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World of Warcraft's evolving engine

World of Warcraft's evolving engine
Some people say that World of Warcraft's visuals are outdated. The game's graphics haven't been updated since launch, they say. In terms of some older art assets, I would agree, but the overall picture is a different story. The system requirements when WoW launched were a meager 800MHz CPU with 256MB RAM and a 32MB graphics card. Today, the bare minimum requirements are a dual core CPU with 2GB of RAM and a 256MB graphics card.

Mists of Pandaria requires an expensive computer to run smoothly at the highest possible graphic settings, and yet it will still run on hardware from 8 years ago. Do you know of many other games with a spread like that?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Creative offered help to Blizzard with sound engine

As you may have heard on this very website, Blizzard didn't just include voice chat in patch 2.2 (and how's that coming, by the way? anyone use it yet?). They put a whole new sound engine into the game. For some people, that's great news-- a reader sent us a note last night that he was surprised to hear his rear 5.1 speakers kick on in Karazhan. But for others, not so good. While there are a few little glitches and bugs floating around, it seems there's a big problem with Creative sound cards (definitely one of the most popular sound card brands out there). And Creative has posted on their message boards that officially, they're not very happy that Blizzard didn't consult them when upgrading their sound engine.

Apparently Blizzard's new engine, called FMOD, by default uses a generic mixer with just a few simple effects. Creative has worked with FMOD to develop a way to run sound through their hardware and enable 3D mixing and other effects (they did this for the PC version of Bioshock, which also uses FMOD), but Blizzard apparently doesn't want any part of it.

So it seems Blizzard treats other hardware vendors the same way they treat their own players-- Creative says they got no advance notice that changes were being made, and apparently requests on why the changes were made have gone unanswered. Of course, Blizzard doesn't have to answer to Creative at all (and maybe they just don't think it's necessary-- I have a Creative Audigy 2 ZS, and my WoW sounds all right, if just a little different). But when we're talking about the biggest online PC game in the world and the biggest sound card manufacturer in the world, it would behoove them both to get along, and make the game sound better for everyone.

Thanks, Jack!

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

WoW Moviewatch: Wandering Dreamscape

This is one truly impressive piece of machinima. I don't watch a lot of WoW movies, but it's the coolest use of the WoW engine I've seen since Return. The video's author, Snoman, does some pretty amazing things with WoW's terrain and models, sometimes changing the game world so much that I look at a scene and think "What game is that? And where can I get it?" Here's Snoman's description:

Wandering Dreamscape showcases 17 model changes. These have been edited together into three separate songs; each with it's own theme and story. I have tried to make it as enjoyable as possible, using some amazing trance tracks and filtering nearly every shot as to make it as surrealistically realistically beautiful as possible.

"Surrealistically realistically beautiful," eh? As confusing as that is, I'd say it's accomplished pretty well in this video. Head over to Warcraft Movies if you want to download it, which the author entreats you to do.

[thanks, BaronSoosdon]

Previously on Moviewatch
Ultimate Escapism 1, 2, and 3, also by Snoman

Filed under: Machinima, Features, WoW Moviewatch

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