The curtain has gone down on another Grand Banquet, and just a few panels left to go due to the extended SOE Live schedule this year, it’s hard to believe that another event has come and gone so quickly! Every year things seem to go faster, with barely time for a breath.
There are a few panels today for those folks who aren’t East coast or who are staying Sunday night) including EverQuest Next Writer‘s panel, Channeler feedback panel (naturally there will be more feedback taken in the Tears of Veeshan beta forums) and the EverQuest II Q&A panel. I imagine these panels will be lightly attended, but hopefully videos will be taken and posted! As I am on the East coast of the US these days, I’m heading out before some of those panels even get under way.
I saw so many EQ2 players this weekend, had a tremendous time talking about and answering questions about EQ2U at our Data panel, and just really enjoyed the weekend. It was fantastic to meet Aliscious of EQ2Talk, Arabel and Maergoth of Equilibrium, Striinger, Yadrizzle, Afista, Dedith of Dragon’s Armory, Chuina (Chad) and Tannlin of the new EverCast show, and so many others, as well as catching up with old friends like Leko, Dellmon, Cyliena, Atan, Jethal, and so many others that I should be remembering (Email me!) .It was also great to catch up with devs from the EQ2 and EQNext teams.
I’m really happy to see a lot of good decisions going forward on the EQ2 team, I liked the Mechanics and Itemization panels a lot, and really other than the Insta-85 thing (which I talked to Holly about), things are looking good for EQ2.
One thing I was blown away by with EQ2, which will be explained further when I post the Art & Animation panel video, is that the work of Alex (GermInUSA), who is a graphics programming wizard from the early console days, is now finally going to bear fruit. If you have watched past Art & Animation videos about EverQuest II, you know that building a large exterior zone takes weeks if not MONTHS. This is due to the archaic tools available which follow EQ2′s design rules. Also the tools have prevented things like blending multiple textures together to make a smooth transition from a dirt path to rocks at the side of the road, up to hardier terrain. Right now this is extremely arduous.
Demoed at the Art & Animation panel, EQ2′s new Terrain Editor allowed the creation of a large island zone in 10 HOURS. The zone was much more intricate and detailed, flora and landscape elements just looked so much better, and significantly improved pathing is built in as well. No more NPCs and characters flipping around at odd angles as non-flat surfaces are encountered. It was truly amazing and I can’t say enough about it. In the past, the Design team has had to ask the Art team for new zones 6-9 months in advance. Now, we’ll see zones rapidly prototyped and iterated so much faster that who knows, there might even be some time to goose up some older zones which are interesting lorewise but visually dull (like Thundering Steppes).
NOTE: Nobody said they are redoing any zone!! It was just given as an example of a zone built early on that could look so much more awesome.
So I’m signing off for now and will start crunching videos tomorrow! Seriously!