Unreal Engine 5
Unreal Engine 5 is the graphical engine for Ashes of Creation. The game was originally developed in Unreal Engine 4. Migrating to UE5 required early is expected to save time the long run compared to upgrading closer to release, or post-release.
- Unreal Engine 5 enables improved forms of locomotion/animation (motion warping), such as crouching, tilting and mantling.
- What it provides in my opinion as person who enjoys PvP is it adds additional dynamics to what is possible from your opponent or from yourself. You know, if there is a ledge and jumping off that ledge is going to deal a lot of damage to me when I hit the ground and that puts me at a significant disadvantage, maybe I have an option to jump off the ledge at a point where I can mantle onto the side of a cliff or something. Now the give and take there is I won't be able to use my skills while I'm mantled. I won't be able to react easily, but I didn't have to take the fall damage per-se. Or if there's an obstruction and I'm going to take a significant reduction in speed so that I can crouch and make it past that, and now I have a effective line of sight has been obstructed as a result of that decision. I think it adds interesting elements to the battlefield and the key here is going to be making sure that it's not cumbersome- that it doesn't feel opposite of the flow of combat. – Steven Sharif
- Lumen is going to greatly improve the visual fidelity and performance of the game with the reduced work and effort that's required by the art team, making Ashes of Creation much more beautiful than in UE4. – Steven Sharif
- Nanite enables increased graphical fidelity in the game (without excessive overhead).
- Nanite brings us really an entirely new approach to rendering and art workflows. Now we can render more actors with extremely high detail while eliminating the need to bake out normal map textures. For artists essentially what this means is that they can import high quality sculpted meshes directly into Unreal 5 without really having to reduce the poly count, making the workflow more efficient while simultaneously improving the quality of the art. – Steven Sharif
- Features (such as World partitions and One file per actor) make it much easier for multiple developers to work together.
- World partitions also enable Unreal Engine 5 maps to exceed the map size constraints of UE4 (~20 kilometers squared).
- Q: How does this upgrade to UE5 affect the Ashes of Creation release timeline?
- A: While UE4 is a great engine, there are certain focuses and technological endeavors that Epic is doing on UE5 that won't necessarily be supported by UE4; and we want to make sure given the lifespan of Ashes and how long we intend this MMO to last, that when we made this decision early on during the development process that we weren't going to exacerbate the amount of effort it would take to move over later in the lifespan or after launch. – Steven Sharif
- Ashes of Creation features a custom network back-end with proprietary Unreal Engine networking code to enable mass combat in the open world: such as PvP, Node sieges, Castle sieges, Dungeons and World bosses.
- As of January 24, 2022 all teams have moved over to Unreal Engine 5.
- The developers were able to transition to Unreal Engine 5.1.1 in February 2023 as part of milestone 4.
- The upgrade to Unreal Engine 5.2 was completed. The developers expect to start upgrading to 5.3 around the end of 2023.
- At some point the developers intend to stop updating Unreal Engine until post-launch. This decision will be based on careful consideration of potential delays and other risks.
- Q: What is your stance in regards to focusing on delivering an MVP versus continuously upgrading your tools and engine to deliver a better product with new tech, even if that results in delays or additional years of development like UE 5.2, maybe 5.3 etc?
- A: Our technical teams, especially our network team, our ICS teams, our gameplay engineering teams, they convene and weigh when our next update should be on the engine side: What new technologies might bring benefit overall. My perspective on how we balance the need for integration of new technology versus the responsibility we have in a timely manner to provide testing sessions that get us closer to the launch date; that's a delicate balance. I would say generally our disposition is not to incorporate new technologies that yield some significant amount of delay on the development side. We very much take the perspective that we're capable of adjusting and/or integrating those new technologies post-milestone, post-launch if necessary. At some point we'll stop updating the Unreal Engine in development until launch. That point hasn't come yet, but of course the larger the project grows and on the more custom we make the engine for our back-end needs; and for whatever else merge conflicts can occur- those mergers can become big and painful; and the update process gets more painful. So to answer your question shortly, we have a team that evaluates what direction we need to take there; and at the top of my mind is always, let's not incorporate delays as a result of leveraging new technologies. – Steven Sharif
Custom network layer
Ashes of Creation features a custom network back-end with proprietary Unreal Engine networking code to enable mass combat in the open world: such as PvP, Node sieges, Castle sieges, Dungeons and World bosses.
