Author Topic: PlaneShift with Unreal Engine 5.1  (Read 2050 times)

Talad

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PlaneShift with Unreal Engine 5.1
« on: March 02, 2023, 03:40:57 am »


Greetings, we have just released a new version of PlaneShift! This release is a transition release, with the sole objective to bring the game to Unreal engine 5. There are no PlaneShift specific new features or changes as part of this release.

Nonetheless it is a very important release for us, as it will enable new elements to be added in the future with more ease and using latest technology. We upgraded the whole game to Unreal Engine 5.1.1. Has not been an easy switch, because even if Epic advertises this as a seamless migration, it required some troubleshooting and inventive, also we had to learn some new elements.
The first thing we tested when moving to Unreal engine 5 was World Partition, which is the new way of managing large open worlds. We converted all our levels to it, but immediately encountered issues. In particular World Partition doesn't support Static Lights at the moment, which is a way for us to keep the hardware requirements low. Second it corrupted some of the levels, and the landscape had to be repainted/fixed, third it seems not possible at the moment to have non World Partition levels loaded in shipping release together with World Partition levels. This means our game start level where you login was not packaged properly and was not working. These issues let us decide to avoid World Partition from now, until it's more stable/compatible. We will definitely check it again in the future.

We restarted the migration, this time with World Composition, the same we used in UE4, and things went better. Then we had to re-patch the engine with our specific changes, and fix again some of the known issues, such as the XML parser, the tool-chain on Mac and the Mac mouse cursor. After that part was working, we had to test the final packaging on Windows, Linux, Mac. This is were we hit another big problem on Mac, as the compiler coudn't for some reason properly compile for Intel chips. Our Mac release is done for Intel chips, so that both Intel and M1 hardware can run it. After a lot of trial and error, we discovered a bug in the base engine, and found a workaround, so all was finally solved!
Given the amount of features present in PlaneShift, will be important if you could test it well, so we can find any issue before the next release.

Known issues
  • There is a significant known problem with lights, as the convertion between UE4 and UE5 broke many lights, and it seems to behave differently between different platforms. Example the Laanx temple is very dark on Windows, but it's extra-lit on Linux and Mac. We already did some investigation on this, but it requires more work to find a good and stable fix. We decided to release anyway to avoid further delays and allow everyone to test the new release giving feedback.
  • Even if we did a number of tests with medium hardware on all platforms and the FPS were pretty much identical, it seems UE5 raised the bar a bit on the hardware, and some low end PC may have trouble running it. Please test the game on different hardware and let us know in the linked forum post above the results.

New PlaneShift features
None. I'm mentioning this again to be clear, this was a technology only release.

What benefits we get from Unreal Engine 5
  • All plugins are available in the upgraded UE5 version, including the one we use for character movement, and the voice chat. Upgrading will require some work, but will bring benefits. This is something we will work on soon.
  • Metasounds is a complete new system for audio, and we want to use it for musical instruments. The ground work is done already as we tested it in UE5 some months ago. This will enable musical instruments in game again!
  • There is a new Water system that could improve lakes and rivers. We didn't test it much yet, so has to be discovered to see how stable, performant and usable it is.
  • New particle system Niagara. Improved, more flexible and provides better results, we could covert all our visual effects (spell effects mostly) to the new system.

All the bugs are tracked on our Flyspray, where you can register and add your findings.
If you want to support us, become a Patreon. Find other players in our Discord to get access.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2023, 03:45:44 am by Talad »

Damola

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Re: PlaneShift with Unreal Engine 5.1
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2023, 07:18:54 am »
Great! Thank you very much for this!

For testing on Linux. Shall I use default configuration or continue to use:

Code: [Select]
[Core.System]
r.AllowStaticLighting=1

in ~/.config/Epic/PSUnreal/Saved/Config/Engine.ini?

Or would it even be better to delete old config directory completely and start out from scratch?
Love,
Damola

Damola

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Re: PlaneShift with Unreal Engine 5.1
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2023, 10:54:31 am »
I cleaned out old configuration directory to start with a defined state for PlaneShift with Unreal Engine 5.1.

