As we reach the end of the current-gen console era, it's safe to say that it is the difficult, flawed, but ambitious PlayStation 3 that has offered up the most technologically advanced console games of the age. The complex hardware set-up may have banjaxed even the best third-party developers in its early years, but PS3 owners have been spoiled by a range of state-of-the-art gaming epics from Sony's own in-house studios - foremost amongst them, God of War creator Sony Santa Monica.God of War 3 was a watershed moment in the history of the PlayStation 3. At the time, few believed that Naughty Dog's Uncharted 2 could be matched or even bettered in terms of sheer technological accomplishment, but Kratos' PS3 debut raised the stakes still further. The third game's legendary titan boss set-pieces looked and played with an almost CG-like level of polish, astonishing many with its breathtaking per-pixel lighting, rich detailing and pristine motion blur effects. The sheer scale of ambition on display here was simply breathtaking and even today, God of War 3 ranks as one of the best platform exclusives on the market.The evolution of God of War 3 - especially from its E3 2009 debut to its March release the following year - remains one of the most dramatic transformations we've seen from preview code to release, and stands as testament to a remarkable era where PS3 game development progressed in colossal leaps and bounds. But understandably, the Sony Santa Monica team look back on this time a little more pragmatically."After E3 we had a big back-log of optimisation opportunities and ideas that we wanted to try, and optimisation finally became one of our primary foci. We also doubled the graphics engineering team just around E3," recalls Santa Monica Studio's graphics engineer Cedric Perthuis.Fellow graphics engineer Ben Diamand also confirms it was a hectic spell for the studio after the unveiling, and many tweaks in the build-up to the game's release came down to the wire. "There were so many major technical improvements that went in between E3 and shipping," he says. "Morphological anti-aliasing (MLAA) got added which improved edges dramatically and saved substantial amounts of frame-rate."The MLAA technology represented a break-through for developers at the time. Developed by SCEE's own Advanced Technology Group (ATG), it's now a popular edge-detection process that can cost-effectively remove jagged edges from each frame - one of a range of GPU tasks that were hived off to the Cell processor's surrounding Synergistic Processing Units (SPUs). Crucially, for Santa Monica Studio's effects artists, this freed up processing cycles and allowed them to add to the spectacle in other ways.