Another step closer to our near future pre-alpha. This week saw us taking another leap into the world of optimization. Striving to reach an even wider audience, and to make our experience smoother and more comfortable for all. To do that, while we toiled away at all other aspects of our title, we also deepened our knowledge when it comes to a few tips and tricks to save up on space and performance both.
The first of these delves saw us learning how to unwrap a UV map for more than one mesh. These maps are the very thing that allows textures to sit properly on the object in question, and whereas previously they were wrongfully kept solitary. We found that in many cases, there are a lot of objects that would not mind sharing the space. Especially the smaller and less complex of the bunch that could quite easily fit into a single map without the loss of much graphical quality, if any at all. This serves to greatly lessen the load in terms of the sheer number of textures and the space they occupy.
The second of these improvements is the delve into the world of LODs. A slightly more complex feature to understand, though UE4 certainly helps ease the process quite a lot. What LODs do is, essentially swapping your model with a low poly version of the model in question. Using UE4's LOD system you can generate one or more versions of the object you're working on. These, serve to greatly lessen the load on the scene as they reduce the quality of the object when full detail is not needed. Of course, the difficult part of this is determining exactly when it is we wish to make the change happen. For example, an object that can only be seen from a certain angle in a certain spot could be greatly reduced when not standing there. Whereas an object that could be seen from afar might need the change to be less severe and more gradual. As the player could see it change before their very eyes if done incorrectly.
With these changes and more, we have lowered the weight of our game further down into 3GB. And, as we continue to improve our pipeline and our understanding of optimization, we could see it lowered further. And of course, these lessons would help keep our project easy on the system.
For this week's tease we thought to show you examples of the very thing we spoke of in the article. Using a few new assets and asset groups to show the power of LODs when it comes to lowering polygons and the efficiency of letting different objects rest on the same UV map.