One of the many things revealed at EVE Fanfest 2012 was the DirectX 11 Tessellation demo presented by CCP CTO Halldor Fannar and Nvidia SVP of Content & Technology Tony Tamasi. The duo gave a demonstration of the tech during the CCP Keynote at Fanfest, exploring some of the possibilities for future DirectX 11 support for EVE Online.
The applications of tessellation are numerous, but ultimately it provides a procedurally generated, scalable level of detail from a single 3D model (it adds or removes triangles). This is an interesting proposition and could provide the players of EVE with a range of detail never experienced before. When we originally created EVE we wanted to deliver this kind of detail but due to the limitations of hardware this was simply not possible. We can build models to amazing precision and now, combined with the new hardware tessellation architecture in DirectX 11 and the latest Nvidia GPUs, this level of detail becomes possible and practical to render in real-time.
The demo wasn't presented on EVE's Trinity engine and was meant to gauge the interest of players, which the blog notes has been "overwhelmingly positive." While DirectX11 support may still be quite a ways off for EVE, you can get a look at a couple of screenshots from the presentation along with a few more details in the new blog.