- Player density is a very important aspect of our custom network layer. Zach and his team have been doing an incredible job of creating a unique network layer that we utilize in Ashes of Creation to facilitate, not just the player density goals, but also the open-world and seamless travel across that world. There's a number of different strategies that we employ when architecting the network layer. Some of those things have to do with the significance of replicated data that the player is receiving as the density gets higher. We mitigate calls and reduce the significance distance- the net relevancy distance. We keep things specifically that need to be known for the player directionality, which direction they're facing. Those are the most pertinent data that we transfer- that we transmit to the player character. So there's a lot of different strategies. It's a relatively complex system but our goal is to satisfy hundreds of players available within a given area; and certain events, especially castle sieges, caravans are one of those types of events, and our architecture facilitates that. – Steven Sharif
- The networking solution dynamically distributes processes and scales up necessary server instances to accommodate player density across the world.
- The upgrade to Unreal Engine 5 was primarily a change to the front-end side of the game. The custom back-end networking code remains largely unaffected.
- Game settings allow players to fine tune performance to suit their preferences and hardware capabilities.
- A "default player appearance" may be automatically applied during sieges or other large scale battles to improve client-side performance.
- I think you guys will agree with me here that effects now are, as opposed to where they were in Alpha-1, we've taken into account what people's feedback were, although it was always the case we were going to address them; and we've implemented them in such a way where they're more conducive to large player battles. – Steven Sharif
Alpha system requirements
- Operating System: Windows 10 64-Bit
- Processor: Intel Core i3-2125 3.3GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 3.3GHz
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 Ti or AMD Radeon R9 270
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Storage: 50 GB of available space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
- Operating System: Windows 10 64-Bit
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz / AMD FX-9590 4.7GHz
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon R9 Fury with 4GB and DirectX 12
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Storage: 50 GB of available space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
- Console support may be added at a later point.
- Native Linux support may be possible in future.
- Q: Will the upgrade to UE5 affect the supported systems? A lot of people are like linux question mark.
- A: It's something that we'll evaluate in the future. I haven't ruled it out necessarily- would see how much work it would take to do that, but really like less than one percent of the player base is using Linux. – Steven Sharif
The character creator (or character customization system) allows players to define the look of their in-game characters, hired NPCs; and potentially creatures raised by the animal husbandry profession.
- Character appearance can be adjusted through a wide range of presets and sliders.
- Character blending provides easy to use customization by morphing together two or more character presets.
- Character sculpting allows detailed customization of every aspect of the body.
Additional character creator features include.
- There will be unlockable features for character customization.
- You have that scar because you participated in this siege, or these many sieges; or you have this tattoo because of your of a cultural background, or because of a quest that was accomplished where you're able to get that. – Steven Sharif
- The beauty of it is that you can save your character- and we already have some of those features available- and load them; and in the future we want people to be able to share those characters amongst each other. – Margaret Krohn
- The ability to undo changes (Ctrl + Z) will be supported, including undoing changes that were made several edits earlier.
- Choosing base idle animations of characters will be possible in future.
- Certain animations, such as blinking, will be present when they don't interfere with the customization process.
- Adjusting the background scene and lighting is a planned feature.
- There's going to be a lot of environmental controls that are offered to the character creator so that people can set it up their scene the way they want to grab screenshots or to grab recordings or whatever they want to do. – Steven Sharif
- Asymmetry in terms of manipulating different components of the body or different body features such as hair, beard, and eyes.
- Asymmetry is going to be functionality that's possible in manipulating either different components of the body or different features like hair. The beard we saw a little bit of that blending with highlights that you can do. Margaret talked a little bit about the eye asymmetry that you can include. Obviously those are going to exist within certain parameters that we want to define on a per-race basis, but it is something that we think is cool. – Steven Sharif
- Body adornments, such as piercings will be possible within cultural limits.
- The developers are considering whether to allow custom tattoos to be uploaded by users.
- We want there to be a lot of room for people to manifest their own identity, to role play how they want to from an appearance standpoint. There's going to be parameters within which you will be able to customize a character. We want the culture and the identity of the races to exist in a range that makes them easily identifiable from other players and other cultures. So, because of that, we have to have a spectrum you can exist on. There will be a lot of hair variants you can do, body art tattoos that you can apply. You'll be able to play with the scales of the facial structure, the bones, the height, width, the body fat percentage. You'll be able to add body hair on different parts of the body. If you want to have hair on your feet, you can dial that up. – Steven Sharif
- Character models are focused on realism.
- A player will see a generic character before customization.
- Character designs will have influences from a wide range of cultures, such as European, African and Asian.
- Lolis will not be in the game.
