|Horizons Vault has conducted an interview with Artifact Entertainment about their upcoming fantasy MMORPG 'Horizons'.
Here's a bit:
Many people have the impression that Horizons will not have AAA graphics: Can you let our readers know what the engine powering Horizons is capable of doing and some of the effects Horizons will feature?
The Horizon graphics engine is based on a custom multi-pass shader language that we developed over the last two years. It supports all of the standard DirectX 8 rendering features such as dynamic object color and tint adjustments (using both time-based intensity functions and constant colors), multi-texturing, all DX8 texture operations and blending functions, dynamic texture coordinate modifiers, Environment Map Bump Mapping, and standard dot3 bump mapping. We make extensive use of projected decal textures to display symbolic information on terrain and local terrain modifications (for example, dirt patches under certain objects). We also have support for programmable vertex/pixel shaders and have included some in today’s version of the game engine (specifically, our ocean and lake water shaders). Our art staff is very experienced and extremely clever at combining multi-pass shader commands and visual assets to create stunning effects. To date, our graphics work has been focused on ensuring a good visual experience for our users with lower end machines. With that accomplished, we are in the process of creating higher end programmable vertex/pixel shaders available to users with GeForce3 class hardware and above. The next round of vertex/pixel shaders will target shadow mapping and refraction and transparency effects. We will release details and examples to the public in the future so that more ambitious players can experiment to create their own custom shaders.