What is it, and how did we do it? Well, you know we hear loads of noise about how our screens are fake, or pre-renders or Photoshop, well as E3 probably demonstrated they're not. They're taken from gameplay, in the game engine, using a couple of tools, some developed specifically by and for Bungie. This 3D screenshot is taken using one of those tools.
The only real trickery we use in screenshots is our ability to take them at very high resolution – this doesn't actually affect the polygon counts or effects, just the actual screen resolution. We can and occasionally do take them at native 480p, but then they won't look cool as wallpapers, and magazines appreciate the sharper res for print purposes. And naturally we're picky about which screens we release.
Basically we pause the action (technically we just reduce the game speed to zero and since we have incremental speed control we can pause when we get to that 'perfect' moment) and run a simple but cool executable to rotate around the action and take individual snaps – they're strung together in this Quicktime format and serve to illustrate the scene in more detail. This one in particular shows off just how devastating an Elite with an energy sword can be.
If you look carefully, you'll see things like dropped plasma grenades, bloom flare from a partially obscured sun and the good old rocket launcher about to make a very nice secondary weapon for our Elite. The location pictured here is Zanzibar of course, inside the defender's flag base. As you can see, the main facility gate is open, and as a matter of fact, our heroic (villainous?) Elite opened it, dropped down into the main arena and exacted bloody revenge on these hapless Earth-jerks!
The app was created by our own Aaron Lieberman, and the shots directed by Zoe Brawley. Zoe plays and captures and plays and captures 'til she creates scenarios that look cool, show off the graphics and make for a worthwhile 3D shot.
Here in the office, we have great fun with these, making stupidly dangerous scenarios involving fusion cores, rockets and tons of grenades, just to see what it looks like in real time 3D. Never gets old! We're gonna have more of these in future, so keep your eyes peeled.
So, here's a high and low resolution version of our first, ever, 3D screenshot. It's Quicktime VR, so most recent versions of Quicktime should handle it, just click, hold and move your mouse left and right to rotate the action! Right click to save these bad boys:
Lo-Res 3D screenshot!
Hi-Res 3D screenshot!