We occasionally get days that hint that summer should be here - days like Saturday, when the sky was blue and almost free of clouds (in a way that I tend to think of as typically Icelandic) and I sat on the grassy hillside referred to at the end of Neil Gaiman's American Gods with a double latte, waiting for inspiration on what to write. Naturally, it's been overcast since then, and no ray of inspiration has struck me yet, so you'll have to excuse a rambling blog.
Since the last blog, I've done the basics of taking some of the ship rendering shaders we did, but made the objects behind them somewhat more generalised (instead of, say, being specifically written to support a single shader type) and supporting HLSL annotations. "Prep H" has integrated his post processing filters (same treatment) and high dynamic range render targets, much to everyone's joy. The light at the end of the tunnel now blooms on demand, which the following image illustrates as you see the bright patches in the extreme example of the technique bleed outwards. There will be some prettier examples in EON #4, and I wouldn’t be suprised if some turn up in the Eve Store eventually.
Hammerhead made a remark about wreck graphics, and a number of you commented on it, so I'd better mention them... Part of my job is to make grown artists cry when there's just no way to practically implement something in a way that doesn't kill the client performance, and this is approximately what happened when the discussion about wrecks came up. Due to technical / architectural constraints on the client and server, most of the ways that you could do individual wreck models for each ship type would be bad (inability to preload in warp / type spam in the DB / increased disk access / extra CPU load ), and given that they'll pop up a lot in situations where you really need that performance, I stood my ground on the issue and tasered the first artist to object.
It's likely that we'll see something like a wreck type per race and class, ie. "Amarr Cruisers". It's a fact of life that we have to evaluate everything not just by how neat an idea it is, but also by the practicality of implementation (in game design, typically a wider self-critical analysis as well) in ways that can be inscrutable from the outside - lots of nice ideas return from that fight somewhat worse for wear.
In other news, RealX has moved back to working on sound (woot!), and mentioned that he might finally be able to take a look at the warping sound. Just because this one hasn't had much progress, doesn't mean that it's forgotten, and I'm holding on to some slow burning hope.
Those signs of summer mean something though, and among other things, it's the approach of the annual summer quiet period as people around here take a week or two off to recharge their batteries. If we do get a little quieter, don't worry, we're just regrouping on the other side of the gate.
I think I owe a certain segment of our playerbase some love, so here's to you, Mr and Mrs Minmatar Cruiser Pilot...