Wednesday, April 15

DX10, adding 10% more Bling! to Age of Conan

On the last day of my reawakened account I took some screenshots in AoC while on my spliffy new PC.
It has DX10 and a beast of a videocard that can handle all AoC throws at it.

Thunder River:
Left: DX9 Advanced Grass is turned off, all other settings at max.
Right: DX10 Advanced grass is turned on, it sways in the wind.

Here you can see how advanced grass makes Poitain even more lush than it already was.
This grass is the main advancement if you ask me. The regular grass is pretty ok, but it would rotate on the ground to face your camera.
This makes AoC more like Elder Scrolls III: Oblivion. (A s006 DX9 game)

The new grass does have one major drawback, it's not always lit.
By unlit I mean that it isn't susceptible to local light sources but is always lit by default light.
The result is sunflooded grasses in the shadows.
Also barely visible in this picture is another feature which I decided to turn off within minutes.

But first another 'glam shot'.
Wild Lands of Zelata with all sliders on max and furthest viewing distance.

The setting "Screen Space Ambient Occlusion Lighting", besides having a horribly long name is one that takes away more than it adds.

To explain what it does, imagine a warm sunny summer day under a tree canopy. Imagine how this creates a kind of moving pattern of shadow and light on the ground? Now imagine everything, ground, walls, roofs, trees under that kind of lighting. Looks pretty spliffy yes? Until you move. You see the AoC implementation doesn't actually work with real trees (not to mention this effect is on in the middle of the dessert as well) but a single static mesh. So if you take a step forward, so does the pattern.
Sadly I didn't get any screenshots that showed this feature clearly and properly.

This setting can be nice. Of course you don't turn it on the whole way.
I got it at 25% and got this nice warm light for it.
It's nearly identical to DX9's HDR systems.


I won't be showing spectacular DX 10 underwater shots because quite frankly DX10 in AoC is rather underwhelming compared to older DX9 games. These surface reflections (a DX9 setting btw) do look nice though.

All in all I must say that the DX10 additions to Age of Conan add a layer of bling to the already stunningly gorgeous engine. Though 2 out of the 4 new things are a bit underwhelming and one I actually turn off immediately.

But mostly it shows that nine tenths of DX10 bling is also available in DX9.

This makes sense since DX10 is essentially a total rewrite of DX9 (which had become a reather convoluted API over the years) with only a few things added on top of that.
Going from Shader Model 2 to 3 on DX9 has more noticable effects.

*Caveat: The lighting and underwhelming caustics may be due to me having an ATI card and Funcom having a HW deal with nVidia. Meaning they get free hardware and API support for that brand but not for AMD/ATI.


  1. Ehm... Some of the link-through pics are shown enlarged to 150%
    I'm not sure why this is so. THe images are at 100% on my disc and in Picasa.

  2. The comparison shots didn't really come as you planned, I think. But it all look indeed 10% more bling! I hope they can now concentrate on making more content. And I hope even more that it wil silence now nay-sayers. Although I doubt that. They just need something to bitch about.

    And this post also explains why I didn't see you in Telon yesterday :)

  3. Oh I dunno, I was kinda proud of that comparison shot. What's wrong with it? Other than the fact that the DX9 side is nearly identical to the DX10 side except for the gras (ferns really).

    The shots were made last Sunday, I wasn't in Telon due to MOM related issues.
    For everyone, my mom was recently diagnosed (preliminary) with Vascular Dementia. Since last week no longer, now they think she's more mainstream and has the Alzheimer version.
    Here in Europe you're not allowed to drill holes into people's skull and brains, which is required for a final ssertive diagnosis.

  4. Ooooh... Purdy...

    I'm sorry, what was that you said about DX10?

  5. fracturedInfinity said...

    Ooooh... Purdy...

    I'm sorry, what was that you said about DX10?

    That I'm a jaded snob I guess...