Trials Fusion Dev Diary Shows Behind the Scenes Work

Check out how the next game in the series came to be.

Posted By | On 16th, Apr. 2014 Under News

RedLynx’s Trials Fusion is out soon and will feature much of the stunt bike racing that we’ve come to love from Ubisoft’s franchise. A new dev diary has been released which recounts the game’s development from the concept stage till now. Check it out above to find out how Trials Fusion came to be.

Trials Fusion features new tricks, riders, tracks and missions but for the first time in the series, you can perform freestyle stunts with the right analog stick. This will allow you to tumble further down the leaderboards when said stunts fail, but practice makes perfect.

Trials Fusion will be releasing on Xbox 360, Xbox One and PS4 on April 16th in Europe. It will also be heading to PC on April 24th with the Season Pass due around the same time. Stay tuned for more details on the game in the coming days including a preview of the PC beta.

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  • Xtreme Derp

    It disgusts me when Microsoft fanboys start screaming “lazy devs” and “poorly optimized” because they’re too dumb to understand the technology involved and Xbox’s weaker hardware. Red Lynx is one of the most technically accomplished devs in the business.

    The main thing that’s been saddening me about this thread is seeing people dump on Red Lynx, as if they’re some average indie developers. Trials HD and Trials Fusion pushed a lot of really advanced technology, and I see no one is reading the Eurogamer links that myself and JaseC posted, so I’m going to try and help people out by quoting from them this time.

    On Trials HD:

    The shadows and lighting were changed the most. Now we have universal real-time soft shadows cast from each object, including translucent shadows (windows, fences, glass, etc). All object materials are modelled with pixel-perfect precision, and we have parallax mapping on each surface adding the highly needed extra bit of detail to the rough warehouse surfaces.

    we achieve a constant full 60 frames-per-second representation all the time. The game rendering is also vertical-refresh-locked to produce absolutely tearless graphics output – a thing we rarely see even in current generation retail console games.

    All our materials have per-pixel control for base colour, diffuse lighting, specularity, glossiness, ambient lighting (ambient occlusion), normal (compressed two-channel normal), height (for parallax mapping), opacity and emissive components (for self-illuminating surfaces).

    We have compressed all this info into two or three DXT5 textures in a way that causes the least compression artifacts. The DXT5 format alpha channel is much higher quality compared to the other three channels (RGB). And the RGB channels are also tied together (same end values and interpolator). The green channel also offers slightly increased bit depth compared to the red and blue channels.

    On Trials Evolution:

    Increasing the draw distance from 40 metres to 2000 metres meant that we had to render over five times more objects per frame than we did in Trials HD. Many things in the engine got completely overhauled to cope with the vastly increased object count. For example, our graphics engine now uses a ‘close to hardware’ low-level GPU interface instead of the higher-level DirectX API to submit draw calls and the GPU state.

    We fully optimised our particle engine with VMX128 instructions, and this freed up one of the six hardware threads just for visibility culling purposes, while still allowing us to double our particle counts. We now have a dynamic depth buffer pyramid-based occlusion culling system that discards all occluded objects very quickly, and gives a nice boost of performance for complex scenes. We also implemented object and terrain geometry LOD (level of detail) systems to scale down polygon counts based on distance to the camera.

    The shadow mapping system was also improved. The new system calculates very tight bounds for shadow map cascades based on depth buffer analysis (inspired by the SDSM algorithm by Lauritzen, Salvi and Lefohn), and allowed us to reach the required shadow map quality for the large-scale terrain without much extra cost.

    Virtual texturing has really changed the way we deal with textures. The system does fine-grained analysis of the visible scene and determines which texture areas should be loaded to the memory. It is designed to keep only the texture pixels in memory that are actually required to render the current scene. Because there’s always a constant amount of pixels in screen (720p = 921K pixels), the memory footprint of virtual texturing is always the same, no matter how many and how large textures the game world contains. This has allowed us to texture many of our objects with very large 2048×2048 (and some even with 4096×4096) textures and has completely freed our artists of any texture memory budgets when designing the game world.

    We now have a fully gamma-correct (linear space) lighting pipeline, so the rendering looks much more natural compared to the old pipeline. We have also added a fully artist-controlled colour grading system that allows them to pile up any amount of Photoshop filters and bake the filters to one big 3D texture lookup table that is sampled at the end of our post-processing pipeline. This lookup also includes an Xbox PWL gamma repair ramp (to make the image look as much like real sRGB as possible).

    The smoke and dust are basically just alpha-blended particles with slight background blurring enabled (a new feature). Our newly optimised particle system is able to run more particles, so we utilised it as much as possible. We also added proper physically correct exponential fog and a post-process ‘god ray’ filter that adds a slight volumetric feeling to the lighting and fog effects.

    In Trials Evolution we do terrain foliage generation, particle processing and texture compression using the GPU. Our deferred lighting and anti-aliasing shaders use Xbox-specific GPU microcode for “warp wide” branching. This technique can be used to reduce cost of incoherent dynamic branching (but depends on GPU warp size and is thus not available on most PC GPGPU platforms except for CUDA).

    We use a modified version of FXAA. It’s originated from FXAA 2, but our version causes significantly less blurring to textures. We again use the Xbox-specific microcode branching trick to get extra performance out of the shader (limiting the effect to areas that have high-contrast edges). Our version runs at 0.8ms, less than five per cent of the 16.6ms frame.

    So there you have it. Don’t think that just because the game is only doing motorbikes through a 2 dimensional path that it can’t be strenuous on the system. In the last game in the series Red Lynx were rendering draw distances of 2 kilometers, with a fully real time deferred lighting and shadowing engine, with virtual texturing (that looked far better than what we saw in Rage) and they were already using GPU compute.

    The level editor is the key thing here. Not only do you have those large backdrops to put all your pieces into, the fact that you are able to stick geometry in wherever means that the game has to do much more in real time than Forza 5.

    Deferred rendering + 60 fps = less than 1080p on Xbox One, at least so far. I asked this before, does anyone know of any other games that use deferred lighting, run at 60 fps and run at 900p or higher?

    I don’t know of any though I might be forgetting one. That’s a technical *achievement* from a developer that coded some of the best technology on Xbox 360.

    Again, for anyone going ‘It can’t even run Trials at 1080p???’ please find me a game running at 60 fps with deferred lighting running at a higher (or even the same) resolution on Xbox One.

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