This Tomb Raider Video Makes Me Fear For The Future

I can't tell if this video is fetishising Lara Croft or the technology used to create Lara Croft, but this look at creating a 'next-gen' Lara Croft for the upcoming Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is kinda strange and almost feels like a parody! But at the same time, it's also sort of interesting, showing off all the improvements made.

But I dunno, sometimes I just feel like this technology is being used to diminishing effect. This video actually spends sixty seconds explaining how the team made a physics simulation that allowed Lara's arrows to jostle in its quiver. I would literally never, ever notice that unless it was pointed out to me in this video and, quite frankly, it's a tiny unimportant detail.

It makes me wonder about next-gen in general. Is this how the extra horsepower is going to be utilised by developers? Is this the future? Strand by strand hair technology and arrows jostling in quivers? I realise that — in context — this is just an upgrade to an existing game, it's not as if they could have changed much except the visuals, but I just hope this isn't where developers are at with new technology. I want technology to help facilitate new experiences. That's what I'm hoping to see.


    Clearly you don't appreciate the finer things in life Mark. Nothing beats shaking a shaft.

      As someone who's surname is Shakeshaft, I am okay with this comment.

      Speaking of finer things, where were the bewb enhancements?!?

    My concern is of how adding things like that increase the time, cost and complexity of building a game, but with diminishing returns. We end up with multi-hundred million dollar no-risk games, with added costs to consumers (either up-front or with add-on charges).

    These super-detailed games probably *are* better, but it seems to me that a little less fancy would create an experience that is just as enjoyable, but with less cost to everybody involved.

      Yeah, fair point. I was going to say that those things make a subtle difference that is almost meant to not be noticed (as opposed to all her gear being stuck unrealistically to her, which you would notice)... I think that when you're talking AAA budgets, which you're going to pay a higher price for anyway, probably make a difference. But, yes, you still make a good point :3

      I think a lot of companies just write or re-use tools that add this stuff in with minimal cost or effort, or they're built in to the engine they're licensing.

      But with that said, you're right. They're all no-risk games that cost millions to produce. CoD is a notable example ("You build it, they will come. No exceptions"), but so is just about any game based on Candy Crush or Bejeweled or whatever.

      I'd say forcing in multiplayer that nobody asked for and would obviously be dead a month after release is a bigger waste of money, time and effort.

      I don't know that things like the improved hair simulation or the arrows moving in the quiver actually would add any major time at all once the system's implemented. It's not like that stuff is being hand-animated. Also the technology is very likely to be rolled into the engine and re-used next time they make a game.

      As I see it, they're probably already deep into making the next Tomb Raider game, which would target next-gen platforms (assuming late 2015 release), The first thing they'd need to do to make that happen would be porting the engine to PS4 and XB1. Splitting off a small team to take the ported engine and the resources from the original game (probably the PC version), make some tweaks and then re-release the game on those new platforms allows them to sell extra copies and basically make easy money off the expense of porting their engine. Note also that the game is built off Square's Crystal Tools which are

      The most expensive part of AAA game development is building the assets. The levels, the models and animation and so on. The thing is, this game already had a really good set of high-end game assets for the PC version, so that expense is basically already paid for. The PC version was one of the best-looking games I've played.

      Also, @markserrels, I absolutely disagree that you wouldn't notice the hair. I played the game on PC and my PC at the time was just powerful enough to be able to play with the TressFX hair simulation enabled. However there were some initial driver problems so I played the initial hour or so with it disabled. The difference between the 'console' hair and the TressFX hair is incredibly noticeable. As I understand it the hair in the PS4 version is improved significantly from the initial PC release too (sometimes it would go a bit crazy esp. in wind).

        Yeah all of this stuff is being written into the engine. Once it's there they don't have to worry. It's there for future games. This really is an exercise in upgrading the engine for future next gen games.

        What I would love to know though, how much of this stuff was actually already in the PC version? It was a pretty demanding game and while I can't remember specific details. A lot of looks just like this.

