Dauntless with the Cinema 4D Protective Shield

With its outstanding animations, Aixsponza has made a name for itself in many branches – with the exception of game trailers. Their new creation for Dreadnought successfully catapults them into yet another genre.

Dreadnought is a game project that Berlin, Germany-based YAGER Development GmbH plans to release in 2015. As is the case with most action games, Dreadnought will offer an intro in cinematic quality that gets players excited about the game. These intros are also teasers that are designed to attract customers to the upcoming product.

In this game, futuristic fighter planes will battle it out in the Earth’s atmosphere. Players have a choice of fast fighter planes, super battle ships or fearless Dreadnoughts. The intro had to give future customers an impression of the game’s storyline.

The team of artists in supervisor Manuel Casasola’s team had only four weeks to finish the project. Since the game takes place on a future Earth, a complex landscape had to be created with numerous seas and cliffs. Daylight and a clear atmosphere combined to create an immense amount of visibility. The landscape was generated using World Machine and subsequently exported to Cinema 4D in various resolutions.

The landscape geometry and textures over which the fighters would fly took up seven terrabytes of memory. This amount of data could barely be handled despite the high-end computers being used, which is why we developed a special tool: a Python tool with which the LOD (level of detail) geographical files, which were separated into different parts, could be combined. This made it possible to display detailed, high-resolution geometry in the foreground, 4k textures at mid-range and low-resolution textures in the distance,” explains Fuat Yüksel “and displacement maps were applied in Cinema 4D to geometry in the foreground to add the finishing touch.

Modeling the fighters was also a challenge. Regular models were needed for the flight scenes and special versions were needed for the scenes in which the fighters exploded after being rammed by the Dreadnoughts. The basic models were supplied by the client in the form of high-res zBrush models, which had to be re-topologized for use in Cinema 4D. “For this we used Cinema 4D R16’s new PolyPen tool, which is ideal for this type of work. Using the low-poly model we created we were then able to create a Voronoi diagram: the model was disassembled (fractured) with the help of Thinking Particles and Geotools and the fractured parts were saved as a Voronoi diagram. These parts were then simulated using Cinema 4D’s Rigid Body Dynamics system, which is based on the Bullet Engine” adds Fuat.

While working on this part of the movie, Fuat also developed a special process which makes ‘directable fracturing’ possible in the Viewport. “In order to have complete control over the fragments and the dispersion of fractured parts, I used the Hair feature and Thinking Particles to develop a technique that, with the help of XPresso, outputs the global position of Hair guides that can easily be used as position data for Thinking Particles. This makes it possible to position and orient them precisely and add various attributes. They can also be deleted at any time using the Hair selection tools – which can only be done in a limited fashion in the Viewport using Thinking Particles (TPDraw) but not dynamically or non-destructively. This basically gave us a ‘procedural’ node-based process directly in the Viewport and in real-time.

The explosions themselves are only one of a series of fluid simulation effects Fuat created using Turbulence FK and Krakatoa. Thinking Particles was also used to create the particles, which were then used by Turbulence FD as emitters for the actual explosion effects and subsequently rendered using the TFD renderer. “The hyper-space vortex that precedes the Dreadnoughts’ appearance was created by Simon using TFD and Krakatoa.

Despite the overall complexity of the project and the tight deadline, every think went smoothly and no major problems were encountered. “Considering the project’s scope and the tight deadline we expected to encounter problems, but surprisingly everything went well. The team was made up of experienced professionals who were well prepared and knew how to handle their tools. The tight deadline meant that overtime had to be put in – especially towards the end. But in the end, and thanks also to Cinema 4D and the very professional and constructive client, we were able to complete the project to our client’s complete satisfaction,” Fuat sums up.

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