This week has primarily been a continuation of the work started last week consisting of bug fixes, concept art for our new ships, and rough mockup meshes for the new ships. We’ve also been spending a lot of time this last week going back over all of our materials to make sure that they have proper brightness and contrast.
Part of the reason Infinity: Battlescape looks so good is that it’s using a technique called Physically Based Rendering (PBR). This means that we do a lot of fancy math stuff to ensure that our simulation adheres to the real world laws of physics, such as the law of conservation of energy, which results in a more photo-realistic looking game. This changes the way our artists have to think about creating materials relative to how they have traditionally produced game assets and so we reviewed everything to make sure that our art is cohesive and to ensure everybody is building assets the best way possible.
A problem that we’ve known about for a while has to do with how we handle High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering. Unlike most (all?) other games we’re using realistic quantities of light. The difference in lighting environments between space and atmospheric flight is enormous. Unfortunately that creates some rather challenging problems for us. Without getting too technical we’re losing a lot of contrast when a ship is exposed to high quantities of light and it’s making it difficult for our artists to properly author their textures. Originally this was going to be fixed in the polish phase of the game but due to its impact on our art team it looks like we’ll have to address it sooner rather than later.
This week we’ve started integrating the rough 3D mockups of the new ships into the prototype. We’re looking forward to releasing a patch soon to begin collecting feedback from those of you who have pledged Developer Access as we’re confident they will require a lot of iteration between now the release of the final game!