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MIND: Path to Thalamus

Hi everyone!

I am Carlos Coronado and this is the thread where I will be posting all the stuff I am doing while redoing MIND: Path to Thalamus (already released and done in UDK) for UE4. You must know I am redoing the game with VR in my mind, so all the changes in the environmets are because Vr. For example, less alpha test in the forest. I really like how the new forest is doing. I have also done a new locomotive system for VR and I will show that soon too (done with blueprints of course). This new system includes a working in game menu (not a launcher) with toons of settings! **Part of the purpose of this forest is also to be part of the menu map, so when the player changes the settings he can see instantly the results in the level **:slight_smile: It is going to be a looong looong road but the engine is amazing and I am having a lot of fun with it so one step at a time!

The floor of the forest are just some static meshes with vertex paint. In the second image you can see some of the vertex textures. No normalmaps whatsoever. All are only diffuse maps! Photogrammetry is such an amazing technique for scenes like this ones! I was really inspired by the work done in The Vanising of Ethan Carter so I went on a trip with my girl to El Montseny and we did a nice walk to the top of the mountain and in the mean time I did some photos to stones lol. This is the amazing aspect of photogrammetry: you can work while you are having fun IN THE OUTSIDE! :smiley: Processing the files to get them working in UE4 is a semi automatic process also: I used Photoscan and Zbrush just for the ZRemesher tool. That tool is nuts! All the photos where taken with an old cannon 1000D with a 18-55mm in P mode with 200 ISO. No tripode or special equipment. Always looking for ways to be more efficient! Doing stones and floors like those ones by hand would have taken me ages… with photogrammetry just a trip and 2 days of works for all the assets! I made a tutorial about photogrammetry and UE4 but now it is only aviable in Spanishbut I will translate it soon!

I would have loved to be in the GDC this year and meet some of you people and share some thoughts about UE4 and game developent but well… I am doing what I can! The trip from Spain is really expensive and right now there are unfortunally other priorities for me. Hope you have a great time there and gdc Europe is a thing for me!! :slight_smile:

Btw, this is NOT going to be a new game. The users who have the game will get a free update when I am done with the work :wink: I owe them than! They are such an amazing community!

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This is great news, I’m a big fan of the original game, and it would be amazing in VR. I’m afraid the photogrammetry is way over my head, but I can’t argue with the results :wink: Looking forward to updates!

Hi acatalept! Glad you liked the game! And btw, photogrammetry is SUPER EASY with just a couple tricks. I mean, in short, you don’t event have to learn how a reflex works (of course if you do, better) because what you are trying to achieve is the most neutral, boring photos ever. For a starter I would just recommend going P mode with ISO 200-400 and that’s it. Once you’ve got the photos, the process is really “how to… …in three simple steps”.

I’ve been working in the integration of the new menu with the forest environment, and of course the forest will be used to see the results in real time of what are the settings doing! I’ve been thinking a lot about using screen percentage or just normal numerical resolutions and well… I think it is waaaaay better to use SP 90% of times. When the menu loads the game, the resolution of the game ALWAYS changes to the native resolution of the screen and then the user with SP just changes how much % of that top resolution for him wants. It is perfect because you simply can’t set an incorrect resolution, like a resolution bigger than your native resolution or a 4/3 in a 16/9 monitor and stuff like that. however, for windowed mode you still need legacy control as we have been always doing and that option is also included, but SP works SUPER GOOD with VR. Oh and yes, there’s no Vsync setting. Why? It is always on. Remember, this is a menu with VR in mind and some users just want the downgrade so their computers can run the game but without being able to touch a setting that can potencially break the experience. That’s why Vsync is always on. Aside from that, the forest environment is perfect to show the scalability of the menu. Sooo many props and effects to see the effect of changing it instantly!

I have also been working adding a little more detail to the lower part of the forest: better trunks, some green foliage grass, moss and leaves, and better integration with the vertex paint stuff. I have also been testing the assets in different lighting settings and they work like a charm so yep, this environment is close to final! Any feedback is appreciated.

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Aaaan some more work in the logic of the game!

It was expecting some painful udk landscape export ue4 landscape import but the process was super simple and effective! So, aside from the landscape now I’ve got implemented too some game logic; the night (and the gameplay implications and events of it) now work 100% in Ue4! The player can activate/deactivate it, at the balls too! The sky, Color lookup table and fog change to nightime parameters and the night balls become physically aviable, as the portals. Also, when it is nightime, the player must look in the direction of the portal to teleport (when the player isn’t looking AND it is nightime the portal will be just a blocking volume.

Also, I have been experimenting with the new 4.7.2 foliage. JISUS. It is amazing. The non lightmapped foliage is super efficient and the new instance chunk fade holding works really well. I am really surprised every day with new features of the engine! Also, it is just a detail, but when you are going to animate a material parameter you no longuer have to put in your level a reference in an actor of the material parameter you want to animate. You directly do it in the matinee. Not a big deal but a huge design improvement since UDK! Timelines and the avility to call in the constructor instanced materials is also amazing. Currently being used in the nightballs and portals. Hopefully tomorrow I will have the rain event ready! :smiley:

I am also trying to keep my blueprints as simple as posible because I use them to teach to my students doing a carrer of Audiovisual Design here in Barcelona. That’s why you won’t see locig gates at all among other stuff :slight_smile:

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thanks for point me to the tut of photogrammetric

gracias por el tutorial fotogrametria justamente esta semana iba a ver el tema y iba a necesitar un tutorial introductorio para ir haciendome la idea, que mejor que en español. A ver si lo veo esta noche.

