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Luminous Engine and Agni's Philosophy Pics and Details

Take the real time vs Visual Works CG test for Square Enix's next gen engine.


Impress Watch contributor Zenji Nishikawa has posted a report on Square Enix's Luminous Engine and the Agni's Philosophy demo that debuted at E3 last week. As usual, the report is full of exclusive details via a developer interview. It also has some new pics of the demo and the engine's various tools.

The interview was with Square Enix CTO Yoshihisa Hashimoto, Square Enix Technology Division Lead Artist Ryo Iwata, Square Enix Visual Works Chief Creative Director and Senior Manager Takeshi Nozue, Square Enix Technology Division Lead Engineer Hiroshi Iwasaki and Square Enix Technology Division Senior R&D Engineer Remi Driancourt.

Hashimoto said that the goal of the Agni project was to offer in realtime visuals that would normally be shown prerendered. He served as producer and director, directing both the content and the technology and also handling management and quality checks.

Iwata was lead artist on the Agni project. He designed the main character, Agni. The world view, setting and framework were created during discussions between himself, Nozue and Hashimoto. He also worked on the pipeline that was used by artists to convert the Visual Works pre-rendered CG movie data into data for the real time demo clip.

Nozue headed up script writing, art direction and event/stage direction. He also directed the pre-rendered CG that would serve as the base for the real time demo video.

The Agni's Philosophy realtime demo uses pretty much the same content data that was used in the pre-rendered footage that Visual Works created. The realtime demo runs on a high spec PC with 64 bit Windows 7. The PC was made from standard off-the-shelf parts bought from a PC shop. The staff would not disclose the maker or specific specs, but Hashimoto said to consider it at the same level of specification as the PCs used by other developers when they show their technology demos.

The graphics specifications of the realtime demo include 1920x1080 full HD resolution, variable framerate between 30 and 60, FP16 (16 bit floating point) format for HDR rendering. A single frame as between 5 million and 10 million polygons. This includes unseen polygons used in post shadow generation and post processing.

Here are some comparison pics showing the Visual Works pre-rendered movie with the real time demo.

Visual Works (left), Real Time (right)
Visual Works (left), Real Time (right)
Visual Works (left), Real Time (right)

Here's the same scene with different lighting effects toggled on/off. The bottom one is the final form.

The final version.

These scenes of Agni and the old guy show the demo's "eyeball shader." Visual Works CG uses raytracing for eyeball rendering. Raytracing would be difficult in realtime at present, so they fake it with this shader.

The Agni's Philosophy credits showed a "Yebis" logo. No, that's not the beer. Yebis is a post effect middleware from Silicon Studio (the 3D Dot Game Heroes studio -- they also make middleware). These scenes show Yebis2 in action.

Tech heads with Japanese ability will find even more details in Impress Watch's original article.

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