Upgrade to Unreal Engine version 4.21

Heroic Games have announced an upgrade to version 4.21 of the Unreal Engine they're using to develop and run their new MMO, Ship of Heroes. You can read all about the benefits offered by this new engine on their website.

Also last year, was the release of an enormous amounts of assets by Epic Games which developers can use as a base for their own creations. Some of the hairstyles have been shown by Heroic Games - it's worth noting though, that these can't just be copied to Ship of Heroes, a lot of work is required to modify them to fit the new character models used in SoH.




Here's part of the newsletter, copied verbatim:
Our skilled coders and artists have done engine upgrades many times before, and we usually take a moment and tell all of you what the advantages on the new version are going to be.  And once again, we’re going to provide the top-level summary, but moving from 4.18 to 4.21 means that we have integrated over 400 improvements into the game code, many of which are visible to our dev team but are not visible to our players.  Some of the most important upgrades that you’ve be able to see or hear us discussing and reacting to are the following:

  •     Dynamic Resolution supports linking resolution to FPS for console games made in UE. We are not building a console game, and we already have a custom version of this feature coded and working in SoH, but having DR as an engine feature helps us optimize.
  •     Advances to the Niagara FX system in terms of realism. It’s possible that we may use both Niagara and PopcornFX in our FX, depending upon the situation, so this gives us options, including with powerset creation.
  •     We can pull the art and FX assets that Epic gave to the community from their game, Paragon, and re-use or re-create them in our MMORPG. While the costumes from Paragon are not directly useable in Ship of Heroes, they do give us advanced 3D concept art to work with, and also some really cool hair models (that we still need to extract and optimize for our purposes).
  •     The Replication Graph feature allows a significant reduction in server work for the kind of instanced missions that will be our bread and butter. We still need to code this capability specifically to our game, as it does not deliver results “out of the box.”  This is a tool specifically designed for high-volume multiplayer games.  Thank you, Epic!
  •     The introduction of the Proxy LOD system in version 4.19 is an extension of their Hierarchical LOD system, the system we use to help reduce draw calls and improve LOD performance over long range. This will be an especially welcome improvement during some of our Beta events later this year.
  •     In Epic’s 4.21 version of their Unreal Engine, they added a feature to detect and mitigate DDOS attacks. While we will need some time to figure out how to integrate it with SoH, we believe that this may ultimately improve both the security and performance of the game during a potential DDOS attack. Of course, we hope we don’t ever need such a thing, but historically DDOS attacks have taken down MMOs before and we would prefer to avoid the experience.
  •     Finally, Epic has given us a year’s worth of bug fixes, LOD enhancements, animation improvements, Sequencer upgrades, and debugging tools that our dev team is looking forward to adding to SoH.

Over 10000 accounts registered on the SoH forum!

Another milestone reached, over ten thousand registered accounts on the Ship of Heroes forum in two years. As Consultant said on his thread, that's pretty good for a team of mostly volunteer developers making a new MMO...