Update: Reviews are coming in, and this thing looks like it could be a smash hit.
Looking at those juicy screenshots from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you’d swear they were from a cinematic cut-scene, but no:
IGNPC: The screenshots for Oblivion look too good to be true. (To be fair, we said the same thing about the first Morrowind screens.) What new graphical effects and techniques are you using in Oblivion? What types of things are you showing in the screens?
Todd Howard: I can assure you those shots are 100% real, taken right from playing the game and will look even better in the final product, as there are effects we’re working on now that haven’t been shown yet. The main effects we use include normal mapping and specular mapping, which are becoming commonplace in games. We also use parallax mapping, which is kind of like displacement mapping. This allows surfaces to appear truly 3D in a pixel-shader, even though they are flat.
This sort of stuff makes me want to get back into PC gaming. If anyone has any tips on how to fit a kick-ass gaming rig into a tiny two-bedroom house containing a couple of adults and a tiny one-year-old entropy generator, please let me know.