Dual Universe switches to Unigine 2!

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Many of you have been waiting for quite some time to see the first in-game screenshots of Dual Universe! It’s coming soon, but one of the main reasons why we haven’t shown anything sooner is that we were working on a very big move: we have switched our underlying game engine from Unreal Engine 4 to Unigine 2. Let me say a few words about this decisive evolution.

Unigine is a rendering engine that was well known for GPU benchmarks showcasing advanced Direct X11 features. Quoting their web page, “Unigine 2 is designed to handle virtual worlds of unprecedented scale without limits: double precision of coordinates, supersonic speed of data streaming and huge visibility distance.”. Well, that’s exactly the kind of technology we needed for Dual Universe.

We had been working with Unreal Engine 4, which has lots of incredible features and excellent rendering quality, but some of the things we wanted to do were more complex, or would have required us to branch the source code of Unreal to basically make our own version. Unigine 2 is much more low level and thus provides us more flexibility and computational power. Unigine 2 is perhaps less developed than Unreal regarding the game engine side (level edition, assets integration, etc, even if this is progressing rapidly and should improve in the near future), but as we generate everything procedurally those features are less relevant for us.

However, the freedom in low level modification and the clear focus of Unigine 2 towards large scale open world rendering was a perfect match for us. It also gives us a great platform to develop our own PBR (Physically Based Rendering) shading framework. We have already started to work with our engineers on many other rendering technologies on top of Unigine 2 features, that will enable us to provide really cool stuffs visually.

To give a taste of the kind of rendering that Unigine 2 enables, here are some images from the Unigine website, following the 2.2 release (these are NOT images from Dual Universe!). You can get more images & news from here.

 

In the “coming soon” screenshots of Dual Universe, you will see giant spaceships, mountains, planets and the amazing thing is that everything you will see will be real: you can walk to the top of those mountains, or fly in a ship and visit those planets. We know that since we started to work on Dual Universe, several other games have shown inter-planetary seamless travel, but keep in mind everything you will see is modifiable with voxel technology: You could take a bite out of those mountains, or even out of the planet, and the landscape would adapt from every point within the universe. We are talking about a full gigantic open world with editable content at the scale of planets. There are not many games that can show this today, together with a network engine capable to handle millions of players in the same universe.

That’s it for now. I also want to say a big thank you to the Unigine Corp team that has been invaluable and helped a lot in the transition to Unigine 2. More to come soon!

JC Baillie,
Project Lead.

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