Default is epic for all graphics settings. This gives me 10 to 11 fps in Gugrontid on ThinkPad T14 AMD Gen 1 with AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U with Radeon Graphics, Renoir, Vega 7 I believe and 32 GiB of RAM. This is too slow to be playable nicely. Cause when moving viewing direction around with left clicked mouse it often goes too far before I receive feedback on screen.

Unfortunately even with all on lowest quality it is just 20-22 fps in Gugrontid. But in Hydlaa near the Pterosaur it is even worse: Just 12-14 fps. About 20 fps is playable but still not nice, compared to the previous fps:

Before I had something between 25 and 50 fps depending on scenery with much higher settings than "low" on all gfx related options. It was not epic with all settings, but AFAIR with at least 3 out of of 6 of them. This was working nicely for me. It definitely felt snappy enough. Not all of the graphics quality options seem to have a big effect on FPS. For example texture quality does not seem to matter at all. I can just leave it at Epic.

Compared with Crystalspace based PlaneShift client this is a huge drop. After some more recent graphics driver optimizations I have between 100 and 144 fps in Gugrontid where 144 fps is current refresh rate for my external display. And its still 40-110 fps in Hydlaa. The fps variation is higher in Legacy PS.

Also startup of the game is much much slower. It takes about 1 minute before PSUnreal even likes to interact with me on startup of the client. The client window opens, PSUnreal catches mouse pointer and then I have to wait for about a minute, maybe more before I can do anything. But it seems at least the crash on exiting the client is gone.

Granted this is a laptop with onboard graphics, however much better than older on board graphics like Intel Sandybridge.

I fear that this will make it impossible for more players with older hardware to play PSUnreal with decent speed.

This is on Linux 6.2.1 kernel with Vulkan 1.3.239 and Mesa 22.3.6.

I hope performance can be improved again. I know for everyday gamers with gaming PCs it would not be an issue, but with the casual gamer and people who focus on a few (probably older) games, not using a dedicated gaming PC with dedicated graphics, or for people using a laptop with on board graphics, even if somewhat recent, it can be tough. I wonder whether graphics quality has improved with Unreal 5 or Unreal 4, i.e. whether the additional hardware demand is somewhat justified. Maybe you can give players some other options to reduce graphics quality to make Unreal 5.1 based PlaneShift more playable? I would like to avoid having to buy another machine, probably one with dedicated graphics and thus higher power consumption, to be able to play PSUnreal at a decent enough speed.

Lighting still is an issue. You already mentioned it. As before the switch between day and night still seems to be almost instantly. I just logged in again. It was day light. Within a few seconds it was pitch black in Gugrontid. Good that I have a torch in inventory at all times.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2023, 11:54:44 am by Damola »
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Damola

Damola

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Re: PlaneShift with Unreal Engine 5.1
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2023, 12:21:15 pm »
For testing on Linux. Shall I use default configuration or continue to use:

Code: [Select]
[Core.System]
r.AllowStaticLighting=1

in ~/.config/Epic/PSUnreal/Saved/Config/Engine.ini?

Or would it even be better to delete old config directory completely and start out from scratch?

I made above configuration change again which I hope would enable static lighting in case it is not yet enabled. I am not really sure on whether it does. Could we have an option in gfx settings for that so its clickable?

However FPS did not raise, still only 12 fps near Kada El tavern.
Love,
Damola

Talad

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Re: PlaneShift with Unreal Engine 5.1
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2023, 03:34:34 pm »
There are number of lights set as dynamic due to the issue mentioned in the release notes, and this can be root cause. Even if we tested it on different Linux system and the result seems to be fine.

Anyway I already have a fix for the lights and will be part of the next update.

Damola

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Re: PlaneShift with Unreal Engine 5.1
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2023, 09:06:30 am »
Okay, thank you. Would be nice to get at least some of the performance back.

Is there any point to change "r.AllowStaticLighting=1" in config or shall I leave the defaults? And if so, did I do it in the right section?
Love,
Damola