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    NOD Engine Information

Introduction

For over 14 months now, Nihilistic has been chugging along in the development of NOD, the breath-taking new 3D engine that will be featured in Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption. From a spinning, un-textured triangle, to a huge, detailed city, NOD has grown from infancy to become an amazing piece of artwork worthy of Nihilistic's team of programmers. NOD has an incredible list of features under it's belt, like volumetric fog, real-time shadows, ripples, realistic smoke, fire and water, reflections, mirrors, sun rises and sets, multiple layers of sky...

Why start fresh?

While there were quite a number of amazing engines already designed and built, Nihilistic felt the need to create their own. Other engines, according to Nihilistic employee Robert Huebner, did not have the RPG elements the team wanted for Vampire. Many other 3D games, such as the Half-Life or Unreal engines, could have rendered most of the effect the programmers wanted, but the deeper part of the engine, which controls the interaction and game-play, would not have been available to Nihilistic's crew without a lot of work and tiresome additions.

Character Models?

The character models, and the skeletal animation that drives them, are both fast and detailed, with the main character, Chritstof, pushing 2000 polygons. Therefore the NOD engine makes for some of the most detailed models around. On top of all that, an exceptional Skeletal system makes it possible for seamless joints that move and look like the real thing. This same system also allows for clothing like cloaks and robes to move realistically and interact with the character. Muscle bulges, gestures (like waving and bowing), advanced lip synching, and of course, fully modeled mouth/fangs are also included within each of the main characters' models.

Lighting

With all this work going into the characters, one might be worried that the team has all but forgotten the game world that the characters will be walking in. Luckily, this is not the case. NOD can handle some amazing effects, including the extraordinary shadows cast by detailed real-time lighting. No more gray splotches on the ground, the shadows flung by NOD twist and stretch as the player gets further away from light sources, then grow smaller and shrink as the player nears a street lamp or other illuminating items.

Detail and Size

The locations portrayed in Vampire are unimaginably precise, with up to and past 15000 faces per "level" and a maximum size of around 2 miles of virtual landscape. The detail that the engine allows is amazing, thanks to an LOD system that automatically scales down the detail in things that are further away. This will definitely help when each character is close to 2000 polygons.

In Conclusion

The NOD engine is innovative and technologically brilliant. This is a top-notch engine that will "absolutely" be used (though bit and pieces will probably be changed) in future Nihilistic games. I certainly can't wait to see the final result.


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