Friday, 18 November 2016

Exploring Zakuul from dazzling heights

A week ago, I wrote in my Zakuul sightseeing post: "The Zakuulan skyline is (...) a beauty to behold. It is unfortunate that you can't get high up yourself to admire it outside story chapters and cutscenes." But then I remembered: my character may not be able to ascend, but my camera can.

Yes, you're reading it right, I found an excuse to fiddle around with SWTOR's max zoom distance again! I was very curious myself to get a grasp of how the city of Zakuul fits together, because you really can't tell when you're just running around using normal character view. I felt this child like sensation of excitement because I was about to enter an unexplored realm of potential beauty. Here are the results.

This is where the Outlander arrives on Zakuul.

Same place, different angle. This shot really makes me wish you could rent a taxi and fly around yourself to explore the place. Wouldn't that be cool?

Some parts do make me worry about the structural integrity of this city.

The greatest enemy of the Zakuul aerial explorer: green mist (here above Downtown Central). I noticed during my exploration of the original planets in 2015 that your vision gets blurred when you ascend extremely high: you are literally with your head in the clouds, which limits the view.

On Zakuul you hit the limits of world building before you find the sky (more on that later on), but there is something funky going on with the lighting. Columns of yellow lights are placed adjacent some skyscrapers and their light is being dispersed by green fog. I had to reduce the amount of green in most of these screenshots to make the features come out naturally.

I'm particularly proud of this one, as I had to shoot it in the one second timeframe I could look through a building while slowly zooming out. This is the first time I get to really look at it myself. Aerial photography in SWTOR involves a lot of fiddling around with camera angles and trigger happy fingers.

The following series shows how the aerial view transforms while the camera ascends. The starting point is near the droid diner I described in the aforementioned Zakuul sightseeing post.

Look at the height of those taxis! Zakuulan citizens must really trust their vehicles to fly that high. Not to mention they cannot be afraid of heights.

Zooming out even further results in a picture that's more abstract than anything else. This is where I gave up, but I tremendously enjoyed my little tourist trip to Zakuul.

If you liked this, you can find out how to zoom out like this in-game yourself in Aerial photography in the Old Republic.

IntPiPoMo count: 35/50


  1. Never tried that on any planet. Really gives another perspective. Many thanks.

    1. I love Zakuul's skyline, so I loved getting some views of that. Thanks for hopping by!

  2. These screenshots from up top are always cool. I also like the geometric shapes of the buildings.

    As for flying taxis I am of two minds when I see them in sci-fi. On one hand, they are cool, solve a lot of problems with the current transport options and did I mention they look cool? On the other hand the thought of an accident happening that high in the sky just scares the hell out of me.

    1. I always fantasise people have thought about this and there is some sort of safety net in place. For instance a force field that activates as soon as something is registered going down with a certain velocity. Still, to be that dependent on technology... I agree, it's scary.


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