One could say that we've been preparing to roam inside the dragon realm since the beginning. There have been revealed glimpses of unfinished work -- the raising of mountains and the dropping of valley floors. This weekend the team walked in.
I little snafu. Perhaps a bump in the road. Nope!
A major pivot that all started about two weeks ago.
It was a press release by the Fortnite publisher Epic Games and their upcoming release UE5 or just the next generation of Unreal Engine to those not necessarily in the know...
Now a few of us have always been pushed, drawn to, or driven by photorealistic content. So much so that we have spent so much of our time refining our work to fool the user of what was an effect and what has been shot practically.
The holy grail of storytelling - having your work successfully suspend the audience's disbelief while watching a film, playing a game, or now experiencing another world. Effects play a crucial role in seamlessly sucking our attention and holding it. Yet until now the pipeline for games and live rendered experiences had to be dumbed down, because the systems could not handle the processing power needed to be film (photorealistic) quality.
For reference it was reported that a close-up of the ape Caesar, in War of The Planet of The Apes, would take up to forty hours just to render a single frame.
In no way would that be real-time, for any effect, EVER! much less all the compositing lighting effects and skeleton rigging information that would need to be processed during a pivotal user interaction.
There is a reason that trees, rocks and buildings in games have very geometrical, up close structures and that is quite simply because they are literally flat planes, simple geometry, aka: smoke and mirrors.
But this announcement changes everything, not just for us at Dragon Federation, but for what's coming for all of us.
An emergency meeting was called, because we are on a mission to seamlessly blending our reality of owning a pet dragon. #dragonsarereal and have been since we started this, but we needed alignment on our team, platform and direction.
Unfortunately, our experience and work so far was with a different platform: Unity.
Phone's rang and the team was assembled as fast as Batman answering the Bat Call.
Switching platforms during a product cycle will always come with a heavy cost. After all, we have Artificial Intelligence in our dragons, and that is way more important than graphics?- sigh.
AND WE SCRAPPED IT ALL!
Fortunately, our team is ever up to the challenge. Within a mere week of switching, we have nearly surpassed our previous markers including the implementation of Multi-player and transferring all our fully textured landscapes.
The meeting was two weeks ago...
And this is today.
We have made the jump and are fully operational.
Yes there are bugs.
Of course we are on a learning curve.
An no, this should not affect any of our plans except one...
Bridging the gap between our world and theirs.
I have held a physical dragon egg in my hand.
I have watched a baby dragon struggle to become free from that egg.
I've walked in the dragon realm!