vive

Hello everyone,

We were finally able to get our hands on the HTC Vive today! [Thanks Chet]

Since we have a lot more DK2, most of our development is done on Oculus, but in the next few weeks we will start working on our Project Morpheus and HTC Vive versions. We’ll definitely keep you posted on our progress and share what we will learn along the way.

Vincent Martel / Producer / @Vincent_Martel

 

Hello VR fans,

In FATED we want players to be immersed in the world we created. We want them to feel connected to the characters they meet. To achieve this, we’re working with various animation techniques designed to make sure that our characters move and act in a realistic way.

As we stated earlier in the blog, we’re using motion capture for the character movements. When the character hops down from the chariot in the preview, we see how smoothly she moves even though it’s a pretty complicated movement. For facial expressions, we’re using Faceshift, a markerless motion capture software.

Finally, the hair and the other items are animated manually. We’re looking into other options to give the objects a more realistic feel by simulating the physics in Maya and baking it directly on the animated models.  

All three techniques are then combined in Unreal Engine 4.

What do you think? I think it’s going to look amazing!

Laurent Mercure / Community Manager / @laurentmercure

In the wake of this week’s Oculus Story Studio announcement of the animation project Henry, we wanted to share our own favorite VR short film, Butts. It’s more of a must Watch than a must play really. It’s not the only VR animation short out there but its execution is flawless and it’s sure to put a smile on your face.

We love how the creators describe it on their website: “Butts is an animated VR short about love, trust, and learning what it means to be truly free.” It’s an adaptation of an animated short that you can also watch on their website. It’s interesting to compare the VR experience to the original short and see how virtual reality affects the storytelling.

What do you think? Have you tried other VR animated films?

http://www.buttsvr.com/

Vincent

Louis and I just came back from CDRIN after two days of motion capture. It was a daunting task, but we were able to shoot the entire first episode! I can’t wait to see how it looks in VR and watch our characters come to life. Here’s a few pictures from the shoot:

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Our actors, Marie-Caroline, Caroline, Pierre-André and Fredo. Thank you, guys! You did an amazing job!

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And a big ‘thank you’ to CDRIN technicians Rémy, Alexandre and Yannick.

It was a pleasure working with you guys; we’ll be seeing you soon!

(Sorry, I forgot to take a picture…)

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Can you guess what that plush is for? 🙂

Vincent Martel

Executive Producer / @Vincent_Martel

cyrillepewpew

Hi everyone,

I present myself, Cyrille Jean. I just joined the Fated team as a brand manager. When I realised I was going to work on a virtual reality video game, I was really excited. Fated is an amazing project, of course because it is virtual reality, but also because it is set in the mythical age of Vikings. The world of Fated is filled with documented Norse mythology and it adds so much to experience. Viking, gods and giants, what’s not to like?

All I can say for the moment is that I see the team working really hard to make this VR game an immersive experience where you will feel a roller coaster ride of emotions ranging from surprise, fright and tears. So far, they’re succeeding and it is going to continue. Honestly, I tried it and it was one of the best video game experiences of my life. So intense! I am really proud to be part of Fated adventure.

My job in the team will be to make sure this game is known by every gamer who possess a Virtual Reality headset in the world and make sure that they have no difficulty finding it when it will be for sale. I am sure you’re wondering what will I talk about in this blog… Generally, through this blog, I will share my opinion on the VR market and VR marketing initiatives.

So, if you are interested by privileged information, stay up to date via our Facebook and Twitter. The next months will overflow with amazing news and tips and tricks.

Looking forward to share with you soon.

Cyrille / Brand manager / @cyrillejean

Mik

Hi everyone!

With Oculus’s recent announcement regarding requirements and specs for the consumer version of their HMD (https://www.oculus.com/blog/powering-the-rift/), I figured it was the perfect time to write that performance bit I teased about the last time around. Let’s see how we’re dealing with optimization on FATED! First, some math to have a clear vision of what we’re trying to achieve.

Know Your Numbers!

FATED is pretty much fillrate bound (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fillrate), and it’s safe to assume that most early VR games will also be. This is why the following info is important.

A current generation game will generally push about 124 million pixels per second when running at 60 fps in 1080p. FATED is currently running on a GTX 970 (the recommended card for the consumer version of the Oculus) at ~305 million pixels per second.

1920X1080 upscaled by 140% = 2688X1512 * 75(Hz) = ~305 million

The CV1 native resolution and refresh rate looks like this:

2160X1200 * 90(Hz) = ~233 million

Oculus’ Atman Binstock revealed that “At the default eye-target scale, the Rift’s rendering requirements go much higher: around 400 million shaded pixels per second.” After some math, you can figure out that this pretty much means a 130% upscale seems to be ‘the norm’ for Oculus.

2160X1200 upscaled by 130% = 2808X1560 * 90(Hz) = ~394 million

While we don’t have the final hardware yet, we can have an estimate of what it will need in terms of processing power. The closest we can get using the DK2 is by pushing the screen percentage to around 160. This is what we are aiming to achieve!

Trade-offs A.K.A. Battle with the Art Team

Unreal can be pretty daunting when you first enter it, mainly because the engine cranks everything to 11 by default. The first thing you want to do is take a look at what is costing so much and turn off what you don’t need. Sometimes, the art team will hate you for asking to remove that extra post-process, but remember that a vomit-free experience is more important!

