Masthead Studios has licensed SpeedTree modeling software to add a higher degree of realism to their upcoming MMO Earthrise. The software suite is now used extensively in the game industry for foliage modeling. What, you've never heard of SpeedTree? Well you've almost certainly seen it before. You're not likely to stop and notice the trees and shrubs as the FBI and military are trying to cut you down with automatic weapons in GTA IV. You probably won't admire the indigenous plantlife while you're trying to frag your opponents in Unreal Tournament III either. But the unnoticed backdrop for your carnage in these games was built with SpeedTree. While we may not pay attention to them directly, these details that permeate our virtual environments can have a big impact on our immersion in those settings. Neverwinter Nights 2, Crackdown and Viking: Battle for Asgard are other prominent titles enhanced by SpeedTree.
Earthrise is in good company on the MMO front with Masthead's decision to use SpeedTree, joining the ranks of Stargate Worlds, Fury, and Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. If the actual game environments can live up to the screenshots Masthead Studios has released, Earthrise stands to be one gorgeous MMO.