Pete Bottomley on how Ether One is shaping up on the PlayStation 4.
Following up on the PC release of Ether One back in March 2014, White Paper Games are now bringing it over to the PlayStation 4. The PlayStation 4 version will be benefited by an upgraded game engine which will now run on Unreal Engine 4. For those of you who are unaware about Ether One, it focuses on story exploration along with challenging environmental puzzles as players explore the world of Pinwheel.
GamingBolt recently caught up with White Paper Games’ Pete Bottomley to check up on the progress of the PS4 version. Check out his answers below.
What can you tell us about the porting process of Ether One on the PlayStation 4? How easy or challenging it was and how much time did you guys took for the port?
The PlayStation 4 port is ongoing. We didn’t want to outsource the work to anther studio, we felt that if we were going to do it then we’d do it ourselves so it’s our main focus at the moment. We also made the choice to change engines, so it’s like building Ether One from the ground up again. We have all the art content in so far along with the more complex shaders such as water, skies etc along with the entire game being lit.
The gameplay is in a good place also and we’ve just finished the Harbour section (for anyone that’s already played). We’ve started playstesting the opening hour of the game and we hope to have half of the game in a good place by the end of October. Overall it’s a pretty fluid process switching from Unreal 3 to Unreal 4.
Can you share tech details about the game’s engine in terms of number of simultaneous light sources, Parallax Occlusion Mapping etc?
Ether One will be running on the Unreal 4 engine so that gives you an idea about the engine. The current released version of Ether One runs on the UDK version of Unreal 3.
"Sony contacted us first and were really excited about getting Ether One onto the platform. It feels like a good partnership and the whole PlayStation team has been great to work with. No one from Xbox has contacted us and none of the team are Xbox players so it wasn't really a consideration."
Ether One was critically acclaimed by several publications. Was there a specific reason why you guys are bringing it back again on the PlayStation 4?
Our main aim is to get the game out to as many people as we can. It’s not easy to market a game like Ether One but we always get the same reaction when people have played it and invested a bit of time into it so releasing on the PS4 is really exciting for us. We also all grew up playing a lot of Playstation games so when Sony contacted us to develop for them it was a no brainer.
What kind of changes are you doing for the PS4 version and how is it going to compare content wise against the PC version?
The main change like I said is switching game engines so the lighting looks a lot different. We’re using the same colours but somehow it just looks a lot softer in UE4 which makes the game look great. We’ll also try to take advantage of some of the cool features of UE4 but we have to keep in mind the style and tone of Ether sowe don’t want anything to detract from that. We’re also going to be doing a re-release for PC players that have Ether One so we have to still keep PC specs in mind. We’re hoping to give the UE4 version of Ether One away for free for anyone that already owns the game.
Can you let us know why Ether One is not coming on the Xbox One?
There’s not really much to say. Sony contacted us first and were really excited about getting Ether One onto the platform. It feels like a good partnership and the whole PlayStation team has been great to work with. No one from Xbox has contacted us and none of the team are Xbox players so it wasn’t really a consideration.
"We will definitely be making use of interesting things on the DualShock 4 controller. Nothing is set in stone for Ether One yet as things are constantly changing but we have some cool ideas about how to utilise the features."
Is the PS4 version of Ether One going to run at 1080p and 60fps? What challenges are you facing to attain the same?
It’s too early in the development to say for sure. Of course we’d love it running at that and we’ll do our best to squeeze the most out of the games performance but we can’t say for sure until we’ve done more tests.
As someone who is developing the game on the PC and the PS4, what are your thoughts on the PS4’s GPU? Do you think with optimization and driver updates, it can rival high end GPUs?
I honestly don’t know too much about the hardware side of things. My guess would be that since GPU’s are constantly being released and updated for PC’s, it’s only natural that they will outperform a PS4 at some point. I don’t think that really matters though. If you look at what Naughty Dog did with The Last of Us at the end of the PS3 generation it goes to show just how much you can squeeze out of a system with very clever people on your team!
What are your thoughts on DualShock 4’s light bar feature? Is it a wasted potential? Furthermore are you using the touch pad in any way for Ether One?
We will definitely be making use of interesting things on the DualShock 4 controller. Nothing is set in stone for Ether One yet as things are constantly changing but we have some cool ideas about how to utilise the features. I don’t think it’s necessarily a wasted potential, I think studios like Media Molecule will do some really interesting things with it. It really depends on the game and what type of experience you want people to have. If it’s an immersive game you don’t really want to pull people out of that world but when implemented well, they’re great fun!
"We're just trying to find our feet with the next project mainly. We know what direction we want to go in and so we're doing lots of concepting at the moment."
Do we have a release date yet?
There’s no release date for Ether One on PS4 yet. The PC version of Ether One is out now on Steam, GOG & Humble. We expect the game to be finished early 2015 and then we need to discuss with Sony when a good time to release would be.
Can you talk about what are you working on currently other than Ether One for the PS4?
We’re just trying to find our feet with the next project mainly. We know what direction we want to go in and so we’re doing lots of concepting at the moment. A lot of ideas we have now probably won’t make it into the final game. It’s more about exploring where those ideas take us right now. I think the main thing is that we had never made a game before making Ether One so we never had any type of pre-production – it was just “lets make this game now”. So this time around we’re taking our time to have a solid idea about what the game is before we start making it.