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Friday, January 26, 2001
Geo-mod Details on Red Faction
9:33 AM | Toby Allen | Comment on this story

At January's MacWorld San Francisco, GraphSim announced that they will be publishing both Summoner and Red Faction, two upcoming games from Volition. Red Faction will feature the Geo-mod engine, which allows player to deform environments in real-time and create a lot of debris. This has brought up some concern over the performance of the game, if the geo-mod function is used excessively.

Mike Breault explained how Volition is going to reduce the impact of the geo-mod characteristics of the engine on frame rate and overall performance. Here is Breault's post on Volition's own message board:

The upshot to all of this thread is that everyone needs to realize that every physical system, like a computer or a PS2, has limitations (we could be nice and call them "parameters"). The PS2 has different limitations than a computer, but they are still very definitely there. And we have to work within those limitations. Every extra face, object, poly, whatever, hurts your framerate a little bit. With enough of them, you'll begin to notice it. To prevent this and keep good framerate, we've made decisions about what sorts of things are the least important for gameplay purposes. Chunks of debris certainly fall into that category. Once there are enough of them, some of them are going to fade out. This was done for your benefit.

If you see stuff fade out, realize that a series of carefully thought-out decisions went into a system of code that decides what to remove from the world to keep your game zooming along. You're going to see plenty of geo-mod debris, geo-mod holes, bullet holes, shattered glass, etc. But with enough of it, the older stuff is going to fade away at some point.

Things aren't going to get repaired--holes you made will still be there, panes of glass you shattered will still be broken, and so on. But some of the little chunks of debris or shards of glass on the ground might have faded out.

Just realize that lots of extra work has gone into this system. It's not something that was done out of laziness. And it was done to work within the limitations of the physical system the game is playing on, to give you the best possible playing experience.

We can expect to see Summoner around summer and Red Faction later this year. Watch for more details on both games, as they are nearing beta stage and will certainly be on display at E3 this spring.

Volition's Geo-Mod discussion
Red Faction

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