Development Update 9.7.16
Over the last several months you’ve seen a bit of what we’ve done with new weapons and characters, so this update will focus on our environment work.
Those of you who have played the latest builds have already seen much of this work in action already, but we wanted to give a little breakdown of what's actually changed in our new updates, along with a preview of our new map.
We’ve said since the beginning that we want a game that handles great but pushes the limits of whats visually possible with today's technology. These are often competing goals, so the way we're approaching it is first make everything look as good as we can, then ruthlessly optimize for performance.
Just as with everything else, there are a lot of different factors that go into achieving a high fidelity stylized look. As we mentioned in a prior update we are doing three primary things to upgrade our environments:
- More detailed models
- Higher quality materials
- Revamped lighting and post processing
More detailed models
UE4 can handle a lot of complex geometry and we’re taking advantage of that fact. Over the past couple months we’ve taken some of our more basic assets and gave them an upgrade. This allows us to increase the overall level of complexity in the shapes and geometry in game, increasing immersion via greater levels of detail in our environments.
Higher quality textures and materials
A lot of our old textures were photo sourced, which can look very realistic, but they tend to break down when you get up close - which happens often in an FPS. They were also preventing us from using all the features available to us like faking depth with parallax occlusion mapping.
Here is an example of an old photo based textures next to a new physically based texture
Revamped Lighting and Post Process
When using an engine with physically based shading like UE4, lighting has an enormous impact as it dictates how your textures and materials look in the final game world.
Below you can see some examples of how this has an effect on our existing characters and weapons that you have been using in game.
We're getting close to completion of the upgrade portion of development which is exciting because it means we can now allocate more resources to producing new content.
Speaking of, we have a new map coming soon...
New Map - Carentan
While we worked on all of these upgrades we were also building our new level, Carentan.
We took a bunch of the major elements from Band of Brothers like the hill road into town, the Café , the Factory with the sniping vantage point, the archways where Easy Company takes cover, and the Pharmacy where Sergeant Tipper gets hit with a mortar shell. We even got some of the smaller ones like the bus stop, the piano, and even the shed with the heart on the door.
The Band of Brothers scene however was not enough to make a full map, so we took inspiration from the real life city of Carentan as well, including the city square with the WW1 memorial statue and the massive Carentan Eglise Notre Dame.
What we’ve ended up with is a hybrid between history and film, tuned for solid FPS gameplay. See below for some teaser images of the map
It's taken us a few months but we are finally reaching the aesthetic we had imagined in our heads when we set out to make Days of War. Over the next few months we are going to be making more maps, optimizing as much as we possibly can, and polishing the rest of the experience.
As always, a big thank you to all of our backers for giving us the opportunity to make Days of War the game we want it to be. Keep an eye out for some new announcements and events soon in the backer forums.