The terrain system uses height maps to quickly and efficiently create game worlds. Unlimited blended texture channels allow an infinite range of ground types to be represented in extreme detail and drawn over extreme distances. Terrain mesh editors and painters also allow flexibility for artists to generate compelling landscapes within a short period of time.
An embedded day/night cycle realistically simulates the progression of time, with hills and objects casting shadows against the terrain for a realistic feel.
The climate system is a tightly integrated & sophisticated module that allows dynamic simulation of weather events such as rain, storms, wind, fog & snow. Rain or snow are directly caused by clouds and interact with the ground, causing splashes. Clouds in turn are dynamic objects that change density, are lit by sunlight or lightning and are affected by wind.
The sky is an animated, multi-layered dome that features dynamic color gradients, celestial bodies (sun, moon, stars etc) and advanced sunlight simulators for realistic diffusion of light in an atmosphere.
Dynamic Scenery Loading
This feature allows scenery to be loaded without gameplay interruptions.
Indoor and outdoor areas can be seamlessly integrated so that players can move between them without interruption to gameplay.
Dynamic colored lights, shadowing, lens flares and coronas allow designers to enhance their levels with a wide range of mood lighting, real-time shadows and other realistic effects.
Lakes and pools are interactive and respond to collisions; objects moving through water leave wakes and objects thrown or dropped into the water will create realistic ripples.
Mobile Spaces and Vehicles
BigWorld natively supports the creation of interactive mobile spaces such as platforms and vehicles, allowing players to interact and explore environments from unique perspectives on their world.
The animation blending system allows a model to play more than one animation sequence at a time and blend seamlessly between them. For example, the blend system can combine a ‘hold gun’ animation with a ‘run’ animation to create a ‘run with gun’ animation. This shortens development time by decreasing the number of special case animation sequences that need to be created.
Control of multiple morph layers creates very effective and complex emotions quickly
The morph engine allows many layers of morphing to be blended onto one model. For example, when a player avatar is talking, the mouth movement, eyes and eyebrows can be separate morph layers. An amusing additional morph layer could simultaneously cause the avatar's head to swell to twice its normal size, while maintaining the mouth movement and facial expression.
Animation sequencing takes a series of animation sequences and seamlessly chains them together into one fluid sequence.
Streamed Animation Loading
BigWorld’s animation sequences are streamed from disk to reduce memory usage without interrupting gameplay.
Entity Path Interpolation
Entity path interpolation smooths an object’s trajectory eliminating jerkiness.
The character physics includes one bone IK, collision detection (triangular prism or ray-cast) and detection of foot-to-ground collision for automatic footstep placement.
Movement animations are automatically selected based on properties such as velocity, pitch, yaw and user-definable flags. This system allows movement animations to be selected automatically, at the correct speed.
The BigWorld client uses per-pixel shading to create realistic water, dynamic metal, specular reflections and many other effects. The level of control inherent in per-pixel shading gives the developer considerable creative freedom in creating and implementing special graphic effects.
Normal & Displacement Mapping
The BigWorld client is able use normal mapping to increase the visual complexity of model surfaces without increasing the model polygon count. Games such as Doom 3 and Half Life 2 make extensive use of normal mapping to heighten the illusion of reality in their character and scenery models.
Distort, refract and reflect light using the per-pixel distortion shader, with artists having full control over the effect. An object heating the air above it and creating localized changes in the density of the air causes scintillation, or heat shimmer, due to the lens effect of the air. A simulation of this impressive effect is available in the BigWorld client.
Blooming is an effect where light appears to blur in around the edges when you have a dark object in front of a light background. Many photographers try to avoid such juxtapositions, however, others use it intentionally for a stylized look. When used carefully, it can add a feeling of depth and realism to a 3D scene in the BigWorld client.
Complete Python Game Engine Interface
This interface allows the developer to write and test Python scripts from within the game environment. Scripts are powerful and can be reloaded without losing object state.
Properties changed on the server or client will automatically propagate to all interested parties, subject to security rules on the server.
Navigation Out of the Box
An efficient pathing plug-in is provided for use by player or non-player characters in full 3D; seamlessly moving up stairs, under walkways and from indoors to outdoors. To keep overheads low, path information is pre-calculated and used with an A-star algorithm at run-time to calculate optimum paths. Environmental information including object height and line of sight can also be pre-calculated and used to guide AI behaviour such as hiding behind barrels or climbing over low obstacles.