Umbra action RPG uses Megascans tech to glorious effect

You ever come across a game that looks way better than it should for its genre? No? Well, look no further. Umbra is an action RPG (aka "Diablo clone") that sneers from its high perch at all the previous attempts to make such a game look good. Hit up the Kickstarter page and feast your eyes.

Not content with using CryEngine 3, the developers are going for the whole hog with Megascans, a 3D assets library about the size of two Kardashian behinds. Megascans assets are made from highly detailed scans of actual real-world materials, and the results are impressive. The devs have also made a video detailing the game's environments as part of a series, and it's worth a watch:

The game itself doesn't look like the average "kill them until they're dead" romp, either. There will be no classes, and promised features include actual storyline, crafting of weapons and armor, destructible environments, and a customizable "apocalyptic form" for your character. Taking a page from the Elder Scrolls series, you can even get a house to display your monster heads marvelous loot. In the vein of Diablo and Torchlight, the dungeons are procedurally generated. The devs had me at "apocalyptic form," though.

It's extremely refreshing to me to see a title focusing on the single-player experience first and foremost—the multiplayer portion will only be developed if a certain funding level is met. I won't miss the RSI that I gained back in the Diablo 2 days, though. At $15 for the base game package, Umbra could be a steal if it delivers on even half of the devs' promises.

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    • Antias
    • 4 years ago

    OMG – this is what I’ve been waiting for 🙂
    I often wondered why games like Skyrim etc (which I love after modding it to death) never went the procedural drawn maps and dungeons for replay-ability (and I’m guessing the game engines don’t make that easy.So this appears to be the next best thing.
    I loved original Diablo for that fact (and Torchlight)…
    I wonder if this game can be modded too?

    • ozzuneoj
    • 4 years ago

    Amazing. I remember discussing the future of graphics in games on another forum 8-9 years ago, and I mentioned how some day there would be no need for texture artists for common scenery because someone would eventually just have a catalog of perfect textures of everything.

    How long has megascans been around? This is the first I’ve ever heard of it.

      • Meadows
      • 4 years ago

      That’s not necessarily good for all games, though. Texture artists should always find work with cartoony or fantasy games if nothing else. I’d hate it if all games started to look the same in a few years. Some of them already do.

        • GrimDanfango
        • 4 years ago

        I don’t think it would lead to that. Movies don’t all look the same, and at least for the non-vfx kind, they all use the same “library” of “textures” – the real world!

        As with anything striving for realism, if a realistic texture library imposed any kind of idiosyncratic “look” on a game, it wouldn’t be doing its job very well. A texture library like this still gives artists a massive amount of creative control, it just means they can paint with rock and grass, rather than with grey and green.

          • Meadows
          • 4 years ago

          Many films have some very similar scenes, usually due to using some of the same locations or filming in or near a select few big cities over and over again, so your argument wouldn’t work so great.

          As for the fine details, films don’t use textures. I guess you could call their sets “procedurally generated”. Every film will have their own sets and other films won’t use those sets.

          By contrast, Quixel Megascans is but a limited library, a tiny subset of the actual real world. The first few games using it will be no doubt stunning, but after a while the games that follow may look samey in some specific places (same wooden door, same apartment wallpaper, same t-shirt on those guys, etc.)

          One way to avoid this is to grow the library continuously, but even then, Quixel would still need to give later developers a heads-up regarding which particular games have used which textures in the past, so that high-risk repetitions can be avoided.

            • ozzuneoj
            • 4 years ago

            Keep in mind that they aren’t just “textures” in the sense of a flat high-res image. They show in one of the videos how they can choose from dozens of different “dead leaf” objects in the library and then “crinkle” them, change their color and manipulate all of the different texture maps to create variation. Either way, an artist doesn’t have to try to create these assets from scratch and can then move on to creating the things that require creativity.

            Obviously a highly stylized game would have a harder time using something like Megascans, but it would be possible with lots of tweaking. Besides, if your game has a stylized look to it, its kind of assumed that you have to do the work yourself, hence the “style”. The point of Megascans is that everyone trying to create the same assets in every realistic looking game is a waste of development time and its getting more expensive as fidelity increases.

            • Meadows
            • 4 years ago

            Which is why I said that the first several games using Megascans will undoubtedly look stunning.

