GDC 07: Normal maps make Lair look good!
Mattias Worch, technical art director for Factor 5's upcoming PS3-exclusive Lair, recently spoke to GDC attendees about creating textures and normal maps in a next-gen environment. The very technically-oriented lecture can be effectively summarized as such: "Lair looked really crappy until we used normal maps. Now it looks really good. You should all use normal maps."
Developers were told how to use Photoshop to accentuate and restore detail from textures. Also, artists need to have a clear vision before making a single texture: "Unless you know what you want to do with a normal map beforehand, it'll look wrong."
Afterwards, Worch showed off some incredible footage from Lair, running off a PS3. The graphics, while still glitchy, show a huge deal of promise. Of particular note were the incredibly lifelike water effects: when a ship explodes on water, you'll see realistic, physics-intensive, ripple effects that must be seen to be believed. The Factor 5 team clearly is doing something right: the textures were absolutely breathtaking, even up-close.
Worch promised the audience that his Powerpoint presentation would be made available for everyone to download on his personal website in the coming days. More excitingly, he also promised new videos of the game. Stay tuned.
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