Shattered Horizon hands-on test: Futuremark's space shooter requires DirectX 10 graphics card
At the Gamescom Futuremark presented the space shooter Shattered Horizon. Special features: Battles take place with zero gravity and the minimum specs is a DirectX 10 graphics card.
Up to now Futuremark has always been known for developing benchmarks but now the company wants to break into the gaming market as well with its first game Shattered Horizon. After last year's announcement we have only seen some screenshots so far and heard of plans about a beta. Now at the Gamescom Futuremark presented a new version of Shattered Horizon which we could test.
Shattered Horizon: Release, Beta, price
Shattered Horizon is a PC-exclusive game, release is planned for end of 2009 provided that the feedback after the beta phase is positive. The beta will probably start end of August/early September and 2,000 players will compete. Up to 32 people can play on a map. The beta contains three levels with different challenges (caves, tunnels, earth stations and the reproduction of the original ISS) as well as three typical MP modes.
Shattered Horizon is a pure multiplayer game and will be available via Steam. Therefore Futuremark plans a reasonable price which will be considerably lower than a full price title. Cooperating with Steam will also make it pretty easy to find willing and likeminded players.
Shattered Horizon: DirectX 10-only, Vantage Engine
As we already reported Futuremark now officially announced that Shattered Horizon will be one of the few games that requires a DirectX 10 graphics card and Windows Vista respectively. But according to Futuremark Shattered Horizons shall run under Windows 7 as well. During our hands-on test with 30-40 fps the game run fluently. A Geforce 8800 GT might be enough to play Shattered Horizon without stuttering.
The game is based upon the Engine of the 3D Mark Vantage which had to be completely overhauled of course. Futuremark is intensively working on shadows which play an important role due to the "hard” light in space. Physx will be the basic physics engine.
Shattered Horizon: Challenging level design, simple game mechanics
Players will have zero gravity which considerably affects mobility. With the WASD keys you move forward, backwards and sidewards. Jumping means going up, with ducking you move downwards. With the jetpack turbo you move faster and you will even be able to "dock on” rocks or space stations for avoiding zero gravity for a short time.
Futuremark will keep the game mechanics rather simple. Only one weapon is available which has three modes: close combat (MG), middle distance battles (granates) and long-range combat (sniper). The granate arsenal offers EMP, ice granate and a teleporter. The weapon also offers status display.
Shattered Horizon: Graphcis
The blue shimmering planet Earth in the background, many hiding places in caves, the hard sunlight - illumination in Shattered Horizon is very demanding. During demonstrating the game on a notebook with a Geforce 8600, Futuremark did not turn on maximum details but graphics were convincing most of the times. Shattered Horizon looks much better than on last year's Games Convention in Leipzig due to detail textures, SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion) and adaptive Tone Mapping.
Shattered Horizon: Hands-on test
Futuremark promises an easy handling but it will take time until sideward strafing, acceleration, floating and docking will be easy for players. Also aiming and the FOV are different. However, we had much fun during our trip to the moon and Shattered Horizon with 32 players will be a breathtaking experience.
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