graphics

EVE Online is simplifying missile rendering to improve performance – the July patch drops this Tuesday

Missiles are a big deal in EVE Online. There are a variety of ways in which missiles can be helpful and important as a means of delivering their explosive payloads to targets in combat, so there are usually a lot of them. And there are a variety of extra demands placed on the game client by rendering these missiles, which means that a bunch of them can really slow down the game. Hence the upcoming revisions for missiles that will make the projectiles less demanding on systems.

Among the changes are refinements to the way the game calls for missile data when firing and the application of LOD rules for missile meshes, ensuring that distant missiles don’t cause additional system drain. It’s important to note that none of these changes will actually alter the damage or performance of missiles; all that’s going to change is the rendering of same. Check out the full development entry to see all of the more technical details.

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World of Tanks overhauls its graphical engine with update 1.0

The latest update for World of Tanks is all about making the game prettier. No, it doesn’t add the option to give your tank a nice sparkly paint job with unicorn decals, but it does overhaul the game’s graphical engine completely. Players should notice better lighting, better effects, and all around a better experience compared to the old version. There’s even a video just below showing off all of the engine improvements going on under the hood.

Several maps have also been refurbished and improved, with small details fixed and refined to further improve the layouts of 29 different maps. There’s also a new map, Glacier. And that’s not counting the new soundtrack for the game to make the whole thing feel better for your ears, to boot. If all that isn’t enough, you can take advantage of the game’s new AR app to put some tanks in your day-to-day life, perfect if visions of trundling war machines now haunt your every waking moment.

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See how World of Warcraft’s art has evolved with Battle for Azeroth’s critters

Ever since its launch back in 2004, World of Warcraft has never boasted the most cutting-edge graphics and polygon counts. This was intentional, of course, as to keep the MMO available to a large of a crowd as possible, and Blizzard compensated with a colorful and creative art style.

Yet the game hasn’t remained stuck in 2004. The art style and detail has improved over the years, and with the higher system requirements for the upcoming Battle for Azeroth expansion, World of Warcraft is taking the opportunity to upgrade some of its more lackluster models to a higher fidelity.

Nowhere is this as apparent as with the game’s critters and creatures. YouTuber Bellular put together a video showing the art evolution between old and new beasts, some of which are truly shocking in their difference. Check it out below!

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Path of Exile previews graphical improvements for the future

We’re sorry to inform you that the video of Path of Exile below is all stuff that you’re not getting today. Or tomorrow. In fact, the developers have no idea when you’re getting it. The point is that you will get it at some point, because it’s a bunch of graphical improvements to the game that will make it look better without impacting performance.

It’s a brief video, but boy, it does look good. And it also should make it easier to see what’s going on around you and not make the game run more poorly in the process. All of this is good stuff. But the question of when you will get access to any of it is… well, up in the air. At some point in the future.

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The Black Death shows off graphical improvements and an upcoming wiki revival

Despite its subject matter and, well, name, The Black Death is not a particularly unattractive game. That doesn’t mean it can’t use a bit of a graphical update, though, and the latest development dispatch is all about the game’s upcoming improvements to offer better lighting and fog effects alongside more efficient contrast and color balance. Just because there are people dying of a plague doesn’t mean the world can’t be pretty, after all.

The developers are also planning to start up a wiki revival project so that players can both update and use the official wiki to more effectively share information among the playerbase. And of course, there are ongoing minor patches to fix bugs, keep things lively, and otherwise push the game forward. Read the full rundown on upcoming features to get a sense of where the game is going from here.

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds blocks players from using Reshade with its latest patch

The latest patch for PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is supposedly focused around improving Miramar with more cover and more stuff to discover, making it a more engaging experience to shoot at people there. That’s all well and good, but the more salient change is another form of anti-cheat software being rolled out that completely blocks the popular Reshade application.

For those of you who aren’t aware of it, Reshade is a program meant to add additional specialized shaders to a game’s engine in the hopes of providing a better graphical experience. Some players argue that using it already gives you an edge by making it easier to see other players, others point out that it can be used as a piggybacking platform for cheating tools, and still others argue that it’s seriously just a program to improve the game’s graphics. You won’t get banned for using it, so that’s good, but that’s a bit of an academic point since it’s being blocked altogether.

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Diablo III gets updated visuals for the Xbox One X

Good news for you, Diablo III fans! You’re now able to – wait, what? No, the good news is not a major patch. Or a minor patch. No, it’s not another new class. It’s not another expansion. Or, uh… lots of things. It’s not really any news for the game that’s been in the same state since the first (and probably only) expansion launched, and…

Let’s try this again. News for you, Diablo III fans! If you enjoy the game on console and are looking forward to making the game that much prettier on your Xbox One X, you can do that now! Yes, the upgraded console is out, it’s expensive, and the question becomes how good the game looks on the new console compared to the old one.

If that’s exactly the sort of good news you were hoping for, we are so glad. You can check out a video comparison of the game running on the new console (as well as the PlayStation 4 Pro) just below, too, in case you’re still up in the air about which console to get and need some comparison shots. We’ve also got a rundown of all our stories about enhanced graphics on the Xbox One X down there, too.

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The Daily Grind: How much do aesthetics impact your playstyle choices in an MMO?

