EverQuest Next and Planetside 2 To Use New Forge Light Engine

EverQuest Next and Planetside 2 To Use New Forge Light Engine

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At the core of the next wave of MMOs from SOE is a pretty new engine.

John Smedley, CEO of Sony Online Entertainment, couldn't resist showing off his new toy. His tech team and the team behind Planetside 2 are building a new core engine called Forge Light which will have all of the tech bells and whistles needed to bring SOE's new MMOs into the next generation. Partnering with Nvidia to build in use of the PhysX API has allowed some amazing complexity to everything from the physics of vehicle movement in Planetside 2 to the expression of a characters face in the next EverQuest title.

Smedley spent a good portion of the opening address outlining every bullet point that Forge Light will bring to SOE's games. The biggest change is that SOE is finally bidding farewell to discrete zones with loading screens between them but the rest of the the laundry list of features was full of technical jargon like real time radiosity, advanced particle lighting and volumetric fog.

"What does all this mean?" Smedley asked. "Think about this, EverQuest players, think about a physics engine that is built into every single aspect of your gameplay. We've partnered with Nvidia and their amazing PhysX platform. It means that we can bring you the most amazing characters and environments ever seen before in an MMO, or a single player game."

Such a claim was followed up with a static image of a character face from EverQuest Next, which is the internal codename for the sequel SOE is working on. The image by itself wasn't very impressive, but you could clearly see the expression of displeasure on the man's face, the textured skin and the slight rise of the right eyebrow. We didn't get to see any footage of Forge Light in motion, but the first game that sprang to mind as a comparison was L.A. Noire. If SOE can bring that level of human emotion to MMO characters, then games made with Forge Light will really be impressive.

For the creative director of the entire EverQuest line, Dave Georgeson, the real benefit of Forge Light will be in roleplaying your EQ toon. "For the people that love to roleplay, to stand around and talk to each other, the facial expressiveness [that Forge Light will provide] is huge," he said. "It gives them almost everything that they want."

I asked if the emote system for EQ Next will be revised to give tighter control over your toon's face and expressions. "Oh yeah, there's so much that I wish I could tell you right now [about that]," Georgeson said. He hinted at using some of the technology that was shown at E3 this year that could take images from a webcam and transfer them to a digital character. "Even if someone doesn't want to sit there with a webcam watching your face, which people won't want to do all the time, they can still set up these elaborate macros," Georgeson said.

Forge Light looks like an exciting new way to bring MMOs to gamers, and will offer all kinds of things that we've only just imagined. Plus, with a next-gen core engine in place, SOE will hopefully be able to build worlds that much more effectively. Despite the hacking fiasco this May, and the closure of Star Wars Galaxies, the tone at SOE Fan Faire 2011 was excitement for what's to come.

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I'd say that screenshot looked nice if it were actually a screenshot. Based on the sky and the background behind the character you can clearly tell that this is just a concept art image. However, even if it were a screenshot the character's face is so orange it looks like their lighting engine would be horrible.

Plus, with a next-gen core engine in place, SOE will hopefully be able build worlds that much more effectively.

Really? I can't wait to play an MMO that's much more effectively.

All joking aside, looking forward to Planetside 2.

I've been looking forward to more information in EQ Next, as SOE has been kind of tight lipped about it; thus is why even minor stuff like this is quite nice to see.

That's all well and good, but you can have Avatar level mo-cap in you mmo and it won't matter much, since 99% of the game play is spent gazing at the other side of the character model.

Lets talk about gameplay and whether or not you plan on finishing this game before you release it?

The more "real" the visuals are, the more games all look the same.

Xzi:

Plus, with a next-gen core engine in place, SOE will hopefully be able build worlds that much more effectively.

Really? I can't wait to play an MMO that's much more effectively.

All joking aside, looking forward to Planetside 2.

"Effectively" in that sentence is an adverb which modifies "build worlds." So I guess I don't really get your joke. :)

(Although I probably could have used the word "efficiently" - yeah, that might have been better.)

Greg

Greg Tito:

Xzi:

Plus, with a next-gen core engine in place, SOE will hopefully be able build worlds that much more effectively.

Really? I can't wait to play an MMO that's much more effectively.

All joking aside, looking forward to Planetside 2.

"Effectively" in that sentence is an adverb which modifies "build worlds." So I guess I don't really get your joke. :)

(Although I probably could have used the word "efficiently" - yeah, that might have been better.)

Greg

Oh, you missed the word "to," that's what it is. Knew something was wrong there.

As much as I'm looking forward to Planetside 2, I hate the way Smedley talks about his games. He uses all the wrong words (ie. revolutionize) and hypes them up.

"...the most amazing characters and environments ever seen before in an MMO, or a single player game."

