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GDC 2008: The Technology of Final Fantasy XIII

GDC 2008: The Technology of Final Fantasy XIII 50°
367w ago - Like most Japanese developers, Square Enix has traditionally built the technology for each new game from scratch. While middleware solutions like the Unreal Engine have long been a favored solution for Western developers, the Square approach has been to tackle every new project from the ground up.

But this is changing as development costs skyrocket; the upcoming The Last Remnant will be built on Unreal 3, and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King for WiiWare was deliberately conceived to test the feasibility of building a game almost entirely with middleware tools and scripts.

Even more ambitious is Final Fantasy XIII's proprietary White Engine, now called Crystal Tools. As Square Enix's first companywide technology platform, it's a full suite of authoring tools and runtime libraries for PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox 360.

There's even a bit of support for Wii in place, although the latter is still in development. Not only is Crystal Tools the power behind FFXIII, but also Final Fantasy Versus XIII and the company's as-yet unannounced next-generation MMO RPG as well.

Taku Murata, Square Enix's general manager of research and development, spoke today at GDC about the evolution of this new technology. According to Murata, Crystal Tools' evolution began with 1997's Final...

No 120GB PS3 or In-Game XMB Yet: Sony Talks PS3 Home

No 120GB PS3 or In-Game XMB Yet: Sony Talks PS3 Home 50°
367w ago - The Game Developers Conference was a bit of a letdown. Sony didn't use the GDC to make any announcements like the much anticipated in-game XMB addition or the official phasing out of the 80GB PS3 for a larger model.

Heck, there wasn't even a keynote. Sony gave PS3 News no PlayStation 3 news to talk about.

But that's all behind us now, so it's back to waiting for what's in store this year... most importantly Home.

SCEA's vice president of product marketing Scott Steinberg talked about the subject of Home in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz and confirmed once again that it's coming out this year.

We're still in the closed beta phase. And if you are a student of the game, you know closed beta will begat a more open beta, and we still haven't announced when that potentially would be, but the notion behind 2008 is that we come to the table with a kick-butt line-up software-wise and we show the full articulation of Home and the network... and maybe some special surprises within that context, he said.

And I think we end the year with incredible momentum with those two elements working in concert together and really adding an exclamation mark to the PS3 for the year.

Any marketing veep that uses the term 'begat' in a non-biblical form is okay in our book.

Dark Sector to Have Same Look on PS3 and 360

Dark Sector to Have Same Look on PS3 and 360 50°
367w ago - In TheGameReviews.com's first interview with the Dark Sector development team, we got a chance to ask about any differences between the PS3 and 360 versions. The answer: it will look the same on PS3 and the Xbox 360.

When Josh Austin, the producer for Dark Sector, was asked how the game would differ between the Xbox 360 and the PS3, Austin said that "this is what works on a 360, this is how this is how it's going to have to be close to on the PS3." Through the whole discussion, he was quite proud of the success they had with both systems.

Austin did admit, however, that the team hasn't "figured out the PS3 entirely either but I can say confidently that it looks this good on the PS3, which is an achievement for most developers, [in fact] it looks exactly the same on the PS3." Josh stressed that the development team "did not dummy down any textures" or "reduce the amount of effects on screen, stuff like that."

Austin said that the development team could have packed more content onto the PS3, but D3 wasn't focusing on one console entirely for Dark Sector, as they couldn't "because it's so expensive, this new generation to make these games," which lead to the decision "to do 360 and we had to do PS3 and frankly, the 360 has a better install base still." At...

GDC 2008: Final Fantasy Updates

GDC 2008: Final Fantasy Updates 50°
367w ago - Taku Murata, General Manager of Square Enix's Research & Development division, just gave a presentation at this year's GDC titled "The Technology of Final Fantasy."

Most of the information given at the conference was more on the technical side of things, dealing with the company's various engines and experiences with actual development. However, towards the end of the show, we were treated to a few bits of information that should be interesting to Final Fantasy fans.

First, Square Enix's "White Engine," the companywide technology platform, has been renamed Crystal Tools (and is designed for use with the PS3, 360 and PC). Also, Murata mentioned that a scaled down version of Crystal Tools will be implemented for the Wii. Intriguing indeed. This technology is being implemented in the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Versus XIII.

Soon after these details were given, an old trailer was promptly shown. It's been a while since we've seen a trailer from the upcoming Final Fantasy titles, but we'll break it down for you again.

The trailer was for Final Fantasy XIII, and began with the now recognizable shots of a cybernetic train snaking through highly science-fiction inspired environments. The following flashed quickly, but it looks like a monster, reminiscent of series...

GDC 2008: Warhawk: Operation: Broken Mirror Hands-on!

GDC 2008: Warhawk: Operation: Broken Mirror Hands-on! 50°
367w ago - It's well known that we're Warhawk fans, so any time we get a chance to check out updates for the game, we're ready to take to the skies. At GDC 2008, we were able to talk to Dylan Jobe via PlayStation Eye video chat, and also get a chance to run through the upcoming version 1.3 and Operation: Broken Mirror booster pack.

Dylan pointed out that the key elements from his initial PlayStation Blog have been implemented. That means that new paint schemes and insignias from the Warhawk contest have been fully integrated into the game, along with a host of VOIP changes for players headed up by the ability to toggle between push to talk and open mic settings. Home integration has been coming along as well, so players will be able to pull out their virtual PSP and immediately create and launch into a game of Warhawk.

Speaking of Home, Jobe mentioned that they would love to support trophies within Home, although if they are integrated into the game, he would like to see possible new trophies for Warhawk players aside from the standard rankings and rewards that players currently receive.

Version 1.3 will also feature two new soldier weapons: the bio field generator to heal troops and the mechanics field wrench that can be used to heal vehicles. Finally, there are additional tweaks that will be made...

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