Happy Halloween Everyone!
We hope you all had a fantastic time last night! Our treat for you today is a NEW patch for chargen! There's a lot to play with in it, so read further to find out how to use it, but warm up the client and get to downloading. We'll be here when you come back.
We know, it’s been a very long time since we have shared what’s been happening with City of Titans. Over the last many months, we have been working through some technical hurdles and bugs that needed to be dealt with before we could move forward. Now that we've done the testing and we have solutions, we wanted to share some of the details about the issues and how we're solving them.
We will give you the backstory on all of this, but first let’s talk about the good news in this update which includes new costumes, a new weather testing tool, and lots of great information about our upgrade to Unreal Engine 5, so make sure to read through it all!
Unreal Engine 5:
Although we had not planned on upgrading the game engine so soon, UE5 seems to have been made specifically to solve many of the logistical issues that were stalling City of Titans in UE4. So, while it’s been a few months of testing and added work, we believe this is the best choice moving forward for the game.
We've spent the last many months testing and examining UE5, as well as trying to resolve the problems we were having in UE4. We came to the conclusion that UE5 solved most of the problems more elegantly and easily than the UE4 modifications would.
And that's what the delay was - we went forward with the upgrade. Conversion's complete, and everything's tested and working. And improved.
It added some delays - we used some underlying systems that weren't ready when UE5 came out, heck, we went through three different ocean systems. But the end result? The full MMO is going to get here a lot faster.
Here are many of the benefits we see in UE5:
1. Open World Compatibility: City of Titans is creating an open-world environment, where players can be at one location such as City Hall, but still literally see Downtown, Old Bradford, Victory Beach, North Eastern Research District, the Airport and many other parts of the city in the distance of this big world. And as players move throughout the world, the areas in the distance load and players feel immersed in this giant environment.
UE4 made an attempt to make open worlds like Titan City work, but there were severe limitations that created hurdles for our project. UE4 used a tile system that required building big chunks of the city on each tile. This meant that massive neighborhoods we built, like Alexandria, Old Bradford, Downtown and Victory Beach, would be loaded for the player all at the same time, opening up a single, massive tile. This caused performance problems we will explain below. UE5, on the other hand, is made for open worlds and helps us solve many of the problems we were running into. It uses a system where the world loads and unloads the immediate area around the player (singular cells) and the developers can tailor how much of the distant environment is loaded as the player moves through that environment.
2. Optimized Engine: UE5 is much more efficient than UE4, cutting time roughly in half for opening and loading the project. Testing has also shown that CPU usage can be cut in half when running projects, as shown in this video: LINK
3. High-polygon efficiency through Nanite feature: UE5 allows very high polygon items (such as our Phoenix Fountain) to be used at the same or less performance than scaled down meshes and materials. This is another way that UE5 is more efficient than UE4 for game performance. Titan City is filled with detail that slowed game performance in UE4 but will work far more efficiently in UE5.
4.Lighting: In UE4, lighting had to utilize actors and volumes to look correct. UE5 introduced Lumen, a fantastic global illumination system that makes light behave realistically in the project environment. This will cut development time by reducing the need for tailoring light for streetlights and ambient light on buildings at night, along with providing an impressive foundation lighting system for the day or night environment.
5.Large Team Project Coordination: working with a large team on a project is now easier in UE5 because unlike UE4, it allows developers to work on the same area at the same time within the project.
6.World Events & Missions Made Easier: UE5 introduced Data Layers, which facilitate a triggered event or mission within the city environment. These events could have been constructed in UE4, but data layers make it much easier to build the events into the game environment.
7.Fixing the CoT Skeleton with UE5 Retargeting Animations: As many of you have mentioned to us, there are limitations on our female character body design in our current avatar builder. These limitations are related to the skeleton we have rigged for our characters. Re-rigging our skeleton to fix this has been a struggle for many reasons. Fortunately, Unreal Engine 5 has a fix for this issue. UE5 adds a new feature for Retargeting Animations, where a skeleton of a character can have its bones changed so that the scale, position and other features can be essentially re-rigged within UE5 very easily. It will still take some skill and time to get the skeleton right in the coming months as we work on it, but it can all be done within the new Unreal Engine Editor features in UE5. What this means is that we have an efficient path to not only improve the female skeleton for our characters, but we will be able to make variations for monstrous, alien and other characters much more easily now!
So what were those hurdles CoT ran into over the last several months? And how does UE5 help resolve them? Really there were two issues that have slowed us down.
We mentioned above how City of Titans is an open-world environment, but UE4 used a tile system that created severe limitations on open worlds. The tile system made it that players would be loading huge swaths of neighborhoods all at once. This would eat up the memory of many of our players' home systems and the game would crash. There are ways to fix this in UE4, but we realized it would take a lot longer to build the alternative in UE4 than it would take for us to utilize the new open world system UE5 comes with.
