a model die that has a lot of detail, but with very few polygons
The fuzzy textures are found, especially in some trees. The cause will have been to reduce the use of memory, not having optimized the use of the available in the Wii. In addition to not having an HD available, to quickly load and download textures, to always show on the X site the greatest amount of detail for the memory that you have. This is the virtue of the Crytek engine, the scaling of detail in real time, in meshes, textures and data in general.
The entity Land, the LOD and the Grass.
The detail adjustment of the terrain is very similar to Xbox, perhaps what is striking is that in many criticisms of the game say that the level of drawing of the grass is lower on Wii, which I disagree with, the subject is in the mapped shades that we have said before, to have less these do not fall on the ground providing areas of detail, and the fading effect of the grass is more evident, hiding more in the Xbox version, but in this also generates the same distance. The LOD of vegetation trees, and some decorative objects, is more striking and also more pronounced than on Xbox for the reason of not using the memory of the Wii better and the lack of HDD, because in Xbox could hold the charges more, having a shorter loading time.
Men without shadow, without memory.
Human models have no shadow, as we have pointed out, not all objects cast a mapped shadow, and in this case a mobile object, even with more reason perhaps. But it is shown in many other titles, such as Red Steel itself, that the Wii has no problem doing this. We must think that the elimination of this detail, results in the lack of memory, or an incorrect management of it, as we have been arguing.
Dynamic lighting on the ground.
Another surprising detail is that there is no dynamic lighting on the ground, we have pointed out that the lighting is different indoor and outdoor. Then on the ground, when it is fired or there is an explosion the light emitted is not reflected on the ground, it does not color, but we can see how the meshes of the human trees, objects and these interiors are illuminated.
Physics, it was never a Maria … or yes.
Physics is very good and realistic, the problem is in certain parts of the game, where the effects of an explosion, where by reaction of the same move a lot of objects, or causing sudden movements, this is where in the version of Wii, which is the most played, suffers and lowers the number of frames drawn. I think that by reducing the objects in this area or rewriting code, so that certain figures are not exceeded that the Wii can not manage this should not happen.
The intelligence of the snipers. Damn!
AI, as I said in previous parts of this “mega” analysis, is progressive. In the first levels (of tutorial), the reaction of the ia is very low, so that we can assimilate the novel controls and do not easily become cannon fodder. Later the AI is like in the rest of versions of this wonderful game. Damn snipers! ;-) Conclusion, the AI is fighting and combative, and as I remembered it from PC.
The reaction to the movement recognition of the Wii Remote is very fast and good. The problem is the mixture of movements. The sight and the knife attack, in the same gesture or very similar. Interpreted by the console in a similar way. It could be seen combined with a button or two buttons, to avoid confusion with looking and hitting. With the jump something similar happens, sometimes it does not recognize that we want to jump, combined pulsations of keys with movements, the same thing is not so much. Also the turns are not as fast as it would be necessary for some moment of action. Setting areas of more or less speed, on the margins of the screen, as in Metroid 3. Although the launch of objects is very well implemented. Sometimes exit or enter the Zoom mode will also cause problems, not responding in time, perhaps here it will happen as in the previous cases that the movement detector does not interpret or mix the movements, perhaps combined with buttons would be more unequivocal the action desired by user. Finally at this point point out that when entering the prismatic mode, being simply the press of a button we will find that it does not respond in some cases.
Tuning it all
The configuration of the controls is very complete for the moment of its exit, this section would complete the configuration of the dead zone and the turn in the Z axis of the player, in addition to some adjustments of sensitivity in the jump and the machete blow.
Test, what is it?… but look what time it is… go, go.
We also find in this conversion hangings, in the map of the indigenous plantation that is in the valleys, before going up to the mountain, this the most, the fact that there has not been a total testing of the game. Not only has it happened to me, but to everyone, you have to go the other way and kill people from somewhere else afterwards.
The HUD and the PhotoShop.
The HUD does not get rid of unpolished aspects either. As the fact that it does not appear the amount of energy that is left to the vehicle we carry, which can be seen in the other versions. In addition, the signals that indicate where we have received damage, are not clear and sometimes they do not indicate where the attacks come from. Finally at this point, highlight as another inescapable fact, as we can see in the dive energy bar, a graph with corrupt appearance.
