July Town Hall
Today's Subscriber Town Hall featured two members of the VFX team: Staffan Ahlstrom, and Michal Piatek
One thing they impressed was the challenge of scaling VFX in the game. In previous projects they've worked on they only had to deal with a fixed camera angle and having to scale effects from close to very far is quite challenging.
Flying through clouds and affecting the look of them by creating swirls in your wake isn't something that's planned for right now as it takes a lot of work to make something like that happen. If they did decide to do it, it more than likely would be a bit of ‘magic’.
Sonic booms are planned, however they're working on implementing a tech that will allow not only for that to happen, but be used for other effects like shields and have them change dynamically based on the shape of the ship instead of the way they are now which is a static generic block shape of the ship.
There will be a difference between effects in space and in atmosphere. They have a whole set of atmospheric VFX coming online soon and they're also taking gravity into account down the road when it comes to VFX.
They showed off two gifs of the shouldered rail gun, but when asked about the Idris rail gun and if it’s been worked on they said it was a good question, with a smile.
Footprints, impacts and other things left behind by players won't last very long in the current game, but they're working on a tech which will allow for a much longer duration that can be affected dynamically. So they do want to have ship imprints, and of the likes last a while, but for now it's only a short time.
AtV - Behind the Scenes Secondary Viewports
The new Secondary Viewport tech uses the new Render to Texture System to allow such things as comms calls and holographic volume rendering in the PU and Squadron 42
The new system creates a more immersive experience as it makes UI and game holographics seem a part of the world instead of a simple overlay while also improving performance
The same tech will be used for many additional different systems such as visors, comms calls and mirrors further down the line
The Render to Texture System starts at the engine level and accounts for such things as if objects are going to be streamed, the appropriate rendering size and of objects for the ‘screen’ that they'll be displayed upon
The Rendering System has a fixed memory budget that uses a texture pool, similar to a shadow pool, rendering in powers of two to allow for the movement closer and further away and the adjustment of lower or higher resolution progressively
One benefit of render to texture is that it can be reused on multiple objects with the only downside being that it requires a manager for mouse pointer interactivity
The Camera Calling System and the Facial Animation System communicates with the render texture manager to determine the exact size and level of details for the facial animations and character animations
This real time rendering allows for changes in character ships, costumes and locations as well as it allows a character to view any projection, 2D or 3D from any angle while moving
This allows the rendering of any object without the need for the duplication of material set up, and with shaders allows for the fading, dissolving and tinting of objects as they reach borders without the usual clipping
This technology basically creates an immersive telepresence that plays well with player-to-player comms and for effective mission briefings
Though developed rather quickly they still aim to optimise performance further, like with using environ probes to avoid having to render background scenes inside of a video call
Beyond performance, they want to stabilise it more and improve the finalised effects such as with flickering or interlacing lines when there is a poor signal or if the display is damaged
AtV Studio Update being replaced with a new segment called Burn Down. With this segment you’ll be able to be a fly on the wall for some of the production meetings and hear directly from the Developers and QA Testers about the week’s biggest bugs, blockers and challenges that they’ve been battling.