Remedy Entertainment showed some new Alan Wake footage at the Intel Developer Forum 2006. You can find a lot of links to video, news and interviews over at Evil Avatar. For some reason, I was unable to play the streaming video using Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, but I found a more convenient video over at Xboxyde.
It looks very, very nice. It will be interesting to see how they deal with the uncanny valley, and what the gameplay and story will be like.
Alan Wake was demoed during Paul Otellini’s keynote on an overclocked Core 2 Quad system running at 3.73GHz, mainly because the game itself is significantly multithreaded and could take advantage of the quad-core system. While development is still continuing on the forthcoming game, we did get some insight into exactly how Alan Wake will utilize multiple cores.
Surprisingly enough, Markus indicated that Alan Wake would pretty much not run on any single core processors, although it may be possible to run on single-core Pentium 4 processors with Hyper Threading enabled, with noticably reduced image quality/experience.
The game will actually spawn five independent threads: one for rendering, audio, streaming, physics and terrain tessellation. The rendering thread is the same as it would be in any game, simply preparing vertices and data to be sent to the GPU for rendering. The audio thread will obviously be used for all audio in the game, although Remedy indicates that it is far from a CPU intensive thread.
The streaming thread will be used to stream data off of the DVD or hard disk as well as decompress the data on the fly. Remedy’s goal here is to have a completely seamless transition as you move from one area to the next in Alan Wake’s 36 square mile environment, without loading screens/pauses. With Alan Wake being developed simultaneously for both the Xbox 360 and the PC, efficiency is quite high as developing for a console forces a developer to be much more focused than on a PC since you are given limited resources on a console. Markus admitted that being a PC-only developer can easily lead to laziness, and developing for the 360 has improved the efficiency of Alan Wake tremendously. With that said, Markus expects the visual and gameplay experience to be identical on the Xbox 360 and the PC when Alan Wake ships, hopefully without any in-game load screens.