Multi-core processors have become mainstream in the PC industry, and many classes of software applications like multimedia encoding and 3D rendering already benefit from the added processing power.
The game industry is also evolving toward threaded games and game engines. The latest-generation game consoles (Microsoft* XBOX* 360, Sony* PlayStation* 3) also feature multi-core processors. Current games like Quake*4, Call of Duty* 2 and Splinter Cell* Double Agent already have threaded game engines. And upcoming games such as Unreal Tournament* 2007 (Based on the Unreal* 3 engine) are expected to feature threaded engines.
To demonstrate how threaded games and game engines will benefit from multi-core processors, Intel worked with Futuremark* to create the game engine technology demo - Ice Storm Fighters.
Today, we're making the game available for free here at ICF. To learn more about this demo and where you can download it, click Next.
Ice Storm Fighters is based on a multi-threaded game engine developed by Futuremark*, makers of the 3DMark* and PCMark* series of benchmarks. The Ice Storm Fighters game engine technology demo features
Artificial Intelligence (AI) : Uses the Co-operative Optimizing Planner (COP) algorithms to determine movement paths for the game units. Each unit takes into account the objective, the location, positions of other units, physical obstacles etc. before determining the path.
Physics using PhysX* API physics engine and custom physics code, which enables
Characters with individually modeled body parts for more life-like features
Advanced physics modeling of missile contrails, smoke and other particle effects
Calculates thrust, gravity, acceleration of the hovercraft
Improved decal modeling of explosions and footprints in the snow
The objective in Ice Storm Fighters is pretty simple: blow up the bad guys. In this demo, that takes the form of destroying enemy "mechs." It also involves the presence of both friendly and unfriendly hovercraft as supporting characters.
Let 'er Rip
Ice Storm Fighters is based on a multi-threaded game engine, and its performance scales with the number of processor cores as well as other PC platform components. Using a technique called "n-number threading," the Ice Storm Fighters game engine will generate as many threads as there are CPU cores present on the system.
Ice Storm Fighters is intended to be a forward-looking game engine technology demo for Intel platforms. Here are the system requirements:
CPU: Intel® Core™ 2 Extreme QX6700 or Intel® Core™ 2 Quad Q6600 processorQuad-Core CPU for “Demo-high” mode features & capabilities, dual-core Intel CPU for “Demo-low” mode features & capabilities
Graphics Card: Support DirectX* 9.0 Shader Model 3 required. nVidia* geForce* 6 series (minimum), 7 series (recommended), ATI* Radeon* 1650 or higher
Memory: 1GB or higher
You can launch either the demo to just watch the mayhem unfold, or you can play the game and jump right into the fray. If you're running the demo, after you launch Ice Storm Fighters, you can:
Choose "Demo-High" if the system has a quad core CPU
Choose "Demo-Low" if the system has a dual core CPU
If you're ready to get your game on, once you kick off the Ice Storm Fighters game, you can choose:
Choose "Game-High" if the system has a quad core CPU
Choose "Game-Low" if the system has a dual core CPU
Notice at the outset of the demo that the snow surface looks fresh. It won't stay this way for long.
You can interactively control the number of threads in flight. The 1, 2, 3, and 4 keys will enable/disable CPU cores if you're running a quad-core system. You'll notice that the frame rate slows down noticeably when you run Demo-High on only two cores.
The workload can also be controlled by increasing or decreasing the number of hovercraft. Additional hovercraft means leads to increased AI (determining their direction of movement) and physics (torque, acceleration) processing. Increasing the number of hovercraft increases the computational load and decreases FPS and vice-versa. The "F3" key increases the number of hovercraft units, and the "F4" key decreases the number of hovercraft units
Here's a summary of the available key commands:
Observe the fired missiles. the motion of the missiles includes detailed physics calculations and includes factors such as gravity, speed, direction, angle etc.. The condensation trails (i.e. emitted smoke) are also modeled with in-depth physics calculations.
Ice Storm Fighters also maintains an extended list of decals, which include the marks left by missiles and lasers as well as the footprints created by the movement of the mechs. In a typical game, as new marks occur the decal buffers are overwritten. Ice Storm Fighters maintains an extended decal list.
Demo-Low has fewer hovercraft, which decreases the AI and Physics workloads. In addition, it has simpler smoke and particle effects for the missiles, and maintains fewer decals. These changes lower the computational workload to enable Ice Storm Fighters to run smoothly on a dual core system.
Come and Get It
Ready to give Ice Storm Fighters a try? Click the image below to download it to your system. After you've played with it a bit, head over to our Forums and let us know what you think. It's a good idea to print this article as a reference to have handy when you're playing the game. If you're having any trouble running Ice Storm Fighters, post in our forums, and we'll figure out the problem.
To download, click on the image below, then save the Ice Storm Fighters ZIP file to your hard-drive.
* Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others
Source:Ice Storm Fighters Game Technology Demo