How your character looks affects your enjoyment of an MMO. This is almost a tautology; you spent time in the character creator, obviously, so you have some investment. But I think it goes beyond even that. Some of our playstyle choices come down as much to what looks cool and feels neat from a visual standpoint as it does with any other considerations. Give the exact same mechanics to a different set of visuals and people will often feel differently, even if the actual play is the same; witness the number of people in World of Warcraft with strong feelings about which Hunter spec got a gun and which one got a bow, even when the mechanics are functionally identical.

Every game has certain choices that look particularly cool – enormous capital ships in EVE Online, Red Mages in Final Fantasy XIV, several Elite specs in Guild Wars 2. There’s an obvious effort to make these things look cool, first and foremost, often to the point of enticing people who otherwise might not play with these particular options. So what about you, dear readers? How much do aesthetics impact your playstyle choices in an MMO?

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Sea of Thieves gives PC players the option to downscale graphics for older machines

Are you really excited about taking up the skull-and-crossbones next year with Sea of Thieves — but are concerned that your rig might not be able to handle it? Don’t fret: Rare is giving computer players all sorts of graphical options to downscale graphics so that the game will run just fine on older machines.

While the game can be scaled up to 4K and 60 fps so as to display all of its visual glory, users can also choose to lower settings to a mere 540p and 15 fps. While the game may not look as good, the idea here is that performance will keep up with teammates and enemy players so that a gamer with an older machine won’t be at a tactical disadvantage.

“We’ve actually added a 540p mode, so you can go below HD,” said PC Design Lead Ted Timmons. “We’ve also added a 15 fps framerate lock because when we were talking to the community some people were like: I’m actually happy playing 15 frames per second. We were like: That’s actually really cool, we should support that. And to them go to them and say, oh, we’ve added that mode for you — it’s below our Rare certified min spec, but if you’re enjoying the game, why should we as developers knock you for that?”

Source: PC Gamer

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The Daily Grind: Do MMOs go overboard with particle effects?

There was an old joke among myself and some of my friends playing World of Warcraft about how it was convenient that bosses are all big so you can see them through the spell effects. Of course, there’s some truth to that. Even in a dungeon, it’s easy to lose sight of a boss under the effects of a few people hitting the same target; in content with large groups, you can often lose sight of the boss completely beneath an explosion of special effects.

It’s neat to have effects to go along with your abilities, of course; seeing the flare of something happening to your targets is part of how you know you’re doing something. But City of Heroes in particular had people claiming they couldn’t even see what was happening half of the time, and there are certain bosses in Final Fantasy XIV with facing-reliant attacks where it’s hard to not just pray you’re avoiding where the blob of spell effects is facing. What do you think? Do MMOs go overboard with particle effects?

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The Daily Grind: Which MMORPG has seen the most improved graphics over the years?

In each of our articles about Black Desert’s upcoming graphics upgrade, there have been a slew of comments about how the game doesn’t really need it, puzzled remarks that the game is already pretty enough, and hopeful requests for Pearl Abyss to tone down the lens flares or at least allow us to turn off all the bells and whistles. It’s been interesting to witness — I know we’re still in the middle of a massive renaissance for retro graphics, but in general, hardcore MMORPG players are total graphics snobs, to the point that many older games, from Ultima Online and Anarchy Online to World of Warcraft and EVE Online, have all taken a stab at improving their graphics (and in some cases, adjusting their art styles too).

Not all of them have done so successfully, of course; many City of Heroes players, for example, couldn’t make use of the upgrades, and Ultima’s Kingdom Reborn was plagued with issues.

For today’s Daily Grind, I’m wondering: Which MMORPG has seen the most improved graphics over the years?

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City of Titans shows off the creations of the Builder

Making a city is hard work. This is true even if you’re working on City of Titans and your main focus is upon making a city which is sufficiently plausible as a superhero playground. The latest development post talks about how the team is making that task a bit more doable with the help of a Builder, a specialized tool that allows the team to quickly assemble buildings throughout the city to look hand-assembled rather than just making generic blank boxes.

Since the game’s city is in New England, laying out the streets correctly (i.e. according to insane logic from hundreds of years ago that subsequently got paved) and making sure the shape of everything looks right is already a time-consuming process. The game opts for the faster method of making the buildings by having a stock set of “building parts” which can be combined into a structure, which would normally still require a fair amount of time for a given modeler to turn those parts into a plausible building. However, the Builder can be fed information and simply produce a viable building in moments. Check out some video of building creation just below.

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League of Legends looks at how it brought back a winter-themed map design

One does not play League of Legends in a quest for diverse play environments. This is kind of the nature of the MOBA; you have a wide array of different heroes to throw up against one another on a very limited number of very predictable maps. So it’s all the more important that those individual maps feel fun and diverse to play on. LoL rose to the challenge with a winter-themed Summoner’s Rift, but just like any good story, it almost didn’t happen… until the team found a way to make a fast and convincing winter wonderland.

The remake of the Summoner’s Rift took the better part of a year to implement, and the understanding had been that replacing the map with a winter-themed version would require the same amount of work for something only available briefly. However, a new procedure allowed the team to isolate specific portions of the textures, which allowed for a quick illusion of snow that took weeks, not months. You can see the process in short just below and read about the whole journey on the official site.

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