Mirage: Arcane Warfare builds upon mechanics instituted by Torn Banner's critically acclaimed Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, preceded by Source Engine mod Age of Chivalry. The team's humble beginnings were rocketed ever upwards by Valve's placement of Age of Chivalry on the official Steam store – the first of three mods to receive such an accolade. Its peers, Dystopia and Insurgency, have also gone on to establish studios.
Mirage significantly changes the top-level gameplay from what's been experienced in Torn Banner's previous titles, but does so without shaking the foundation. Low-level gameplay elements remain intact with the new title, including swing mechanics (follow-through mouse drags that impact outcome) and the psychology-driven design approach to competitive play. Importantly, Mirage now absolves itself of largely physical combat with a new-found dedication to – go figure – arcane sorcery.
Epic Games made the most of the its stage at GDC 2016. In the company's “State of Unreal” panel, CEO Tim Sweeney packed in as much news in as he could – an empowered battle against CryEngine's latest announcements. The success of the latest iteration of the Unreal Engine was a focus point; according to Sweeney, Unreal Engine 4 now has over 1.5 million users, and the seven largest franchises on the engine have generated over $1 billion in sales each.
The Unreal Engine news wasn't limited to larges titles, though. Last year, Epic announced a grant for indie developers using the Unreal Engine and, not to be outdone by CryEngine's $1 million indie fund, Epic increased their grant from $800,000 to $1.2 million. Epic is additionally partnering with HTC and Valve to bring 500 Vive units to indie developers to increase the development of VR titles.
Crytek announced at GDC 2016 its fifth iteration of CryEngine, cleverly suffixed with CryEngine “VR” in the teaser trailer. The new build of CryEngine makes a few major moves that impact gamers, but most interesting to us is a heavy focus on low-level API optimization, new particle FX processing procedures, cloud FX, and VR optimization.
“Tessellation” isn't an entirely new technology – Epic and Crytek have been talking about it for years, alongside nVidia's own pushes – but it's been getting more visibility in modern games. GTA V, for instance, has a special tessellation toggle that can be tweaked for performance. Like most settings found in a graphics menu, the general understanding of tessellation is nebulous at best; it's one of those settings that, perhaps like ambient occlusion or anti-aliasing, has a loose tool-tip of a definition, but doesn't get broken-down with much depth.
As part of our efforts to expand our game graphics settings glossary, we sat down with Epic Games Senior Technical Artist Alan Willard, a 17-year veteran of the company. Willard provided a basic overview of tessellation, how it is used in game graphics, GPU load and performance, and implementation techniques.
The East Coast Game Conference often feels like the “Epic Games Conference.” The show is indisputably dominated by local heavyweight Epic Games of Unreal fame, leveraging its home-field advantage to offer paneled insights on the game development process.
In hot pursuit of Bioware's humbling keynote on storytelling and narrative, we attended an Epic Games panel on the topic of Unreal Tournament's symbiotic, community-based development endeavors. The panel was headed-up by Senior Designer Jim Brown, an industry veteran who agreed to an on-camera discussion pertaining to oft-untold level design tactics.
Unreal Engine 4 -- one of the premiere engines used for creating games -- has been making quite a splash in the gaming market, primarily due to demonstrations that show off its impressive potential. More recently, Epic unveiled an Unreal Engine demo using nVidia’s Tegra K1 mobile SOC, which hosts a 64-bit ARM CPU and Kepler-based GPU with 192 CUDA cores, 4 ROPs, and 8 texture units.
For those of you who followed our GDC coverage of Epic Games' press conference, you'll recall my question to Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney (32:45 in our video): "Will there be a new Unreal Tournament game launched with Unreal Engine 4?"
Sweeney's answer let me down, though: "Oh! An Unreal Tournament game! Uh, no, we are not shipping an Unreal Tournament game. We have a lot of nostalgia for that game, but we are not developing anything in the Unreal game universe at all at the moment." Sweeney then went on to discuss Fortnite.
NC locals Epic Games instantiated Unreal Engine's productive capacity for hundreds of attendees at ECGC 2014 last week. The entirety of Wednesday saw back-to-back Unreal Engine panels and technology demonstrations, eventually leading into the release of Unreal Engine 4.1 on Thursday morning.
We were on-site to film a few of the panels as complement to our GDC 2014 UE4 pricing announcement video, which discussed Epic's move to a $20/mo. subscription model and open source methodologies. The engine has historically been priced slightly above that -- and by "slightly," I mean "a couple million" -- so the change is a risky one.
Epic’s GDC 2014 press conference saw the demonstration of the engine’s technology in-use, with the primary focus centered on accessibility (even to non-coders), affordability, and flexibility. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney started off by admitting the conference wouldn’t be a “Steve Jobs type of keynote, [we’re] just computer nerds,” before then diving into some of the history and advancements of Unreal Engine. Sweeney noted that he was personally responsible for approximately 80% of the original UE’s codebase, but with UE4 there are now entire teams dedicated to the engine.
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