Daily Archives: February 25, 2011

In Norrath You Can See Forever

And it is starting to bug me a little.

There is a distinct lack of fog in EverQuest these days, and fog is one of the things I associate with early 3D games.

My thoughts primarily hearken back to the original days of games like EverQuest and Tribes in that regard.

The fog that hid the tree tops in Surefall Glade, the fog in the middle distance that made me tread carefully across the Qeynos Hills towards Qeynos.

Or the fog that hid the far side of a battlefield in Tribes, out of which the occasional tracers or disc projectiles would fly.

I had to use Google to find some old screen shots to show what I mean.

Now you may look at that and say, “Hey, you know it is raining in most of those shots, right?”

True, but these were the best screen shots I could find, so you’ll have to trust me that, at least in my memory, the fog in the game was present even when it wasn’t raining.

And these days in EverQuest, this is what I see most of the time.  Outside of Qeynos it is this.

Running towards a clear blue horizon

From our favorite bandit camp in West Karana, the view is this.

A clear vista of West Karana

But for me, the clincher, the proof in my mind, that the fog is gone, is this shot from Surefall Glade.

Are those supposed to be trees?

Surefall Glade, the zone where I started, the first place I saw back in 1999, used to have the permanent layer of fog above it, so the giant tree trunks seemed to disappear into the mist.  It was like a Northern California redwood grove in the winter.

Now it looks like great big wooden dowels holding up a blue surface.  Or if I turn the picture upside down, it could be pilings sticking up out of water.  But either way, the fog is gone.

Of course, things have changed over the years.  I started playing EverQuest on a 400MHz Pentium II machine with a 3dfx based Voodoo 2 card, which I upgraded soon afterwords to a very nice nVidia TNT2 based video card.  All that fog was there as a blind to keep from over-working the then current crop of video cards.

These days my current machine is considerably more powerful and the video card, a GTS 450, benefits from a decade of research and development.

My machine might now be too powerful to bother rendering fog as it can handle any request that EverQuest throws it.  Moore’s Law may have rendered fog rendering obsolete.

How about you?  Do you remember the fog back in the day in games like EverQuest and Tribes?  Is my mind coloring in blank spots with fog?

And do you see fog in old Norrath today?