Yeah right. No MMO will ever have graphics better than top tier single player games. It just doesn't happen, and if it does then it probably won't go over too well for the players.

Xzi:
Oh, you missed the word "to," that's what it is. Knew something was wrong there.

Derp. totally right. fixed.

Greg

And everyone on the web knows that the first thing they're going to be used for is the Rage Faces and Vagineer, but...consider me impressed. (Though Smedley can jump outside Paineel)

Kyoh:
As much as I'm looking forward to Planetside 2, I hate the way Smedley talks about his games. He uses all the wrong words (ie. revolutionize) and hypes them up.

"...the most amazing characters and environments ever seen before in an MMO, or a single player game."

Yeah right. No MMO will ever have graphics better than top tier single player games. It just doesn't happen, and if it does then it probably won't go over too well for the players.

If they do it properly, then the quality of graphics doesn't really matter. Graphics are a player end problem, as long as they can find a way to quickly and easily send data about the other players equipment, looks, and actions.

Can't wait for PS2. I need it now. New engine features (volumetric smoke, weather, night/day cycle) all sound pimpin'.

I don't trust SOE at all after the way they handled SWG and Planetside, I've been playing the planetside free time that vets get and it hasn't changed much. I still love it though, it only has 1 server now which is sad but if they lowered the price or went f2p that would be fun.

Problem with f2p is they always want like 10 for a bag slot or something ridiculous like that.

The profit incentive destroys everything.

I will play the free month of Planetside 2 just to see what they've done with it and I hope they make it like the first one and don't streamline it too much cos I like how in depth it is.

ANT runs are great.

Bags159:
Can't wait for PS2. I need it now. New engine features (volumetric smoke, weather, night/day cycle) all sound pimpin'.

And the removal of all the retarded things they put in before the end. Nothing like a full assault dropping out of a carrier dropship to strike inside the base while a tank squad assaults the extermal defences... Sovereignty for life!

Wonderful.

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I have a really hard time getting excited about anything SOE does these days. Here's hoping EQ Next and Planetside 2 change my opinion.

vxicepickxv:
If they do it properly, then the quality of graphics doesn't really matter. Graphics are a player end problem, as long as they can find a way to quickly and easily send data about the other players equipment, looks, and actions.

I'll take your word for it, but to my knowledge it has never been done before, and leaving it up to SOE, the masters of botching good things, to make this change sounds dubious at best.

Smedley tends to be mostly hype, from my experience. I don't read much into what he says.

manythings:

Bags159:
Can't wait for PS2. I need it now. New engine features (volumetric smoke, weather, night/day cycle) all sound pimpin'.

And the removal of all the retarded things they put in before the end. Nothing like a full assault dropping out of a carrier dropship to strike inside the base while a tank squad assaults the extermal defences... Sovereignty for life!

Psh, TR>VS. Everyone knows that.

Kyoh:

Yeah right. No MMO will ever have graphics better than top tier single player games. It just doesn't happen, and if it does then it probably won't go over too well for the players.

I hope you ment that in a sarcastic way. Otherwise, I have to point you towards Guild Wars 2.
It has the best artistic direction I've ever seen in an RPG and if it can keep half the promises it's making - it will be the holy grail filled with the elixier of eternal life, served by Nathan Fillion. Seriously, if you are looking for superb design and good looking graphics - do not miss this game. Jeremy Soule's work on the soundtrack for Guild Wars 1 is also something worth considering.

I loved the idea of Planetside and played while it had a f2p offer. Playing a medic was my absolute favorite. Keeping a Squad on their feets while you hold a fortress against hordes of enemies still makes me smile after all those years.
I do remain sceptical about SOE though.
If they don't provide easy access to their games (e.g payment methods other then credit cards) or a viable f2p model, I will not bother with it. Especially after their security issues.

LorienvArden:
I hope you ment that in a sarcastic way. Otherwise, I have to point you towards Guild Wars 2.
It has the best artistic direction I've ever seen in an RPG and if it can keep half the promises it's making - it will be the holy grail filled with the elixier of eternal life, served by Nathan Fillion. Seriously, if you are looking for superb design and good looking graphics - do not miss this game. Jeremy Soule's work on the soundtrack for Guild Wars 1 is also something worth considering.

Guild Wars 2 does look impressive, and I am watching that one closely, but it's not out yet, so we can't say it proves a point.

And by the time it does come out, look at some of the single player games that will be out around then. The new Call of Duty game, Skyrim, and a handful of others have graphics that will be better than GW2, I'm sure of it.

We're getting a bit off topic from what I meant in my original post. I'm just saying that Smedley hypes his games up too much. Hype is bad for games. It may generate initial sales, but disappointment over exaggerated/left out content can kill an MMO just as fast as a buggy launch.

He needs to be more careful with his words.

 

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