Dev Blog #2

March 30, 2023

Key Takeaways

Hello everyone and welcome to the second episode of the Dev Blog!  

We have been working hard to deliver the next game to Virtex Stadium and we are few steps away from that, in the meantime enjoy a couple of rad art concepts and one incredible tech update in today's release.

Our artists have been creating some really cool tools:

  • The foam finger art concept 
  • The VIP Booth

On the tech side we are very excited to share probably the biggest update on the app yet: 

We successfully made the transition from Unreal Engine 4 to 5 which means more cool graphics, more tools to play with and enhanced animations, you can read more on this down here! 


Porting the Stadium UE5

For those who need to become more familiar with VR or game development. Unreal Engine 5 (UE5) is the latest version of the popular game engine developed by Epic Games and used extensively in the VR industry. 

Epic Games provides the possibility of editing the engine to our needs. Thanks to this, we have been able to solve bugs and work on the system to enable hardware acceleration for the web browser.

In Virtex Stadium, we started working with Unreal Engine 4 (UE4), using version 4.26 and moving later to 4.27 as soon as it was released. While UE4 was already a powerful engine, UE5 introduced several new features and improvements we couldn't miss out on:

  • Nanite: UE5 introduces a new technology called Nanite, which allows for real-time rendering of highly detailed geometry without requiring time-consuming optimisation. This can significantly reduce development time and improve the visual fidelity of the Stadium.

  • Lumen: Another new feature in UE5 is Lumen, a global illumination system that enables real-time lighting changes without pre-baking. This allows for more dynamic and realistic lighting in our scenes.

  • Improved Animation System: UE5 features a new animation system called Motion Warping that provides smoother, more realistic animations for characters and objects.

  • Improved workflow: UE5 features several improvements to the workflow, including a new asset browser, improved level-building tools, and a redesigned editor UI. These changes massively help to speed up our development processes and make it incredibly easier to work with the engine.

  • Faster iteration: UE5 includes features designed to speed up iteration times, such as instant previewing of materials and lighting changes and faster asset importing.

Lights difference between UE4 and UE5 in the Echo VR arena

Porting step by step

First of all we really felt the need to stay updated with the latest cutting-edge technology, and we know that at some point, UE4 will be deprecated, leading us to opt for the switch.  

Before we began the porting process, we evaluated our project to check if it was suitable for UE5. UE5 introduces significant changes from previous versions, so it's essential to determine if the benefits of using UE5 outweigh the costs of porting. Because of this, we created a deadline. If we could not achieve it we would continue with UE4.

When porting, the most vital thing is to back up your project in case you need to fully revert to the original. 

We started by downloading a Vanilla version of UE5. A “Vanilla” version is a clean, unmodified engine code directly from Epic repositories. This ensures a starting point to be free of errors.

The next step is to check all the third-party plugins we use from the marketplace or public repositories. Then, it is time to migrate the project code files and assets to UE5. In this stage, we had to fix multiple compilation errors due most of the time to name changes or linking issues. At this point, our project works beside some of the blueprints in UE4 that are broken. Time to fix them! Once our project is migrated and all the errors are fixed, we test it thoroughly to identify any issues or bugs that may have been introduced during the porting process. The last step is making it work with our servers so players can connect and enjoy!

And last but not least, reiterate. Test, fix and test again!


Item introduction: The Foam Finger 

Proudly wave your hand during events with your very own foam finger! We felt this was a must have in our app as it’s the classic way of showing your support to your favourite team. We kept the shape as a fairly minimalistic silhouette of a foam finger so that’s it’s easily recognisable. We also made sure the logos and writing are easily readable too. We look forward to showing you the team-branded ones we have in store! 

Virtex Foam Finger art concept

The Stadium VIP Booth 

The VIP booth is meant to be accessible from the stadium VIP seats. When designing the space we wanted to focus it around the main seating area where you would be able to see the stream of the event and simultaneously see the 3D hologram of the match. Behind that we added a pool table as a more recreational secondary area along with a trophy wall that could be customised to some extent. 

Stadium VIP Booth concept 1 - The relax area

At the entrance there is a small counter/catering area for either drinks/food serving which could also serve as a recreational area and a fireplace that creates a separation between the spaces. Overall the art direction’s intent is to communicate a premium setting with materials like wood and brass, and also a comfortable warm lighting quality that gives the space a home feel but still in line with the Virtex sci-fi design language.

Stadium VIP Booth concept 2 - The Bar

With this concept we wanted to elevate your Stadium experience in a private VIP area. If you’re wanting to get away from the noisy crowds,  this is the best place to be whilst you grab a drink from the counter and spend some quality time with your friends. We wanted this room to be more than just a sitting area, so we’ve added a pool table and a trophy wall for you to explore!  Furthermore, there will be the option to customise your VIP booth to match the team you support.

Stadium VIP Booth concept 3 - Panoramic

Hope you liked it so far and we are definitely looking forward to the next one since it's going to be about the next game in Virtex Stadium! 

Drop by in our discord for a chat on this and if you have questions our devs/artists are one message away! 

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