Improved features in the new Anarchy Online graphics engine

With the new and improved graphics engine we want to ensure that Anarchy Online can be further developed, played and enjoyed for many more years to come.

Though the step from one graphics engine to the next is a momentous one, the work of improving the game both visually and with new content is a continuous process, and many of the features in this list will still improve much as development continues.

At this stage the main improvements are the technical aspects of the graphics engine. More and more updates to the in-game textures and models will continue as they are completed. Especially in this field, the new graphics engine holds great potential for the future!

Here is the list of what is new and improved in the new engine closed beta:
  • Accurate shadows: The new shadow system uses a technique which we call adaptive shadow maps. It splits the world into tiles, updating small parts of the shadow map in every frame. It then gradually computes higher precision shadows for tiles close to the viewer. This allows us to achieve high shadow detail and in addition it lets the game render contact hardening shadows on high settings, giving natural looking results. (The shadow is hard at the point where it connects with the geometry, but blurry the further away it gets).

  • Improved ground: The new engine switches to something called normal mapping for the ground textures. The normal maps contain higher frequency surface orientation than before, so you will now be able to see many more details beneath your feet as you are running through the world.

  • New and improved lighting: A new lighting system uses the deferred/light pre-pass approach. This allows the new engine to render scenes with many more point and spot lights, giving us more freedom to light locations in better ways.

  • God Rays: The new lighting system adds support for realistic volumetric shadows, which are popularly called 'god rays'. These are generated by computing sun light occlusion factors for the atmosphere, rather than just solid geometry. In effect every point of the atmosphere is shadowed, which creates impressive shafts of light in the air.

  • New mesh grass: This system runs a custom physics simulation which allows the grass to bend around characters as they walk through it. All the different types of dynamic grass around the world brings nature to life like never before in Anarchy Online.

  • Anti-aliasing: The new engine now supports the FXAA post-process anti-aliasing technique, which smoothes out edges all around the game world and helps create more natural-looking environments.

  • Anisotropic filtering: This improved method of texture filtering makes them look more crisp and clear. This is especially noticeable on armor textures.

  • New water system: The new graphics engine radically changes how water works in the game. Anarchy Online have not been created with this system in mind, so we are still working on smart solutions for making the oceans and rivers look as good as possible. Currently the most notable new feature is the specular reflection on the water as the suns shine on it.

  • New rain: Rain drops are now more substantial, better looking and thicker. The rain also creates a splash effect when colliding with the ground or other world objects, and rain maps have been created so the rain will only fall where it should be physically possible.

New content available in the Closed Beta
  • The New Player Experience features a completely new area in Andromeda called the Arete Landing.
  • New players will be able to complete over a hundred different quests in this area, teaching them about life on Rubi-Ka and preparing them for what to come after they continue their journey in to the new ICC HQ.

  • Special quests have been made to teach shades about spirits from an early stage.

  • Aliens and an alien team mission can be found in Arete Landing.

  • Low level characters will start out running a bit faster than they did before.

  • The amount of generic nano programs has been reduced and these nano programs are now more useful.

  • We have made some changes to various profession toolsets to make them easier and more convenient to play in the beginning of the game.

  • The active mission in the mission window will now get a highlighted outline so the player knows what mission the current map coordinates are for.

  • The Shadowlands start-up area will now be closed. Drake will now be leading players directly to the garden key quests.

  • ICC HQ has been completely re-built and will now be the first city that new players visit.

  • ICC HQ has quests to direct players to the various dungeons across Rubi-Ka.

  • The subway has been moved to ICC HQ and all sides will now share this entrance. Sided entrances for the Subway have been closed.

  • The phasefront display area has been removed from Newland.

  • All whom-pahs have gotten a complete overhaul and the whom-pah system has gotten some new locations featuring Central Artery Valley, The Perpetual Wastelands and Southern Fouls Hills. The side of the territory you travel to using the whom-pah system will now be indicated on the name sign of the whom-pah. Neutral areas will have a teal sign, Clan areas will have an orange sign and Omni will feature a dark blue sign. Making it easier for new players to travel safely.

  • Most outdoor player cities have been wiped from the face of Rubi-ka in most areas leaving a beautiful terrain to explore.

  • All neutral sided shops have gotten an overhaul, based on the feedback we receive we will progress with Clan and Omni shops in the later 18.7 patches.

  • Many new items for the Item Shop.