Trinigy Engine with DirectX 11: That's what future RPGs and strategy titles might look like - Update: Video
The Trinigy Engine is one of the first game architectures that utilize DirectX 11 features. PC Games Hardware shows exclusive screenshots from a tech demo and thus gives a preview on what game graphics of the future might look like.
Original article: November 3, 2009
With DirectX 11 PC games are supposed to beat the console ports again. Battleforge for example did at least offer performance benefits when AMD's DirectX 11 graphics cards were launched in form of the HD 5800 series. In early November Stalker: Call of Pripyat will be released in several countries and the action game will offer DirectX 11 features, too. Next in the DX 11 line is Dirt 2 which is scheduled for early December.
But the engine developers are not lazy either. PC Games Hardware already introduced the DirectX 11 compatible Unigine Engine and since version 7.6 Trinigy supports the new API, too. Trinigy is also the name of the company that develops the engine and is based in Austin, Texas as well as Enningen, Germany. The Trinigy Engine is used in a lot of strategy, racing, role-playing and MMO games. More than 100 titles are based on the architecture.
PC Games Hardware talked to Trinigy's Florian Born about the capabilities of the Trinigy Engine. For demonstration purposes Trinigy developed a tech demo that is shown to possible customers. The demo shows a nicely lighted city scene as it could be found in a typical role-playing game. The following technical features are worth mentioning:
• Deferred shading with depth of field
• Screen Space Ambient Occlusion
• Parallax Mapping
• Glow/Bloom/Tone Mapping
• Dynamic Cascaded Soft Shadows for Time of Day
All those features are also available in the DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 versions of the Trinigy Engine. A specific DirectX 11 feature is a special Soft Shadows technology that is called "contact hardening shadows”. This technique makes use of the fact that the GPU can, with DirectX 11 respectively Shader Model 5.0, take a whole area of pixels from a texture and apply a complex filter. Thus it is possible to realize softer dynamic shadows at a good performance level.
According to Florian Born the Trinigy engine does not yet support Hardware Tessellation, but this feature is one of the first on the to-do list. The implementation is said to be rather easy, but typically needs specially made artworks. It is possible to use existing artworks with Normal/Parallax Mapping but in this case the level geometry might split open. This happens because the surface structure is not simulated with an optical illusion - as it is the case with "classic” Normal/Parallax Mapping - but realized as real geometry.
Update: November 4, 2009
In the meantime Trinigy gave us a video that we uploaded to our Youtube channel. It shows scenes from the mentioned tech demo with DirectX 11 features like soft shadows that are calculated by "contact hardening shadows”. According to Trinigy there already are customers developing games with the DirectX 11 version of the Trinigy engine, but since those titles have not been announced yet, it is not possible to reveal any names.
In our gallery you can find several pictures from the DirectX 11 compatible version of the Trinigy tech demo that have been taken on a Radeon HD 5800. Furthermore there are screenshots of games that are based on the Trinigy Engine. Could you imagine what the graphics of future role-playing and strategy games might look like with this technology? Tell us in the comments.