Final Fantasy XV - General News Thread

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Bazztek

SeeD A-Class
May 26, 2014
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The new Luminous Engine tech demo is titled "Back Stage".





Official video

Site updated with direct feed images and an article.
http://www.luminous-productions.com/news/03/




Luminous Productions said:
Stunning innovative visual quality
Future real-time game graphics realized by the “Luminous Engine”, becoming one of the first to adopt path tracing


On September 4th , 2019, Luminous Productions unveiled "BackStage", their latest tech demo that utilizes the next-gen real-time game graphics technology known as path tracing, at a conference for game developers in Japan, CEDEC 2019.

The tech demo was launched as part of the studio's efforts to advance the next-gen gaming functionality of their proprietary game development engine, "Luminous Engine." The "Luminous Engine" is among the first to adopt path tracing, which NVIDIA's Morgan McGuire predicted in his SIGGRAPH 2019 presentation to be "fully adopted in game graphics by 2035." In collaboration with NVIDIA Corporation, "BackStage" was created taking full advantage of real-time game graphics technology of the future. As one of the features of the studio's proprietary game development engine, "Luminous Engine," this feature will be utilized in next-gen games that will be developed on the "Luminous Engine" from here on out.

The "BackStage" tech demo realizes real-time rendering at the highest global standards. Imagine an actress sitting in front of the mirror, preparing to go on stage – by enabling path tracing support which has been proved to be one of the most challenging real-time rendering techniques thus far, the actress’ presence is depicted in a stunningly realistic and enriching manner, as if her emotions themselves are reflected in the mirror, with such quality that would have been inconceivable with the previous real-time rendering technologies. In addition, this tech demo operates using NVIDIA's consumer product, RTX 2080 Ti.


*Path tracing is a one of the rendering techniques of ray tracing, a next-gen game graphics technology. Path tracing unifies all lighting effects into a single tray tracing algorithm, and traces the path of light rays throughout a scene.
 
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Bazztek

SeeD A-Class
May 26, 2014
619
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Does anyone else think the character roles listed here on the Cast List paper may be a hint/tease for LumiPro's next game?


Night
Spazzacamino
Tree
Lumberjack
Butler
Lamplighter
Sorceress
Sage
Barrister
Silver wolf
Prince
Servant

All of the names listed by them are other Luminous Productions devs and some of them also worked on FFXV.
 

ash

PSICOM Soldier
Feb 18, 2018
68
86
Unpopular opinion but: Te me, Square Enix seems so obsessed with graphics that they're losing overall game quality over it. I wish they would put more thought into gameplay and plot/character development.
 
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Bazztek

SeeD A-Class
May 26, 2014
619
1,628
Unpopular opinion but: Te me, Square Enix seems so obsessed with graphics that they're losing overall game quality over it. I wish they would put more thought into gameplay and plot/character development.
Do you seriously think advancement in graphics tech is being made at the expense of plot or gameplay? What the hell kind of logic is that? That's like saying resolution improvement comes at the cost of how many lines of dialog a character has in battle, like what? They have nothing to do with each other and are not some kind of interchangeable thing that affect the other. I wish people who make stupid statements like this would actually bother to learn how game development works instead of thinking it's all either going into one thing or the other and that there isn't people specialized in various things doing those various things. People who write the plots and characters of a game have nothing to do with graphics engineers or how many polygons a character has or whatever rendering methods are used, game designers and planners aren't restricted by that either. Graphics tech will always keep moving forward throughout a gen regardless of what any writers or game designers choose to do for their games. Do you think that if they used low poly models and simplistic assets that would suddenly mean more gameplay and plot gets added? Tell that to I Am Setsuna or Oninaki.
 
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T.O.T

Knight of Death
Feb 2, 2017
481
454
Unpopular opinion but: Te me, Square Enix seems so obsessed with graphics that they're losing overall game quality over it. I wish they would put more thought into gameplay and plot/character development.
Yes they do have an obsession for visual fidelity. Squaresoft/Enix have been known for having visuals that stood out vs. the competition since the PS1 gen at the very least. Yes, visual fidelity can indeed play as a strength with telling a story. Having a more thought out plot is a double edged sword. Take FFXV for example. When in comparison to several other FF mainline games, FFXV has a pretty straight forward storyline, and yes numerous people were left not understanding things. Some of these things being confused about would be covered in the base game itself. So if something straight forward like FFXV did that, could you imagine what less forward and deeper stories would do. Also, character development is not an end all be all method to making a good/likable character. In fact, numerous FF mainline characters have little to no character development but still manage to be loved/liked regardless. Take Balthier from FFXII for example. He changes very little from the beginning to the end, but that is completely fine because he still made a lasting positive impression with many that played that game.
 

