Less detailed graphics in one big seamless world but with lots of variation a.k.a. World of Warcraft

Actually I've found it quite the opposite - creating lower polygonal objects takes a LOT more work than detailed ones. Then of course, if you push a little further into the next-gen you have to add normal/parallax mapping and all that good stuff so it eventually balances out from one side of the spectrum to the other <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

In reality though, you don't have to go that far depending on your target platform. By doing high-poly environmental models without all those fancy shaders you can effectively compensate for them(the displacement and bump maps anyway). In my opinion they're not worth it anyway as normal maps have a tendency to scream unrealistic in my face when used on virtually everything even where it's not seriously needed.

I guess it all comes down to your budget and the talents within the team in the end..

Anyway, I'd like to say I was impressed with the new screenshot you guys released <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Giant leap from the last ones from a year ago.



On the topic - Oblivion/NWN/Baldur's Gate load in the interior of houses as different levels. Gothic doesn't. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages - which do you prefer ?


(just so you know Lar, I'm not trying to school you but hopefully provide some insight for other people. If you learn something that great too though <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />)

Theoretically the advantages to having a load between the interior and exterior is all about your computer(I can't think of one that benefits the person playing, can you?) and the advantages to seamless transition is supporting the "suspension of disbelief," the holy grail of RPGs. If your engine can handle everything well, then seamless transition is great! Otherwise, it should only be middle priority for things to go out the door in my opinion.

Suspension of disbelief is important to sucking the player in. It's what makes you forget about real life and living in the world you are playing in. It's the difference between Oblivion(lack of suspension) and Divine Divinity(excellent in suspension). It's the difference between a good game, and the game you'll be playing from start to finish, and back again 5 or even 10 years later. There are many factors contributing to this suspension - encompassing from great environmental art, well-timed music, to believable dialog. Because this is from so many different fields within game development, it's the leader of direction who has to have a solid vision and to be able to communicate this vision effectively to the other leads and developers. Without either the compelling vision or sufficient communication skills, you will not have a team that shares the same vision - and without it, the game world will not flow properly and you will end up with something like Oblivion. In addition to this, the developers need to have open ears and creative minds to have this vision for themselves. It's hard to find this perfect mix, but I have a firm belief that Larian Studios is one of the few developer houses that has this mix.

I can't wait to see what Larian has in store for us for their next-generation game <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Zephyr, God of the West Wind.