The asteroids are getting a facelift. Better than that actually, the asteroids are now going to communicate their value through brilliant graphical treatments.
I am CCP VanishingPoint and I am directing Team Hot Rocks the team responsible for delivering the new Asteroid and Ice content for Apocrypha. The team has been hard at work creating new meshes, normal maps, textures and shaders that work to communicate the complex composition of each Ore with a unique style. Our artists have been painstakingly sculpting new meshes from which we are rendering all or of our Normal Maps, Ambient Occlusion Maps, and Depth Maps while others researched and built textures to represent the minerals peeking through the cracks of each rock.
Most exciting for me is the shader tech being created to facilitate the over 70 unique looking asteroid and ice styles being delivered with this new expansion. We built all of the assets from the ground up to take advantage of a specific blending and rendering technique used within our new asteroid shader. This shader can yield dozens of unique graphical styles while using the exact same base assets. That is not the extent of what is getting packed into the Asteroid shader either. The graphics gurus here are throwing around terms like BRDF, Bent Normals, and Sub Surface Scatter with reckless abandon…
It is worth noting that we were not satisfied with simply replacing each of the current assets with a single new replacement asset. Instead each Asteroid now has many different potential rock meshes that could be loaded into a Belt. These different meshes we have dubbed “Shards” since many of them look as if they shattered from a single larger Asteroid at some point in time.
The low-sec asteroids received some additional care and feature some truly spectacular graphical effects making them desirable both for their potential yield as well as just to behold. In the posted screen shot you will see a mixed field of Veldspar, Pyroxeres, Plagioclase, and even a few bits of Bistot. We are in the final tweaking stages for each and every asteroid and expect to deliver some of the finest rocks known to gaming.
- CCP VanishingPoint