Immortals of Aveum is Upgrading to Unreal Engine 5.2!

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be upgrading Immortals of Aveum™ to Unreal Engine 5.2! Today at Unreal Fest, our Associate Art Director, Julia Lichtblau, took to the stage to share how Unreal Engine 5 has allowed our modestly sized team to collaborate more effectively and efficiently, especially in the face of a pandemic. 

With Unreal Engine 5, our team took on design challenges we previously thought impossible – like combat on 400 foot walking mech traversing through the ocean – and we made a bigger, better game than we’d otherwise have been able to. Julia tells how the introduction of UE5 was a turning point for our studio and our game:

There were so many design meetings for Immortals over the course of five years, but I remember one very clearly being a pivotal moment for us. Bret, our writer, and our combat team were dreaming up a huge battle that would serve as a big moment in the game’s story. They were talking about an entire level taking place on a giant 400-foot mech that walks across the ocean and comes under attack by the enemy. The player would fight inside of the mech’s chest, and on scaffolding outside, and at one point fall off the mech and catch themselves with their lash ability. All the while the mech is taking heavy fire from flying enemy ships and smashing them out of the sky. As the person in charge of environment art, I was in heaven. I thought this sounded like a really memorable set-piece moment in the making. Mark, our CTO was more like, “how the hell will we actually make this level? It’s not technically possible in this time frame. You content people are absolutely dreaming!”

And that’s when it hit us. Well, it hit Mark first, really. UE5 would be entering Early Access soon and in theory its new features could solve most of the technical impossibilities Mark said were standing in our way of making this level a reality. 

Within two months of UE5’s Early Access in 2021, our team was working in the untested and in-progress version of the engine. A year later, we moved our full game from UE4 to UE5 as it entered Preview.

Switching to UE5 wasn’t an instant-win button for us. Afterall, we started work in UE5 before it was even production ready. We faced many challenges along the way. But with constant communication, trial and error, and great teamwork, we worked through these challenges.

– Julia Lichtblau, Ascendant Studios Associate Art Director at Unreal Fest 2023

Ascendant’s Unreal Future

Our studio’s journey continues as we update Immortals of Aveum to UE 5.2 and begin work on our next project in UE 5.3. Here’s a sneak peek into some of what we’ll be exploring with the engine upgrade: 

  • Lumen – In UE 5.1, Lumen solved the indoor-to-outdoor lighting transition seamlessly, allowing four lighters to light over 15 levels, and also allowed our modelers to instantly view assets in a variety of lighting scenarios. In 5.2, we want to take that even further by improving lighting detail around characters and visual fidelity of animations.  
  • Nanite – Nanite gave us unprecedented geometric fidelity, while saving our artists countless hours of setting LODs. In 5.2, we’re looking to further enhance overall game visuals as well as faster geometry calculations that can help further reduce pop in. 

Players can expect to see a number of visual and performance improvements with the move to 5.2, and we’re excited to share what we learn along the way. 
There’s more from our studio coming out of Unreal Fest! Don’t miss tomorrow’s panel livestream here at 9am CT (7am PT) on Wednesday, October 4th. We’ll delve into what our team of veteran AAA developers learned as we charted a path of “firsts” to launch an independant studio, imagine a new fantasy universe and design a convention-breaking sub-genre, all while building our first-person magic shooter. Be on the lookout for more Unreal Fest content in our blog.

Stay in Touch

Check out more content from our studio! Our original podcast series, Rise Above, delves into the world of video game development through candid conversations with some of the industry’s leading devs who’ve worked on beloved franchises like Borderlands, BioShock, Star Wars, Spider-Man, Dead Space, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and more. You can also follow us on YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and subscribe to our newsletter, The Standup to get the latest Immortals of Aveum and Ascendant Studios updates.

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