Square’s new photorealistic “Luminous” engine 
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Geoffrey Tim
October 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Luminous

Square Enix, prolific developer and mega-publisher hasn’t exactly delivered all that much this generation. Sure, they’ve published some sparkling gems, like Eidos’ Deus Ex Human Revolution – but their internally developed games seem to be missing the spark that’s made them. The reason for that might be the fact that they’ve been hard at work developing a new engine that promises to deliver photorealistic graphics – and if the demonstration pictures and videos are anything to go by, they may have succeeded.

Using new ways of including cloth and fluid simulation, realtime reflections and new tessellation techniques promises higher detailed 3D models without much impact on memory. The new engine  – which boasts advanced, scalable AI support along with native DirectX 11 support and programmable shaders is also capable of modelling light the way it would behave in the real world.

According to Square Enix, the new engine should lower development cycle times and costs – one reason for which is its procedural animation techniques, which automatically uses motion capture from a database to dynamically change character animation based on, for example, the weight of a weapon or the type of terrain.

Square Enix’ technical director Julien Merceron had this to say of the new engine : "If I take a picture and after this I create the same objects in a game with the right materials, I can achieve a rendering that is very close to the picture because I’m using the physical parameters of the real world." No games have been announced using the engine, but certain aspects of it will be utilised in Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

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Here’s a video of the engine in action – although right now all it is is a parking garage simulator. Still, pretty impressive – as it’s purported to be rendered in real-time.

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