OMIKRON

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OMIKRON by Quantic Dream

QUANTIC DREAM is a new video game development studio based in Paris, France. The first product we are working on at Quantic Dream is an Arcade/Adventure game in real time 3D, called Ā«OMIKRONĀ», produced by EIDOS. The aim of this page is to show you the way a video game is designed and developed, from the very beginning. We intend this site to be a sort of working journal wich you can consult regulary to watch how the game is coming along. You will be able to take a close look at a process that no other developer has ever showed you before.


Title : Omikron
Type : Arcade/Adventure game in real time 3D

Release Date : 31 October 1999

Platforms : PC (P133 - 16 Meg RAM - 4x CD-ROM) with Windows 95 - 3D Cards with Direct X - Network version - Playstation

Developper : Quantic Dream

Design Specs : Arcade/Adventure game, mixing a complex and original scenario with Arcade sequences, - Complete freedom within a city in real time 3D with passers-by and vehicles. - New Concept of "Virtual Reincarnation", - Real Time 3D Combat game in Motion Capture with incredible moves made by several Martial Art world champions, - Shooting scenes in real time 3D with spectacular action, - Game play based on "instant fun".

Technical Specifications : One of the best real time 3D engines available today (640x480, 65000 colors, Gouraud mapped, Exact mapping, real time lights and shadows, ...), - All the animations are performed through optical Motion Capture, - For the very first time in a video game, Facial Motion Capture in real time, - Day/Night cycles in real time.

OMIKRON is not a game. It's a new experience.


The Basic Concepts Behind Omikron

Omikron is a video game for PC CD ROM and Playstation. It is an arcade/ adventure game entirely in real time textured 3D. The basic concept is the creation of a 3D universe in which the player is completely free to move around as he or she likes.
The game takes place in a parallel universe, in a city covered by a crystal dome. The city is called Omikron. The player is completely free to move around within Omikron, both in the streets as well as inside the buildings. The player can talk to the people of the city, fight in 3D (with bare hands, or with a laser gun). He can also drive anti-gravity vehicles. The game will be a full-fledged combat game (like Tekken 2) within an adventure game.
The other leading concept of Omikron is Virtual Reincarnation: the story line entails having the player place his or her soul into the body of someone in Omikron; this allows the player to move around the city. Whenever this body dies (in combat, for example), the player's soul is transferred into the body of the first person who touches the dead body.
The main results of this are:
- it is possible to play the role of different types of characters within a single game. As with any combat game, the player must adapt to the characteristics of the new body, and develop them to the best advantage.
- the player's actions have real consequences (he can't simply back up if he dies, but must continue the adventure within a new body).


Challenges

In a game such as this, where our aim is to give total freedom to the player, there are several challenges we have to meet:
- in terms of the game's structure. Rather than trying to predict everything that a player might do (which would be very hard to do, if not impossible, in a 3d universe with no restrictions), we start from a completely different principle. Because we have developed an adventure management program (called IAM, Intelligent Adventure Manager), we will be able to do two things: we can offer problems for the player to solve, and we can also offer the means to solve them. IAM doesn't require us to program a solution to each problem, it only watches out to make sure that every problem does have a solution. For example, if the player has to go into a room, he can try to find the key, or he might have some dynamite and try to blow up the door, or he may have a teleportation power that allows entry into the room without opening the door. In this way, players will have a chance to come up with solutions that we haven't even thought of. This offers the possibility of a non-linear story line (the options are open) and avoids getting the player stuck in situations from where there is no escape.
- the leading priority will be the Game Play. Too many products are out there to show off new technology and pretty pictures. Our objective is clear: the Game Play is the focus of our work. But 3D games present especially complex problems, and we need to invent new bases for a 3D game play.


Technical

The game is intended for Pentium 133 with 16 MB RAM with a 4x CD-ROM (minimum configuration) under Windows 95 and DirectX (DOS and OS/2 versions are also considered). The game will have its own 3D soft engine (the screenshots shown on this site are from the software version).
There will be also a version for 3D cards (Direct X and 3DFX), a network version allowing several player to share the same adventure on the Internet.
Omikron is also developped for Playstation.

The game is expected for release in October 98.


The software 3D engine in Omikron is the fruit of more than a year's labor. It incorporates a large number of state of the art 3D techniques.

Here we list some of these:

- 3D real time engine, SVGA, 16 bit (65000 colors) True Color, running in Windows 95,
- Compatibility with 3D cards under Direct 3D (3DFX and Power VR, especially),
- Engine written in Assembler and C,
- Painter Back to Front and Front to Back rendering,
- 3D engine controlling the indoor and outdoor spaces,
- Gouraud mapped rendering,
- Z-mapping (exact mapping),
- Character in stretched faces,
- System of sorting of faces with BSP Tree,
- System of collisions with high precision,
- Management of animations by rotation and by morph in Motion Blending,
- Multilights,
- Transparency/Opacity,
- Flat/Gouraud Fog,
- System of dynamic data loading,
- Direct integration of Motion Capture animations,
- Motion Capture on character faces in real time, interlaced with voices.



Technical Challenges

Omikron offers a certain number of technical challenges that were resolved during the pre-production phase. Managing an entire city in real time, effecting transitions between Interior and Exterior settings, integrating Motion Capture animations, creating a dynamic system of data loading in order to eliminate loading time - these are just a few of the original techniques required for Omikron.

Source: Quantic Dream

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OMIKRON by Quantic Dream Friday, November 15, 1996
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