            • Laykun
            • 4 years ago

            Well megascans also goes beyond “textures”. There’s a new rendering model in town called “Physically Based Rendering”, or “PBR” and the benefit from having these scans isn’t just for it having realistic texture but realistic material as well. PBR allows for multiple different textures to combine to account for the different ways light can interact with an object in a model that closely approximates how real lighting works. This is very different from how games worked a couple of years back where different types of textures were used with a much simpler lighting model to try and approximate real life. The problem with the old method of lighting and making artists construct all the materials is that … well artists aren’t actually that good at making something look real, where as scans of an object are incredibly precise and produce incredible results. I had the opportunity to demo Megascans at GDC and the results were very impressive. But there was also another company called “allegorithmic” that had similar libraries, but also tools to allow artists to create their own materials.

            I however see no reason why you wouldn’t be able to use Megascans with a highly stylised game as the freedom to customise post processing effects like colour grading is still there. Just like in film.

    • brucethemoose
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<] Taking a page from the Elder Scrolls series, you can even get a house to display your monster heads marvelous loot. [/quote<] Interestingly, "Umbra" is the name of a sentient sword in TES lore: [url<]http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Umbra[/url<] Maybe this game is secretly set in the TES universe... The character sure acts like another one of Umbra's bloodthirsty wielders, and those snowy ruins at 1:25 look ALOT like mountain ruins in Oblivion/Skyrim.

      • Meadows
      • 4 years ago

      Umbra simply means shadow. It doesn’t stand for anything else.

        • VincentHanna
        • 4 years ago

        In astronomy, the umbra is the darkest part of a shadow.

        In Danish, umbra is a reddish brown color.

        In latin, Umbra is a shade or ghost (in addition to being a shadow)

          • Meadows
          • 4 years ago

          I’m fine with anything as long as it’s not a contrived TES excuse.

            • VincentHanna
            • 4 years ago

            Fine, then you and I can just agree that it is a Pokemon exclusive.

            [url=http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs18/f/2007/199/0/7/Umbra_Card_by_CelestialWolfen.png<] Umbra[/url<]

      • Meadows
      • 4 years ago

      Also, [url=http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_D_Z-D2tzi14/S8TRIo4br3I/AAAAAAAACv4/Zh7_GcMlRKo/s1600/ALOT.png<]this link[/url<].

    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<] a 3D assets library about the size of two Kardashian behinds [/quote<] Er...okay, then.

      • dmitriylm
      • 4 years ago

      It’s big.

      • yogibbear
      • 4 years ago

      It’s like… a simile aimed at a market that doesn’t visit TR. Weird, huh?

    • SoM
    • 4 years ago

    TAKE MY MONEY!

    • PrincipalSkinner
    • 4 years ago

    Ironically, the third installment of the game that defined the genre kind of killed my desire for it.

    • sweatshopking
    • 4 years ago

    LOOKS LIKE THEY’VE TAKEN SOME OF THE GOOD IDEAS FROM ORIGINAL SIN (GOTY IMO)

    • Welch
    • 4 years ago

    Looks like a D3 styled game, but better graphics, and dynamic destroyable enviroment without character classes… hmmm.

    I’d love to play a game like this, but I’m really hoping the enemies provide a much higher difficulty from what we are seeing. At times they stood next to him and didn’t even seem to attack. Assuming they were turned way down so that they could do a tech demo. Game looks great either way.

      • jurc11
      • 4 years ago

      They plan on using Kythera AI (as does Star Citizen), if that works out, the AI should be better than average.
      This has to be just a tech demo, they’re still in the process of Kickstarting the actual development..

    • derFunkenstein
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]The game itself doesn't look like the average "kill them until they're dead" romp, either. There will be no classes, and promised features include actual storyline,[/quote<] sooo....not like Diablo at all. :p

      • davolfman
      • 4 years ago

      Or much more like the 1st game.

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]There will be no classes, [/quote<] This game is like school in summertime. Yeah, no class.

      • K-L-Waster
      • 4 years ago

      Can’t even think of a word that rhymes.

    • Waco
    • 4 years ago

    I’m always up for a great hack ‘n slash…and this looks more appealing than most. Pledged!

    • DancinJack
    • 4 years ago

    Got some font color issues there Bruno….

      • Jeff Kampman
      • 4 years ago

      My fault, fixed.

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