Since The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut, we have been working very hard on our own engine, so that our next Action-RPG Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr will benefit from its new features and capabilities.
You can see the improved Real-Time Reflections we will use:
In the words of Richárd Németh, our Graphics Programmer:
“Real-time reflection effects are very common in higher quality games these days. With The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, we already implemented an early version of this feature, but the upcoming Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr will have much more realistic effects. As you can see in this short video, the metal floor will reflect the statues in a realistic way, the camera will follow the scale of reflections as they are, in a precise parallax. The reflecions are real-time and dynamic, so it shouldn’t be a surprise when we see our character’s reflection as is on flat surfaces.
Compared to Van Helsing, indirect light sources and systems are more tuned together. The math of the reflections is more closer to reality, as opposed to a very arbitrary methods used in Van Helsing. Light scattering is also new, the light is stronger close to its source, and it’s all calculated with precise mathematical formulas. It is important to note that there will be reflections on every surface where the engine allows it (flat, polished surfaces, even the armour of our enemies).”
Second, there's Global Illumination:
Richárd Németh, Graphics Programmer explains what it is:
“Global Illumination (GI) is a realistic simulation of light particles. Photons leaving the light source don’t disappear as soon as they hit a surface. They bounce off, gradually losing the intensity of their light, while still illuminating the whole of the game area. This can be observed in areas where light is not supposed to affect the surfaces directly, light reaches these dark areas by bouncing off other surfaces first. To make a GI complete, every light calculation needs to be taken into account – real-time reflection is part of this.
We already used Global Illumination in the Van Helsing games. With all of the countless enemies, monsters, effects, the calculations concerning the GI is done before running the actual game with many computers to produce high quality. We store information of indirect reflection as well during these calculations. Also, there are physically-based shading oriented formulas, we’ll use these during real-time rendering, we’ll talk more about this in one of next blog posts.
This will be the basis in Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr as well, with the modifications we’ve talked about previously concerning real-time reflections. With these changes, the engine will utilize a more beautiful, more realistic lightning.”
Third, there's Physically Based Rendering:
János Turánszki, our Graphics Programmer explains what this is:
“Physically Based Rendering (PBR) is a common rendering approach based on real materials, most modern game engines can handle this. We render real materials in a photo-realistic way, so that we can present a very consistent image of the game world, even without further artistic modifications. This means that if a model is done, it will look realistic, believable in any light condition, because material models were assembled with real, measured data, so light will behave according to real-life physics. Light particles will bounce off bodies as they are supposed to be, with the intensity they are supposed to be, all thanks to the complicated calculations in the background.
There are, of course, imaginary materials and unusual materials (scratched metal, hair, clothes), and our engine is ready for all of these, as they are necessary for a fantasy / science-fiction game. The end result is a more lifelike, consistent image quality, and all of it was built from scratch so that they can work with other modern effects, like dynamic shadows and real-time reflections.”