CES 07: Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Updated Impressions

Funcom shows off Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures looking better than ever thanks to DirectX 10.

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LAS VEGAS--Age of Conan: Hyberion Adventures is on display at the Consumer Electronics Show, and while the version on display doesn't feature any new gameplay additions since we saw the game last month, it does feature one major new feature. For the first time, Age of Conan is running using DirectX 10, the new version of Microsoft's gaming technologies, and the results are prettier than the DirectX 9 version of the game.

According to Funcom's Jorgen Tharaldsen, the development team spent most of the holidays working hard to get DirectX 10 support into the game in time for CES. The results have paid off. Age of Conan is one of two games on the show floor using DirectX 10 (Crysis from EA and Crytek being the other). The DirectX 10 version looks better than the impressive DirectX 9 version of the game. There's more foliage than in the DirectX 9 version, as well as better lighting and shadowing and better-looking characters. Funcom showed off the visuals using a looping in-game cutscene, and we got to see some incredible reflections on water surfaces when the camera flew through a port town.

While the visuals did display a little slowdown in some intensive scenes, the demo averaged more than 35 frames per second, and Tharaldsen said that there was still plenty that Funcom could do to optimize and improve the frame rate. At this point, the action-heavy massively multiplayer role-playing game that lets you create a character and explore the world of Robert E. Howard's famous barbarian is entering the final phase of development, and Funcom plans to spend a lot of time between now and launch tuning and bug-fixing the game

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