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Stan

News: Emergency 5 Editor Event (With pictures!)

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For the first time, almost two years after the first announcement of EMERGENCY 5, Sixteen Tons Entertainment and Deep Silver have invited us to a big editor event - we have followed the call to Potsdam! Even before the publication of the first information and screenshots for the fifth part of the popular rescue series, selected modders from the community get a glimpse behind the scenes to get an impression of the new game engine and the modding possibilities. Exclusively for the International community, we provide you with all the information from the event in the following report. A translated video will be released somewhat later this week.It's Saturday, early in the morning. Not a classic summer day in June, thick clouds drift across the sky and raindrops splatter on our heads all the time. After countless hours of driving we finally arrive at our destination - the studio of Sixteen Tons Entertainment in Potsdam. The chic office building with the reddish outer facade is on the edge of the Babelsberg Film Park and is flanked by the "Quentin Tarantino road". A place for creativity? Definitely - it's not for nothing that a small but ambitious team works here every day to let EMERGENCY dreams be true!

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We enter the hall and discover a blackboard - that rather resembles a mosaic of different lettering and logos – with a decisive indication that we are at the right place: the badges of Promotion Software and Sixteen Tons Entertainment. Community Manager Serbay Sönmez receives us warmly and asks us to the third floor immediately. Here, in rooms full of flat screens, graphics tablets and gaming computers, emerges the product of what we would summarize as "creative power": The game and the level design, as well as the visual design of the game.

We pass through the doorway and there Martin Dietrich, Art Director at Sixteen Tons Entertainment and Level Artist Tatiana Belova welcome us. On the way up we have already got the information from Serbay that the two will lead us through today's program. With almost a secondary sentence, he mentions in the same breath that we should make ourselves ready for anything. The tension mounts! However, first, wait for it: Ralph Stock, host of this afternoon and inventor of the EMERGENCY series is late. Meetings and phone calls, important of course. We now use the opportunity for the small break and the employees show us the roof terrace of the building. We come into conversation and exchange ideas.

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Just before the first raindrops are falling from the sky again, we are greeted by Ralph Stock. Joy on both sides, we finally meet each other. With the official welcome and a brief introduction of all participants, we switch back to the presentation room and take a seat: Now it's finally happening!

Ralph Stock starts with a few words about EMERGENCY 5 and the editor. In the early stages of development it was made clear that EMERGENCY 5 needed a completely new approach. As a result, the basic structure of the game was developed from scratch. From the engine, to the programming, from the editor to the entire assets - everything has been re-built. "We put an incredible amount of effort into the assets of EMERGENCY 5. This can be described as three to four times the effort compared to EMERGENCY 4," says Ralph Stock. According to the inventor of EMERGENCY, there was no compromise just to be compatible with older systems. The technique is "State of the Art" and was developed with great foresight: While in the past you were dependent on external suppliers for the game engine, now the competence lies directly in the studio. The new engine is used as a base for the next few years and is thus consistently and continuously developed and provided with internal updates.

After this, Level-Artist Tatiana starts her presentation. The developers have selected some decisive features of the editor for this presentation. Those will be presented in more detail today. An important element of the EMERGENCY game world, in addition to buildings, are the roads. On them, life in the EMERGENCY-world plays out, civilian vehicles drive on them and emergency vehicles rush to the rescue site on them. With the new "Street tool", streets can easily be drawn between two points. Intersections serve as a nodal point from which new roads are drawn, or are created when two roads are connected. If a connection is made between two points, a street is automatically created on the route, which can now be changed in their properties.

To demonstrate this, Tatiana deletes an existing road and, with two clicks, adds a new road at the same location. There appears, as if by magic, a two-lane road between the two points with sidewalks on both sides - all road markings are already on the road. Along the trail, the road is fully customizable: curve radii can be set, the position of the road can be changed or the level can be adapted to the terrain. Creativity knows no limits - linear road systems in the style of New York City or country roads with sweeping curves can be personalized with one and the same creation tool. Even over-and underpasses can be made without problems. The appearance of the street is determined by a mesh, which can be defined in advance. So not only two-lane roads are possible, but also single-lane dirt roads or multi-lane highways. Intersections are determined in the same manner, but the processes before making the intersection is more extensive. For this you will need to determine how many lanes will be present at the intersection, how many turn lanes are present and where these lanes should lead. Since, in the future, roads will be more or less 3D models, the curbs, for example, are fully modelled - the times of flat 2D textures are definitely over!

