|MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Friday, 24 September 2010|
Page 14 of 19
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Test Results
The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfolds shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl. Having discovered about the open path to the Zone center, the government decides to hold a large-scale military "Fairway" operation aimed to take the CNPP under control. According to the operation's plan, the first military group is to conduct an air scouting of the territory to map out the detailed layouts of anomalous fields location. Thereafter, making use of the maps, the main military forces are to be dispatched. Despite thorough preparations, the operation fails. Most of the avant-garde helicopters crash. In order to collect information on reasons behind the operation failure, Ukraine's Security Service sends their agent into the Zone center.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: CoP is developed on X-Ray game engine v.1.6, and implements several ambient occlusion (AO) techniques including one that AMD has developed. AMD's AO technique is optimized to run on efficiently on Direct3D11 hardware. It has been chosen by a number of games (e.g. BattleForge, HAWX, and the new Aliens vs. Predator) for the distinct effect in it adds to the final rendered images. This AO technique is called HDAO which stands for ‘High Definition Ambient Occlusion' because it picks up occlusions from fine details in normal maps.
Once we turn on DirectX 11 with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: CoP, we're left with only the latest GPUs to test with. No more GT200 cards, which had trouble handling the DX10 features in this game anyways. In this case, the GTX460 doesn't jump to the head of the class like it did with Unigine's heaven 2.0, primarily because there isn't as much emphasis on tessellation here. The primary influence on the overall graphics design seems to be the features introduced in DirectX 10 and 10.1, namely SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion).
"Shadows" is the first thing that comes to my mind when trying to think of words to describe the scenes in this gloomy adventure. While tessellation seems to help emphasize the height dimension, i.e. large scale textures, SSAO plays in the shadows, where the dimensions are relatively flat. They are both required in order to enhance realism, but between Heaven and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: CoP, each of these two games/benchmarks emphasizes one over the other. Fermi may be "DX11 Done Right", but I think there is still some work for NVIDIA to do on optimizing their H/W and S/W for DX10 code.
Our next benchmark of the series is not for the faint of heart. Lions and Tigers - OK, fine. Guys with guns - I can deal with that. But those nasty little spiders......NOOOOOO! How did I get stuck in the middle of a deadly fight between Aliens vs. Predator anyway? Check out the results from our newest DirectX11 benchmark in the next section.