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In this article, we will talk about the upcoming demo, the work with UDK, and what are our plans for the game with this engine.
Posted by IrrSoft on May 4th, 2013
Hi everyone. It has been a long while since the last article, and a lot of things were done these last weeks. As you know, we have moved from the Unity free Engine, to the UDK engine, in order to use the latest tools available for game developing, with top quality graphics and sound. However, there are several differences in the workflow and design of the two engines that required some changes in our work. But it was all for the better.
In this article, the first development diary detailing our experience with the UDK, we will let you know how the work is going, what are some of our plans for Beta 2.0 and the new demo.
Let's start with the most important part of this diary, the performance of the game.
Due to its advanced rendering features, the massive amount of detail allowed and a really smart management of geometry, occlusion culling, post proccess filters and what not, the UDK engine has a unique workflow.
The first thing we noticed was the lack of dynamic batching. The dynamic batching allows a single object which is placed several times in a scene (like a tree, for example) to be batched and managed as just one object, with the performance cost of just one object. Our scenes and meshes, while we worked with Unity, were designed to use this feature whenever it was possible, with fences, massive amounts of grass and foliage, etc.
(A whole jungle with thousands of trees and other plants, using a lot of batching)
In UDK we don't have any kind of batching, so if we place 10 times the same object, it is used and managed as ten individual, different objects. Also, the deferred rendering used by UDK (the same renderer that allows hundreds of lights, and other amazing features) is more expensive than the old and simple forward renderer provided by unity.
(In-game shot from Unity engine, with lightmaps and forward lighting. It is using our Ambient occlusion technique).
(In-game shot from UDK, with advanced rendering features. It is a work in progress, made for testing)
With these facts in hand, we understood two things :
How this will affect the game's development, or the requirements of the game?
Well, that's hard to tell right now. The game's development s going as fast as possible. We are making a lot of high quality props and scenery for the new demo (a HUGE LOT, like, more than 60 new props in the last 10 days), and even if we will need to re-design some of the later scenes (the farm for example used a lot of Unity features like the terrain engine, and the dynamic batching for the crop field), this is being done fast.
And now, the preliminar requirements for the game are already published, and we are making our best to make the game run within those specs. The levels are being designed carefully so the performance can be uniform. Right now, it can still run well with the minimum requirements.
Here you have some pictures of the new, nicer and more detailed props to be featured in the demo :
But let's talk about what are we planning for the new demo :
For this new demo we want three things :
The demo will be based in micro-scenes. These micro-scenes will be little levels, with different objectives, and different locations, but all of them with a lot of scares and places to explore. The game has now a storyline defined, and this demo will be the first level of that storyline. The farm and the graveyard, that you will see in the second beta will be available once you finish the mission of the demo.
But don't worry, that storyline is just a simple guide to give some order to the levels. Everything in the game is open ended, and you will be completely free to explore, investigate and act as you please.Each micro-scene will have a lot of details, and tons of possibilities. And, during the demo you will have plenty of opportunities to use most of the equipment available in the game, even if just for a little test.
The first micro-scene available in the demo, as most of you have guessed by now, will be based in a hospital. The urgency room, the X-Ray facilities, the surgery room... all of them provide endless opportunities for great and memorable scares. The hospital scene will have 4-6 rooms to explore, each one with around 50-200 different elements, all of them based in real-life medical instruments.
There will be some puzzles, some find x object to enter this room mechanics, some jumpscares and a lot of phenmena going on. In total, we have four different microscenes for this demo, three of them as big as the hospital scene, and the other a little smaller. All of them are inside a bigger scene. And, if you are lucky, maybe you can find some clues and concepts about betas 3, 4, and 5 inside these rooms.
We are talking about the best way to keep you interested and make the demo really dynamic during the 2-3 hours of gameplay we estimate it will have. It is a pretty big challenge, but we are confident that we are up to it.
Beta 2.0 development will continue as soon as the demo is out. After all, we need to redesign the scenes and some of the features to get the most of this new engine, because if we are going to use one of the best engines available, and the same engine which powered some pretty awesome AAA titles, we want to push it as far as possible to give you the best game we can, as close to the AAA quality as we can get.
Be prepared for more news, and pictures from the second micro-scene that we are already working on. In the next days, we will also post some images of the hospital themed scene inside the UDK, and if everything goes well, the next article will cover the actual design of a scene inside the engine, the lights placement, the movements, physics, and all the gameplay features that are involved.
And, on a side note, we want to thank you all for your incredible support with this game. It has been less than a year with the development, and we have more than 150 trackers, a lot of videos in Youtube about our game, and even if the development had its slowdowns, you keep following us. It makes us work harder for this project, and to provide you the best results we can.
Thanks again guys, you are amazing!
Thanks for reading!
The Irreverent Software Team.