Snow Drop Engine tools

is the engine, I know the showreel is designed to look like it’s a super next-gen engine when it’s obviously going to be difficult to use.
But the quality of the particle system, the trees, just the overall look is beyond anything I’ve ever seen, especially for an MMO.

I was wondering how they achieve , do they use something other than normal maps etc? Is there some special tricks these companies have up their sleeve to make the tree texture look so 3D, the smoke look so real, the atmosphere and particles to look so dynamic?

With good programmers.

The good programmers are there for making ease of use for setting up procedural generation etc… but surely they aren’t responsible for the quality of the trees?

Although good art is a must I’m pretty sure that an average tree would still look good in that engine.
What makes it responsible is the way they have programmed their engine.

Good artists

Yes they use normal maps, parallax, all that average stuff for their smoke and so forth.
The real secret is their artists and lightning tech. plain and simple. from their concept artists to…beyond


There is alot of good tech going on, but from what i can tell, nothing too ground breaking. Artists make a world of a difference.

Good artists mainly with super detailled zones with many objects and detaiiled models with good resolution textures

Yep, . I don’t see anything that can’t be done in UE4 there. For instance, the scene from the WIP post “Rain Forest Scene” looks fairly comparable with the forests shown in the video here.

You’re joking right?

Not even a little.

Aside from the (obvious) fact that something like the above done by one guy isn’t going to be the same quality level as a forest built with art from dozens of artists, there isn’t anything fundamentally “better” about the forest in the OP’s video.

What is different is likely down to having a team of artists versus a single artist. For anything that isn’t, it’s not likely to matter for the quality bar that non-AAA studios can hit, anyway.

I didn’t see anything “amazing” in the OP’s video in regards to the forest scene. It’s really high quality art. That’s 90% of how good it looks.

Except that we are not talking about assets here but the Engine itself, such as Lightning etc.

Thus my point - there’s not anything terribly amazing techwise for visuals in that video. It’s mostly just extremely high quality art. So if you want that look - get high quality art. It also helps to have a team of artists and level designers to tweak every aspect of the lighting, particles etc

I’m sure there are some lighting differences, but that’s not the main thing that makes it look good. Art is.

But we could go back and forth all day, saying Engine A can do XYZ but not ABC, while Engine B can do XYA but not BCZ. Who cares. You’re not going to get amazing visuals like that by putting in art that isn’t as good, and if you do match the art quality, you’ll be able to get a result that is pretty dang similar.

Grass is always greener…

Edit: Not to mention, I bet you that Snow Drop has various compromises that are not doable for a general purpose engine like Unreal vs something they can say “it’s fine for us to be limited in certain ways because we’re only making games of these types, and teams with other types of games can fix it themselves”. That’s not an option for a commercial general purpose engine.

Edit again: I’m not saying Unreal in its current form is some sort of be all end all or even has the best features of any given engine. There are plenty of places it could be improved, such as the changes to SSS features to give better skin results coming in 4.4, a forward render path for stuff like oceans and such, blah blah. Lots of things. But with any engine, that’s always the case that there will be a host of things to improve upon.

But really, what are your options? It’s not like any of us can really license Snow Drop or any other proprietary engine with some amazing or other. Other commercial engines on a level with UE4 have even fewer features and usually cost more anyway, so who cares. It will improve over time.

Personally I don’t care at all, because even if Unreal 4 could do everything exactly in that video, I wouldn’t have a team of artists and level designers on hand to 1) make art of that quality in absolutely massive quantities - most of that video was just art shots and 2) build levels with it and tweak it and polish it up to make it look like that video. So it’s a moot point.

Edit: Probably runs terribly too - I bet they took those videos on SLI’d Titan Zs.

Perhaps in 5 years time, it will be sophisticated enough to animate women.

Their just tools, it only matters who is running the tool. Its talent not 1’s and Zero’s

About the forest is just a waving vertex shader on leaves, or some tricked fast physics, i’m not impressed as has been seen in Crysis game such good detailled vegeration. And it’s a 3D scene demo, not a playable big moutain level.
Indeed it’s also tools, if you can’t make such detailled and beautifull textured levels in UE4 why alreading asking a more pushed 3D engine ?

I didn’t state any of , and yes the Crysis level is high. However game is an MMO.
Also I am just looking to expand my array of tools and learn more to make sure that I don’t get hit by any hard coded limits.

The Division isn’t an MMO, it’s just MO (online multiplayer / co-op etc.) from their web page:


It’s more along the lines of Watch Dogs multiplayer, with some added elements.

In that specific video it sounds like Ubisoft is more happy about having a Blueprint like node based system yet you guys are wondering about the looks… :sunglasses:
As said a couple of times already, it’s about the quality of the assets. Minecraft creepers wont look life-like if you put them straight into Snowdrop.

The quality of Snowdrop’s forest surpasses that of Cry Engine’s. I agree they have put a lot of detail to make it very realistic but look at the quality of the lightning/rendering. That’s what makes it amazing and the fact that they have real-time GI for indoor and outdoor scenes.