Shroud of the Avatar: See the Darkstarr Moondial in Action

Portalarium’s technical director, Chris Spears, posted a video to the Shroud of the Avatar forums, in which the current in-game model of the Darkstarr Moondial backer reward gets shown off a bit:

For those who were following this thread, just thought I would share that I actually put the moon dial into the game engine earlier and captured it. Before anyone says anything about no AA, I was using 8X AA, the jaggies are from Youtube compression. I do think we need to turn up to the normal map a bit and maybe was to a specific metal shader but that can wait till tomorrow.

Here it is on the upstairs balcony of your future house… if you like trees at least.

He then went on to note that work on the model was still progressing:

…it isn’t 100% done. The pivot points are off just slightly which gives each ring a bit of a wobble. I actually kind of like that but I would really like to be able to make the planet in the middle rotate as well.

It’ll look neat, I think, to trip across these when wandering through New Britanna, as it is likely that more than a few will end up decorating the yards of players. Then again, if one plays in the purely offline mode, without even grabbing persistent world updates from the server, will one even see these housing adornments? It offers an interesting take on the geocentric model of the universe, with New Britannia’s shattered moon prominently on display. I’m not sure whether the other celestial bodies are all intended to be moons, or whether some are representative of other planets that orbit the same sun as New Britannia…but either way, the sky above the world is not a boring place!

5 Responses

  1. Sanctimonia says:

    That’s pretty awesome. I do think it’s funny though that shaders were mentioned. They’re useful and cool of course, but I don’t think anyone’s going to be playing SotA for the insane level of graphical fidelity. It’s one thing to communicate previously-unknown information graphically (important) and quite another to iterate upon information already being conveyed graphically (time sink). We already know/assume it’s metal, for example.

    Regardless, good work. I just don’t want the project’s limited resources to be spent on things that other, lesser games do better.

    • WtF Dragon says:

      You’re obviously not in the SotA forums much…plenty of clamour for graphical fidelity there.

      • Sanctimonia says:

        Hmmm. I’m not other than following the occasional link. I just hope Portalarium has a healthy dose of knowledge that sometimes the peanut gallery, backseat drivers, backers or what-have-you don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about and couldn’t make a decent game if someone put the barrel of a Glock up their ass and booted up Adventure Construction Set.

        Fan input is great, but there’s an important reason Portalarium is writing code and churning out assets while others are just posting recommendations in forums. I’ll leave that reason (or the many) to your informed imagination. ;)

        I love good graphics. I always have and always will. One of the hallmarks of the Ultima series was, counterintuitively, great graphics. The only thing that leaves a sour taste in my mouth is when gameplay is sacrificed because too many bees were futzing around with shaders, render pipeline optimizations, and in general the rabbit hole that leads to great graphics these days.

        Maybe Chris was just trying to assuage the concerns of the graphical fidelity whores; I don’t know.

      • WtF Dragon says:

        In a nutshell, yes. People have been…extraordinarily picky when it comes to in-game imagery of Shroud of the Avatar.

      • Sanctimonia says:

        Crazy. Hopefully Garriott knows (and more importantly cares about) the difference between actual Ultima fans and those freaking out over shaders, poly counts, tessellation algorithms and all that. The way I look at it, our dream is happening right now, and I’ll be damned if some 4chan half-wits persuade them to waste their time chasing Cryengine-level graphics. Chris Roberts has enough cash to fund a separate department, but Portalarium needs to stick to their…swords.

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