Dreadnought is a combat flight simulator developed by Yager and published by Grey Box with Six Foot. It’s been in beta since April 2016, and now it is finally out. Players take the role of captain on one of several classes of ships, from agile corvettes to hulking dreadnoughts. They then face off against other players in tactical skirmishes where team play and strategy will pave their way to victory.
This trailer plays out a battle between two teams of five, where the hero team use skill and tactical guile to overcome the enemy in an epic battle resulting in an explosive finale.
The company supports a strong R&D culture and a solid passion to achieve the highest levels of image quality, characterisation and engagement . This has lead to bespoke tools written by their PipelineTD’s. As a result they have developed a highly adaptive production pipeline. The company is known for Animation, Cinematics and VFX.
The sheer amount of ground covered by the ships during the trailer was the biggest challenge the company faced. The team used World Machine to generate the base layout, but they found that they couldn’t quite get the look right as the program generates landscapes from top down height maps, meaning the steep cliff faces, for example did not have enough detail.
Taking inspiration from how the original game environment was created, the team used the concept images to direct the modelling team generating around ten different cliff face sculpts of varying scale and complexity. These were positioned into the current world machine base to achieve the detail they were looking for.
"V-Ray’s proxy system is quite robust, making it possible to create vast worlds as long as the objects remain static" the team commented at the launch last week. "The use of procedural shading networks let us cover large areas with unique detail". For example, dusty surfaces, worn edges and dirty crevices were all added with one setup and are unique to the geometry upon which they act. "We found with the efficient use of a few great assets we could achieve a vast and complex look.The trailer of course wouldn’t be complete without some cracking VFX, and our favourite was the ship destruction finale" they added. This was achieved with a combination of several Houdini PYRO simulations and Rigid Body sims. They also added multiple trails using particle systems which were then sampled into volumes within Houdini. As with many of their projects they developed a few special custom tools to help speeding up the process of adding things like gun flashes, impacts and tracer rounds. These new tools enabled them to select a set of guns on any ship and then generate gunfire FX including muzzle flashes, particle based tracer trails and explosive impacts. This was apart from the tracer fire the explosions and gun flashes which were generated in Houdini using PYRO tools and exported using VDBs for rendering in V-Ray.
We spoke to Dave Cullinane, RealtimeUK's Account Director. Cullinane has worked in Video Games for the best part of 20 years. He originally joined the Games Industry as an Artist and Animator producing titles for some of gaming’s earliest consoles. Today he works with clients all over the Globe on a wide range of projects.
FXG: Nice work on the trailer, I was wondering how many people at the company now?
DC: We have over 30 core staff, but we scale up regularly for specific projects.
FXG: So as I understand it, your pipeline is primarily a 3ds Max , coupled with Houdini and using V-Ray? I assume you might have also used more Nuke, as you have been with other projects such as like War Robots)?
DC: Yes we have an Alembic pipeline, - so yes to all of the above and we have integrated Nuke into our pipeline and are using on all projects going forward.
FXG: The Greybox game itself is being made with Yager in Germany, did you share primary assets with them? What game engine is the game itself being developed in? I believe it is Unreal?
DC: Yes the game is being is developed in Unreal 4. Zoe Matthews, RealtimeUK's Marketing Manager adding "UE4 is proving to be a really exciting piece of technology for us here at RealtimeUK. We’ve been developing our production pipeline to become more flexible in working in-engine, most notably with Amazon’s Lumberyard, but tech like this, - UE4 is now giving us the opportunity to finally grow into our name".
DC: We did share assets from the game. Some of the assets we were able to upscale, while others we had to build from scratch. Of course having the game asset is a great reference, and so it was a real benefit.
FXG: The game is shipping for PC and in Beta on PS4?
DC: The game is in Open Beta for PC and Closed Beta for the PS4
FXG: And so this Trailer is for effectively for the first version of the game? Which in Open beta is .. 1.3.1 I believe?
DC: Yes the trailer is for the Open Beta Release
FXG: So for the trailer, how many people worked on this and for how long?
DC: We worked on this for about 5 months in total. We had about 15 people at different stages of the process. As with all of our productions, we were careful to ensure that we had the correct specialists involved in such a high profile production, and we got to work with some of the best talent in the industry. A great amount of time was invested in not only ensuring the final quality of the completed production, but in spending time ensuring that the creative we developed was a fair and accurate representation of the game.
FXG: You guys has been around for about 20 years now - which is great. Have you done many projects before with Greybox/Yager?
DC: This is our first project with Graybox/Yager! This was the first time we have had the privilege of working with Greybox, but we’re hoping it certainly won’t be the last. The team have been really impressed by their attention to detail and going to great pains to develop a game that will resonate with players of this genre.
Jane Forsyth – Head of Production, RealtimeUK adds, “It was a pleasure to work with Six Foot on the creative process for this trailer and we’re looking forward to hopefully working with them again in the future. The team have great fun with this type of work as they get throw lots of fx at it and it’s great to do a sci-fi piece to add to our portfolio”
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