With FATED, we decided to go with a ‘stylized’ look so we could remove some of Unreal’s cost-heavy features while keeping the visuals as stunning as possible. We are also making the conscious decision to have each scene as tightly contained as possible. We want to control which objects are seen at each moment (limit draw calls!) and so we design the levels in consequence. These assumptions allowed us to remove some of the features of the engine without overly affecting our visual target. Here are some decisions we made early on:

  • No dynamic shadows, everything is baked (with exceptions…)
  • No dynamic lights either (with exceptions…)
  • Limit post-processes: No DOF, motion blur, or lens flare

Console Command Options

Here are some interesting commands that we used to disable some costlier features:

r.HZBOcclusion 0: Disables hardware occlusion

r.TranslucentLightingVolume 0: Disables translucent lighting

r.AmbientOcclusionLevels 0: No ambient occlusion! It’s a nice feature, but we don’t need it; remove that!

r.SSR.Quality 0: Screen space reflection is also cool, but it’s costly and we don’t need it; delete!

Profiling Limits: Dig Deeper with GPA

At one point, it’s hard to pinpoint what is really happening GPU-side using only the GPU Profiler. To really get a sense of what is going on, we need something to dig even deeper! We’re using a free tool called Intel GPA.

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https://software.intel.com/en-us/gpa/faq

We won’t go in depth on how to use the tool, but there is one important thing to know: it won’t work in ‘Direct to HMD’ mode. So, to start a capture, you need to be in ‘Extend to Desktop’ mode. The quickest way we found to take a capture was to open the editor, set GPA to ‘Auto-detect launched app’, and then run the game in ‘Standalone’.

Now for the Juicy Tips!

Analyze your scene: I talked about the ‘show’ commands and ‘stat scenerendering’ in my last post; this is where you want to use them to determine what your bottleneck is.

Instancing Static Meshes + Foliage: If you have too many draw calls, this could be a life saver! Foliage is especially great if you want to have a dense forest or lots of smaller meshes. But keep in mind that the level of detail in foliage can easily multiply your draw calls. Also, instancing is not always the best option, so make sure it’s really going to help. Don’t hesitate to compare using GPA!

Particle System Bounds: While profiling FATED, I found out that a lot of particle systems we were not supposed to see where being rendered. Turns out the culling of particle systems is not set by default!

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Project rendering settings – Screen Clear: This is a minor optimization, but every microsecond is worth it! If you always render something on each pixel (you have a Skybox, say) this is worth setting to ‘No Clear’. Be aware that this should only be set for actual builds, since it will cause weird artifacts in the editor asset viewer viewports.

Project rendering settings – Early Z Pass: This is one of the best helpers for the fillrate. This will do more draw calls, but it’s such a huge help for the number of pixels drawn that it is worth enabling. Some frames got as much as 25% speed gain by enabling that!

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Disable post-processes when not using them: We got some really nice post-processes for some features in our game, but they are not always used. Be sure to remove those from the ‘Blendables’ array when they’re not needed!

Shipping Builds: It’s good to remember that your shipping build is going to run a bit faster than your dev build.

We’re always looking for ways to improve performance, and we’re not done optimizing, but this should give you a basic idea of how we’re working on FATED: always profile, add one feature at a time, and look for more ways to make the game run ever more smoothly. There is whole section dedicated to performance in the Unreal 4 documentation (https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Performance/index.html); I highly recommend it to those who want further insight!

Meanwhile, if you have tips to share, or any questions or comments, send them in and I’ll be happy to address them! ‘Til next time!

Mick / Lead Programmer

Hey again,

The excitement for Virtual Reality continues! We saw some amazing stuff coming from the RIVER start-ups (powered by the Rottenberg Ventures), special mention to FOVE and their awesome VR eye tracking system! They just launched a Kickstarter campaign, back it up!

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The Project Morpheus demo with the guns was a big star here. It was really fun just to watch the great reactions from the players. We got to try a Sixense demo, also with guns… it was just great! Having controllers definitely adds to the VR experience.

day22

A few more people played our FATED demo. Even though it’s still pretty early in Alpha, it’s still making quite an impression. Quote of the day: “Best Demo I’ve played during the event and it was in a f**king Hotel Room!”

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We finished the day with a great talk from our friends at Epic. It was good to hear that their Showdown demo worked without any modification @120 Hertz on the Project Morpheus. This is really high end stuff and it was running on a very high end PC rig. The PS4 is a powerful machine and mustn’t be underestimated.

But as all good things must come to an end, we need to get back to work now.

See you later folks!

Vincent Martel / Producer / @Vincent_Martel

Hello everyone,

Michael and I are in the Silicon Valley area this week for the SVVR 2015 convention. So far, the event is great, it’s nice to meet other VR devs and chat about our passion for the medium. Even though we don’t have our own booth, we brought a pretty polished demo to show to members of the press and other VR enthusiast devs at the event.

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We wandered the showfloor and got to try many cool demos. The teams from Kite And Lightning and Cubicle Ninjas did a fantastic job with theirs.
It’s refreshing to see non-gaming VR applications too. There’s a lot of passionate people out there looking to make the world a better place.

Also, we were lucky enough to get our hands on the new Oculus Crescent Bay kit and it’s awesome; lighter headset, better resolution, great sounds… can’t wait to try FATED on it.

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So many people to meet and so many demos to try!

We’ll keep you posted tomorrow about Day 2.

Vincent Martel / Producer / @Vincent_Martel

RAGNARÖK

@Vincent_Martel —  April 30, 2015 — Leave a comment

MuralOnly

“Brothers will fight

and kill each other,

sisters’ children

will defile kinship.

It is harsh in the world,

whoredom rife

–an axe age, a sword age

–shields are riven–

a wind age, a wolf age–

before the world goes headlong.

No man will have

mercy on another.”

The Poetic Edda