        I wouldn't necessarily be surprised if a lot of this stuff touted here was in the PC version already. We know TressFX was.

    So pretty much Pc on max setting? Why didn't they do this for PC? It's Just a massive promotional video showing up-suspected gamers the same crap pc had from the start, expect now it's on next-gen consoles. Though it's good they got Tress fx working on consoles, it lags pretty bad on pc with it on.

      Were you using an nvidia card at launch? There was an nvidia driver problem near to when Tomb Raider came out that caused TressFX to lag a lot, but they patched it within the month. I've played through the whole game with TressFX enabled on a GTX 680 post-driver update and had no lag problems at all.

        Good to know. I actually turned some other graphic settings down to stop it lagging because I really loved the way it looked in the game. The games definitely on my re play list.

      Actually no. Everything that you see in definitive edition is not available on PC.

      TressFX is recoded from scratch to make it work for consoles
      Added extra physics to everything in game
      Complete texture remodel of Lara

      I played TR on PC as well and this looks great IF it is 60fps. Seems like they are still hiding the number for the FPS so far so I guess another 30fps then.

        Just run FRAPS. It's a fps counter too....

        unless you mean on consoles or in their demonstrations.

        Last edited 22/01/14 11:55 am

          On console sorry :). Buttery frame rate doesn't mean anything

        According to a Eurogamer article it's 1080p running at 30fps.

    I'll buy it if i can make Lara quiver...

    Ok, i'm leaving.

    Where is the most important boobs physics?

      in D.O.A

        I think the PS2 era Aggressive Inline was the first cab off of that rank. The 'busty schoolgirl' rollerblader's boob physics were so advanced, they forgot to make the rest if the game particularly interesting.

    Little things add up to make a difference but I would be much happier if instead Devs focused on having levels keep detail after you engage with them - bodies, bulletholes, splatter, explosion marks, debris etc should remain - I hate that after a huge firefight you can walk around and the room/area looks as clean as when you first entered - I want to survey the damage afterwards and I think it would help give it weight

      That is a memory issue, not a processor one. And with the ever-increasing amount of particles and physics in any given game, I do not believe RAM will ever catch up to the point it is available to retain all those details in real time over a extended period of time.

        Don't Elder scroll games retain item placement even after leaving and reentering areas... I think it would be achievable.

          Yeah, unless its a horse or a follower. They have a tendency to just fuck right off! :p

          I'd like to see GTA show a decent level of object retention. I'm sick to death of parking a car, moving on foot, like, 100m away and the car disappears (or the look behind button glitch). Or for those missions where you're required to drive a mission specific vehicle, being able to go back later and retrieve the original car from the mission trigger site instead of it disappearing into the ether.

      To expand on that, I'd love to see more dynamic games environments full stop. Taking the likes of Battlefield's Frostbite engine and expanding on it. Can you imagine a next-gen GTA or Elder Scrolls game with that sort of interactivity? Burning down entire forests with an errant fire spell, proper dynamic weather and day night systems, better AI systems to cope with it and more.

        Absolutely agree - all the talk of your actions having an impact would be realised then - if you destroyed something it stays destroyed or has to be rebuilt by NPC's.

    All that extra power and it's still just a pretty game where you dont have to think or try too hard.

    Mark, your argument makes me cry a little inside. Not because it is invalid. But because it supports the notion that people only respond to what is immediately obvious to them. Games marketing is all about the graphics, what you can show on a poster. People react to how something looks, that they ignore all the other details which makes a world *immersive*.
    As such, there's just been a push to make games look prettier, at the expense of world details.

    It's the little details like this which I hope is what the next-gen is all about, and I'm stoked about it. You can go as far as you want making things "look" prettier, but I want devs to focus on little things like this.

    Just because something doesn't support gameplay or visuals, doesn't mean it isn't a valid use of dev time. How many times have we been playing GTAV, when something happens which makes oyu go "huh..... they've put this in the game too.... wow".

