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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
01-27-2009, 11:42 AM
Thanks for the release of these two new images -- it's appreciated.

And now, the obligatory comments.

1. Where the heck are the light sources that are illuminating the asteroids and the upper hulls of the ships in these images?

All the objects in these screen captures seem to be lit by some bright light just above the top of each picture. In particular, I'd have expected the Klingon ship to be dynamically lit by the blue giant and red dwarf stars -- instead, the upper hull of the ship is lit as though there's some multi-spectral light just beyond the top of the frame and (based on the apparent shadow of the superstructure) in front of the ship.

From these images and the ones previously released, I think I'm beginning to get a sense of why they're at odds with my preconceptions of what STO "should" look like.

By the time of DS9, CG was replacing physical models. That meant CG lighting had to be done as well. By the time of Voyager, the graphics people were getting quite sophisticated about lighting Voyager dynamically using only the nearby stars and reflection sources -- many of the beauty pass shots from Voyager were works of art. I'm thinking that the deep blacks of space combined with local environmental light sources dynamically rendered was a crucial reason why Voyager looked as gorgeous as she did.

It may or may not be unreasonable on my part to expect that kind of glossy, high-contrast look from a still-in-development computer game intended to do real-time rendering that performs well on a range of PCs. But I'm thinking that maybe that's where my disconnect is coming from when these images seem excessively bright and "flat" to me.

Would there be any chance of someone from the art department giving us a little write-up discussing the choice of art direction for this game, and maybe some of the nuts-and-bolts of that process? I'd really enjoy reading that -- not to criticize, but to help improve my understanding.

2. I'm very impressed by the apparent destruction of the asteroid in the Miranda image. Will solid spheres really crack open into numerous chunks and particles in a non-pre-rendered way in the actual game? Nice!

3. I also like the model of the Klingon ship, but was the superstructure reused from a Starfleet ship design?

4. Also from the Klingon ship image... gossamer dust rings around a star? I don't believe our astronomers are aware of anything like that currently. (Protoplanetary disks that will eventually turn into planets probably don't look as translucent.) If this is just a bit of unrestrained artistic license, I guess we can choose to explain it away as "Well, this is Star Trek."

5. I'm really liking the space backgrounds in all these images. They do a great job of communicating the drama and beauty of space (which should help to amp up the emotion in this game) without radically contradicting what we currently know about how space looks. There's some artistic license happening here, too, obviously, but it's nicely understated. Kudos to the background artist(s)!