Video 27 — Internal Footage

City Improvements

Game developers often share videos among themselves as a way to convey progress.  These videos are generally not very polished – they’re simply intended to show the current progress in a part of the game.  We’re currently upgrading our video creation process, so in the meantime we’ll be publishing some internal footage to keep you updated on what’s going on with Ship of Heroes.

Improved textures in the northern part of Apotheosis City.

For example, this is a routine internal update video for us.  For once, you’ll see the default Epic robot; our environmental art team prefers to use it for simplicity’s sake.  More importantly, our environmental art lead narrates as he shows off several new upgrades to Apotheosis City, which are a part of our initiative to get our main playing map ready for eventual Alpha testing.  Creating and polishing an urban area like a modern city can take years, even for highly-skilled artists; we’re in year two already.  A city map can also be rushed out the door much faster with cookie-cutter visuals or lag issues, but we aren’t going to do that.

Road textures, street signs and lights are now uniform in the city.

Flat cities can be boring, and they are often less immersive.  Apotheosis City is not flat… but that means we need an artistic look for the angled building foundations downtown.  And we are creating that style, one building at a time.  The addition of many sets of stairs, unique foundation cut-aways, and a more natural-looking road network all help to convey the atmosphere of a real city.

Stairs, rising and falling roads, and a 3D landscape add to immersion.

With the updated roadways, lighted street signs, working street lights, and architectural improvements, Apotheosis City is really coming alive.  These improvements are one step to creating an Alpha map for testing.  Now we’re working on adding more nighttime emissives to the buildings to light up the windows at night.  We’re also adding civilians and cars to the rest of the map, and of course, enabling our CROM 4 system to maintain our excellent FPS.  No city can ever be truly immersive and fun if players lag or stutter heavily while exploring it.

The look of the city at night has always been a focus area.

Technical Notes:

Contrary to our usual practice, internal videos like this one are often recorded in the editor, and not in a client/server arrangement.  At this point, we’re pretty confident that our prototype game works in client/server, so art changes like these don’t really need to be individually tested.

The map shown is a test map for the art team to make improvements that can be moved to the main SoH maps later.

This video was recorded in Unreal Engine version 4.21.2.  This is the first video we’re showing in the new engine version.

This particular artist likes to have a round mini-map window on his version of the game.

Mixing lighted and dark areas also adds to immersion.