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Metal Gear Solid 5's Fox Engine in pictures


Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain was the big news for Joystiq readers to come out of the Kojima Productions panel at GDC, but the studio also had a lot to say about the engine that powers the game, the Fox Engine. The talk involved a lot of technical terms we won't pretend to understand (linear workflow, something about "light probes"), but the pictures speak for themselves.

Fox Engine allows for some impressive visuals, fueled by some interesting technology. One key component is the ability to scan real-life objects or take pictures of them to easily create in-game models and textures. Kojima Productions created an in-engine mock-up of its own studio conference room, and the result was eerily similar to the real thing. Using an array of cameras, the studio was able to fully scan a little boy into the Fox Engine with surprising fidelity and drop him right inside the virtual conference room alongside Snake and an enemy soldier.

Gallery: Fox Engine panel (GDC 2013) | 43 Photos

Even more impressive was the image of an old man, which was created by sculpting a clay model of the character's real-life actor, which then had special effects makeup applied before being scanned into the game itself. The character himself is secret, though a wireframe image of the scanned sculpture was incredibly detailed, showing off nearly every wrinkle and imperfection. The scanning technique can also be used on objects. Several examples were shown, including a garden variety rock, a tree trunk and a small seashell.

Metal Gear Solid 5's Fox Engine in pictures
Another key component of the engine is Marvelous Designer, which is used for cloth simulation. The tech was demonstrated during the panel by pulling up the leather jacket Snake wears in the Metal Gear Solid 5 trailer. The leather was then manipulated in real time, with the sleeves being easily adjusted and wrinkles added to the fabric.

The lighting system was also geared toward realism. Again, the conference room was shown, one version using more traditional lighting techniques, while the Fox Engine version used a "linear workflow," resulting in much more realistic lighting that accurately covered the surfaces of the room.

All combined, the various elements of the Fox Engine allow for a huge range of texture and lighting effects. But you don't have to take our word for it. Take a look at the images in our gallery to see many of the examples shown at the panel. Of course, if you want a real demonstration, you can watch the Metal Gear Solid V trailer again.

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