Monster Hunter Rise Director Talks RE Engine On Switch – Feature

© Capcom

Monster Hunter Rise it’s been out for several months, selling an impressive number of copies while also showing the capabilities of the Switch hardware in the right hands. One of only two titles on the system to use the ENGINE KING – the other being Ghosts’ n Goblins Resurrection – takes the series to another level on Nintendo hardware, while successfully maintaining the visual look and charm of past generation inputs.

However, the technical aspects of the title are interesting. Monster Hunter: World It still seemed beyond the capabilities of Nintendo’s hybrid system, yet many of the updated approaches to that title made way for Rise. The days of segmented cards with numerous loading screens are being replaced by seamless open spaces, while new gameplay additions allow players to traverse the environment quickly and even vertically. While the visual styles of Rise and World are diverse, they have much more in common than many may realize.

We’ve been reinforcing each other for a while – we had the wonderful opportunity to ask questions Yasunori Ichinose, Director of Monster Hunter Rise. This interview focused on the technical development of the game, and of course that implementation of Capcom’s flagship RE ENGINE.

Hub Town© Capcom / Nintendo Life

Nintendo Life: What was the main technical reason for using the RE Engine for Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch?

Yasunori Ichinosand: The main technical reason is that we can use RE ENGINE’s powerful C # writing system, not to mention the latest RE ENGINE graphics features (if hardware specifications allow). In MT FRAMEWORK, all game logic was implemented in C ++, so build time was an issue; in RE ENGINE, the game logic is implemented in C #, so the build time can be greatly reduced (about 10 seconds, which will take 100 times longer in C ++). This allows for quick iterations of trial and error to make the game more interesting. It’s not directly visible, but it’s a very important part of development, and I think it indirectly contributes to the fun of the game.

Along with Ghosts n ’Goblins Resurrection, this is a rare example of the engine that is used on Nintendo hardware. To what degree has the core RE Engine team adapted the tools to suit the Switch?

The initial performance was quite severe and major optimization was a must.

RE ENGINE was conceived from the beginning with many platforms in mind, so the simple porting itself wasn’t that difficult. However, it was quite difficult to work with the core graphics elements (which involved the slightly unique graphics API of Nintendo Switch, NVN) to develop a translator for the shader program.

In RE ENGINE, shader programs are written in HLSL (high-level shader language), but we had to implement a new translator to convert to GLSL (OpenGL shading language). In this translator, we implemented a few tricks to get the optimal code when converting from HLSL to GLSL so that GPU performance can be achieved. We’ve also added specific support for the Nintendo Switch GPU. For example, we added support for ASTC (adaptive scalable texture compression), a texture compression format that has been very useful for reducing memory and data size.

Did the first test of the RE Engine and the visuals expected for Rise yield strong results, or was significant optimization necessary to get the performance you want?

The initial performance was quite severe and major optimization was a must. First, we changed the graphical pipeline from one based on Deferred to one based on Forward. In the past, RE ENGINE used a graphical pipeline based on Deferred Rendering. However, since the memory bandwidth was planned for the Nintendo Switch, we built a new Forward Rendering graphics pipeline for Monster Hunter Rise. Then we did a lot of optimizations one by one, from big to small.

Examples of these optimizations include: shading / shading application, GPU Occlusion Culling application, and DOF (depth of field) replacement, etc. With new light alternatives. Several other optimizations have been done as well, including: replacing overly rigorous computing with simplified computing, replacing Compute Shader implementations with Pixel Shader implementations, and adding a Culling Process. We also worked with the artist to adjust the area of ​​influence of the lights, since the process of calculating the light source becomes very heavy in areas with too much light.

Like Monster Hunter World first, Rise uses bigger and more perfect environments – what are the biggest advantages of this approach?

In Monster Hunter Rise, you can now perform highly flexible actions such as wall scrolling and the use of the Wirebug. You can also turn around the camp soon while riding a new friend character named Palamute, who works very well with the seamless environment.

Although it’s a new engine, the visual design shares similarities with the previous Wii, 3DS and Wii U inputs. Can you explain how you evolved that aspect, even if at a higher resolution and level of detail?

To make the new Monster Hunter Rise monsters fall into the same field as past title monsters with very different pattern specifications, we proceeded carefully with the texture expression, polygon count, and number of joints. after repeated verification with the movement team. Hair expression was the hardest part, but it was fixed when the shaders from Monster Hunter: World could be brought down.

