Client: People Can Fly / Epic Games | Platform: XBox 360
As a primary development task, James was also recruited to create and optimise the in-game particle FX, using the Unreal Engine UDK. Particle FX are essential to provide any game with the finishing touches of ambient and special FX such as fire, rain, explosions, dust, floating leaves and sparks in order to bring the world to life. This task involved playing through each level and creating new systems and improving and tweaking existing particle systems until perfect using Cascade, Unreal Engine’s particle FX system. The VFX was then hooked up to the code in the Unreal Editor using Kismet. Following this was a period of optimisation, dedicated to improving performance, frame rates and removing bugs so that each level looked and played exactly as the team intended, striking the balance between aesthetics and speed.
Using the Unreal Engine UDK cascade system to develop the particle FX, James helped to develop fire, rain, dust, smoke, falling leaves, flies, sparks, lens effects and many more FX systems. Many elements needed to be added, refined, improved and tested in order to add the all-important graphical polish required. The particle FX were then hooked up to the code using Kismet and levels test-played through to make sure that all elements on the checklist had been met. Towards the end of development, numerous particle FX had to be checked and refined during a set of optimisation passes. This involved playing through the level and addressing issues of framerate or glitches that might have been flagged up by the testers and other FX artists.