What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

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What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

Postby Consultant » Fri May 15, 2020 10:30 am

Epic Games revealed a job-dropping short video about the next evolution of their game engine yesterday. You can see it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC5Ktat ... e=youtu.be


As you can probably guess, over the last two days our whole team at Ship of Heroes was looking at this video and discussing what it portends for the industry and for us. I thought I’d share some of the thoughts that emerged out of those discussions; right now, this looks like great news for SoH, and for game developers in general. Of course, we’re just one team working in Unreal; others may have different views, and we may see things differently in the future.

1. This look at Unreal 5 shows an amazing, powerful tool. Has Epic Games made every other game engine obsolete at a stroke? Maybe. It’s that powerful. There’s a lot to unpack in Unreal 5, but the lighting, the advances in using extreme hi-poly art resources, and the other features in the engine mean that movie-quality visuals can be rendered, as long as your platform can handle them.

2. Unreal 5 will launch at the end of 2021, unless there are delays. It is usual for many tech products to need a few iterations before they are working as the devs really wanted them to, so perhaps 5.1 or 5.3 will be the sturdiest framework for any new game. On top of that, MMOs generally take 4+ years to develop, so don't expect any MMO natively built in Unreal 5 to launch before 2026 at the earliest.

3. Unreal 5 is backwards compatible – a game built in Unreal 4 can be upgraded to Unreal 5. This would not be quick or cheap, but it would likely be less than half as expensive for us to upgrade as it would for any other MMO to start from scratch in the new engine. The main issue would be the high-poly art assets and meshes. Once SoH is running, we can see two potential ways to take advantage of Unreal 5. We could add new content like new zones with the higher definition Unreal 5 quality, or we could back-adapt our existing content to the new quality level and have the entire game at the Unreal 5 level.

4. The global illumination is amazing, and that feature pretty much requires nothing extra compared to Unreal 4 lighting. It's just going to work when you turn it on. No more baked lighting. Everything will be done in real-time – you just add lights and configure them and it does the rest on its own. That's huge, and it looked amazing in the demo. There was no ray-tracing in that demo, and it was primarily running in 1440p, though they used dynamic resolution so in some cases it would downgrade on the fly when the PS5 couldn't keep up. So that global illumination won't require a ray-tracing video card as its standard graphics rendering. But it does require an SSD.

5. That being said, there will almost certainly be a performance cost in return for global illumination and the other graphical upgrades Unreal 5 introduces. Optimizing around that cost will require skilled developers, which may mean that it will take even longer before an MMO natively built in Unreal 5 can be launched. At least that is our quick take from the current information we’ve seen.

6. The engine scales down your visuals to match your platform. This means that if you are playing something on a phone, whatever you are playing or looking at will still work, even if visual quality is reduced. That’s amazing. Epic has translated the Fortnite experience to the new engine.

7. More broadly, Unreal 5 will greatly assist developers in promoting VR for larger audiences. We don't plan to do anything with VR for Ship of Heroes, but other games could benefit a lot from having a standard platform and quality tools in Unreal 5. Frankly, this engine could even be used to create movies or TV series. Will Netflix become a major user? This promotional video has a sort of Uncharted/Raiders of the Lost Ark feel to it.

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Golden Ace
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Re: What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

Postby Golden Ace » Fri May 15, 2020 11:29 am

Wow...
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GladDog
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Re: What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

Postby GladDog » Fri May 15, 2020 1:22 pm

Holy !@#$
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Re: What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

Postby Actjcksn » Fri May 15, 2020 1:26 pm

That's amazing!
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Frogmuscle
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Re: What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

Postby Frogmuscle » Tue May 19, 2020 5:08 pm

Be nice if SOH could utilize this when it does come out. I'm thinking a main story line cut scenes on an expansion pack. For example The main story line from Star wars the old republic, if anyone of you played this. I personally thought the story line was excellent. Cut scenes made it even more so. If SOH release date is end of 2020 or early 2021. So if your correct in assuming 2026 this would be used in other MMO'S
That would put SOH at the 4 year mark give or take. I think that would be a great refresher for new content.
Think about a lot of these MMO'S out there by the time you hit 3 or 4 year mark, things start to become one big grind. With this new tool SOH could really stand out by using this.
Just my thoughts.

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Re: What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

Postby Consultant » Fri May 22, 2020 9:40 am

Yes, we've made a quick look at the UE5 tools as they exist right now...they are not yet "easy to use."

Our strategy, since we are small team, has not changed. Get SoH launched, then expand the game, then keep upgrading it. What UE5 means to us is that the upgrading part is going to get easier in a couple of years. As the next couple of years go by, the UE5 toolkit and available art will probably rise spectacularly. This is the "ecosystem" around the engine. As this expands, it gets easier to use the new engine, which makes more people generate tools and art for it, in an expanding cycle.

In tech terms, we will not be an early adopter, carving out one of the first new games in UE5 -- we're already deeply committed to UE4. We will be what is often called a "fast follower." Once the system is up and perfected, with contractors and artist offerring goods and services for a stable platform, we will jump on it.

Between now and then, we will plan for it, and make decisions that keep UE5 in mind.

And yes, personally I agree with you about SWTOR. The large number of cut scenes and video in the game add enormously to the story, especially in the early worlds. In fact, my perception is that many SWTOR players prefer the early worlds to the later game -- less grindy and more immersive.

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Frogmuscle
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Re: What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

Postby Frogmuscle » Fri May 22, 2020 5:47 pm

Hat's off you all of you. Your passion, dedication to this game has shown. I've been a gamer sense Everquest 1 came out, and I was hooked big time. This is the first time I have really been involved in any gaming forums. I feel like my opinion matter's. I really want this game to succeed. Would love to see you all take the Guinness World Record from World of tanks. 190,541 players on a single server back in March of 2013 I believe.
Thanks for the entertainment everyone!

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Re: What Unreal 5 Means for Ship of Heroes

Postby Consultant » Sat May 23, 2020 1:41 pm

I certainly hope there was more than one instance going on in that record! Or FPS was really, really low...

:)


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