Yesterday The Tomorrow Children Director and Q-Games President Dylan Cuthbert finally shown a large chunk of gameplay of his upcoming PS4 exclusive on Twitch, and right afterwards he shared a lot of info on gameplay and technology on NeoGaf.
Interestingly Cuthbert also mentioned that other developers are soon going to use Voxel Cone Tracing or variants of it:
Some of the stuff is subtle but it adds a huge amount of “presence” compared to older tech.
KillZone and Infamous also use some very good techniques but they don’t have dynamic worlds like we do in the Tomorrow Children. We encode the lighting in a system called “voxel cones”, which means the lighting itself is fully volumetric. When you are playing it and seeing the world around you it makes it feel solid and “there”.
You will see this tech being used by these other devs soon, and it will produce even more mind-blowing results I think! I’m pretty sure Uncharted 4 will use a variant of it.
Update: earlier this morning Cuthbert clarified the statement, mentioning that he’s unsure of the exact tech Uncharted 4 will use. but most devs are beginning to use similar techniques in their engines.
I have no idea what the exact tech is in Uncharted 4 but I’m pretty sure most graphics programmers are beginning to use variants of this kind of lighting tech (not specifically *our* particular variant) in up coming engines. For example, Unreal announced they were doing something a year or two back but withdrew it (for the time being).
Here’s a summary of all the info he gave:
- Q-games is considering methods so that friends can see each other all the time. When you are on the islands or on the matter that you create, you can see the footprints of the other clones as they walk around you.
- The game’s lighting and reflections use the voxel cone volumetric information to reflect what is off-screen too; most modern games (right now at least) use on-screen only techniques.
- A photo mode could come in the form of a “Lomo”-like camera sold on the black market.
- The studio still hasn’t explored the limits for the size of the cities yet. Some of the islands that appear “are pretty damn massive.” Even Cuthbert hasn’t fully explored the enormous head shown yesterday yet. There are treasures and monsters to kill which unfortunately he didn’t have that much time to show.
- You normally always play in the same town, your town. You can bribe your way to live in other towns if you really want to, or you can just visit by purchasing a ticket with your ration coupons at the underground station. When you log out after visiting a friend’s town when you log back in you will be back at your town. Towns only allow a certain no. of “tourists” at any one time. You can of course take resources back with you if you like, so you could, in theory, “raid” other towns if you so desire.
- Cuthbert personally doesn’t like multiplayer games that much and he prefers the asynchronous approach taken by a lot of recent games (such as Dark Souls). This gives you a world which is occupied by other players but not “overrun” by them. If someone is bothering you, you can just walk away from them and they can’t chase after you because they don’t know where you are unless you actually do something (like picking up an object).
- There is a huge amount of exploration, while testing Cuthbert I spends hours in just one of the larger islands, exploring it, finding treasure and resources, and monsters.
- Monsters destroy the buildings in the city. They’ll knock you over and if that happens enough times and you’ll lose your “sync” and get reset to the town. You can fly around them fairly safely. The spiders are pretty lethal too but easier to kill, they jump onto a single building and destroy it, while the large kaiju just wade through your town destroying everything in their wake. You really need to stop those ones and they are tough to take down, so you need to collaborate.
- There are quite a few different monsters and Q-Games plans to increase the number over time post-launch (they plan to keep updating regularly with more and more cool stuff after they launch), same goes for NPCs too.
- In the alpha demo the rules for the town construction are slightly different to the final game so the town has “levels”, but in the final game for every X crystals you all collect you get to vote on what new building you want to be created.
- There are smaller “buildings” such as walls and turrets, lights for playing at night, and stuff like that you can craft at the workbench, and of course you could vote to have a second workbench created if that gets crowded.
- Decision are “crowd-sourced” the decisions, players decide what happens with their town.
- If important buildings are destroyed before they are repaired you can re-build them using the above voting system. As the towns grow (and your town competes with other towns in a “motherland” ranking system) more enemies might be attracted to the town, especially the big ones who love to eat the restored humans.
- Increasing population in your town unlocks the items you can craft and the selection of buildings you can vote on.
- You also vote in mayoral elections every couple of days, which enhances the town in one or two particular ways for everyone in it – for example, one candidate might enable everyone to work 20% faster while he or she is in power.
- Cuthbert mentioned the devs could allow some way to name your town via bribery, even if it could annoy other players.
If you want to see the absolutely charming livestream with your own eyes, you can check it out below. The Tomorrow Children starts at the 30 minutes mark.