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An Ico-like single-player puzzle adventure called RiME about a young boy shipwrecked on a strange island was not easy to build. In fact, Tequila Works had to spend four years to figure everything out. PCGamesN managed to discuss the production process behind the indie title to discover some of the team’s difficulties.
Protagonist with a red scarf follows the roads behind Mediterranean-style buildings in a game with visuals looking cel-shaded. But the thing is, there is no cel-shading here:
Actually, the game’s visuals are not cel-shaded, but an adaptation of Unreal Engine 4’s PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials, tailored to suit our artistic vision of the game and achieve a ‘cartoon’ look through the use of texture and lighting.
Rime’s beautifully framed landscapes, meanwhile – summoning the hand-drawn backgrounds of Studio Ghibli – were brought about in 3D rendering through the use of “minimalist textures and vibrant colours”.
“We tried to maintain the noise frequency as low as possible by implementing big masses of colour while trying not to overload the environments.”
Technical artist Pablo Fernández
The team has managed to build several islands making sure the game works fast on all the platforms. Developers used asynchronous loading in UE4 to allow Rime pull up data only when it’s needed.
Originally announced for the PS4, Rime has changed its plans for a multi-platform release:
Even though RiME was originally a PS4 exclusive, we used Unreal Engine 4 from the outset, using it as a playtesting ground where we could build the game and then adapt it to the PS4 specifications.
So, you could say we have been working on a PC version of the game from the very beginning.
Lead programmer Carlos Vázquez
Warsaw port specialists QLOC helped the studio to adapt Rime for the PC. There were actually two versions of the game, one for PC and one for the PS4 console. QLOC needed the second build for developing a smooth experience for both platforms:
As we were co-developing menus and UI for the PS4 version we were working directly on Tequila’s repository. But at the same time, we were developing the PC version of that same UI, with additional features like graphic settings and mouse and keyboard controls, on our repository.
In order not to double the work precise version control was required.
Very often engine or middleware features work perfectly fine on one platform, but bugs occur on another. Fixing these is an essential part of the process, and usually the biggest technical challenge. Thankfully, the excellent support from the middleware providers meant we could overcome any issues.
You can read the full article on the production of the long-awaited indie title here.