Second, we also had to work through many issues with Macintosh compatibility over many months. Most current games in Unreal do not offer Mac compatibility, and this has meant that CoT has needed to pioneer some research into making the game work for Macintosh. In some instances, Mac crashing just shows an early warning that a project has a general problem. But some problems, we found, were Mac specific, such as packs that were purchased from the Unreal marketplace that worked perfectly well for PC’s, but crashed Macs. But despite these issues, we have figured them out and think that when we are finished transitioning the project to UE5, that the game will work on PC or Mac equally well.
So, the problems we encountered created delays, but nothing that is stopping the game from happening. And moving to UE5 will make the game much better for many reasons.
City of Titans UE5 Version - Now Available for the Island on Windows
The island testing environment for City of Titans has been upgraded to Unreal Engine 5. If you have already downloaded City of Titans, the game will update automatically. If you have not yet downloaded the game, information on how to access it are available here: LINK
Known Bugs: There are a few bugs we are aware of that need fixing. There are choices in the loading screen for Offline Options between Titan Island and Learner's Cove - Learner's Cove is a mistaken addition... choose Titans Island. Capes are flowing into the bodies of characters. The trench coat item is locked. As you create a character, one of the character selection screens shows Super Joe instead of the character you have chosen, but this is just a visual error that does not effect the choice of character you have selected to enter the island. A few of the new costume items are currently unresponsive to most of the adjustment sliders, and will get fixed later. Most of these will look fine on reasonably normal body types, but may have clipping problems with more extreme settings. These and other bugs we plan to clean up soon, but wanted to get the patch into your hands!
New Weather Testing Tool - Now Available for the Island on Windows!
Control the weather on the island to make it:
Beautiful and Sunny!
Cold and Rainy!
Make it snow!
Create a dust storm!
Or fly above the clouds and survey the weather from above!
With this update we are releasing a tool for players to select the weather they want to explore in the game! This is an option that is available for players to see how weather in Titan City will dramatically impact the experience of the game. A multiplayer game will obviously not allow for individualized weather choices like we are offering on the island, but we thought this would be a fun way to explore actual weather changes that we will be implementing as part of the environmental experience in Titan City. Below are instructions for accessing the weather controls on Windows and Mac:
To access the weather controls simply hit the hot keys below
When you have hit the hotkey, the weather controls will pop-up on your screen and look like this:
You can choose any of the weather options in the pop up, and as soon as you find the weather you want to try, hit the hotkeys again to remove the weather control pop-up from your screen. You can hit the hot keys again anytime you want to change the weather.
Mac users will be able to access the updated game soon, as we have some final fixing to release on Mac. When Mac is ready, the weather control system will also be available by using the hot keys Cmd-Alt-F7
We hope you enjoy this fun feature that will show the wide versatility of the Titan City weather environment beyond the beautiful world and architecture that are already built for the game!
New Costumes - Now Available in the Avatar Builder on Windows!
With this update we are releasing several new costume items that Windows users can access now!
Log onto the project and in our Avatar Builder you will see a wide variety of new items that greatly expand costume choices with player requested options like long and short skirts. You will find a bunch of new costume presets, several new armor options, new wings, spandex with pattern options, long and short dress options, new street wear options, new head gear and masks, skull / skeleton costume parts, and a host of new options to individualize your character!
We hope everyone had a Happy Halloween and enjoys playing with all the new costumes available right now!
Pictured above, Alexandria in the foreground, Victory Beach, Old Bradford and Downtown in the background. Shown in Unreal Engine4, currently being converted and tested in UE5.
As you have probably read in our past updates, Alexandria and many other neighborhoods are already built. And related to that, many months ago we had planned to release the neighborhood of Alexandria alone, but given UE5 is an open-world system that can load/unload efficiently throughout the environment, we now plan to release Alexandria, Old Bradford, Downtown, Victory Beach, and all of the built neighborhood areas as soon as we finish testing and applying new improvements available in UE5. We are currently transitioning many of the high poly assets in the City environment, such as using the new Nanite feature to make them more efficient than they had been in UE4. When this work is done, we will be ready to make the already built city environment available to players.
We also planned to release powers and non-player characters that have been developed and are waiting to be added to the environment. After the neighborhoods are launched in UE5, we plan to add these already built powers and npc’s to be available within the UE5 world environment. And we plan in our next update to show some progress on the combat front!
So the next steps haven’t changed from what we had planned before - we plan to release the environment and powers soon as we finish this testing on UE5.
We empathize with all of our community who have been waiting so long for this game to come together. There are exciting things coming now that we have worked through these hurdles and are bringing the game to life in UE5!
Happy Fall to you all!
Feel free to discuss this update here: https://cityoftitans.com/forum/discuss-unreal-engine-5-4-3-2-1-ignition
OR on our Discord! : https://discord.gg/w6Tpkp2
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