It has been too long since we posted a development blog, but there is good reason! You’ll have to excuse us, we have been literally too busy to do anything, even sleep, other than work on the game and engine. Read on and you’ll understand why.
2015 has brought massive change to the Citadel of Sorcery project. In 2014 we kept expecting the new terrain system to be working. We would get pieces of it, and each piece looked great. New terrain detail systems, new grass systems, new tree systems, etc. The issues were that each of these ran well on their own, but when the programmers at Atlantis3D, Inc. tried to integrate these systems bugs ensued. So they wrote more code, and got that fixed, only to run into the next road block.
This dragged on for months. In January we sat down with their team and discussed the issues. It was decided that it was time to do something that has been put off. We always knew we would need A3D to write a DX11 (and 10) renderer. However, we had hoped to get the demo done and get the game funded further before making that extreme change, but we decided that DX9 was just not capable of doing what we needed for this game. We decided it couldn’t wait any longer, and made the decision to go pedal to the metal and get it done right now.
So… we took the plunge and used some of our new funding. A3D hired more programming time, and started reworking the entire Trident3D engine. At first we thought we would just port over to DX11 and 64 bit, but as we looked at the engine code we decided to go even further and rework nearly everything. Over the past four months we have been working furiously, (both Atlantis3D, Inc. and MMO Magic, Inc.). As soon as the first early version was done, A3D started shipping MMO Magic builds of the new engine to test various new systems in Citadel of Sorcery (since this is the debut game for their engine). These new builds started coming two and three times a day.
Trident3D v2 now uses a fully Physically Based Renderer system (PBR), allowing for far greater detail and more photorealistic rendering. It is more efficient, graphics are better looking, and we can just do things that were not possible before, like Shaders. For another example, we now have a real time Ambient Occlusion system (how light bounces), and fully 2K texture support (meaning every texture in the game is at up to 64 times higher resolution that in the previous version of the T3D engine).
But there is more. Trident3D v2, like it predecessor, uses a hybrid engine that is unique, but T3D version 2 just does it more smoothly and easily. This hybrid engine blends three types of rendering systems, Voxel Volumes, Point Clouds and Polygons, allowing unprecedented levels of detail that render extremely efficiently. In other words, due to this, we can show you more, at greater distances, in higher details close up or far away, with better frame rates. This new version of the Engine truly allows us to achieve ALL the goals that we promised for CoS from the beginning.
Because of this new version of Trident3D, the art team at MMO Magic has been put under the gun, so to speak. We are now reworking all of the art in the game to upgrade it to use this new rendering system. As much work as this is, it is welcome, since the World is looking vastly better with each change. Just creating all the 2K textures are taking time, but there is far more than that to deal with. Now we can use Shaders and decals and many other features on all of the existing art. Fortunately, we knew that this was coming in the future, and have always planned to do the actual art closer to the release of the game, so there is only so much we have to redo. Still, all of the demo art is being reworked.
When we started this (long) project, Trident3D v1 was a cutting edge engine, but years have passed and technology has changed. Trident3D v2 puts CoS back into the cutting edge of technology, with a unique PBR hybrid rendering engine that likes of which we have not seen elsewhere.
It is an exciting time for CoS, and we plan to start showing this stuff off very soon. First we will be doing a Webcast for our Patron 250+ donators on May 9th, where we will go over, and show, some of the new features of Trident3D v2. Two weeks later we will do our Development Briefing with the Patron 1000+ team and show the newest features, including the new terrain. In June we will be going to E3 to meet with some Publishers, and setup some demonstrations for July, where we plan to start showing the game, with this new PBR Hybrid engine, to Publishers. At that time we also plan to release some videos to the general public to you can see the difference and changes. Stay tuned!