A moment with devs: Depth and Depth VR developers Digital Confectioners

At PAX Australia, Digital Confectioners announced Depth 2, the upcoming sequel to Depth, the successful Shark-vs-Divers multiplayer game. Also announced was Depth VR, a VR experience within the Depth universe. We asked the New-Zealand based studio a few questions to better understand the challenges behind these new projects and why they chose Granite to overcome some of them.

Q: Two years after the release of Depth, you announce not one but two new projects. What are the main goals you want to achieve with these new games and these different platforms?

A: Depth VR is the next step for us. We've really been enjoying experimenting in the still very young VR platform, and the Depth universe gives us a lot of great opportunities to make an engaging and immersive experience for VR. Depth 2 is in early pre-production, and it's a much larger project - but also much further away. We want to upgrade Depth in all ways (graphics, sound, gameplay, usability, infrastructure), and bring the best multiplayer Depth experience we can to both consoles as well as PC.

Q: What are the main features that you are bringing to Depth 2 that will make a difference with the original game?

A: The first big difference is the leap in technology base. We're moving from Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal Engine 4, which sees some large rendering changes like Phong to PBR lighting models, and from a forward to deferred renderer. The more modern engine will also speed up integration with current gaming platforms. The second big leap is the art we're creating - everything is being built with far more detail. The fidelity in the world had to be improved - particularly for an experience like Depth VR. And this is a team effort across all disciplines - 3D, 2D, animation, sound, VFX, development etc. And of course, we need to push the gameplay further, with new innovative ways to play.

Q: As technology evolved, we imagined you want to push the boundaries in terms of realism and you chose to use Granite to do so. Can you let us know what were the technical challenges that you were facing and what are the benefits of using Granite?

A: We're really pushing the visual envelope, with assets that had 1k or 2k texture maps in Depth being redeveloped sometimes with 8k or even 16k textures. Texture streaming from Granite makes this level of fidelity possible with solid framerates.

Digital Confectioners' original game Depth is available on the Steam store and you can wishlist now Depth VR. Prepare yourself to be scared!

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