Neverwinter Nights 2 Preview

IGN PC has published an enthusiastic three-page preview of Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights 2, after recently seeing the RPG sequel firsthand while visiting the company's office. A little something to start you off:
In order to power new graphical details like specular mapping, Obsidian had to take a good look at the Aurora engine and make some decisions... like the one they made to completely tear out the renderer and build their own. Their new in-house renderer will be capable of pushing out many of the newer splendors and all of that "flim flammery" as Urquhart so eloquently stated. Among the additions is support of self-illuminating textures, point lights and shadows, and normal maps.

From the little we've seen of game worlds in Neverwinter Nights 2, they're really trying to create areas that are realistic and fun. An outdoor demo level created for the visit consisted of a swamp area (though not the starting point of the story) that showed off all of the new tricks. Day/night cycles brings the sun around to cast correct shadows during the day and cast a blanket of stars over the world at night. Fog rolls in at night and burns off during the day, foliage is affected by wind, and little details like fireflies flicker in the environment. If this short level is any indication, Obsidian is spending a lot of time to hammer out detail to create completely believable fantasy environments.