I understand enthusiasm, excitement, the desire to share my new toys with the world and so does Dave Georgeson. Let loose with the building tools for Landmark, Dave built and decorated a keep in 4 hours then broadcast the pictures to the world.
Dave Georgeson is Director of Development for the EverQuest Franchise at SOE, so this is our first glimpse at the work of a non-artist/developer. It’s also our first glimpse at the furnishings we might expect in Landmark.
From a Rift point of view, the style of Landmark is a different beastie. To my eyes, the colours are stronger, the lighting softer and the furniture, sturdier, cartoonish in style, in keeping with the character models we’ve seen for Everquest Next. It reminds me of the housing in Everquest 2, not a surprise when it’s made by the same team.
Much also seems familiar about Landmark. Flat planes and rectangular construction says this keep is built with blocks and tiles. The crenelations on top of the keep wall are made from smaller wall tiles, ‘weathered’ using the voxel removal tool, then copied and pasted multiple times. I notice a lack of seams where the crenelations meet the wall. Is this a clue to a ‘join’ function to meld two blocks together or just a low quality picture?
Looking closely at the buttresses, the stone work lies horizontal; the buttresses aren’t made from rotated tiles. I wonder if are they are constructed from pre-made triangles or did Dave make them from blocks with the voxel removing tool? The keep walls look made of blue stones. Dave talks about selecting “rock01” as the texture for the keep walls; will we start with a generic block and change it’s texture to suit our purpose? Now what a great feature that would be. Built your keep and discovered blue stones are so yesterday? Just change the texture for an updated look.
Along with the pictures, Dave also released a flurry of tweets containing information about the workings of Landmark. The unit of measurement used in Landmark is the metric system, we’ll measure our land in meters (after all, Dave says, Europe is the home of fantasy and fantasy measurements).
Props like furniture wont be alterable with the voxel removing tool, though it may happen if the developers can overcome the technological challenges. This means no customisable furniture, no notches on the bedpost or names scratched into the table.
There will be interactable elements, details to be released later. Usable furniture is something I miss in Rift. At the very least, it would be great to sit on the furniture or open doors and windows.
For Rifters that love our sky projectors, there will be no changing the sky or weather for our plots of land. Changes to the weather or time of day affect the whole world. Confirmation that our plots of land are not ‘instanced’ inside dimensions but out there in the world for all to see. If we want a cold, snowy location, we’ll have to explore, find and claim land in cold, snowy climes. Wear good boots ’cause we’ll be traipsing around a lot.
There is one thing that warmed my heart, Landmark will not kill the art of morphing objects into other objects. Dave created his couch from totem poles, blocks and cushions. A necessity, he tweets, as many of the props for the game are still in development.
Like all good teases, Dave’s flurry of tweets raises more question than answers. He does promise we’ll hear a beta release date within a month, Landmark is coming this winter and more details soon. In the meantime I’ll be studying these picture to glean as much detail as I can, waiting (im)patiently for news.