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LotRO: Developer Diary - The Art of Middle-earth by Harry Teasley

Discussion in 'LotRO News and Announcements' started by Orvago, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. Orvago

    Orvago Stratics' Finest
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

    Feb 26, 2004
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    LotRO: Developer Diary - The Art of Middle-earth by Harry Teasley

    The Lord of the Rings Online has released a Developer Diary: "The Art of Middle-earth" -- you may read this article on Turbine's Web Site or continue to Read More for all the details right here at LotRO Stratics!

    Developer Diary:
    The Art of Middle-earth

    by Harry Teasley

    A good artist knows when to paint what they want, and when to do what the painting wants: when you do one thing, it often will tell you the next thing you need to do. So it has gone with creating Middle-earth for The Lord of the Rings Online™. The Shire informed how we designed Bree-land, the decisions we made in Ered Luin and the Misty Mountains directly influenced how we approached Forochel, and so on. No design takes place in a vacuum, as everything connects to everything else. It is staying true to what we have done before that helps us add to the world in a believable manner.

    Thus Middle-earth has grown. Our Epic Story has finally brought us to Eregion and the Hollin Gate, to the entrance of the greatest "dungeon" ever imagined: the Dwarrowdelf, Khazad-Dûm, Moria. Greatest work of the Dwarves, this once magnificent city is now in ruins, overrun by Orcs and the evils released by "delving too deep." Nothing that we have developed to date had begun to scratch at what we wanted Moria to be: the greatest dungeon adventure you have ever seen and played.
    Thorin's Hall was a taste of what dwarves can do, given some pick-axes and a mountain. But Thorin's Hall was a mere outpost compared to the city of Khazad-Dûm, an acorn compared to an oak. At the time we built it, Thorin's Hall felt like we were making something really grand, but as time went on, we saw that Thorin's Hall was just a beginning.

    In preparation for Moria, Thorin's Hall was good for some initial asset design: the dwarf cultural themes we developed laid the foundation for future work. But the tech we used for the space was, we found, already being stretched to its limits. Our dungeon technology allows us to create interesting environments, but not incredibly large spaces of the sort that we would need for Moria. We researched various options doing the dwarf housing neighbourhood, and Goblintown, and Sarnur, all with an eye towards learning how we could approach Moria. None of those solutions were optimal for what we wanted to achieve. We came to the conclusion that we needed the capabilities in our landscape engine to create a dungeon., and thus our dual heightmap technology was created.

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