We already know that Star Citizen looks absolutely amazing, and at Gamescom we had a chance to catch up with Cloud Imperium Games’ Technical Designer and resident CryEngine expert Dan Tracy, who walked us through the technology behind the stunning Origin M-50, which is the latest ship released for the game and an agile racer.
Tracy explained that the M-50′s incredibly realistic details are displayed thanks to twelve 4096 x 4096 textures layered on top of each other, while the model is made by 100,000 polygons. Further details are provided by normal maps which are also 4096 in resolution.
Of course to run all that goodness you’ll need a quite powerful computer, but if you have a lower-end rig the game has lower resolution mipmaps created for the long distance LODs, which scale down to 2048 and then 1024 pixels.
One of the most impressive elements of the game is that visual damage actually saves over time. In most games once you finish your session your vehicle will look as good as new, but not in Star Citizen; the scratches and dents on your ship actually build up as the materials degrade over time. The more you use your ship and damage it, the more it will display your status as a veteran.
You will be able to remove light scratches with a new paint job, but destroyed parts will need to be fully replaced. In Star Citizen‘s persistent universe you will actually need to leave ships at the repair shop for a while for maintenance.
Below you can see a video of the M-50 I shot directly at Gamescom (alongside a few pictures of the ship), with Tracy’s explanations. As soon as you’ll see just how beautiful it looks on an actual computer screen, I’m sure you’ll forgive my explosive enthusiasm during the conversation.
I’m really hard pressed remembering having seen anything looking that good. You’d think it’s pre-rendered CG at first sight, but it isn’t. The game really looks like that.