Looking forward to playing this in UE4 via VR!

After a long period working on the dungeon I’m ready to give you some news about Mind: Path to Thalamus.

Finally three levels of the game are finished, including sound: the path of light level, the first fog puzzle and the first sea level.

The first level taken too much time to complete because the decision to make a template level with all the puzzle types of Mind. Create such level needed a lot of time, but a well structured and organized work will save lots of time and will increase the final product value.

Hello Carlos.

I rarely even get interested in any games, I usually buy 1 or 2 a year and I was ready to buy the original game when I saw in its steam page a thread about you re-making it.

Since you are obviously improving over the original game, I wanted to ask you some stuff before buying it.
Is the remake going to be VR exclusive?
If I buy the original, can I get the remake, and will the remake cost anything for that matter?

Hi Spurdo,

The game will support VR, but will be playable without a headset.
The remake will be an update of the current game, not a separate product.

Many thanks

On last June 26th Gamelab 2015 was closed. During three days, 24th -25th and 26th on June, there was a celebration of the 11th Games & Interactive Entertainment Conference in Hotel Barceló Sants of Barcelona. In this period, Gamelab received over 1.000 professional people of videogames under format with conferences, showroom and networking.

As has become customary in Gamelab, the Spanish Videogames Industry Awards ceremony is celebrated, being the 8th edition and sponsored by Sony Mobile. This awards, convened by Academia Española de las Artes y las Ciencias Interactivas and Gamelab together, are the greatest recognition to the spanish sector companies and professionals, highlighting the best works developed in the last year.
MIND: Path to Thalamus was nominated for six categories, including “Game of the Year”. Furthermore, as the rest of the nominees, it aimed to the public and press awards. Finally Mind Dev Team obtained six awards.

  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Game Design
  • Best PC game
  • Best Debut Game
  • Press Award
  • Game Of The Year

MIND: Path to Thalamus was present actively in the exhibitor zone in the Talking About Media stand, company focused on marketing, publishing & advertising for video games, who managed the awarded video game, with the new version of the game with Unreal Engine 4 and adapted to Virtual Reality that transforms the MIND experience in a more immersive one with the Oculus Rift device. Lots of people got into the oneiric travel of MIND: Path to Thalamus with very positive feedback from the experience.
Finally and as a closure event, on the same Gamelab premises, took place the Indie Developer Burger Awards 2015, the independent developer awards for independent developers. As in previous editions the ceremony was characterised for its relaxed atmosphere and with categories like “We want a sequel” and at the other end “Please try again”. MIND Path to Thalamus won “Juego más molón” (Coolest Game) and the “Juego del público” (Audience Award).

With six “Premios Nacionales a la Industria del Videojuego” and two Indie Developer Burger Awards, MIND: Path to Thalamus is the best spanish video game of the current year.

We are far from june, but we’ve been working in a single topic that eaten the major part of our development time and we wanted to wait until it was crushed before telling you what drove us mad last weeks. Everything is related with the forest levels. Those levels can’t work in a virtual reality environment as they had been conceived in the original version.

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The main reason is performance. In virtual reality you need to render two times the game, one for the left eye, and another time for the right one, consequently the graphic performance needs to be doubled so when the virtual reality is enabled, the game will perform enough.

Due to the large amount of models in this level it was impossible to keep a good FPS rate, consequently the whole forest levels have been completely reconceptualized. This is possibly the major aesthetic change done in the conversion to Unreal Engine 4 of MIND: Path to Thalamus. Until now the changes were merely optimizations and effect adaptations when they do not work in virtual reality, as well as the inclusion of PBS, but with this environment we directly decided to start from scratch at visual level, the same mechanics, different visual context.

As you may remember, we came from the zone where we move through a series of floating islands. Following this concept, the levels are made of forest islands, reducing drastically the number of elements in the screen. In fact, the level of detail of the further islands are much lower than the main island to reduce the render cost.

Moreover, even in the main forest there are zones with lower detail level and we have replaced the grass with fallen leaves and foliage, reducing alpha testing because it’s made from horizontal planes instead of the vertical ones of the grass in the original game. Transparency management is resource expensive because the way game engines save resources is rendering only visible entities, but when you have transparent elements, first you will need to determine which elements it haves behind to draw them, and if those one have transparency too, you will need to go further to know if there’s something more to be drawn.

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In the next devlog we will see how another zone that remains to be converted to Unreal Engine 4 also is giving us problems. The “neuron” level uses a lightning technique that does not exists in the last version of the Epic’s engine.

I use photogrammetry as well.
Just one question, you said “no normalmaps” what do you mean by that. do you import the models as the highresolution one or do you shrink them and then give them just a Diffuse input?.

I usually bake the normal/diffuse/displacemant maps on the low resolution models o.o.

Exactly, using xnormal to bake the diffuse of the high to a generated low with zremesher :slight_smile:

oh, btw; MIND: Path to Thalamus ENHANCED EDITION RELEASEEEEEEED!!!

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https://youtube.com/watch?v=CvYxypbzjEE

It has been a long journey but here it is :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks! Really enjoyed the original one - definitely going to check it out in UE4.

Wonderful scenery, good luck for your project.