Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0

Written by Tim Smalley

August 5, 2005 | 00:00

Tags: #chaos-theory #hdr #hl2 #lost-coast #montreal #patch #scct #shader-model-20 #shader-model-30 #sm11 #sm2 #sm20 #sm3 #splinter-cell #update

Companies: #ati #nvidia #ubisoft

All screen shots were taken at 1280x1024 0xAA 8xAF with all details enabled, including:
  • Specular Lighting
  • HDR Rendering
  • Tone Mapping
  • High Quality Soft Shadows
  • Hardware Shadow Mapping
  • Parallax Mapping
  • High-Quality Textures
  • Trilinear Filtering and
  • High Resolution Shadows.
These settings are for image quality comparison purposes only and don't necessarily represent playable settings inside the game.

We saved the images as High Quality JPEG images, with the compression set at 80% inside Adobe Photoshop. JPEG artifacts should be kept to a minimum at this setting, while keeping the file sizes relatively reasonable at the same time.

Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons
(click to enlarge to full size)

Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons
On the GeForce 7800 GTX (left), you can see that there's a generally higher range of dynamic light - there's a larger glow around Sam Fisher from the light that is above him, meaning that the contours of his face are more prominent than on the Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition (right). You can also see that the the glow that is being emitted from his headset has more bloom and flair.

Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons
(click to enlarge to full size)

Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons
In this instance, ATI have managed to get reasonably close to the image produced on NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GTX. As we have mentioned before High-Dynamic Range Rendering is possible with ATI's current hardware, but we had suspected that the colour range would not be as great as what could be achieved with a higher precision and colour depth. The lighting flair off the gate's lock is not massively different, but the reflections on the bars and wall behind are more vibrant on the GeForce 7800 GTX.

Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons
(click to enlarge to full size)

Splinter Cell:Chaos Theory with SM2.0 Side By Side Comparisons
The lighting in this scene is quite different, again we think this is down to the higher colour depth that is a part of the Shader Model 3.0 specification. There appear to be differences in the Parallax Mapping quality, but we are putting this down to the fact that the lighting on the GeForce 7800 GTX is of a greater intensity than what can be seen on the Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition. Basically, the more vibrant lighting complements the Parallax Mapping taking place on the surfaces in the arch making it look like there is a more detailed scene.
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