Can you talk about the vast animation work that went into this project? How much has been significant progress from previous 3DS titles, for example?

Due to the specifications of the Nintendo Switch, it would have been the easiest to use data from the 3DS era, but since Monster Hunter: World was released recently, it was important to make Monster Hunter Rise look as modern as possible. .

Because of the specifications of the Nintendo Switch, it would have been the easiest to use data from the 3DS era, but since Monster Hunter: World was released recently, it was important to make Monster Hunter Rise look as modern as possible. . From the point of view of transformation, it is better to have fewer joints, smoothness of movement and a high degree of freedom of expression. It was an element we didn’t want to cut, so I worked closely and consulted with the programmer. Characters from Monster Hunter: World are kept as close as possible, while some new characters have been created in consultation with the modeling team and we cut the articles down to the last minute. When it comes to facial animations, Monster Hunter: The sheer number of items in the world was an impossible number, so we worked on finalizing the number for this game and then we worked on the facial treatments.

As for the animation work, we started by making sure that the data from Monster Hunter: World could be carried. Modifying and reducing the chain and auxiliary items was a task that required more work from the modelers and programmers. In addition to Monster Hunter: World Attacks and Movements, “Wyvern Riding” was added as a new feature to Monster Hunter Rise, so the number of moves we needed to create increased considerably. The time required to create attacks, moves, and techniques was high, and since the “Wyvern Riding” moves were also added, the enemy animation team had a hard time due to the vast volume of material, time creation and post-incorporation controls.

On the player side, we’ve included a lot of aerial actions involving Wirebug actions and additional actions using walls, so in addition to internal captures, we’ve also had the help of Katsugekiza (mo-cap team action) to improve quality. For NPCs, we focused on the placement and relevance of each NPC in this game. We hope you enjoy the little things that change, like the way NPCs greet you when they come to their countries, or the way NPCs change their position after your move from one area to another.

Of which graphic tricks and adjustments are you most proud, in terms of steps that allowed the game to look and do so well (e.g. reduced framerate in distant creatures, resolution adjustments)?

No texture streaming is done during the game, but it is done during cut scenes, NPC textures are streamed and loaded only into the high-resolution mipmap part to render them a higher resolution. This allowed us to reduce memory usage during the game, while making the cut scenes look even better. The graphics in Monster Hunter Rise are a combination of several fine tricks and tweaks and we are all proud of them equally.

Small objects (props) at the bottom are deleted when they are far away, but if they suddenly disappear, the popping is distinguished. Therefore, we used a dither pattern to gradually erase them so that they did not stand out. We also manually adjusted the distance at which we deleted individual items that stand out. Since there is no G-Buffer in Advanced Rendering, the techniques often used in Deferred Rendering (SSAO and SSR) cannot be used as they are, but are implemented creatively. SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion) was implemented using a method that calculates it using the “normal” value retrieved from the Depth Buffer depth values. SSR (Screen Space Reflection) has been specially designed by adding a dedicated design path just for the water surface. The reflection of the surface of the water is a part that we have been working especially hard on, although it has slightly increased the transformation load, so we want to make it look realistic and beautiful. In addition, a simple atmospheric diffusion calculation was included in Fog. With only a small load of transformation, I think it helped to make the background light expression look a little more beautiful.

I’m glad we were able to create something that people will think is impressive that works to this quality on the Nintendo Switch.

If you could travel back in time and give yourself some advice at the beginning of the development of Monster Hunter Rise, what would it be?

I think we need to create an environment for automatic performance measurement first. Monster Hunter has a wide variety of combinations of stages, monsters, weapon types, etc., so we didn’t have an automatic measurement environment that covered all of these schemes. This made it a bit difficult to verify the optimization results.

What is your general feeling after working on Monster Hunter, on the RE Engine, on the Nintendo Switch?

Optimization was very difficult, but it was also challenging and rewarding. Thanks to the basic concept, tools and development methods of RE ENGINE, we were able to challenge the optimization until the last minute. It was a challenge to insert the big RE Engine into the little Nintendo Switch, but I’m glad we were able to create something that people will think is impressive that works at this quality on the Nintendo Switch.

We would like to thank Capcom and Yasunori Ichinose for their time.


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