Middle-Earth Online Site Update

Turbine’s official Middle-Earth Online website has been updated with a new dev diary with lead character artist Superscooper and the announcement of a Dwarven warrior class. Here’s a snip from the diary:

Art scalability is a challenge for every artist on the team. When I make an art asset for MEO there is much to consider. In addition to harmonizing the various hair, beard, skin and face options on an avatar, I also have to anticipate how the players’ graphics settings will affect what they see. MEO will provide players a lot of flexibility in setting the level of visual detail for the game. On high end video cards, this means that the user can turn on all the highest detail settings and still keep a playable frame rate. Users with lower end systems will still enjoy a smooth frame rate, but will have to adjust their settings accordingly. My personal goal is to make an appealing aesthetic experience for all of our users regardless of whether or not they own the latest hardware.

One of the great features that will be available on newer cards is per-pixel, multi-pass lighting. The Turbine engine takes advantage of this with the ability to render a scene in multiple passes, creating truly amazing dynamic shadows and more accurate lighting results. The downside to using multi-pass lighting is that it is slow compared to the more traditional method of vertex lighting. Objects require a rendering pass for each light that strikes them. This means that as we design the art for the world, we must be vigilant about on screen object count, polygon count, and the number of lights in a scene.

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