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Update #49: Water, Trees, Day/Night, Lighting... All That Jazz

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Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director



Welcome. Today's update is a big one, though not by volume of text. Today we’re showing you our game in action. Specifically, we're showing what we've been doing for our exterior environments. The Infinity Engine games were known for their art, and we wanted to hit the high standard of visual quality established by games like the Icewind Dale series. We also wanted to introduce dynamic elements into the environment that were mostly absent from the classic games, like dynamic water, movement in foliage, and dynamic lighting of the scene.

In a 2D game, this required our programmers and artists to come up with some creative solutions. What they came up with surprised us initially and it continues to amaze us. While we are still working on refining some of the dynamic elements, we're very happy with the progress we've been able to make and hope you feel the same way. Special thanks to Hector Espinoza, our lead environment artist, and Michael Edwards, our rendering programmer, who did a lot of amazing work to bring this environment to life.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your feedback, and we'll see you next week.

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You weren't kidding; my mind was sufficiently blown. This looks better than I could have ever hoped for.


I was always put off by the 3D models that Neverwinter Nights, Kotor, and even Dragon Age took in place of the infinity engine. I always felt that was a severe step back for the genre as a whole. I am more than overjoyed to see these pre-rendered backgrounds make such a triumphant return.


And the day/night cycle is icing on the cake. I think a lot of developers underrate how important that is to atmosphere and immersion. I still think back to Ocarina of Time (and MM) in amazement at watching the sun rise and set every day and how it changed the world; same goes to Baldur's Gate to some extent.


Fantastic work, I hope this project leads a new wave of more projects that take these classic ideas to heart.

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Whoa! That is very cool. I had to watch it in HD a dozen times to catch all the little details. Very, very nice.


Maybe a little blurry with the character moving, but otherwise just fantastic! The work and the technology is sublime.

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Wow. Just wow.

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"You might want to pressurize the room because what you're about to see might make your head explode". Haha, silly Josh and his dry understatement, always kid- HOLY CRAP!








*sound of drool flowing from slack-jawed amazement*


Absolutely phenomenal work guys. I honestly never expected the game to look as gorgeous as that. Super pumped.

Edited by Stiffkittin
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It looks like it would take more time making a scene like that in 2D rather than 3D. Is that true? Or will it be faster once you've figured out where you want to be regarding the animations.


I noticed that a lot of them were probably just placeholder animations, with a bit more time spent that scene could look really alive.


I also have to say, when you zoomed in on the characters ... that size would be just about right for the game default zoom @ 1920x1080 IMO.

Edited by Sensuki
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This is just amazing work. I really can't wait to see and play this game when it releases. Thanks so much for the pre-rendered approach! Games like Diablo/Starcraft, Baldur's Gate etc.. to me, they always looked better than the real-time 3D low poly models.


I really like and am impressed with how you have incorporated the environment animations. The way the tree's sway and the water goes up and down. It's clever and the lighting from the day to night cycle and the little yellow (firefly?) that comes out of the temple looks awesome.


I love the approach and can't wait to stay up late nights exploring this eye candy game.

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I am more impressed by character models than the animated scenery!

I bet Obsidian can gather $ 500 k more  just because of this video


Say what? Tim Cain and Avellone work on this project on top of that?

A dream come true

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