Something about the API? A UT3 Demo review

Excuse the French: Holy smokes! I’ve just been flat out blown away. Alright, preface:

I like video games, I used to play a lot more than I do now, I get at most 2-3 hours a week now-a-days. Recently i’ve been playing a quick match of “onslaught” in UT2004, takes about 20 minutes its good times. Anyway, to the point

The Unreal Tournament 3 Demo was released a few days ago, yet somehow I only found the link today. I’m at home, so no BlueSata to really put this game to its test. So I played the game on the following setup:

Laptop. Core Duo (not Core II Duo, this is a Yonah not Merom) 1.6Ghz
1GB Ram
60GB HD (I abuse this poor hard disc)
x1400 Mobile (Gimpy gimpy gimpy)

So… I download the 700MB demo, my computer crys for about 20 minutes extracting the game / installing aegia drivers (software emulation i guess) / installing the game. I then proceed to turn the CPU to max performance and crank the GPU to disable power saving in every way shape and form, i’m going to need it.

I load the game (bearable load times) and immediatly log in and dive into video options. Now, I’m fairly accustomed to playing at low FPS for the sake of superior graphical quality (i’ve usually had a midrange graphics card which does well at _good_ quality with _mediocre_ fps). But this graphics card, for a brand new game, is not “midrange”. No, it sucks. Anyway, to the point: I go from 640×480 to 800×600 simply because I’m not that masochistic. Crank up the texture values a bit and leave everything else alone — figuring i’ll be lucky if this plays at all

To my surprise, I got a (for me) manageable 15-18FPS and G-d Damn if this isn’t the most Beautiful Game Ever. This is on a crappy resolution, small crappy screen, ‘last gen’ DX9/Windows XP system with a ‘behind the times’ graphics card. And i’m blown away.

You know all those screen shots comparing DX9 to DX10? Get over it, its just an API. UT3 demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that DX9 is fully capable of looking absolutely amazing. Now I’m sure theres alot im missing in just the DX9 experience alone due to this system, and I’m sure the DX10 variant has even more detail and awesomeness but just pure first experience: this was outstanding.

The textures were amazingly detailed, the lighting (in ‘sunlight’) was superb (looked like some really really really good HDR). The models for the guns were fantastic, vehicles had a really new and appreciable bad-ass look to them. Heck, even the sound effects seemed to be more realistic and just more enjoyable than UT2004.

Verdict? I’m anxious to see what this looks like on my 7900GS when I get back to BlueSata. Even then its still a DX9 experience but if im this impressed at 800×600 x 15FPS I expect i’ll enjoy.

Conclusion? Modern game artists and creators have gotten really, really good. Even if you’re not a gamer, but somebody who can appreciate graphic art, attempt to bootup this 700MB Demo. It’s worth it for eye-candy value alone.

Oh, right. Gameplay. After about 20 minutes of exploring the Vehicle-CTF level for its graphical majesty I tried actually playing, needless to say it was a great time.

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