      I agree with this - this is a tech focused dev diary after all. The tech is really cool, and it is a step towards increased immersion in a game. There is more and more space for indies and even bigger studios to do new and innovative things, but it's also important that people push the technological boundaries as well.

      It's those kind of tech focused touches that make a lot of games impressive, even if the average gamer doesn't specifically notice them. But strip them all out after people get used to the improvements, and then gamers will notice how much less convincing it looks.

      I'm a big graphics and simulation junkie, I love seeing how they layer improvements on a game. I'm even a bit disappointed they didn't add dynamic surface deformation to the water sequences when Lara is moving through a flooded cave - that would have looked really cool, whereas now it's just a flat plane (at 1.50) - also, that lighting is not right, the torch should be casting dynamic shadows, and it should be reflected much brighter in the water. Does noticing and caring about those things mean I can't also appreciate advances in gameplay experiences? No, it just means that I appreciate both.

      It's the little details like this which I hope is what the next-gen is all about

      I raise a toast to this man

        aww shucks....

        meet you all at the pub after work ;-)

        But hey, makes me happy to know I'm not the only one that thinks this way :p

          In most games I find myself wandering into the water to see how it reacts to my feet, do they get wet, do they drip, things like that. I was stoked in Oblivion how the when you got below a certain number of arrows in your quiver, it would show on your character. When you had a single arrow left you could see one arrow in your quiver. Last gen was the era of showing holstered weapons on you body and it was glorious. The previous gen usually had your weapons disappear into thin air when you weren't using them.

          I love the little stuff.

          Last edited 22/01/14 2:38 pm

            I dunno how much time I spent in the first Uncharted running into water up to varying levels on drake's body to see the "wet line" move around, then dry off......

              I've always thought I'd make terrible Let Play videos. I'm already a bit of an anchor in co-op games, everyone wants to get the mission done and I'm all like: hold on guys, I'm just looking at the skybox.

                Haha yeah. Bout the same.
                My savegame file of The Last of Us after I finished it reads as 41 hours..... Dishonored, too, is 40+ hours for a single playthrough.

                I didn't get stuck anywhere in particular. It just takes me longer than any of my friends to finish games, I get way caught up in the details and finding every little thing out. I'm not one for multi-playthroughs, I like to get as deep into it as possible, otherwise it just feels like I'm just checkpoint surfing.....

    OK, the graphics have been improved and there is more realism.

    But if the game play is the same as the prior version then what's the point? Sure it looks better but if it plays the same then there is little incentive for those who have the game already.

    This is viable mostly to those who have not played the game yet or are thinking about replacing their old copy due to the lack of backwards compatibility on the newer consoles.

    Needs more breast physics. :)

      Why? There's enough in the Soul Calibur and DoA games to last five generations.

    I didn't play the first iteration....SO, bring on the extra attention to detail in the PS4 version. I'm not complaining. I love that kind of stuff. :-)

    Similar to what was mentioned above by edenist and Puck, I am constantly impressed at the masterful flourishes R* included to make GTA V a joy to play.

    to be honest, i quite enjoyed learning about their modelling/texturing process and the physics engine. As a fellow aspiring digital artist, this is a great way to show people how their work is done and exactly how hard it is to create games. they've barely skimmed the surface, but i already understand that all their work will probably lead to more knowledge and experience in game development.

    Each generation has has their own limitations, but this gives developers incentive to experiment and take on new challenges. it's a great way to develop new ways of advancing games. sure, you can go ahead and say to yourself ' i'm not going to push those boundaries because i don't need to since its just about game play and the basics of game feel', but that is not how aspiring developers should work. This video is clearly not targeted to Gamers who are not too bothered with the technique and quality of the work, and want to just play a good game, which i think is a fair call.

    it is always a learning process, and to say that it is shallow to go into the details of 'graphics' and 'physics engine', hey if you worked really hard on something wouldn't you like to show people how truly amazing your work is by showing you the process? by pointing out the subtleties? it may look unimportant now, but developments like this mean that we are creating and discovering things we haven't, to one day put them to good use.

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