Another Hike Through The Woods!

Hello all! I hope everyone is staying safe and sound during these times!

I’ve been keeping myself busy and mostly putting my time to good use! Over half of the map is now complete and I figure I have about another 2 weeks left of work in it. It’s been a pretty fun area to build and certainly eye-opening in some aspects. I learned some new things working on a huge open map like this that I otherwise wouldn’t have with a smaller or indoor map. It also runs pretty well so far and I haven’t even optimized it yet outside of LOD’s!

I did run into a few problems but I got through them fairly quickly

Problem 1 – I started to test it out in Full-screen mode and ran into this beauty:

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I call this the “Sack” Post-Process because it looks like a sack of shi-

It took me hours searching for answers online and I started messing around with different screen resolutions and stuff in Blueprints but nothing helped. The only way it looked normal was playing it in Windowed-mode.

It then occurred to me that the artifacts in Full-screen mode looked a lot like the over-sharpening artifacts in image editing software. Well, I did use a Sharpening Post-Process so…could that be the culprit? I turned it off and sure enough, it was! It turns out the sharpening effect I was using wasn’t all that great so I found another one, tweaked it and now I still get some fairly crisp visuals without the artifacts when playing in Full-screen.

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Editor Mode

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Full-screen Mode

Problem 2 – Hearing about all the new improvements on Realtime GI, I decided to check out the latest version of UE4 (4.24) After it installed, I migrated the project over to it and then I was greeted with this:

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This should only take a minute to recompile!

Normally it sits at the 3k range so yeah, not happening. I promptly went back to 4.20. Besides, I worked so long on the current lighting setup, I couldn’t possibly throw it all away now and the fact that they removed Matinee is a deal-breaker anyway.

Problem 3 – I needed a way to add more depth but I wanted the old-school distance-based fog from older game engines. It seems that it was taken out in favor of the more physically correct Atmospheric and Exponential Heightfog I guess? Even so, I really wish they kept Distance-based fog for people who just wanted the old solution. I currently only use the Exponential Heightfog for light rays and the Atmospheric Fog to affect my ambient lighting (It’s weird I know. Don’t ask me why that is, I only discovered that it just does)

If I mess with any of the settings to thicken the fog, it alters everything else so I was able to find a post process that mimics Distance Fog instead.

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No fog

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Distance Fog

It’s a subtle effect for sure but I think it makes a big difference. You can even crank it up to Silent Hill-levels of fog!

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Problem 4 – The foliage, specifically the Spruce branches were too…thick? (I can’t think of a better term) I went through and made some changes to my Foliage Shader and got some better results:

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So after all that, I recorded another video for you guys. I can’t wait to add in the sound effects, the leaf and mist particles and all the other bells and whistles but that will come later down the road!

Enjoy guys! And by the way, I’ve added a link to my Youtube channel on the right! Why not head on over and watch some videos of me absolutely getting f***ed over in games? 😀

3 responses to “Another Hike Through The Woods!

  1. Now that UE5 has been announced, I can’t imagine how hype’d you’ll be for the new features as a lot of it seems like it would give this project a huge boost, especially since they’ll allow us to migrate from UE4 to 5 easily(hopefully) from what they’ve announced so far.

    • I caught wind of UE5 the other day and my mind is freaking blown. I knew it was just a matter of time before something like that became available; I just didn’t think it would be so soon!

      A while ago I had thought that one day photoscanned assets would become a norm in game development, that there would be no more need to make lightmaps or bake and build lighting because all lighting would be heading into real-time. I also said to Julia once (she did sculpt modeling for a few monsters) “Wouldn’t it be crazy if we could have unlimited polycounts so we could bring in Zbrush sculpts?” and yet here you and I are talking about this NOW and how it will all be accessible soon! I really thought we were still like, 10 years away from something like this.

      I’m just going to keep on with UE4 though. Once UE5 becomes available, I would probably do a port down the road but still have the original UE4 version as the main one.

  2. I remember we had a talk over skype about that sharpening filter 😀
    In my opinion, it’s better to go with supersampling over sharpening filters. Of course it’s more processing heavy but sharpening just adds noise.
    Regardless, it looks way better now and I’m loving the fog too.

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