Our East Coast Game Conference coverage kicks-off with Epic Games' rendering technology, specifically as it pertains to implementation within upcoming MOBA “Paragon.” Epic Games artist Zak Parrish covered topics relating to hair, skin, eyes, and cloth, providing a top-level look at game graphics rendering techniques and pipelines.
The subject was Sparrow, a Braid-like playable archer hero with intensely detailed hair and lighting. Parrish used Sparrow to demonstrate each of his rendering points – but we'll start with sub-surface scattering, which may be a bit of a throwback for readers of our past screen-space subsurface scattering article (more recently in Black Ops III graphics guide).
The annual East Coast Game Conference -- a 1500-attendee attempt at GDC-style development gatherings -- welcomed Mike Laidlaw of Bioware for its keynote today. The Bioware Creative Director has been tasked with oversight of the company's Dragon Age product line, drawing from his experience to discuss world design and storytelling at the conference.
Laidlaw's presentation spanned behind-the-scenes aspects of the development process, including unique considerations taken into account when producing a more open-world title. Throughout the keynote, Laidlaw made playful jabs at Bioware's own shortcomings with Dragon Age 2 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, often referencing the Hinterlands and player defiance for migration.
Following technological and monetary hindrances, one of virtual reality's biggest impediments to market has been usability. We worked with Sixense and Oculus VR after PAX Prime to write an article detailing the history and future of VR & AR technology, where some of these difficulties were discussed; since this posting, Oculus VR has engineered a 1080p, relatively low-latency version of their headset and facebook has acquired the company and its Rift. A lot has changed in a few months.
At ECGC 2014 -- the same place we filmed our interview with Morrowind's Ken Rolston -- we managed to catch a virtual reality panel hosted by NextGen Interactions' Jason Jerald. The panel discussed usability and input hurdles in virtual reality, information conveyance, fun VR experiments featuring virtual pits and scared players, and the future of VR. A video of the panel can be found below, but I've picked out a few key highlights for those who'd rather read a quick recap.
NC locals Epic Games instantiated Unreal Engine's productive capacity for hundreds of attendees at ECGC 2014 last week. The entirety of Wednesday saw back-to-back Unreal Engine panels and technology demonstrations, eventually leading into the release of Unreal Engine 4.1 on Thursday morning.
We were on-site to film a few of the panels as complement to our GDC 2014 UE4 pricing announcement video, which discussed Epic's move to a $20/mo. subscription model and open source methodologies. The engine has historically been priced slightly above that -- and by "slightly," I mean "a couple million" -- so the change is a risky one.
Bethesda Softworks' TES III: Morrowind is responsible for much of my love for bombastic fantasy environments and storylines within games. Morrowind had a sort of charm to it -- and some of this is admittedly nostalgic -- but the game felt big. Sure, having the view distance of bat contributed to that, but the resonance of a fantastical atmosphere truly made the game feel unique: Towering, domesticated silt striders used as a form of transport, airborne jellyfish (Netch), and the groan-inducing shriek of cliff-racers all felt like something out of an R. A. Salvatore novel.
And, for those of you who played Morrowind when it came out, hold onto your olds: It's been nearly 15 years. Ouch.
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