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Vendetta Online 1.8.84

VO includes:

- Significantly improved all crystal and ice graphics.
- Added OpenGL Antialiasing modes.
- Fixed crash in OpenGL driver.

The "new" ice effects should be visible on any card with Shader 2.0 support (ATI 9600+, Nvidia 5200+), but may not work with certain Intel video chips and the like. On the Mac, this probably also requires 10.4, at least. For those cards without Shader 2.0 support, there is yet another "improved ice" effect, that is still better than the original, and should work down to our lowest supported hardware.

The new ice is refractive, meaning that you can actually see "into" the ice (but not all the way through it, for performance reasons). As you move around the ice, or it moves, you see modulations in the refraction. The ice is actually not reflective, but does kind of appear so due to some rendering-order artifacts that we may correct eventually.

The ice is also a lot darker than it used to be. The sheer brightness of our 10-year-old EMBM ice was never quite right, and made it not blend very well with other objects in the galaxy. Now the ice can be bright in bright sectors, but dark in dark sectors.

Here are some screenshots of before, after, and the fallback (for those without Shader 2.0 hardware). Keep in mind, the refractive effect is most apparent in motion, so these screenshots don't really do it justice:

Here is the original ice, before.
Here is the new "Shader 2.0" ice, after.
And here is the "older hardware" fallback we now have (it looks like a darker version of the old ice, but it's also semi-transparent, looks quite a bit better).

There are some refraction aliasing artifacts, in really large ice chunks, when viewed from a distance. We didn't have time to look at that this past week, but we'll see if we can improve that next week.