Guerrilla Games Will Unveil some of the Tech Secrets of Horizon: Zero Dawn at GDC

on December 13, 2016 2:01 PM

Horizon: Zero Dawn will finally be released on February 28th exclusively for PS4, and around the same time Guerrilla Games is going to unveil some of the game’s technology at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Guerrilla developers will host three separate sessions, one on the tools pipeline created for the game, one on traversal, and the third on the procedural placement system used for the game.

Creating a Tools Pipeline for ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’

Dan Sumaili | Senior Tools Programmer, Guerrilla Games
Sander Van der Steen | Principal Tools Programmer, Guerrilla Games

Developing a new IP is a challenging process for a company’s tools pipeline. Developing a new IP while changing to a new genre is even more challenging. At Guerrilla Games, they have done just that. With ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’, they transitioned from linear tactical first person shooters to a vibrant open world RPG, while completely rebuilding their tools pipeline from scratch. In this session, Dan and Sander will explain how Guerrilla Games defined and implemented a framework that would provide a robust basis of functionality, on which they built an integrated game development environment. They will present a clear picture of how the framework’s capabilities took shape over time, by detailing systems they developed and how those systems interact. Redesigning Guerrilla Games’ tools pipeline while in production was a significant risk, which paid off and greatly benefited the final quality of their game.

Takeaway
Gain an insight into how Guerrilla Games built a tools pipeline from the ground up for an existing engine while it evolved to meet the demands of a new game.

Player Traversal Mechanics in the Vast World of ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’

Paul Van Grinsven | Game Programmer, Guerrilla

During this lecture, Paul will show what is needed to make Aloy traverse the vast world of ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ with its complex and organic environments. Various traversal mechanics will be covered from a gameplay programmer’s perspective, focusing on the interaction between code and animations. The different systems and techniques involved in the implementation of these mechanics will be explained, and he will look at the underlying reasoning and design decisions.

Takeaway
This presentation shows the techniques that were developed to control a responsive and believable agile character in a 3rd person open world AAA-game with its large variety in environments.

GPU-Based Run-Time Procedural Placement in ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’

Jaap Van Muijden | Senior Programmer, Guerrilla Games

Jaap van Muijden from Guerrilla Games will describe the GPU based procedural placement system that dynamically creates the world of ‘Horizon: Zero Dawn’ around the player. Not limited to just rocks and trees, the procedural system assembles fully-fledged environments while the player walks through them, complete with sounds, effects, wildlife and game-play elements. He will show the entire pipeline, from the graph editor where artists can define the procedural placement rules to the GPU algorithms that create a dense world around the player on the fly. He will demonstrate the power of this procedural approach by showing how painting in a tree line and redirecting roads can be just as easy as moving mountains and changing a desert into a tropical swamp.

Takeaway
Attendees will be introduced to our new GPU-based run-time procedural technology. Learn how the team at Guerrilla Games used compute shaders to dynamically populate the world around the player. Find out how artists define and edit their diverse environments and how this procedural workflow allows global and independent content iterations for both artists and designers.

At the moment the three sessions don’t have a specific time just yet, but GDC will run between February 27th and March 3rd, 2017. ¬†Of course you can expect full coverage here on DualShockers.

Incidentally, if you’re in the UK, there are good news, as Sony announced that the game’s release date will now line-up with the European one on March 1st, instead of two days later as previously announced.

 /  Executive News Editor
Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.