We’re bringing you a slightly different devlog this week. With plans to look into the feasibility of using a different game engine to build Depths of Erendorn, our usual goings-on have been put on hold as we do some research and run some tests! If you’re craving some good old fashioned updates, then head over to our Instagram, Twitter or Subreddit – but if you want to hear more about this new endeavour we’re on, then keep reading!

Why Switch Game Engines?

You may be wondering why, after three years of development, we’ve decided to look into switching game engines, especially as an indie game studio! Well, there are a few reasons, the first and foremost being that we want to deliver a game that has the best functionality and graphics as possible, so that you can have the best experience possible. 

Unfortunately, there are a few issues we’re having with our current game engine that prevent us from achieving this:

  • It lacks a terrain system in the new graphics renderer.
  • Its documentation is outdated and unreliable.
  • Its collab and graphics bugs are hampering development considerably.
  • We’re not satisfied with its Roadmap timeline in regards to our project aims.
  • It still has many features that are incomplete and incompatible with other features. 

For these reasons, we’ve decided to look further afield – because creating an awesome game for our players is more important to us than choosing the easiest route by continuing with our current engine. While we aren’t committing to a specific one just yet, we are doing lots of research and performing a feasibility study into many other game engines to see exactly which one will be most suited to what we’re trying to do.

Digital painting of a set of characters from Depths of Erendorn looking at an Ice Cave
We have decided to switch game engines in order to make Depths of Erendorn as visually appealing and fun to play as possible.

Finding the Best Game Development Tools 

When it comes to selecting an alternative game engine to create Depths of Erendorn with, there are a few factors we want to consider. The main thing we want is flexibility. Whichever engine we decide to go with must be flexible enough to be able to create the varied game systems that make up Depths of Erendorn. Having more integrated tools available to use, for example, would open up a lot of options to us that we haven’t been able to explore with our current game engine. 

In an ideal world, our new engine would have all the best game development tools that we’re eager to use. However, for the purposes of narrowing down our search, we are specifically looking for one that offers:

  • The ability to integrate into our current networking solution.
  • Better Terrain Systems so that we can create a variety of landscapes and scenes.
  • More advanced rendering systems so that we can push our graphics to the next level.

Having access to these game development tools will ultimately lead to better visuals as well as better user experience. This is something that we are hindered from doing by our current game engine, which has persistent issues in all of these areas. With this in mind, our future game engine should have an extensive, flexible tool kit that will empower our developers to create large amounts of content as efficiently as possible.

Testing Different Game Engines

Deciding which engine to move Depths of Erendorn to is going to take a lot of blood, sweat and tears (i.e. research, research and more research). So far, we have compiled a pro and con list for several possibilities so that we can assess the benefits and drawbacks of each one. 

We are also researching graphics technology in other game engines in an effort to determine which would best suit the world of Erendorn. The most important factor from an artist’s perspective would be for the new engine to have high visual quality. However, this comes in many forms and doesn’t just relate to things like rendering calculations or bounce lighting. Therefore, there are a lot of factors we will have to consider to ensure that we choose the game engine that offers the best visual features. 

We’ve also started running a few animation tests to see which engines they function best with. To do this, we generated a new rig that would be more compatible with the respective game engine we were trying out. We then transferred the skins and animations used in our current engine over to the new rig before carrying out an animation test. Most of these have gone really well, save for a couple of issues, and this reassures us that changing game engines is the right decision!

Digital paintings of 4 characters from Depths of Erendorn looking out over a rising sun
We like to think that this set of characters perfectly reflect our team as we look ahead to a new game engine!

The next few weeks are going to be focussed on continuing our research into game engines that we can switch over to. We’re confident that doing this will not only make our development process more efficient, but will also give us more freedom and more opportunities so that we can create Depths of Erendorn exactly how we want to. This will ultimately allow us to achieve our one true goal: to give you the best gameplay experience possible! We look forward to hearing any suggestions our flourishing community puts forward – so leave a comment if you have any!