Unreal Engine: 4.20.2
Internal Version: v0.3.5
A Proprietary Game Simulation Backend
A Project-Independent Game Simulation Backend
- The Simulation Backend is an entirely customized set of independent modules that are brought together into a Simulation Core that manages every Simulation Entity efficiently and flexibly.
- A proprietary architecture based on Simulation Droplets, which are autonomous triggers that send world event data to entities as frequently and as long as they are designed to do.
- Droplets are defined in a project to handle specific functionality for any game's needs and have a large library of utilities to make their development as easy as possible.
Dynamic and Responsive Core Project Features
- Optional features are built-in for complex, physically-accurate functionality necessary to a wide variety of projects (games or real-world simulations).
- The ballistics feature simulates complex, detailed, and physically-consistent functionality for any dynamic world-affecting physics objects (primarily used for projectiles).
- A complex physics material system (inspired by UE4's physics materials) that allows designers to easily create any number of material types that have audio, visual effects, physics information (ricochet/penetration data), and more.
Simple Design and Customization Workflow
- Any object in the game world is a Simulation Entity which can be setup to support a wide variety of Droplets in a unique way, ensuring that all world entities can respond to a single event in independent ways.
- Droplet Functionality can be as simple or as deep as necessary for a project and they are intended to be as simple as possible for entities to support, requiring minimal work for unique responses per entity type.
- All entities can use a simple JSON schema to allow a variety of droplet/entity parameters to be setup and tweaked in any text editor and automatically reloaded in-game with those changes (and require no binary data changes or session restarts).
Additional Custom Features and Integrations
Volumetric Lighting and trueSKY
- A highly-detailed, physically-based atmospherics scattering and volumetric rendering algorithm.
- Uses existing shadows maps for lights in the scene to construct hardware-tessellated meshes every frame to serve as detailed light shafts that are then rendered with a customizable, powerful shading and scattering effect.
- The volumetric lighting has been customized to work perfectly alongside a full, engine-wide integration of simul's trueSKY cloud and atmospherics calculation and rendering middleware for a great, detailed final lighting environment.
Data-Driven for Efficiency, Live-Ops, and Hotfixes
- A custom data solution for gameplay data outside of the typical Unreal Engine 4 setup that allows us to easily modify gameplay data without ever issuing a substantial binary patch.
- This same architecture ensures that, upon launch, we can easily operate live-ops and game events easily, rapidly, and adapt them to the game's audience.
- This same workflow allows developers to modify simple text files in the editor of their choice which UE4 reloads (upon any change) and developers can instantly see the results of their changes.
NVIDIA GameWorks Blast
- NVIDIA's latest physics/destrution technology allows us to create complex, efficient, dynamic in-game destruction to truly bring the rugged world of Steel Hunters to life.
- Blast allows us to create content/structures with multiple layers, structural integrity from its miscellaneous pieces, resulting in a one-of-a-kind level of environmental response to player interactions.
- Additional custom functionality to integrate Blast into the Joy Engine Simulation Backend in order to interact with project entities in potentially complex, dynamic, and interesting ways.
- Since Joy Machine's middle name is "Dynamic and Procedural" (it really is), SideFX's Houdini is like software made specifically for us. Their increased dedication to making it a game development tool along with the Houdini Engine has made it a perfect tool for our kind of workflow.
- We'll be talking more about how we use this in our workflow in the future, but the general idea is to create highly-parameterized content packages for run-time variations of miscellaneous meshes.
NVIDIA GameWorks Features
- HBAO+: Incredibly detailed, efficient ambient-occlusion that uses the depth buffer as a height-map to conduct ray-tracing to ensure accurate, detailed AO. This results in enhanced distant ambient occlusion due to high-precision depth buffer reads.
- Highlights: Code/script-based triggers to setup and record video footage in realtime with no user interaction required.
- TXAA: An enhanced solution to temporal antialiasing than the default Unreal Engine 4 implementation.
- Joy Machine and PopcornFX go back a while, ever since Trent established the VFX pipeline on ArtCraft Entertainment's Crowfall around it.
- More relevant: PopcornFX provides an incredible degree of power and runtime customization for all of its effects, making each effect a very powerful and versatile asset.
- And our Unreal Engine integration outperforms UE4's Cascade system in most use-cases. So that's pretty excellent as well.