Bazztek

SeeD A-Class
May 26, 2014
619
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The next Luminous Productions stream is about to begin soon. Just a heads up that after the livestream is over the video gets privatized and is then only reviewable if you have purchased a CEDEC timeshift pass.
 
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Storm

Warrior of Light
Oct 26, 2013
3,101
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Of course if they decide to allocate x budget and time on graphics and technical specifications it might affect other aspects that also need their own investment.

Theres a reason XIII had limited exploration, because HD towns are harder to make if you are aiming for top-tier graphics.
 

Bazztek

SeeD A-Class
May 26, 2014
619
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Of course if they decide to allocate x budget and time on graphics and technical specifications it might affect other aspects that also need their own investment.

Theres a reason XIII had limited exploration, because HD towns are harder to make if you are aiming for top-tier graphics.
FF13's linear structure was entirely intentional.
 

Bazztek

SeeD A-Class
May 26, 2014
619
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one developer said HD towns were hard on PS3 gen, the structure that a game will take is also influenced by its budget and deadline so its intentional... in relation to its context.
That was just Kitase making excuses and there's a reason that became a meme, in interviews pertaining to the structure of the game they said they used CoD as a basis for how they structured FF13, the linear nature was intentional, not a result of them being unable to do a more expansive world because of any tech issues or what not. 13-2 and LR is on the same engine and both have towns despite the lower budget and quicker dev time compared to 13, because they were designed to have them, if they wanted FF13 to have them they would have done so, but the linear nature was what they intentionally did from the start.
 

Storm

Warrior of Light
Oct 26, 2013
3,101
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That was just Kitase making excuses and there's a reason that became a meme, in interviews pertaining to the structure of the game they said they used CoD as a basis for how they structured FF13, the linear nature was intentional, not a result of them being unable to do a more expansive world because of any tech issues or what not. 13-2 and LR is on the same engine and both have towns despite the lower budget and quicker dev time compared to 13, because they were designed to have them, if they wanted FF13 to have them they would have done so, but the linear nature was what they intentionally did from the start.
both XIII-2 and LR have inferior graphics (especially LR) and way less gorgeous cutscenes and CGs though... you can see how they cut to compensate on another aspect.

Im more keen into thinking the intentional bit is an PR excuse to hide the fact they werent capable of doing a more open HD FF game but even if it was the intension, you cant really say it wasnt molded by the realization that, given the amount of budget and work, it would be way more convenient to produce a linear experience.

Budget, deadlines, the amount of work, it influences a project (its vision and intention) from the very start, you dont begin a project without considering these points in the first place, its not even realistic.
 

Bazztek

SeeD A-Class
May 26, 2014
619
1,628
both XIII-2 and LR have inferior graphics (especially LR) and way less gorgeous cutscenes and CGs though... you can see how they cut to compensate on another aspect.

Im more keen into thinking the intentional bit is an PR excuse to hide the fact they werent capable of doing a more open HD FF game but even if it was the intension, you cant really say it wasnt molded by the realization that, given the amount of budget and work, it would be way more convenient to produce a linear experience.

Budget, deadlines, the amount of work, it influences a project (its vision and intention) from the very start, you dont begin a project without considering these points in the first place, its not even realistic.
Prior to release in Japan Toriyama mentioned that they looked to CoD for how they structured FF13
Toriyama said:
We don't look much at Western RPGs. But, for instance, we really look at Call Of Duty and other Western FPSs in terms of how to immerse the player in the moment of the action and how to portray the right movements for the supporting characters in battles – those sorts of games do this really well, and it's something we considered with FFXIII.
https://www.kotaku.com.au/2009/08/which-western-games-have-inspired-final-fantasy-xiii/

Then after it released in Japan but before it released in the west Kitase and Toriyama said the "HD towns are hard" thing in the Ultimania, and then Toriyama once again mentioned that it is intentionally designed to be a linear structure like CoD.
Square Enix's long in the making Final Fantasy XIII finally comes to North America in March, a game that is less like a traditional Japanese role-playing game, its creators say, and more like a first-person shooter like Call of Duty.

