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Overview

The main men behind the development of this impressive engine is lead programmers and co-founders of 4A Games, Oles Shiskovtsov and Aleksandr Maksimchuk which previously worked with GSC Game World when they created S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Shadow of Chernobyl. Since the first details on the specs of the 4A Engine were reviled and what it was supposed to utilize in Metro 2033, speculations if this was even possible started to arise. But when the first footage of Metro 2033 appeared, these speculations disappeared and instead turned into admiration because of how incredible the game looked with the visual effects of the 4A Engine in full display.
 
The engine features full DirectX11 support and is one of the first engines to support this
While the engine does support PlayStation 3, Metro 2033 which the 4A engine was created for was only released on PC and Xbox 360.

Specs (full list)

Rendering

  • The gamma-correct, linear colour space renderer

  • High dynamic range rendering (HDR) Using floating-point buffers, allowing for tone mapping, exposure adaption, and blue shift, for camera/eye perceptual rendering

  • Advanced deferred shading - allows hundreds of lights in frame, in huge, complex scenes

  • All lighting is fully dynamic (including sun and skies), ability to use light-shaders, with dozens of special effects

  • Umbra and penumbra - Correct soft shadows, including shadows correctly curved on bumped surface. Shadows from semi-transparent objects like particles.

  • Weather and day/night model, including light scattering model and god-rays

  • Volumetric fogging and lighting, even in animated, non-constant density media

  • Global illumination effects and real-time reflective lights

  • Parallax occlusion maps and real (geometric) displacement mapping

  • Hierarchical per-pixel occlusion culling

  • Real-time colour correction, film grain and noise, correct depth of field

  • Velocity preserving motion-blur on a scene with millions of polygons and complex shading detail (including object blur)

  • Deferred reflections - allows a lot of planar real time reflections in a single frame, like water, glass, etc.

  • Ambient occlusion calculated on both the global scale (pre-calculated) and in real-time in screen space (SSAO)

  • In addition to standard MSAA, the engine features analytical anti-aliasing (AAA) and "deferred super-sampling" modes which have much lower impact on frame-rate, while correctly ant-ialiasing all surfaces and not just edges

  • Renderer is highly multi-threaded for multiple CPU cores.

  • Plus: per-pixel lighting, bumpy reflections and refractions, animated and detail textures, shiny surfaces, cosmetic damage using albedo and bump blending, soft particles, etc.

 

Physics

Powered by nVidia PhysX.
  • Tightly integrated into the content pipeline and the game itself, including physical materials on all surfaces, physically driven sound, physically driven animations

  • Rigid body and multi-jointed constructions. Breakable fences, walls , sheds and other objects. Thousands of different physical entities simulated per frame.

  • Cloth simulation, water physics (including cross-interactions)

  • Destruction and fracturing, physically based puzzles

  • Soft body physics on selected special game entities

  • On hardware-accelerated PhysX platforms engine implements full physically correct behaviour of particles such as smoke, debris, etc.

 

Audio

  • 3D sound positioning, spatialisation and attenuation

  • Sound path tracing and transfer approximation for correct occlusion and obstruction perceiving.

  • Reverb, low-pass/high-pass filtering, pitch shifting - all auto-calculated based on sound-path and adjustable by multi-layer environment zones, scripting or programmatically

  • Dynamically reconstructing audio graphs

  • OGG-vorbis compressed with adjustable quality, multi-threaded decompression

 

A.I. and gameplay

  • Deep story-driven experience, dynamic and remarkable missions

  • Different gameplay styles stealth/brutal, different combat settings

  • Group behaviour (including support for information sharing and creating dynamic groups of agents that act together)

  • Designer-friendly visual scripting system, enables designers to script levels and control advanced AI behaviours using the Flow-Graph visual scripting system, placing most AI gameplay control in their hands.

  • Efficient pathfinding for dynamic environment

  • Advanced 3D topology dynamic analysis

  • Virtual vision, hearing, "smelling" - realistic, believable and time and memory efficient implementation enables characters to sense objects in a natural way, depending on the object velocity, luminocity, etc.

  • Multi-threaded Animation system controlled via visual scripting and flow graph

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