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Ship of Heroes Announces Upgrade to Engine Version 4.21

Ship of Heroes Engine Update

The Ship of Heroes team feels that transparency in regards to what engine version they’re using, and why is of the utmost importance. Changing the Engine’s version adds a week or more of work from the team, and keeps the other departments waiting, so they want their audience to know what’s going on. With that in mind, they were originally using 4.11.3 of Unreal Engine in 2016, and over the last few months, it was 4.18. Keeping up with engine updates is important, but they went nine months without an engine upgrade. Instead of going to 4.19 or 4.20, they decided to instead go to 4.21.2, skipping forward three versions. This will include the Replication Graph feature and offer several server-side optimizations for Ship of Heroes. Moving to 4.21 adds over 400 improvements to the game code, some which are visible and some that are not. Below is a list of some of the most important upgrades.

New Features in Ship of Heroes:

  • Dynamic Resolution supports linking resolution to FPS for console games made in UE. We are not building a console game, and we already have a custom version of this feature coded and working in SoH, but having DR as an engine feature helps us optimize.
  • Advances to the Niagara FX system in terms of realism. It’s possible that we may use both Niagara and PopcornFX in our FX, depending upon the situation, so this gives us options, including with powerset creation.
  • We can pull the art and FX assets that Epic gave to the community from their game, Paragon, and re-use or re-create them in our MMORPG. While the costumes from Paragon are not directly useable in Ship of Heroes, they do give us advanced 3D concept art to work with, and also some really cool hair models (that we still need to extract and optimize for our purposes).
  • The Replication Graph feature allows a significant reduction in server work for the kind of instanced missions that will be our bread and butter. We still need to code this capability specifically to our game, as it does not deliver results “out of the box.”  This is a tool specifically designed for high-volume multiplayer games.  Thank you, Epic!
  • The introduction of the Proxy LOD system in version 4.19 is an extension of their Hierarchical LOD system, the system we use to help reduce draw calls and improve LOD performance over long range. This will be an especially welcome improvement during some of our Beta events later this year.
  • In Epic’s 4.21 version of their Unreal Engine, they added a feature to detect and mitigate DDOS attacks. While we will need some time to figure out how to integrate it with SoH, we believe that this may ultimately improve both the security and performance of the game during a potential DDOS attack. Of course, we hope we don’t ever need such a thing, but historically DDOS attacks have taken down MMOs before and we would prefer to avoid the experience.
  • Finally, Epic has given us a year’s worth of bug fixes, LOD enhancements, animation improvements, Sequencer upgrades, and debugging tools that our dev team is looking forward to adding to SoH.
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