Speaking from the beyond.
When a bad guy falls dead, there are times when you can hear the dead man in question finish saying his sentence. The fact is that the engine does not detect when the model has become a dummy, and at that moment it does not cut the sound, it ends up reproducing it. In addition, a fade could have been programmed between a death scream and the sentence he was pronouncing before he died.
Wrapped by the sound of the jungle. Or almost.
Note that the quadraphonic sound works efficiently, giving a sense of outstanding sound depth. Maybe they miss more environmental FX, and more forceful detonation sounds.
It’s cool … but thanks, habemus Far Cry on Wii.
The time of development was short, with pressure surely, and with treachery to take advantage of the euphoric effect of the technology and the katana effect of Red Steel. But this is not done to the Nintendo consumer, nor a Nintendo console, nor the Far Cry brand. But of course we can enjoy, thanks to the professionals of Ubisoft, a shooter with all the ingredients of the original and enhanced thanks to the Wiimote.
What remained in limbo.
We can point out that at the level of gameplay and control, the use of Hang Gliding has not been implemented, a vehicle whose sensation could be seen transferred to the game, powered by the control of the Wii command, besides losing this part of the game so feature of the saga. Finally note that although it appears, does not appear and does not work as in the other versions, I speak of the microphone that supposedly integrates Jack Carver binoculars. The dialogues are heard from time to time or only certain times.
Hit, if there are and I like them. And some other idea.
A great success is that weapons and objects stay where they fall, throughout the game and in the saved game. A very good detail, and that many games do not represent, just missing the corpses and the damage, too much for even next generation consoles with more memory (See Star Wars power of force). Although technically I think it could be, keeping the coordinates in the player’s own file, simplifying the way humans fall with three data, triangulating their fall, taking data arms, legs and head. The arms and legs its characteristic point would be the intersection point between normal to your joints, two to two.
The best case of shadows mapped on Wii, to say that of the games that I have been able to see, having their faults, is the game with more shadows mapped on the screen, besides that they fall on other objects.
Finally, highlight the drawing distance, which is very high and does not cause decreases in frames.
Well up to here, the technical analysis of Far Cry Vengeance for Wii. Say that they will not put notes or qualifiers to the work of these professionals, just analyze the facts and provide, with humility, answers to both the amateur and the curious. Highlight that my knowledge in programming is basic or very basic, mathematics perhaps if I know better given my academic preparation and insane curiosity. ;-)
Without more, I hope you liked it, soon more:
Panzer Dragoon Saga, from Sega-Saturn. Transparencies and lighting in this machine.
ZX Spectrum, Dreamcast … and whatever it may be. Greetings.
Shadows mapped: Technique to draw shadows of objects, by means of flat images.
Frames: Frame, images that make up a movement effect.
Slowdowns: When the image is seen with jumps, without softness.
Gameplay: A concept that values how fun a game is, or the incentives it brings.
Next gen: Refers to the new generation of video game consoles
FX: Sound effects
Dummy: It is called the effect that human models do when they die.
HUD: Part of the screen of a program that informs you of aspects of user interest.
Dynamic lighting: Computer lighting technique that allows the light source to be mobile.
Pixels Shaders: Computer-drawn technique that is programmable and that manipulates flat surfaces to create relief effects and others.
HD: It is called like this to the Hard Disk of a computer.
Glitches: Defects of disappearance of parts of meshes.
Prerenderiza: Drawn before with computer techniques and then used to be redrawn or a similar task.
Mesh: Set of polygons. For example a rock, bottle or a person.
Pre-lighting: Previous step to illuminate a computer generated world.
Mask layer: Technique used to say what part of the texture is seen and what is not.
GPU: It’s called the graphic chip.
Gourand Shading: Technique of shading three-dimensional models.
Normal Mapping: Graphic technique that is used to give relief and more effects to flat surfaces.
Flipper: Name of the graphic chip of the Gamecube or the Wii.
Emboss Bump mapping: Graphic effect that creates a roughness effect.
Popping: Graphic defect that causes a sudden appearance of objects.
Raytracing (Traced Rays): Graphical technique that uses mathematics and physics to draw three-dimensional graphics.
Buffer: Small and very fast memory where information is stored to be used quickly.