Obviously the number of models and textures are kept low so that the download doesn't become obscenely large, but given some more sprucing up with unique models, NPCs, water, towns, etc, the Valley could host a pretty nice RPG game all by itself.
I wonder if Valley is doing anything particularly clever; I don't really think it is -- the textures are relatively low-quality, the meshes are fairly low-detail (compared to e.g. Skyrim), and the largest portion of the valley's good looks come from the foliage, which is small enough and repeated in such quantities that being low-detail doesn't really affect it. That is to say, Valley is more or less just a demonstration of Level of Detail optimization allowing the illusion of a gigantic, detailed world without limiting draw distance (say, via fog.) (;´□｀) It uses relatively simplistic assets with an advanced renderer and some shader effects to create a very nice-looking scene (although looking at it without AA makes me want to puke.) ヘ(>_<ヘ)
I'm curious why these sorts of games haven't moved to procedural generation to reduce the size of the assets; .theprodukkt demonstrated back in 2004 with their 96kbyte .kkrieger demo that you don't need gigs of data to produce a visually complex scene, yet you still don't see this sort of technique used at all really; maybe a few things but certainly not much, in any case. Spore
was a high-profile champion of procedural generation in games and I wonder if the high-profile failure of that game didn't do a lot to tarnish the perception of procedural techniques. ( ￣д￣;)On a tangentially-related note
, as I understand it these kinds of huge scenes are traditionally a weakness of immediate-mode renderers like in our Radeon and Geforce cards (due to extreme degrees of overdraw), and traditionally a strength of tile-based renderers like in the PowerVR hardware; I wonder if, as this kind of huge open-world game becomes more the norm (with games like Skyrim and sandbox games like GTA ever growing in popularity -- not to mention open-world MMORPGs ala World of Warcraft and TERA Online), PowerVR might not make a return to the desktop enthusiast space? 「(°ヘ°) Though I do remember reading recently that tile-based deferred renderers, due to their very nature, are terrible for action games; I can't remember why exactly -- something to do with inherent latency of the design...?
I'd love to get the input of someone more knowledgeable on this topic! ヽ(*≧ω≦)ﾉ