June is here, Hollywood is rolling out its summer blockbusters, and E3 is sending the games world into a froth. Yes, once again, CG Channel’s front page consists entirely of Eye Candy stories.
But if you need a fix of good, honest technology, Agni’s Philosophy comes with a tech angle: Square Enix’s four-minute real-time demo marks the first outing for the Final Fantasy developer’s new Luminous Studio engine.
Nice animation, shame about the plot
The teaser sees the spell-slinging heroine retrieve a sacred crystal, heal wounds with the power of Nuka-Cola, and fend off what appear to be Middle Eastern terrorists unleashing mutant hyenas. Because… er, that’s what Middle Eastern terrorists do. And then she flies off on a dragon.
Back on slightly firmer conceptual ground, Square Enix points to the characters’ “rich facial expressions, subtleties of their pupils and hair, and their brilliantly flowing garments” – which is indeed true.
The hyena-thing looks a bit odd at times, and the press stills contain the now-obligatory shot of a character shielding their eyes from the sun to show how beautifully they are being lit – but now we’re just nitpicking.
From consoles to mobile and web
Luminous Studio looks very nice indeed, and if the actual games based on it come out anywhere near as well – Square Enix says the engine is intended not only for consoles and PC, but smartphones and the web, so it will be interesting to see what sacrifices have to be made for performance – most gamers will be very happy.
There’s quite a lot more on the official Japanese-language website, but most of it just seems to be about Agni’s Philosophy generating graphics good enough to give you goose bumps, and representing a paradigm shift away from pre-rendered CG. (The Google-translated version is pretty gnomic at times.)
If we turn up any solid technical information, we’ll update: otherwise, enjoy the pretty pictures.