Friday, January 27, 2017

Oceanhorn 2, Unreal and Beyond

The reveal of Oceanhorn 2's development got an amazing reception from all of you back in August. Thank you so much!

It has been five months now and we have been very busy working on the game, to fulfill our dream project one asset and feature at a time. Unfortunately, we haven't had time to give you guys any updates. Let's remedy that right here, right now!

Oceanhorn 2 looks stunning on mobile

Weighing our options

Over the years, we have learned that making a video game is a huge undertaking. For Oceanhorn 1 we did everything from ground up, from using a proprietary game engine, designing and developing our own full featured level editor to a highly laborious porting and upgrading work that had to be done for other platforms.

When we were dreaming up what Oceanhorn 2 should be like, we knew that we would have to do everything from ground up yet again if we would continue using our own tools. To meet the high expectations of the video game audience on mobile, high-end PCs and consoles, we decided to start developing Oceanhorn 2 on Unreal Engine 4.

New perspective takes you in the center of the action

Powered by Unreal Engine 4

Unreal Engine is a game engine that has proven itself in hundreds of big titles over the past 20 years. Its graphical capabilities and level editing tools are the best the industry has to offer. We have the artistic freedom, and to ensure we can achieve what we set out to do, Epic allows us developers to access the engine source code. With Unreal Engine 4, we basically have hundreds of man years of video game development backing us up, and delivering our uncompromised dream is still going to be in our own hands in the end!

"With Unreal Engine 4, we have hundreds of man years of video game development backing us up"

This project has introduced a lot of new and exciting things for us, from new ways of thinking to new tools and workflows. As an artist, I had to learn everything about physically based rendering. It provides an intuitive way to express the realistic properties of the materials for the renderer. It is a relatively new way to get realistic looking materials for a modern game engine that handles realistic lighting.

Our game has an artistically stylized look, but even our style benefits from the physically based rendering. Pixar animations have used it for years, but these days we can render it in realtime, even on mobile.

Good things come to those who wait

When setting up the renderer and materials, we wanted to make sure everything will work on both PC and mobile. Minor differences can be seen in some of the screen space effects, as all of them are not yet feasible on mobile hardware. We started optimizing the project for the mobile right from the beginning, and when we started to test out our game on actual mobile hardware, our efforts paid off.

The development and discovery

In our previous announcement blog post we shed light on some of the new gameplay aspects featured in Oceanhorn 2. These were just a few examples of the features that will make Oceanhorn 2 truly special. We will be sharing more exciting news with you in the upcoming months.

A knight's weapon Caster in action

There is a certain unrevealed element in the game that makes Oceanhorn 2 different when compared to other games in the same genre. We have been experimenting with this element right from the beginning, and we are starting to see the impact it has on Oceanhorn 2.

When developing new and exciting elements to the game, our main goal is always to improve the player’s experience and reinforce his or her emotional investment to the the world and story. We also aim to enrich the aspects that people loved in the original game, such as exploration.

In many ways, experimenting with features is one of the perks of being an indie company. If we come up with the best thing ever for an action RPG at any given time, we can go ahead and add it to the game.

Mobile graphics of 2017!

In our day to day development, we have reached a point where we can produce game content fast. More cutscenes and levels are being added to the game every week and the quests are starting to shape up. Still, we have a long road ahead of us to finish this game and I hope Oceanhorn fans can wait patiently.

We have received lots of questions about the platforms which Oceanhorn 2 will be released on. We can’t confirm all of the platforms yet. What we can say is that Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas sold over 1 million copies on all platforms combined, but let’s remember it started out as an amazing iOS adventure game.

Oceanhorn 2 will definitely come out on iOS.