GDC 07: Normal maps make Lair look good!

Mattias Worch, technical art director for Factor 5's upcoming PS3-exclusive Lair, recently spoke to GDC attendees about creating textures and normal maps in a next-gen environment. The very technically-oriented lecture can be effectively summarized as such: "Lair looked really crappy until we used normal maps. Now it looks really good. You should all use normal maps."

Developers were told how to use Photoshop to accentuate and restore detail from textures. Also, artists need to have a clear vision before making a single texture: "Unless you know what you want to do with a normal map beforehand, it'll look wrong."

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Twist964242d ago

I thought there was talk at E3 2005 that it was all 3D Rendered, and that Normal maps where 'last-gen'. Heh.

THWIP4242d ago

Sony wanted people to believe that the PS3 was capable of rendering every little detail, bump, hole, hair, etc., in real-time, and that such techniques wouldn't be necessary. I love how they try to make this out to be some big technological breakthrough, when the ORIGINAL XBOX did normal mapping in SEVERAL games. 'Chronicles of Riddick' was one of the first console games to ever use normal mapping, and that was 3 YEARS ago.

techie4242d ago

Did they say they weren't going to be using normal mapping as well? There's only so many polygons you can have, and noraml mapping can improve and increase this ten fold (or more). All next-gen consoles rely on this...and yes the xbox had it. This was a developers conference and this was a lecture for the Lair guys to show how things can be taken forward to aid future developers on all platforms. Jeez you guys.

THWIP4242d ago

Talking about normal mapping and it's advantages, at a Dev conference, is
like giving a lecture at a NASCAR convention, on the advantages of duct tape. In other words, if you don't already know about something that's been done FOR YEARS, you aren't an important player in the game.

It would have been more interesting and informative, if they'd shown some new tech, that ONLY the PS3 could pull off......but then again, no such thing exists. ;)

techie4242d ago (Edited 4242d ago )

Thwip. How do you know what's needed at a developers conference. This is just Lair guy sharing some advantages in normal mapping and how it has progressed to get new results. You're so cynical.

Do you think it's about knowing about normal mapping? Or knowing how to use it effectively? What's wrong with more knowledge and how to use things that produce real effective and impressive results? It's ONE of their hour lectures. Dang...

THWIP4242d ago

Because it's common sense, that's how. Anybody who's in the game dev business, and doesn't know about normal or bump mapping, has been in a cave for the past 5 years...period. Pretty much every next-gen game from the past couple years has used such a method. Hell, Id's John Carmack even came up with a quicker shortcut, called MegaTexture mapping, for rendering large detailed environments.

And,'s CYNICAL. :o

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 4242d ago
Twist964242d ago (Edited 4242d ago )

double post, sorry!

techie4242d ago

"Developers on next generation consoles such as the Xbox360 rely heavily on normal mapping"

PS360WII4242d ago (Edited 4242d ago )

Most of the time if one tries to go beyond it turns into a mess. The people for Liar realized this and took a step back to see how they can improve. Glad they did because this game look pretty sweet. Just rewatched the 2 min trailer from the Playstation store :)