S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl uses the ‘X-ray Engine’ to power the graphics. It is a DirectX 8/9 Shader Model 3.0 graphics engine. Up to a million polygons can be on-screen at any one time, which makes it one of the more impressive engines on the market today. The engine features HDR rendering, parallax and normal mapping, soft shadows, widescreen support, weather effects and day/night cycles. As with other engines that utilize deferred shading (such as Unreal Engine 3 and CryENGINE2), the X-ray Engine does not support anti-aliasing with dynamic lighting enabled. However, a “fake” form of anti-aliasing can be enabled with the static lighting option; this format utilizes a technique to blur the image to give the false impression of anti-aliasing. The game takes place in a thirty square kilometer area, and both the outside and inside of this area is rendered to the same amount of detail.
The game was benchmarked with full dynamic lighting and maximum quality settings at 1920×1200 and 1280×1024 resolutions.
Benchmark Results: S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl was and still is a fun game to play now that the developer fixed many of the bugs found in the game through a series of patches. The $229 GeForce 9800 GTX+ made short work of the benchmark with the image quality settings maxed out. The $199 Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 also did fairly well on this benchmark.