Half way through 2022 already! Whilst this article isn’t exactly what you were hoping for it is however a big step in the development of Burning Lands Vietnam. We’re still holding the cards pretty close to our chest when it comes to showing off anything gameplay related, but we hope you’ll continue to stick with us.
Recently we made the move over to Unreal Engine 5. With this engine upgrade comes some challenges, but mainly many more positives for the product we will deliver to you all. Contained within this article are explanations into why the move will benefit us in the grand scheme of things when it comes to development of this title, as well as some of the art that has been produced over the last few months.
Unreal Engine 5 adds some very impressive and quite frankly game changing new rendering features, allowing us to greatly improve the visual fidelity of Burning Lands. Undoubtedly, the most important of these new features is Nanite, a new and improved way of displaying insane amounts of geometric detail while still targeting real-time frame rates. Working in tangent with this new virtualized geometry is Unreal’s new shadow system, virtual shadow maps. Essentially, this means instead of being forced to use lower polygon meshes and normal textures to fake surface shadows, virtual shadow maps can cast real shadows because the 3D geometry actually exists thanks to Nanite.
Another new addition to UE5 is Epic’s totally dynamic software raytraced global illumination and reflection system called Lumen. Lumen provides us with very impressive indirect lighting with realistic bounces, as well as improved occlusion and reflections without requiring hardware raytracing. It’s a huge step up from what was possible with UE4 and will allow us to take Burning Lands’ lighting to another level.
While the above features are definitely the headliners, it doesn’t stop there. Temporal Super Resolution provides a quality, in-house upsampling system to replace TAA. World partition allows for improved streaming of large maps. New in-engine 3D modeling tools help us with creating environments and blockouts. One File per Actor streamlines production workflows by making it possible for multiple people to work on the same map simultaneously. We can model prototype assets directly in the level with the context of where and how the asset will be used. The list goes on and all these new improvements and features will help us make Burning Lands a “Next Gen” visual experience in the tactical shooter genre.
In addition to Unreal Engine 5’s groundbreaking advancements in visual fidelity with Nanite and Lumen, it also brings with it a new Physics Engine in the form of Chaos.
Like many of UE5’s newer systems, Chaos was born out of a need to support larger worlds, similar and well beyond the scale of those being built for Burning Lands. Chaos also makes up for the limitations and restrictive design decisions that came with the previous Physics Engine, PhysX used in UE4. One of these limitations of Physx which Chaos addresses is the introduction of an Asynchronous Physics Scene.
This means that the calculations performed to provide those awe inspiring Ragdoll Corpses or the smooth ride through no man’s land in an M35 (among other things) are handled across multiple threads on the CPU. This allows for highly parallel computation and removes overhead from the main Game Thread, ultimately leading to massive improvements to the final frame time. Chaos is able to provide exceedingly more accurate and stable simulations for physics bodies which results in a much more believable experience for the Player. Another major improvement with Chaos in Unreal Engine 5 that ties into these improvements is native support for N-wheeled Vehicle simulation.
N-Wheeled refers to the ability for Chaos to simulate any number and combination of Wheels with no limitation. Chaos takes into account all their contacts in conjunction with realistic suspension force simulation, engine torque output, and providing a final force value propelling the Vehicle forward. Chaos is able to manage accurate and believable Vehicle simulations to a level not seen before in Unreal. With the far superior simulation stability afforded by Chaos, Vehicles in Burning Lands will feel tactile, weighty and look and behave as the Player would come to expect. This only adds to the immersion, ensuring understandable results from Vehicle simulation and behavior.
UE5’s Audio system brings with it some game-changing features over the old system. One of those features is Metasounds which replaces sound cues. The new system allows us to create modular audio systems that are modulated by gameplay. Metasounds are also sample-accurate, which allows us to have higher fire rates for guns with procedural variation. This also allows us to make transitions between sounds smoother, and be less influenced by frame rate. Sound can also be synthesized within the engine, allowing us to create highly procedural audio.
The new system also comes with some handy workflow improvements such as the ability to create presets. We can have one parent Metasound source that controls the core audio functionality then we create children for specific sounds e.g m16, type56 etc. So if we change the functionality, all the child sounds will update too. This makes it much easier to implement audio changes, especially later on in the project. With the old system, the bigger your project became, the harder it was to make substantial changes.
The new system comes with some performance enhancements as well. The old system was very voice count heavy. One sound cue could equal multiple voices. This meant you had to more tightly manage your voice count which led to some sounds being culled. With the new system, each Metasound source is equal to one voice no matter how many sounds it contains. This will allow Burning Lands to have a vibrant and dynamic soundscape.
A complete overhaul of our M60, as well as the addition of the M60D, the mounted version seen on the Huey.
The M29 is an American-produced 81 millimeter mortar. It began replacing the M1 mortar in U.S. service in 1952 being lighter and with greater range.
The AH-1 showing off. Bet you’re all excited about crewing this with your mate, flying around raining hell down on your enemies.
Our CH47 has had its interior all decked out ready to transport troops and sling load assets when required.
These radios will be a part of our spawning system, they are just so pretty we had to show them off.
Feel free to let us know what you think through our social links and the Discord.
Date posted: 21/06/2022