Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wait, Has That Been There The Whole Time?

If you've been reading Avert Your Eyes for a while, and maybe if you haven't, you might know that I once had quite a thing for Eternal Lands. Even recently, I've found myself going back to EL every now and then. I usually play for a few days, get bored, and go back to playing WoW - but still, I've been keeping up with EL for a few years now.

Updates come frequently enough. Some add things I like (eg., when they finally added auto-harvesting), some just add content mainly meant for higher level players that I never get to see, but usually the updates are nothing drastic. That is, until now. What I'm trying to say here is that the most recent EL update is a big deal.

For one, EL now uses your graphics card like it should: ie., It actually uses it. Player and monster models are now drawn using the graphics card instead of the CPU, meaning a hell of a lot less jerky movements. Reflections are now longer mirrored level geometry, meaning water now looks much, much better than it has in the past.

There are lots of other nice little improvements, but I'm glossing over them because I want to get to the major change: there is now a sky. There's a sky and you can see it. I'd imagine right now some of you are thinking "yeah, big deal", which simply shows you've never played EL. No longer is the camera locked in the top down perspective. If you take advantage of the limber, dexterous new camera and bring it down far enough, you will indeed see sky.

The world of Eternal Lands seems much different when you know there's a real honest-to-goodness sky up there, instead of a dark endless void. It feels more like a world and less like a series of maps strung together. It sounds like a simple, nearly useless change, and in some ways it is, but I can't stress enough how different it makes the game feel.

Oh yeah: also, there are bows and arrows. Haven't got a chance to mess around with them.

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