Republic Sniper Screenshot Saturday

Many months back, we switched from Unity to UE4 for our project, Republic Sniper. I wrote a blog post on the decision, which ended up on Hacker News and Slashdot and got a fair amount of attention.

Our first few months on UE4 were really just spent learning. Once we started understanding the tools and engine code and had a feel for the basic process, we switched to an iterative approach, blocking out all of our levels to a powers-of-2 grid, and then continually testing the levels, tweaking them, and upping the level of detail with each pass.

We’re now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and are ready to begin doing regular screenshot Saturday posts of our progress.

We’ve been working on seven levels so far, with two others in very early concept stages. Today, we’re going to show our progress on the first two levels of the game, dubbed “Training Day” and “Hangar”.

Training Day was the first level we ever worked on for Republic Sniper. It’s a training and rifle range on a very large spaceship called the ERS Oberon. These screenshots actually represent our third version of of this futuristic shooting range. The first version was created in Unity and was a playable prototype and proof-of-concept. Our second version was done in UE4 and it’s what our artists and level designers built to get comfortable with UE4’s tools. We didn’t pay much attention to playability or story while building the second version, though. This third version is part of our new, constant iteration approach. These comparison shots show where the level is now compared with the blockouts we did a few months ago.

Republic Sniper is actually a small piece of a much larger universe we’ve been fleshing out for several years. Our story bible, scripts, and universe guide contain over a thousand pages of back-story, character history, and sundry details about technology, politics, and universe in general. We’re not ready to share much of the Republic Sniper story yet, but to help set the stage for this first Screenshot Saturday, here are the first two draft pages of the Training Day intro cinematic.

Training Day progress comparison: (click for full-size)

If you’re interested in seeing the previous version of Training Day, it’s shown in the blog post linked above (or right here).

Our second level, called simply “Hangar” is a cavernous flightdeck and hangar bay from the same ship. From a story perspective, this level was put in to convey the enormous scale of the ship to the player. The script and signage will tell the player that this is one of many hangar bays on the ship. To give you an idea of scale, the little red shapes on the hangar floor are people-sized scale reference models.

Hangar progress comparison: (click for full-size)

We welcome any feedback, criticism, or comments. Thanks!

Nice! I’ll be looking forward to these. I really love these kinds of shots of things coming together. It’s nice to see the “construction” phase and awesome examples like this are great for those new to UE4, or any game engine for that matter, to understand blocking out before getting to the polishing phase.

I’m really thrilled you and your team are willing to share these kinds of updates on a regular basis.

You weren’t kidding about “Hanger” being large either. :smiley:


How much of those screenshots, particularly the Hangar ones, are BSP? They looks very detailed for BSP…


Thanks for the kind words. We’re really thrilled to be using UE4. Night and day difference in our productivity and morale since switching.


Relatively little is BSP. More in the top shot in each comparison. Our first blockouts had a fair amount of BSP, but each revision, we use more imported assets, less BSP. I don’t remember the specific reasons, but I know our Artists moved away from BSP fairly early in the process.

While I’m not really on the “art team” I can say that when we were at the point where doing BSP made the most sense we had a lot of trouble with stability. Particularly in the undo and scaling features. Moving to static FBX allowed us to iterate in Maya/MODO quickly enough. Now that Epic has fixed many of the issues with BSP its likely we’ll see more brushwork in later levels.


Thomas is being modest. He’s our lead programmer on Republic Sniper, but he’s also a hell of a utility infielder on… well… everything else game-related, including art.

Really excited to see this thing with proper materials. Looking rad guys :cool: