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Wow, the YouTube video was released in November. How have I never seen it before? I've probably watched it three times in the past hour. It's an absolutely amazing production. What was the budget for this?
Indiegala had a big booth at Gamescom 2015 in Cologne. A lot of different games were shown there, but our eye cought on Die Young – an impressive survival game with very bright and detailed visuals. We’ve talked with Tommaso Magherini – the game’s gamedesigner at Indiegala. He told us about the inspirations, the technology behind this project and the main peculiarities of building open world games.
About Die Young
Die Young is a single player experience that is more similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Alone in the Dark. There’s very little fighting involved, since you are playing as a very young and timid girl. You have to run to escape your enemies, hide and look for a way to escape the island, where the character is being trapped.
Choosing the Engine
For this game we chose Unreal Engine 4. Our team actually had three possible choices: Unreal Engine 4, Unity 5 and Cryengine. Cryengine is too difficult for small studios to use. There are only six people in our company, and only two of us have real experience in the development of videogames. So we just couldn’t handle it all.
I personally and our lead programmer have experience working with Unity, developing mobile games. We know that this engine is great for mobile products but in my opinion it doesn’t suit AAA-games. There are a lot of teams struggling now, working with Unity and trying to optimize everything for their game. It’s great that we have Unity 5, which is so much better, but unfortunately it was released only 3 month ago and we have already started working with Unreal by that time.
We started using Unreal Engine 4. There was a paid license by then (something like $19 per month). Using this technology we’ve put a lot of effort in creating a very beautiful and detailed world. It was really hard. Until 4.8 release Unreal
Engine actually was not optimized for building open-world games.
Only the newest (4.8) version gave us the power to build incredibly detailed open worlds with fast action. Unreal Engine 4 toolset is incredibly useful and it makes building games very easy. We still have to do a lot of work on the assets though. Unreal still has some problems with rendering transparent part of some of the assets and that might require a bit more time for optimization. You need to do all the assets with less transparent parts.
I believe that 5% of revenue share is a great way to have such a great tool at your disposal.
Building the World
World Machine is also a great tool to build our game. It allows us to generate incredible landscapes. We import everything in Unreal Engine and then work on level design using the available tools.
Our world has a lot of architectural edifices. These are used to guide the player to new unexplored areas and places of interest. It works very well, since the player always have some place to go.
There’s a lot of competition in the survival game market. We choose to put a lot of effort into action. It’s not about crafting or shooting. It’s about constant movement and the ways to figure out the way how to survive. It’s not as repetitive as Ark, for example. You don’t need to craft anything. But Ark had dinosaurs. And that’s a big advantage.