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Thursday, May 5, 2005

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Hellgate London Developers Diary Released
10:17 AM | Franklin Pride | Comment on this story

Flagship Studios' Chris Lambert has released a Developer Diary for the studio's latest project, Hellgate London. The diary covers the randomized landscape, the progress on the graphics, and a few problems that the developers have overcome.

Like many games, Hellgate: London requires close cooperation between the graphics engineer (enter: me, stage right) and the small, dedicated platoon of 3D concept artists, modelers, animators, riggers, texture artists and technical artists to bring the designers' vision to life. Our game design has many challenges common to conventional graphics engines and then brings an extra barrel of enraged, starving monkeys to the dinner table just in case we get too comfortable.

Take the moon. This is a pretty standard task in 3D engine design: keep the settings required to draw the object (called "states") with the object itself, to make sure it can be drawn correctly when the time comes. In this case, a few of the states were implicit; because the moon was rendered at the beginning of the frame, certain states tended to have a "good" setting. Then the fullscreen change caused a few one-time renders to take place (inventory thumbnails -- more about those later) and they screwed the states. Boom! Transparency (alpha blending) fails and the giant square moon comes out.

To view the complete diary, use the handy links section below.

Hellgate Diary
Hellgate Official Site
Flagship Studios

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