Lost Planet 2 Performance Previewccokeman - August 22, 2010
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Published by Capcom, Lost Planet 2 is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition and uses the MT Framework 2.0 engine. The story line takes place on the fictional planet E.D.N. III some 10 years after the events of the first game. This time, the snow cover is gone and has been replaced by a tropical landscape. With this new rendition of the game comes the ability to run it using either DirectX 9 or 11. Along with this ability comes the chance to use that new DX 11 hardware to effect. DX11 features in this game include tessellation, displacement mapping on water, bosses and player characters, soft body compute shaders on “Boss” characters, and wave simulation by way of DirectCompute. This gives you smoke that is lifelike and reacts to inputs, water that looks and reacts how you would expect it to in a "real life" situation, and "Boss" characters rendered with more depth and detail. If the latest graphics quality settings are not enough, NVIDIA has included support behind this game for both 3D Vision and 3D Vision Surround, which gives you 3D effects over multiple screens. There is no better way to see how a game will perform than to test it out. Capcom has made this easy with a downloadable benchmark that we will be using to test out a cross section of today's currently available performance video cards.
If you have ever wondered what DX 11 does for you, you can get an idea of how things such as tessellation, displacement mapping, DirectCompute soft body simulation, and DirectCompute wave simulation change the overall appearance of a game, providing more depth and a richer, meatier feel to environments. If you compare these two sets of screen shots of an Akrid "Boss", you can see how the use of tessellation, coupled with displacement mapping and DirectCompute body simulation, increases the girth of the creature and gives it more "depth." DirectX 9 is on the left, while DirectX 11 is on the right.
Next, we'll take a look at how water reacts with both DirectX 9 and DirectX 11. Looking at how the water reacts when shot in the DirectX 9 screen shot shows that you get a small reaction, but overall it looks like you dropped a small pebble in a pond - it looks flat, without any character. The same screen shot in DirectX 11 shows a significant shock wave, as well as secondary motion in the water. This is done through a wave simulation algorithm on the GPU using DirectCompute shaders. The second set of images shows how water reacts to impacts and stationary objects.
So what does this talk about wave simulation, tessellation, DirectCompute and soft body simulation add up to when it comes to gaming performance? In the end, that's what will help make up your mind as to which card to purchase when it comes time to get your game on. Let's look at how the latest ATI and NVIDIA games fare in this benchmark demo.