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Tuesday, August 13, 2002

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WWIIOnline Art Interviews
8:44 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

World War II Online HQ has spent the past few days talking with artists from Cornered Rat working on the Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) war simluation World War II Online. Four employees have been interviewed so far, talking about a variety of topics including skinning for the game, increasing the graphic quality, and balancing these upgrades with players' systems.

In case you're unfamiliar with the game, World War II Online features a massive battlefield emcompassing much of the European conflict between Allied and Axis powers. Players can fly planes, drives tanks or trucks, or play as infantrymen.

Here's a clip from one of the interviews with more:

HQ – It has been mentioned on several occasions that there is a pixel budget for each town and vehicle. Can you break this down in plain English for our readers and how it affects us now and in the future?

Frying Tiger – It’s actually a “Triangle Budget” and a “Texture Memory” budget. Every object on your screen is made up of a number of triangles, and your graphics card can only display them so fast. So the more triangles we have, the slower the game runs. Actually, up to a point it’s not an issue, then, when you pass that point, performance takes a nosedive! The Art Department designs the objects and terrain as efficiently as possible. The terrain building team then places them so it is unlikely you will reach the maximum number in any particular area, with the base computer system we suggest… but occasionally we’ll decide game play and looks require us to push the envelope a bit. Also, large numbers of players add large numbers of triangles, which is why we have lower detail “LOD” objects (Level Of Detail) that you will see at a distance.As far as the texture memory budget goes, each object that has a texture needs to have that texture placed in your graphics card’s memory. If we use more textures in an area than you have graphic card memory, your game will slow down horribly, as the card swaps the textures in and out. So we try to make sure we use as little texture memory as possible. It’s a balancing act… what can we get away with that won’t ruin the game play experience for the low end system guys, but what is required to make the average and high-end people happy?

Publisher Strategy First recently announced a Mac OS X open beta for those wanting to try it out for free. Those unable to make the large download should also be aware the newest Mac Games CD will include the latest version of the OS X client.

Strategy First
Cornered Rat Software
World War II Online
WWIIOnline Artist Interviews

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