The X-ray engine uses GSC Gameworld's proprietary ALife artificial intelligence engine. ALife supports more than one thousand characters inhabiting the Zone. These characters are non-scripted, meaning that AI life can be developed even when not in contact with the player.
The NPCs have a full life cycle (task accomplishment, combat, rest, feeding and sleep) and the same applies to the many monsters living in the Zone (hunting, attacking Stalkers and other monsters, resting, eating, sleeping). These monsters will migrate in large groups. The non-scripted nature of the characters means that there are an unlimited number of random quests. For instance, rescuing Stalkers from danger, destroying Stalker renegades, protecting or attacking Stalker camps or searching for treasure. The AI characters travel around the entire zone as they see fit.
Numerous tactics can be employed to complete the game, such as rushing or using stealth and sniping. The NPCs will react in a different way to each of them. S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s NPCs plan ahead by "Goal-Oriented Action Planning" in order to achieve this.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. uses "realistic" bullet physics, similar in nature to tactical shooters such as Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter or Operation Flashpoint. Bullets are affected by gravity, bounced against solid surfaces at oblique angles, and firearms are highly inaccurate when fired without aiming. To score consistent hits at medium or long range, players must aim using the iron sights
on their guns. Additionally, hit damage is pseudo-realistic, and the player can die after only being shot a few times (although later in the game various armor suits and artifacts can be acquired that increase the player's resistance to damage). Late-game depends heavily on scoped weaponry due to the well-armed and powerful enemies that keep their distance from the player.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. uses a heavily modified version of the ODE physics engine, supporting hundreds of physics objects on different levels. Ragdoll physics, destructible objects, realistic bullet ballistics and skeletal animation can all be found in the game.
A weather system is integrated into various parts of the landscape and allows a variety of weather effects, such as sunshine, storms and showers. The weapons available, behavior of the AI, game tactics and ranking systems will depend on the weather.
For more direct specifications, check the engine's homepage.
Accompanying the trailer was the news that the game will have a simultaneous release on PC and Xbox Series X. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 will also enter Xbox Game Pass on console on day one, along with a host of other games announced during the showcase.
The developers GSC Game World are aiming to continue the series' blend of immersive first person shooter simulation and horror in the upcoming sequel. Saying on the official S2 website that the game will feature of the biggest open-worlds to date to explore, featuring an epic branching story with multiple endings.
Unfortunately the developers aren't ready to disclose a release date for the game just yet, so we'll have to wait a little longer to know when we can finally re-enter the zone.
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