Done and Dusted

Done and Dusted

By Mark Rein

June 9th 2010 at 8:30AM

CCP on embracing UE3 for Dust 514

CCP’s Dust 514 is an MMO and first-person shooter hybrid for consoles that will be set in the same deep universe as Eve Online; the developer’s long-established PC game that has become a staple of the genre.

Developed for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Dust 514 allows players of both games to interact seamlessly across platforms. If that sounds ambitious, that’s because it is – nothing of its kind has ever been attempted.

CCP’s decision to use Unreal Engine 3 was based on Epic’s reputation, speed and functionality.

“We needed to provide our development team with a solid foundation to work from, an engine that allows rapid prototyping and iteration of our core FPS mechanics,” said Atli Már Sveinsson, creative director of Dust 514.
“With the scope of certain elements of the game, such as terrain size and lighting, we needed an engine that was agile enough to provide quick iteration within the provided framework. Combining that flexibility with the fact that the Unreal Engine has been battletested by some of the greatest titles ever crafted, made Unreal Engine 3 the absolute best choice for us.”

The team members at CCP and at Epic Games China worked collaboratively, creating a strong relationship from start to finish.

According to Sveinsson, hands down, accessibility of knowledge was Epic’s greatest asset. Unreal’s long-standing reputation for excellence and convenience has produced a multitude of seasoned users, including members of its own development team. The Unreal Developer Network (UDN), with its various mailing lists and access to the talented engineers and artists at Epic Games China gave it an edge, allowing CCP to train its team quickly on how to use the tools and hit the ground running.

Paul Meegan, Epic Games China’s CEO, leads efforts to make sure that Epic’s licensees can walk through a process in a way that’s efficient and fast.

“We found Epic’s licensing process to be outstanding, starting with a tremendous level of support during CCP’s evaluation stage,” said Thor Gunnarsson, CCP’s vice president of business development.

“The Dust 514 team in CCP’s Shanghai office was able to prototype and iterate early proof of concept with close proximity to, and support from the Epic Games China team, which proved to be invaluable. As we completed this phase and moved to commercial licensing, confidence and trust in the working relationship was cemented, leading to a rapid and streamlined commercial licensing pipeline.” Continued Thor Gunnarsson.

In just six months, dynamic lighting and massive mega terrains were implemented in Dust 514 due to the standardising on Unreal Engine 3 that gives CCP’s development team the time and flexibility to focus on perfecting the optimal client-side engine and pipeline to fully realise its creative and artistic vision. With its own core technology platform, CCP created a fully scalable and persistent online gaming experience that meets both the visual, technical and creative demands for Dust 514.

“Unreal Engine 3, which complements and integrates easily with our own technology, provides CCP with precisely the sort of elegant solution we favour. Having a proven framework for consoles supporting our first venture into that genre allows the Dust 514 developers to focus their time, talent and energy squarely on making an incredible game,” said CCP’s CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson.

For more information about CCP or Dust 514, please visit www.ccp.com or www.dust514.org