GDC: More details on Ubi's RTS R.U.S.E.

Breaking the billion-polygon barrier.

bisoft has demoed its new real-time strategy game for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, titled R.U.S.E., at GDC. The first info on the game appeared yesterday.

As we reported then, it's been optimised for the Intel Core i7 processor, which would explain why the game was shown off for the first time at Intel's GDC booth. R.U.S.E. is being built from the ground up using the new Iris Zoom engine. That means you can transition smoothly from a birds-eye view right into the heat of battle.

The press release promises "the most immense and detailed maps ever seen in an RTS". Gameplay is all about bluffing, apparently, and "players use their brain as the ultimate weapon" to deceive and mislead their enemies.

"RTS is a genre which has scarcely changed in 15 to 20 years, so we really wanted to bring something new," said the Ubisoft chap demoing the game.

The Intel man said, "It's a game that looks real but also acts real," adding, "It's truly the adrenaline that pumps through our hardware."

R.U.S.E. will take full advantage of multi-core processors, with dedicated threads for AI, rendering, audio and work allocation. "This translates into a much better end-user experience and better performance," said Mr Ubi.

New innovations in technology mean there are up to a billion polygons to map. That makes for "an unprecedented level of realism", but also a different type of gameplay experience, apparently.

The demo of the single-player game began with a camera sweep over a vast, highly detailed landscape of fields, woods and mountains. Then enemy and allied units were shown in red and blue, and a voiceover provided intel about what the player needed to achieve first - specifically, attack the enemy's anti-air units with tanks.

But that would attract the attention of nearby panzer units, so the player used a ruse, do you see, to make himself invisible. "At this stage in the game you have just two ruses to choose from, but in the final game there will be 10," said the Ubi man.

He then demonstrated how you can start out looking at the map as if you're in a commander's office, and it's spread out on a table. Then you can zoom directly in, close enough to follow a torpedo as it heads for a specific target.

The environments certainly had loads of detail and there were some impressive special effects. In fact, "No other game can achieve this mix of huge scale and high level of detail," said Captain Ubi.

So how do they fit 1 billion polygons in? It's all about streaming data, apparently, and taking the best advantage of multi-core processors. If you watch your PC's performance meter, you'll see that all eight cores are running at 100 per cent.

Other gameplay features unveiled included the option to use intel to find out where your enemies are planning to attack from. This means you can set up ambushes, said to be "really fun in multiplayer". You can also expect "user-friendly interfaces" so you don't have to be an expert RTS player to win battles.

And that's all they're saying for now, apart from the fact R.U.S.E. is being released in the next financial year - in other words, by April 2010.

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