That is how Final Fantasy XIII designer and writer Motomu Toriyama describes the latest game in the 22-year-old series, born on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Toriyama told Kotaku that the design of Final Fantasy XIII doesn't follow the JRPG "template" intentionally, a choice that has received mixed response.

"The basic RPG functions are to go into towns, prepare for battle by going to shops, then go out in the field," Toriyama explained. "In that sense, Final Fantasy XIII doesn't have towns or shops - it's more that players are thrown into a story, presented with different situations as they move forward in the field and keep progressing that way."

Here's how that relates to Call of Duty, in Toriyama's mind.

"In that sense it's more similar to an FPS genre, like Call of Duty," he said. "That's not to say it's an action shooting game at all, so Final Fantasy XIII takes some different aspects of different genres, transcending different types of games."
https://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/02/ffxiii-creators-on-the-influence-of-call-of-duty-card-games-prius/

Also even the HD towns are hard comment itself was more about the artisanship behind designing the towns, not the HD tech itself limiting what they can do.

Lots of fans think it would be great to see the classic Final Fantasy VII remade in full HD glory on a platform like the PS3, but Final Fantasy XIII producers Yoshinori Kitase and Motomu Toriyama say it would be really tough to do. In a recent interview with Ultimania, they say that the limit isn't the HD technology, it's the amount of artisanship. "Considering the amount of work to make graphics that deserve HD, it is hard to make towns in the conventional style," said Toriyama. FFVII's graphics were beautiful at the time, but when you consider that we all played them on a 4:3 TV SD screen rather than the 1080p HD behemoths we're all playing games on today, you realize that it's a lot more work for artists to put in to make the game look as epic as Final Fantasy should. That's one reason why FFXIII doesn't have conventional RPG towns.

Kitase agrees, saying that "it is very hard to make games on PlayStation 3 in the same style the games in that era had. Making graphics will take enormous time." So score one for standard definition and the limits of the old pre-HD consoles. Note that neither producer says it's impossible, just a lot of work. So maybe some enterprising young developer will come along and make a solid, HD JRPG in the old-school fashion.
https://www.engadget.com/2010/02/05...ditional-rpg-towns-are-tough-to/?guccounter=1

13-2 and LR only have less Visual Works CG because they were lower budget, which doesn't even impact anything story or character wise anyway, any scene that is CG could be conveyed just the same through regular in game cutscenes. Graphics wise 13 and 13-2 are about on par tbh. I don't have any pics of my own but google











13-2 actually uses a lot of the same character head models as 13 does too, each story character had a lower poly in game field model and a higher poly one for in game cutscenes, it's LR that created entirely new from scratch models for everyone that used the same middle ground poly model for both field and in game cutscenes. Though monster models from 13 are reused in 13-2 and LR and some other assets too.

Like FF13 is the only JRPG on PS3/360 gen that I can even think of that doesn't have proper towns, even FF10 has towns and settlements despite also being heavily linear and similar in structure.
 
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T.O.T

Knight of Death
Feb 2, 2017
481
454
Like FF13 is the only JRPG on PS3/360 gen that I can even think of that doesn't have proper towns, even FF10 has towns and settlements despite also being heavily linear and similar in structure.
To speak in the defense of FFXIII, the storyline urgency would have been taken a lot less seriously by the player if they did have multiple towns to explore. Also keep in mind the characters were made out to be enemies of Cocoon, so I would not be surprised if the repeating exploring of that world leading to "REEEE L'Cie kill them/run away" would get old real quick. The numbers of allies they had were few to say the least. While X only came out on PS2 at the time, FFXIII was the first mainline game to release day 1 on PS3 and XBox 360. The XBox 360 version was inferior not only in terms of visuals, but also discs as well as it took up 3 dvds vs. a single PS3 blu-ray. I could not imagine how many discs FFXIII would have taken up on the Xbox 360 if FFXIII did not have such a linear structure.
 
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SonOfEtro

SOLDIER, First Class
May 2, 2016
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It seems like there's a Japanese write-up about the Backstage Demo/CEDEC presentation now:

https://www.gamer.ne.jp/news/201909050085/

Is there anyone both willing and able to translate? I'd much appreciate it!
Opens with a description of the engine. Apparently the demo is based on the concept that while they aren't played by actors in the traditional sense, video game characters still have costume changes, so they made a scene based on that premise. The writer then comments on the high detail in reflections, eyebrow hairs, and general lighting.

