Research and Development Project
The technology required for modern game development continues to advance rapidly. At 8ing, we engage in a variety of R&D efforts to incorporate such technologies into our work so that we can make better games. Today, we’d like you to take a look at Project RAIZIN, one of the results of these initiatives.
In April 2022, Epic Games released their latest game engine, Unreal Engine 5 (hereafter “UE5”). In recent years, the speed of technological progress has been accelerating along with improving game hardware specs in development circles. To maintain high development capabilities in this environment, we decided to create a mock-up game with high-end graphics instead of just testing UE5 functionality.
Based on our specialty of action games, our goals were to improve our technical capabilities while developing a foundational system for future fighting games. It was 8ing staff members that work on the front lines of game development who created the mock-up game. By involving themselves in the R&D process, they are able to engage in more practical verification and development, efficiently gaining expertise on the new technology.
Now let’s take a look at some details of the mock-up and what we focused on in our research.
Character control is a vital element of action games. When creating the mock-up, we focused on making sure that simply moving the character around was enjoyable. While the attack actions are kept simple by using blades for close combat and guns for ranged combat, depending on the scenario or combination, up to nine combo changes are possible.Introducing combos allowed us to verify not only the visuals, such as motion switching according to the situation and natural connections between motions, but also functional aspects as well. In addition to attacks, we incorporated other game elements such as double jumping, dashing, and perfect dodging to enable a versatile range of actions while keeping the game simple, resulting in a solid foundation for a fighting game.
The movement of cloth using physics simulations, touching down via inverse kinematics, and procedural animations from the combination of the two along with a combination of other technologies help make the characters’ movements more believable.
The levels we created are varied, including bright outdoor locations, dark indoor scenes, and city streets during a thunderstorm. We aimed for realism in every aspect, including the artificial structures, the natural elements encroaching on them, the ocean, wind, and weather. The most important element in an action game, however, is ensuring the visibility of enemies and characters in both bright and dark levels. Instead of simply pursuing realism, we made adjustments to keep the game looking good as well.
We achieved high-end graphics in the beautiful lighting and background city scenery thanks to the liberal use of UE5’s new Lumen and Nanite features. The mock-up game of course supports 4K resolution.
A massive boss awaits the player on the final level. Its appearance and attacks change in three stages, and we paid particular attention to details to create a battle the player can really sink their teeth into. We added other elements to ensure that the boss battle remains intense and fun to the end, both visually and in gameplay, including cutscenes and having part of the level collapse.
The boss is much larger than the player character, so we were very particular about details. To make the fight more intense, we added a variety of elements such as terrain destruction on attacks, and having wounds appear on damaged sections when attacking the upper body, head, and arms.
Cutscenes are vital elements in making the game world and story engaging. When creating cutscenes, we focused on aspects that we wanted to make look particularly interesting such as character visuals and level design. We also kept UI and text explanations to a bare minimum so that players can focus on cutscenes that appear during gameplay. Real-time cutscenes were incorporated throughout the game including at the beginning and end of levels, for gimmick operations, and scenario changes during the boss fight.
We were also particular about their direction and camerawork via specific motions and dazzling effects. The team made liberal use of Chaos Destruction to wreck objects in the game.
This concludes the briefing on our action game research, but there are many more new features in UE5. Also, there is no end to improving development capabilities. At 8ing, we plan to continue various avenues of research, and we look forward to sharing their results again in the future.
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