PGR3: Textured, not stirred.

Written by Geoff Richards

July 15, 2005 | 16:18

Tags: #bizarre-creations #buildings #fake #new-york #pgr3 #project-gotham-racing-3 #screenshots #textures

It's that time of the week, where we once again eavesdrop on Bizarre Creations and see how the development of the much anticpated Project Gotham Racing 3 is coming along.

Earlier this month, gamers everywhere were divided on the issue of PGR3 Architecture: Fake vs Real. We posted some screenshots revealing the underlying polygon wireframe model behind a "typical" building from the game's New York level.

Screenshots released a week earlier had many crying "fake!", and these wireframes were designed to prove their authenticity. Unfortunately, some would not be swayed, and argued about whether the two did in fact correlate.

This week, the debate moves on to Textures. Thanks to the extra grunt of the Xbox 360's ATI-designed Xenos GPU, the trackside eye candy is clothed in super-sharp 1024x1024 textures, rendered in astounding detail.

Here is a sample 1k texture of a New York Fire Brigade station house: (click for full size)

You'd swear that was an actual photo, though I would assume it is just really high-quality artwork. Even at a monsterous-for-a-game 1024 pixels, the texture itself is clearly scaled down from very a high resolution. You can just about make out the "No Parking" sign on the door, if your eyesight is good. On the right is the same texture mapped onto the building model in-game.

According to the Bizarre Creations Studio Update #6, this amazing texture is only a quarter of the final look. This base texture, called the Diffuse Layer, has three further layers of detail added to it: an Index Channel - is it glass, metal, brick etc?; a Specular Map to provide shine to the material, and finally a Bump Map to add the perception of depth through light & shadowing on a flat surface.

Now, imagine how many similar high resolution textures are needed for the several square miles of New York City modelled in the game. Here is a crop sheet from the Art Department:

This contains some 4964 individual textures, each of which as detailed as the fire station above. If you look closely at the full size image, itself massively scaled down for the web, you will see various building textures, various billboards and naturally a large collection of road signs.

Some skeptics will only be satisfied once they have the game running in front of them, controller in-hand. But for the rest of us keeping the faith, the anticipation of that day grows with each week.

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