There is a specific tech in the demo dubbed Luminous Hair that enables highly detailed hair for characters. They also have carried over for this demo the ability to change clothing and hairstyles on the fly, something incorporated into FFXV. The current challenges they've surmounted with Luminous include environments and characters' hair and clothes. Next on their list is the ancillary details such as skin complexion. Due to this workload, the team are working with several outside collaborators, including a New Zealand university who works with them on "CG" and "VR" elements, and Kyoto University for help with the technical maths.

They then include several examples of the current engine's capacities. In regards to skin colour, they recognise that it has a wide range, and want their tech to be able to reflect both general colour and surface imperfections. They also sought a way to "mechanise" the creation of both super-high def and lower-def models, as the problem with handmade models is that the polygons can't be reduced without difficulty. Their geometry processing can now cut unnecessary polygons while retaining a model's traits and shape.

Next, he talks about the demo's production. There were several intertwined production elements, very closely linked. The woman's head was a model that could undergo slight adjustments to expressiveness based on markers. The model has a CGI base, then a real-time version with the bones necessary for forty different expressions before all the textures are laid on. The team then adjusted how expressive the character had to be and how the clothing moved. The current system is a substantial expansion of the character creator from FFXV Comrades, in that the basic tech now uses multiple reference points to create a character rather than a binary system of "source" and "target shape". On Luminous Hair again, they've basically taken their Maya hair tech and let it off the leach in terms of adjustable details, plus adaptability to a number of different body types without compromising the style.

In closing, the team say the display build uses these things as manual system processes. They will now automate them, with the Luminous Hair adaptive tech also applying to clothes. This means they can considerably cut the development time spent on graphical assets.

(There, that's the gist of it.)
 

Ikkin

Warrior of Light
Oct 30, 2016
1,018
1,529
Opens with a description of the engine. Apparently the demo is based on the concept that while they aren't played by actors in the traditional sense, video game characters still have costume changes, so they made a scene based on that premise. The writer then comments on the high detail in reflections, eyebrow hairs, and general lighting.

There is a specific tech in the demo dubbed Luminous Hair that enables highly detailed hair for characters. They also have carried over for this demo the ability to change clothing and hairstyles on the fly, something incorporated into FFXV. The current challenges they've surmounted with Luminous include environments and characters' hair and clothes. Next on their list is the ancillary details such as skin complexion. Due to this workload, the team are working with several outside collaborators, including a New Zealand university who works with them on "CG" and "VR" elements, and Kyoto University for help with the technical maths.

They then include several examples of the current engine's capacities. In regards to skin colour, they recognise that it has a wide range, and want their tech to be able to reflect both general colour and surface imperfections. They also sought a way to "mechanise" the creation of both super-high def and lower-def models, as the problem with handmade models is that the polygons can't be reduced without difficulty. Their geometry processing can now cut unnecessary polygons while retaining a model's traits and shape.

Next, he talks about the demo's production. There were several intertwined production elements, very closely linked. The woman's head was a model that could undergo slight adjustments to expressiveness based on markers. The model has a CGI base, then a real-time version with the bones necessary for forty different expressions before all the textures are laid on. The team then adjusted how expressive the character had to be and how the clothing moved. The current system is a substantial expansion of the character creator from FFXV Comrades, in that the basic tech now uses multiple reference points to create a character rather than a binary system of "source" and "target shape". On Luminous Hair again, they've basically taken their Maya hair tech and let it off the leach in terms of adjustable details, plus adaptability to a number of different body types without compromising the style.

In closing, the team say the display build uses these things as manual system processes. They will now automate them, with the Luminous Hair adaptive tech also applying to clothes. This means they can considerably cut the development time spent on graphical assets.

(There, that's the gist of it.)

Thank you very much! There's a lot of interesting information here.

I'm not sure I've ever heard of video game companies collaborating directly with universities before, but it seems like a really smart idea from an R&D perspective. It also goes to show the amount of effort that Squenix is willing to put into cutting-edge research into graphics.

Another major takeaway seems to be a strong focus on streamlining development -- the use of path tracing, automated mesh decimation for source models, expansion on the character creator from Comrades, and adaptability of Luminous Hair all seem to be designed to minimize the amount of time that's spent on creating and modifying lighting and assets, presumably so they'd be able to spend the time on asset creation and game programming instead. The combination of the character creator and Luminous Hair in particular seems well suited to facilitate the creation of thousands of unique NPCs in a very short amount of time.