|09 Jun 2004||Ubisoft , one of the world's largest videogame publishers, recently revealed that the critically acclaimed and best-selling Myst® franchise will launch its newest adventure, Myst® IV Revelation, this fall. Chaos Group's V-Ray renderer was used to render the environments and cinematic sequences for the entire game.|
Chaos Group interviewed Gwenael Heliou, Myst IV Revelation technical director at Ubisoft’s Montreal studios about the use of V-Ray on this project.
Can you give us some background on Ubisoft and the Myst IV project?
“Myst IV-Revelation” was set in production at UbiSoft's Montreal
studios (Canada) around September 2001. There have been great games coming
from the Montreal studios in the past: Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Tom
Clancy’s Rainbow Six Raven Shield, Prince of Persia The Sands of time, as
there will be many more in the future. You can find the latest screenshots
and videos of “Myst IV Revelation” here: http://www.mystrevelation.com/
In the early stages of production, V-Ray was chosen for artistic
reasons, because the global illumination was cutting-edge and had not been
used at this scale in a video game yet. We needed fresh, realistic-looking
graphics. With little training, CG artists were able to render such
graphics with V-Ray, even with a beginner's understanding of the rendering
Were there any specific features of V-Ray compared to other rendering solutions that you found particularly useful?
Clearly, its fast raytracing abilities for GI solution-solving (ie.
Irradiance map) and of course, its displacement features. We also made
extensive use of reflection and refraction. The same with its way to
handle large amounts of instances, because many 'thingies' (I can't say
more) were replicated. V-Ray fitted these tasks very well.
What were some of the challenges that you faced during this project and how did you solve them?
Above all, we had to create worlds that would inspire the players'
curiosity and imagination. We were also challenged to put life and
diversity into those worlds. And no doubt, at the end, “Myst IV
Revelation” will be compared to its big brothers, Riven and Exile, which
are each huge pieces of CG-art.
Practically, because it is an interactive product, most of our material
is 3D only. But we had to split animated objects and static backgrounds
into different scenes and render processes. Matching the former and the
latter afterwards was a bit tricky without using large amounts of color
correction and touch ups. Using V-Ray's irradiance maps helped us to
recreate smooth and homogeneous lighting, merging all these materials and
providing the results we were looking for.
I would say, almost everything. We used the scanline renderer for preview purposes or gameplay validation but almost every piece of art will be rendered with V-Ray at the end. I am speaking about tons and tons of frames!
How complex were the sets you had to create for the game?
These 3D scenes are, by far, the most complicated I've ever seen.
In short, we had to optimize these complicated scenes in many ways, without loosing sight of achieving high quality and impressive environments. And V-Ray was versatile enough to help us in that way. We were able to pre-visualize our work, and know what it will look like at the end, right from production start.
How do you rate V-Ray's performance for the tasks you had to complete?
Fairly well indeed! Using V-Ray for such a big production was new and
untested, so we planned which element were and were not renderable. For
example, we decided early on which features we might use or not. We are
talking about a raytracer, which, without control, may utilize all of any
computer's CPU for hours... Being reasonable is the key. We wanted to get
the best of our renderer without impacting on the deadlines.
Are you satisfied with the final result of your efforts?
Ha, you know that the game is still in development, but…oh yes!
Are you using V-Ray on other projects and do you consider using it in the future?
Hey, that's top secret information here. But be sure I would love to work again with V-Ray.
Is there anything else you want to add here about V-Ray?
Of course, even if V-Ray is a great piece of software which helped us accomplish great CG artwork, I want to give a warm thanks to the guys who hide behind the lines of code. Making a game is a long and complicated process, and you guys were always ready to give us a hand at the right moment by giving advice or doing a special build for us in a few hours. This help was greatly appreciated. I owe you many beers in the pub of your choice!
About Ubisoft: Ubisoft is an international
producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products.
A leading company in the multimedia industry, Ubisoft's strong and
diversified lineup has grown considerably, as has Ubisoft itself. As well
as steadfastly continuing to partner with several high-profile companies,
Ubisoft has also confirmed its presence on the global market by developing
its own exceptional properties. Founded in 1986 in France, Ubisoft is now
present on every continent, both through offices in 21 different countries
including the United States, Morocco, Germany, and China and through sales
of products in over 50 countries. The group is dedicated to delivering
high-quality, cutting-edge videogame titles to consumers around the world.
Ubisoft generated a turnover of 508 million euros for the 2003/2004 fiscal
year, up 22.5% over the previous fiscal year. To learn more, visit http://www.ubi.com/.
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