|The Gnosis Before PBR (left) and After PBR (Right)|
Let me be clear right off the bat, I am a huge fan of the new Peanut Butter Rendering Engine or Unreal Engine: Eve that was released yesterday in the the Rhea Lunar-Cycle Expansion. Huge Fan! Despite the fact that I recently completed nearly 130 time-consuming and insanely complicated illustrations of Eve ships, many of which now look completely friggin' different. Much like the before and after illustration of the Gnosis header image.
And no, I am not bitter. Like I said, huge fan.
CCP Mankiller said it best: (Bold bits are mine)
"Having adjusted our math to emulate better the behavior of light and materials in the real world, we plug those equations into EVE and everything is suddenly perfect, right?
PBR shows the state of our assets far more accurately than the simple model we have been using up to now. We used to rely on the physically inaccurate numbers to avoid certain display problems, but now we have to tackle those issues directly. Accordingly, many assets will only be perfected through additional attention.
We are working to identify areas for improvement and determine the best courses of action to address them. In some cases we will rebake the normal maps. In some cases we will adjust the factional data. And in some cases, we will execute complete redesigns. With the implementation of PBR in EVE, we hope capsuleers across New Eden can contribute to these ongoing graphic developments while enjoying increased pixel accuracy.
Additionally, the new system allows for further improvement of our shaders. We could introduce a new material, apply dynamic dirt levels (older ships showing their age?), or generate ambient occlusion maps for sub-capital ships. And of course, there is always ship customization. By adopting a better system for determining the colors of our pixels, we have increased the options available for future feature work that realistically conveys the vision of EVE.
That is the true benefit of PBR, and the reason that we have worked to provide it in Rhea."
Well said. There can be no doubt that switching to PBR was the right decision. It is important for the long-term direction of spaceships in Eve. It sets the stage for future customization (Corp Logos!!) and whatnots. And eventually it will be the engine for all the other rendering in Eve as well.
Having said all of that, whoa! The clarity is amazing. But it certainly does reveal more flaws with the materials, textures, and color choices doesn't it? Things are very very shiny now, chromed, mirrored, reflecty, and in some cases very plastic looking. It takes some getting used to. But even with the flaws in the system it is clearly the right choice and things can only get better and better as time passes.
The spaceships in Eve have never looked better. And they can only get better if CCP continues to allocate the resources needed to adjust everything based on this new rendering scheme thingie. Lots of maths involved.
But from an art standpoint it potentially kicks ass.
It just needs more Jelly.