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Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain - Kojima speaks

Hideo Kojima announced Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain during his GDC session today. VG247's Stephany Nunneley sat in on the reveal as well as the FOX Engine discussion. It's all below.

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Metal Gear Solid 5

Kojima is joined today by CG art director Jideki Sasaki, technical director Junji Tago, and lighting artist Masayuki Suzuki.

The session: "Photorealism through the eyes of a "FOX": The Core of Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes" discussed how the team uses cameras and 3DS scanners to create realistic, yet artistic images using its new engine.

The session started off with Kojima showing up with his face wrapped in bandages, and then a new video for The Phantom Pain being shown. Kojima's name was shown in the trailer. So the rumors were true - as if there were any doubt.

Metal Gears Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is an open world game. The title was flashed across the screen. Kojima said that Metal Gear Ground Zeroes mixed with The Phantom Pain is Metal Gear Solid 5.

Snake wakes up from a 9 year coma. He has lost a lot of his abilities - and a great evil has escaped. He must get out of the hospital he has been languishing in for close to a decade.

Kiefer Sutherland's voice comes from Snake's companion, and encourages Snake to move along to safety. But he is weak and must crawl through the hospital corridors to escape. The guy in front of him is crouched and you can see his bare ass sticking out of the hospital gown a bit. Everyone laughed.

They are trying to reach the elevator - and once there a lady rises up from the floor into the ceiling. An explosion occurs.

Both men are lying on the floor when a man in a trench coat and possibly horns comes out of the fire menacingly before disappearing. Surely, Metal Gear fans know who these people are. I don't.

The two head for the emergency stairs. Snake is still suffering from muscle atrophy so he is still crawling, laboriously. After a while, he can finally stand, and upon his being able to stand, the demonstration ended.

After that ordeal, Snake can now walk around in the open world, freely.

All gameplay was shown running on PC.

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The FOX Engine and photorealism

The engine discussion started off with asset creation, with Hideki Sasaki, revisiting the "what is real and what is Fox" subject, ans showed the photos the team released a while back. He showed the conference room photo, and explained how it was created.

He talked about Linear Space and Physically Based Diffuse reflection, as well as non-linear approximation of reflectance. Sasaki showed how Snake could be rendered into the Kojima Productions conference room, showed shots of clothes and leaves - one in FOX and one in life. The asset creators can us photos like these to make sure textures are shaping up.

Sasaki also showed a picture of a male child who was scanned with a 3D scanner, and the bust of an older man, which was based on a plaster sculpture of an actor. Each were then rendered into the engine.

The bust, is of a character in the game who is supposed to hundreds of years old. While they can't show the finished product, they did show how they can scan an object into the engine, and how it can provide detail such as wrinkles, pores, and other flaws.

Photoscanning can automatically render textures, according to Sasaki. Rocks and tree trunks look rather "real". Like Snake's leather jacket in the Metal Gear Solid 5 video we just watched.

Now they are talking about linear workflow. This deals with gama decoding, rendering, monitor output, and how linear workflow is "lighter" and non-leaner is "darker" when comparing the same room with dim lighting. It increases brightness by a factor of 0.1.

Linear textures are now being discussed - how a high rendering index is better for color, and how to eliminate light and shadows.

All very techy stuff, like dependent roughness and how it related to angles, and views. Light is created using real-world parameters. To demonstrate this, a clip of Snake running through a camp of sorts was shown, and how the light changes as he does. The demo of the lighting tech was similar to the sun moving across the sky.

Exposure, focal length, aperture, shutter speed - all of this is important. Obvious items like blur, motion blur, flares, and color correction are a big part of it. To show how focal length changes on where the camera focus is, etc. Like with real camera's only with FOX.

Now, they are discussing how FOX uses deferred rendering in order to support a large number of lights and keep a consistent look to the characters and environment to make it look more immersed. It's all about light, kids.

Deferred rending only supports a single lighting model, but they can tweak the G-Buffer to implement various shaders - such as with the creation of human eyes and using anisotropic specular - which causes things to look "real".

Ambient Lighting helps with weather and time of day effects. To show how this can be accomplished when cube mapping, they showed last year's MGS: Ground Zeroes trailer - which took place at night, and changed it to daytime. Nothing broke down, only the lighting changed - not the visuals.

That was pretty impressive really - the wind blowing through Snake's hair, his shadows. Very "real" looking - or photorealistic if you will.

In order to accomplish the various textures and how real-world light applies, real world items were brought in to test, and actors were tested under various lighting options.

Realism shouldn't always be the end goal - but accuracy is the most important part. To reproduce it you have to study it.

Around the end of the presentation, it was announced that Kojima Productions LA is now official, and the logo is the same of Kojima Productions, only red instead of orange - this the Red Fox moniker.

"Our mission is to become the top creative development studio in the world," read a portion of the firm's mission statement.

And with that, the session was over, a short Q&A commenced, and my laptop battery died.

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