Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
When Electronic Arts finally announced the continuation of the Mass Effect franchise, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. It seemed nearly impossible that a company so deeply buried in their paid DLC and money making efforts could actually return to that amazing world of deep space exploration. However, the new trailer for this project seems to prove that there are developers, who do know what space is all about.
The first thing you notice about Mass Effect Andromeda is the graphical upgrade. The game looks so much better than the previous titles (which were actually created with UE3). The character models during the dialogue sessions show incredible detail. The facial animation is beautifully done. I especially like the way they did the clothes. It does feel like fabric or some more flexible material.
The environments were also substantially upgraded. EA obviously did a lot of work with World Machine, or some other landscape generation technology. The whole landscape is much more varied and has a ton of little details all around the place. The mountain materials are very detailed. The ground is covered with hundreds of different objects, including rocks, bushes, grass, flowers. The trees and the addition of water reserves make the demo world even more lively (although the trees do look like they were taken from one of the koola’s demos).
Even the more bleak and forgotten worlds look interesting. It just goes to show you that in modern games procedural generation is still not enough to create artistically interesting 3d worlds. Artists are still needed. Yet, I can’t shake the feeling like the new Andromeda game was actually heavily inspired by some of the stuff from No Man’s Sky. There are a lot of those rectangular crystals and strange colors.
It’s also a great pleasure to have a look at the way EA is using lighting in this game. The world is filled with beautiful atmospheric lights, which guide the player and help find new interesting places to visit. The color coding of various elements on the scene also looks great.
So far the architecture and space station interiors look pretty generic. Maybe there’s just nothing new you can find to cram into your space station. Although the first Mass Effect did look pretty interesting and featured a lot of cool additions in terms of the spaceship interior design.
Though, leaving behind all that environment art “nonsense”, Mass Effect Andromeda does look like a perfect space game. It’s got a whole galaxy of hand-made worlds to explore and tons of things to do. And I can’t wait to play it.