What could be in a new Gears of War? Clues are always included in the major Game Developers Conference demonstrations of the Unreal Engine.
Epic Games' evolving game-making tech is shopped to developers here at GDC in San Francisco, but it also teases the potential of what Epic will do in any of its games, including the expected - if announced - Gears of War 3.
This year, Epic was showing off a new mesh paint tool and new support for vertex definition, a spline deformation tool and other terms, that honestly, we can't translate for you here at Kotaku.
What we can say is what this stuff looks like. Epic was showing a scene of jungle ruins, a location full of trees and broken stone chambers that looked like a setting from the first Uncharted, rendered in impressive and lush detail. A roomful of reporters was shown how the upgraded Unreal Development Kit can more efficiently render jungle vines and can efficiently lay down wooden railroad tracks.
Another demo showed a floating blob of liquid medal that warbled fluidly. "Remember last year we had the meat cube?" Epic Games vice president Mark Rein asked his audience here. He was referring to a GDC demonstration of Unreal from two years ago when a bloody cube of flesh was shown, getting shot up and chopped away, a precursor to some of the gore in Gears of War 2. "This is the mercury cube."
In another demonstration, an Epic engineer zipped through a city scene, showing off how quickly he could drop in new buildings and build a vast and detailed city.
Rein pointed out this was just programmer art, even though it already looked passable. "One day we'll show you what we're doing with this. When you see what we're doing with this, it's going to blow your mind."
[Note: This post's image is from Gears of War II, not the new Unreal tech demos.]