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Unreal Engine 3 Impressions

Unreal Engine 3.0 demo wows GDC is a GameSpot story about Epic's demonstration of their next generation technology. Part of the demonstration was similar to last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo showing, but Epic also showed a few new sequences which sound very impressive. IGN also has impressions saying If we were this pretty, we'd get all the chicks. 1UP has a few videos although the quality is only so-so. According to Epic's Mark Rein, their PC game using the new engine will ship early next year.

The second demo showed off one of the newly-announced features of Unreal Engine 3--seamless level loading. Basically, the engine is capable of loading several levels simultaneously, so the game will analyze where a player is going and load the next level ahead of time. By the time you reach the new level, it will already be in memory. This means that, after the initial load to start a game, players will not experience any level loading at all. To demonstrate this, Epic showed a futuristic dune buggy driving through the streets of what looks like a gritty European city. (If anything, it looked very much like a far more detailed version of Half-Life 2's City 17.) The buggy careened through the empty streets and then cut across a park, and it did so seamlessly. This means that in addition to no level loads, the game will be capable of creating huge, Grand Theft Auto-like worlds to explore. To finish the buggy demo, the camera pulled back to reveal a glimpse of a stunning and crowded cityscape along with the glistening waters of a huge bay.