- Sliders and other controls, such as color palettes, will offer flexibility in customization but there will be limits based on race, gender, and the artistic style guidelines that the developers are adhering to.
- There's going to be constraints to the sliders, so that was one of those big questions as work began on the character creator: How much agency do you want to allow pulling like the lower lip all the way down in this weird deformed look, or having like [an] offset cheek that's just asymmetrical to the side of the face. There's not going to be the ability or agency to create those types of weird character things. However you will have the ability to move, slide, change, grow, decrease all those components, but they'll be kept in a more reasonable and presented way in the same sense you won't be able to change the appearance of the dwarven, nor the Dünir or the Niküan races to, in my opinion, create what would be traditionally considered a Loli character. – Steven Sharif
- Plates are used for moving features around.
- Dots are use to change the shape of the character's features altogether.
- Adjusting the length and proportions of limbs.
- Sizes of calves and thighs.
- Adjustments will allow a character to appear more feminine or masculine.
Character blending allows the combination of two or more presets from the character creator. It allows users to click and drag to morph between the different presets to create customized characters without spending time adjusting each angle of every body part.
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Unreal Engine 5 videos
- 2021-12-23 Video - Ashes of Creation Unreal Engine 5 Walkthrough
- 2021-12-27 Video - Ashes of Creation Unreal Engine 5 Preview
- 2022-03-31 Video - Ashes of Creation First Look of the Alpha Two Character Creator in 4K
- 2022-05-27 Video - Ashes of Creation Dynamic Seasons and Weather Developer Chat
- 2022-05-27 Video - Ashes of Creation Seasons in the Riverlands
- 2022-06-30 Video - Ashes of Creation Alpha Two Basic Melee Weapon Attack Update
- Video, December 23, 2021 (0:00).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (19:59).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (40:53).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (50:50).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (49:39).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (42:09).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (55:32).
- Video, December 23, 2021 (23:53).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (54:00).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (52:52).
- Video, December 23, 2021 (2:54).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (52:58).
- Livestream, October 31, 2023 (1:37:17).
- Livestream, May 3, 2017 (26:50).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (47:51).
- Livestream, January 28, 2022 (7:26).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:10:30).
- Livestream, February 24, 2023 (1:14:41).
- Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:07:46).
- Livestream, April 7, 2023 (1:21:29).
- Livestream, March 31, 2023 (1:27:15).
- Livestream, December 17, 2019 (51:20).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (1:10:09).
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (1:08:42).
- Livestream, September 24, 2021 (52:48).
- Livestream, April 28, 2023 (1:03:41).
- Livestream, January 27, 2023 (1:07:12).
- Livestream, August 17, 2018 (1:07:51).
- Livestream, July 25, 2020 (54:10).
- Livestream, November 22, 2019 (1:08:05).
- Livestream, March 26, 2021 (12:34).
- What are the minimum requirements for Alpha?
- Livestream, December 23, 2021 (48:45).
- Livestream, May 26, 2017 (38:30).
- Livestream, May 24, 2017 (23:50).
- Livestream, July 29, 2022 (16:49).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (34:16).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (18:47).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (19:14).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (0:00).
- Livestream, June 30, 2017 (09:43).
- Livestream, May 8, 2017 (48:49).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (29:14).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (16:23).
- Livestream, April 29, 2022 (5:05).
- Livestream, May 24, 2017 (28:22).
- Ashes of Creation Reddit - Ctrl + Z in the Character Creator (1).
- Ashes of Creation Reddit - Ctrl + Z in the Character Creator (2).
- Livestream, January 28, 2022 (39:30).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (56:40).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (4:57).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (58:47).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (59:36).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:01:08).
- Livestream, July 25, 2020 (1:11:52).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (13:47).
- Livestream, April 30, 2020 (46:51).
- Livestream, June 30, 2022 (1:01:00).
- Livestream, May 8, 2017 (47:35).
- Livestream, May 15, 2017 (51:19).
- Livestream, 2018-04-8 (PM) (13:39).
- Livestream, June 30, 2017 (11:21).
- Livestream, June 30, 2017 (10:04).
- Livestream, June 30, 2017 (12:39).
- Podcast, September 29, 2021 (18:19).
- Livestream, March 31, 2022 (1:00:14).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (9:23).
- Livestream, April 30, 2020 (1:10:46).
- Livestream, June 30, 2017 (13:13).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (15:21).
- Video, March 31, 2022 (15:40).
- Livestream, January 28, 2022 (59:48).
- Livestream, May 22, 2017 (54:32).