Risen: Screenshots, technical details and performance evaluation
Piranha Bytes sent us a preview version of the RPG Risen. PC Games Hardware took some screenshots and offers an estimation of the performance.
In Risen, the new role-playing game of the Gothic makers Piranha Bytes, you once again play a nameless hero - this time you are shipwrecked. On the Island of Faranga you can side with either the Inquisition or the rebels.
Risen: Engine details
Risen is realized with a new DirectX 9 engine that has been programmed almost completely from scratch and bears a lot of resemblance to the Genome Engine of Gothic 3. Render techniques like enhanced Depth of Field, Screen Space Ambient Occlusion, Cascade Shadow Mapping plus Soft Shadows as well as FP16 HDR Rendering including adaptive tone Mapping and new water shaders bring the graphics to a level noticeably higher than Gothic. The HDR is one of the reasons why Risen does not officially support Anti Aliasing.
A single Thread, or ideally a single CPU core, is responsible for the newly developed Seamless World Streaming System and therefore the framerate in Risen is only lowered a little if the system is streaming and the game doesn't lag as much as Gothic 3 did. According to the Windows task manager Risen uses two or three cores most of the time, sometimes even four. Some of that workload is caused by Nvidia's Physx Engine since Risen uses the CPU calculated version and not GPU Physx.
Risen: Performance evaluation of the preview version
For our test system with a Core 2 Extreme C2E QX6850 (4x 3.0 GHz) with 4 GiByte DDE2-1066 RAM and a Geforce GTX 285/1G Risen wasn't a big challenge even though our preview version has not been optimized yet: With maximal details, 16:1 High Quality Anisotropic Filtering at a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, Risen was running almost completely at 25 to 30 fps. When the system was streaming, the framerate temporarily dropped below 20 fps in some cases, while the game was running at more than 50 frames per second when we were inside a dungeon. Lowering the resolution didn't result in a real performance benefit, but if the processor was running at 2.0 GHz instead of 3.0 GHz the framerate was lowered noticeably - so apparently Risen is just as CPU limited as Gothic, although the game will most likely be optimized before the final release.
Risen is scheduled for release on October 2, 2009 and will be published for PC and Xbox 360.