Square’s “photo realistic” Luminous tech demoed

Wednesday, 12th October 2011 23:05 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Square Enix finally took the wrappers off its next big thing, the Luminous engine, over the weekend.

The proprietary tech was shown off at a Japanese event reported by GameWatch and deciphered by Edge.

The in-house only engine is touted as “photo realistic”, and Square announced several new features to this end, including cloth and fluid simulation, realtime reflections and new tessellation techniques; according to Edge, that last one means a higher level of detail on 3D models without blowing up memory usage. Edge has a small gallery of images showing off the lighting effects and detail in side-by-side comparisons with real world source images.

Luminous is also set to support motion capture-informed procedural animation. Drawing on a database of information, the engine will apparently be able to automate a number of tasks by independently calculating changes in movement as parameters are adjusted. Thus, if an artist changes one part of a character model – repositioning the arms – the rest of the body will adjust to match; a heavier weapon will produce a different animation to a lighter one; and walking animations react to terrain types.

On the non-graphical side, Square Enix is promising advanced, scalable AI support. Luminous was first detailed in August, with Square Enix promising native DirectX 11 support and programmable shaders. No games based wholly on the new engine have been announced, but some parts of the tech are used in the upcoming Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Square Enix has hinted that the engine will be compatible with current gen hardware.



  1. Brenna Hillier

    I’ve updated with a correction; Final Fantasy Versus XIII uses some Luminous Elements. Thanks Erren!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Ireland Michael

    All the fancy graphics in the world won’t change the fact that you haven’t created a single high quality next gen title in the last five years, Square.

    Maybe you might want to realise that your focus is in the wrong place…

    Hint: It’s not the graphics.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Anders

    It saddens me that I’d rather watch these screenshots than play any of Square Enix recent eastern developed titles.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Talkar

    Deus Ex: Human Revolution? xD

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Ireland Michael

    @4 Published by Square, not developed. Eidos are the ones who get the credit for that one.

    But I think Deus Ex is a terrible game anyway, so it doesn’t really matter who developed it.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Aimless

    I think it’s great that Japanese companies are keeping an eye on the technological horizon. Hopefully many of them will have more of a handle of things when the next generation rolls around, as clearly many studios didn’t have their developmental affairs in order at the start of the current one; luckily I suspect the next transition won’t be as harsh, the last one having brought so many challenges — HD, online, multi-threading, etc — at once.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Kingdom_Key

    @#3 Neir would like to have a word with you. It amazes me how people rag on Square for putting out games that have excellent graphics with little substance, and Neir comes out and the graphics aren’t that hot but everything else is (music, story, characters, gameplay), they rag on Neir cuz it has “Last gen visuals”.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. HauntaVirus

    Good point.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    @7 Nier was a great soundtrack with weak gameplay. It’s story is a bit of a mess too.

    The graphics for the game never factored into it in the slightest for me.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    Yeah Neir was pretty awful ignoring the dated graphics. I almost felt I was playing a Asian MMO without other people at certain points with a horrible story attached.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Freek

    That’s a kick ass empty room you have their Square, sums up your games quite nicely….

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Bluebird

    9, 10: Eh? You must have played a different Nier. The one I played was fantastic in terms of story, characters and music. :)

    #12 3 years ago
  13. manamana

    @11 Though I’ve loled quite good, check out the images on Edge. They’re obviously lame, but from a photographers perspective I can tell you, they nailed the lighting/bounce lighting pretty good….

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Blerk

    Nier wasn’t developed by SquareEnix either, it was only published by them. Cavia did the deed there.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Kingdom_Key

    @9 and 10: Neir had great gameplay, the only reason people complained about it was because it lacked lock-on buttons. Believe me, I read alot about the complaints when the game came out and the people who complained about the gameplay claimed it was dated only because it lacked lock on controls, which IMO really are just as bad as QTEs as they allow the game to play itself, while you constantly mash attack. The gameplay was tight and once you got used to not having lock on, more fun.

    @#14 But alas nothing I said really matters because as this man says Cavia developed Nier. I’d forgotten all about poor Cavia, and now that their gone we will probably never see another game from Drakengard’s world.

    @Ireland Michael: While FFXIII wasn’t the best Final Fantasy, it was still a quality game, even during the 20 hour tutorial part. The technical aspects were rarely ever less than top knotch. People complain about the linearity of XIII yet ate it up when X was released. While not my favorite FF, I can appreciate it for what it was, a good game.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Ireland Michael

    @15 The lock-on had nothing to do with it either. It had some nice ideas, but mechanically the combat was incredible dull and depressingly skill-less.

    There were many other problems with the game, not the least of which was the horrible length padding that was the constant back and forth trekking between locations for the most meanial of tasks.

    Kaine killed it for me. She was a giant, raging stereotype, with a design that screams fan-service. It was horrible. I couldn’t take the plot seriously with her in it.

    Re: FFX, while it had a great battle system, was one of the worst in the series in every other regard. The linear and drawn out nature of some sections was, quite frankly, depressing. The story was decent in some places, but Tidus is horrible in every regard as well.

    FFXIII had terrible characters and a terrible story. Even when the game opened up, it was largely meaningless, because there was so little to do in the overworld anyway.

    The combat system had some nice idea, but the fact that they couldn’t even design it in a such a way that it couldn’t be played without locking away your abilities until you reached a certain point is a colossal case of shitty game design.

    It’s the only Final Fantasy I’ve ever traded in. Even over FFX-2.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Gadzooks!

    Nier was a bit clunky but overall it was superb. It had a depth and charm that is missing from too many games these days. Plus some of the best boss fights ever.

    Right up there with Resonance of Fate as sleeper hit of the year for me.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Kingdom_Key

    @Ireland Michael: Ok I’ll just agree to disagree.
    PS: X-2 (ignoring the story which wasn’t that bad even with blatant Fan-service) had the BEST battle-system of all the games IMO:P

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Ireland Michael

    @18 Yeah, it’s kinda funny really. Despite the horrible art design and the Charles Angela Final Fantasy crap, X-2 actually had an extremely solid battle system at its core.

    #19 3 years ago

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