Another month has passed which means it is time for another Hotgates update. Hi, this is Sutorcen and today we will talk about landscapes, engine upgrades and more. Remember in our previous post were we mentioned that switching engine versions mid development can cause more harm than good? Well keep on reading because Unreal Engine 4.11 was bearing some nice gifts.


Unreal Engine 4.11 rocks


As it turns out the people at Epic Games have done an excellent job with Unreal Engine 4.11. The fact that we are also at an early stage of development, made the upgrade to Unreal Engine 4.11, problem free. Why go to so much trouble and upgrade to the current version during development after all you might ask? As we have found out it is all about performance and optimizations. Whenever Epic Games gives us a fresh release of their engine it usually has a ton of optimizations. Nvidia and AMD also continually optimize their drivers for Unreal Engine 4, as it is a relatively new engine. Everybody wins. The update notes on the Unreal Engine 4 official site are long. Read on if you want the short list about some of the benefits we enjoy most with this version.


Taken from the Unreal Engine 4 official site.


Key improvements


Parallelization. Multicore scaling is crucial to achieving high frame rates on modern PCs and consoles, so we have improved our threading architecture in several ways. We’ve reduced the cost of creating tasks, added support for high priority tasks, and removed many synchronization points.


Rendering performance. The renderer now does a better job balancing the size of its worker tasks and the command buffers generated for the GPU in order to achieve maximum parallelism without adding overhead on the GPU. We’ve also worked to remove synchronization points in the renderer so that we can better utilize all available cores.


Faster garbage collection. We now support garbage collection “clusters”, which allows the engine to treat groups of objects as a single unit, drastically reducing the number of objects that need to be considered. Currently, only sub-objects for Materials and Particle Systems are clustered. Additionally, the mark and destroy phases are more cache-coherent, resulting in a 9x reduction in time, and memory churn has been reduced during reach-ability analysis.


Capsule shadows. Unreal Engine now supportsvery soft indirect shadows cast by a capsule representation of the character.


Improved HLOD. This release features major improvements to the Hierarchical Level-of-Detail (HLOD) system. Hierarchical LOD can automatically replace large numbers of detailed meshes with a few simple meshes when they are far away. This helps you achieve much higher quality levels when viewing objects up close, and faster overall performance for your level.


Improved DirectX 12 support and DirectX 12 for XBox One


Good news for Mac users


Metal rendering on MacOSX. Metal is now the default graphics API on Mac OS X El Capitan! That was very important to us as we are also developing the game for Apple’s machines.


Epic have worked closely with Apple, AMD, Nvidia, and Intel to integrate Metal for Mac and in 4.11 it replaces OpenGL as the primary graphics API for OS X El Capitan. The 4.11 release provides the same rendering features across Metal and OpenGL by default. Metal provides a streamlined, low-overhead API with precompiled shaders and efficient multi-threading support to maximise the processing power of the GPU. We will continue to improve and extend support for Mac Metal and look for ways to leverage new API features in upcoming versions of the engine.


and many more…


Great news all around and once again you guys at Epic Games are simply… EPIC, thank you.


Landscapes and Upgrades


This past month here at Hotgates was not just about upgrading, it was also landscaping month. We worked on some of the landscapes that you will see in project “Mojo”. You will be able to visit some real life location like forests, jungles and arid deserts. That’s not all, you will also visit some fantastic locations ranging from alien worlds to psychedelic ones as you travel through the psyche. Part of this process was to see which sky works best with our environments without having a huge impact on performance. Another thing that we keep in mind when combining assets is the synergy of colours between the soil, fauna, sky and props. How they all work with different lighting conditions and various times of day. We had a lot of fun with landscaping, it provided a break from coding which is a more “serious” activity.

I kept the best for last. I am happy to show you some of the locations we have been working. Remember, this is a work in progress and things shown in the images may change until the game is released.


I leave you with these beautiful screenshots from our game, hope we got your hype engine ignited. Until our next update stay frosty and don’t forget to smile. Cheers.