The Unreal Engine provides tools to create some absolutely stunning environments which we have used to create both the dig site and the villa house and grounds. We can create landscapes with grasses and trees and have atmospheric indoor or outdoor lighting to make the user experience exciting. However, adding too much to the scenes can come at a price to the efficiency of rendering the graphics to the screen. The aim is to target the mobile range of devices as well as desktops and VR equipment so we have to be careful how powerful the graphics hardware needs to be to draw our scene. With that in mind I have done an optimisation pass on the villa scene to see where the bottlenecks are in the drawing process. I discovered there were a few things that were causing a huge lag in the drawing routines like the lines of bushes in the garden. Having swapped them out for stone borders, the lag is now not noticeable in the frame rate statistics.
Several other things have been tweaked like the way the lighting is done and the size of the graphics that are used for shadows on some of the objects. It’s quite an experience to learn about the nitty-gritty of how these engines process and draw to the screen and gives me a much better understanding of how to scale the end game to work effectively on the range of devices we are targeting.