The highlight: the streets are smart! For each road, the system for pathfinding will automatically be calculated and stored when setting the points. Setting paths or Route Finder for the streets is no longer necessary - if setting a street, all necessary information for pathfinding of forces is automatically present. In the crossover region the individual paths can also be adjusted manually - therefore all road turnings and directions are possible. The same is true for the pedestrian walkways. At this point Ralph Stock additions that in the new pathfinding system, a civilian vehicle, for example, just needs one assigned target and the vehicle will be looking for the way using the AI. This will happen fully independently. The civilian traffic can thus be more or less automated. The vehicle will also adhere to traffic rules and stop at traffic lights automatically.

After the presentation of the first key feature, the room is filled with general enthusiasm - those who have seen the new street system live once, will immediately like the ease of use. Later in the presentation level Artist Tatiana Belova goes into placing new game items. Here it starts with loading a 3D object into the editor - that works amazingly simply: select a MESH file from the browser and drag it into the editor, confirm, done! Martin Dietric jumps in: "We have optimized the workflow, drag and drop can now easily perform many functions. This especially improves the interaction between the Windows interface and the editor”. For each model you can immediately start Prefab-editing. Setting tags, for example, allows you to easily find things in the Prefab browser. Level Artist Tatiana Belova is enthusiastic at this point: "The search function is an integral part of the editor. Instead of having to laboriously click through a countless number of directories, you just have just type in a search term and the editor will offer appropriate proposals." In addition, in the prefab settings, every possible parameter for textures, physics and other settings can be customized. A brief explanation of how objects can be placed in the game is based on the inserted object. Scaling of objects is now possible directly in the editor. Also Martin Dietrich hinted that he personally puts a lot of emphasis on realistic representations and proportions. Forces are still shown somewhat larger than in reality, but the differences are not as serious as in the previous versions.

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For those who found that placing fences in EMERGENCY 4 was a cumbersome task, times have changed. Certain objects can now be placed on paths. These paths can be moved, which directly adapts the placed object and adapts itself to the changed circumstances. Tatiana illustrates this on a small terrace that stretches around a road to the river bank. With a mouse movement, the edge of the terrace can be moved further towards the river - the walls, floor and the railings are automatically adjusted and moved. The same applies, for example, for fences, hedges and walls - everything can be moved and changed with a single mouse movement.

It is similarly easy with the ground textures: These can now be "sprayed" directly onto the terrain using various brushes. With different textures and different colourings and adjustments to the underlying terrain textures, all possible types of terrain can be produced. The system, however, does not only engages the data of the texture - with paving stones , for example, height information can be stored. In the ISO view, these details may not necessarily stand out. But as the level designer suddenly zooms into the scene and fills the grooves between the paving stones with water, there is again enthusiasm in the room.

Also on the program: According to Ralph Stock, the rendered videos at the beginning of each mission will be driven back. For this purpose, a so-called "sequencer" has been integrated in the editor. This sequencer can not only be used to realize impressive camera moves through the levels, but also all the cutscenes. Using selected keyframes, different actions can be represented in the time sequence. So people can perform certain interactions, walk from A to B or particle and physics effects can be played. Creativity knows no limits - all conceivable scenarios can be presented. We watch the intro video from one of the first missions live in the editor and conclude: The video doesn’t just look damn cool, but the animations were even recorded by motion capture. The game also has a skybox and the vision is enormous! On demand, Art Director Martin Dietrich, confirms that generally all person animations have been integrated in the game through a complicated motion capture process.

After this first blast, it’s time for a break. We take the opportunity to pounce on the provided crackers and chocolate. On the terrace, first experiences and opinions are exchanged. Interested, professional developers take a look at some works of the modders, stating: The quality is impressive! You should be excited about what you could realize with the new EMERGENCY 5 engine. We are curious about everything that could be possible with the new Engine of Emergency 5.

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In the second part of the event, Martin Dietrich and Tatiana Belova bring out the really heavy guns: We already noticed there’s not only the presentation computer, but also another PC in the room with the screens turned off. At first, we thought that this is a backup computer until we were proved wrong. After turning on the monitors of the second computer, the editor appears on the screens. Without words, Martin presented one of the coolest and most interesting features of the new game engine: Both PC systems are running the EMERGENCY 5 Editor – both are in the same project and the same insert map was loaded. Martin placed a Pavilion on his map, which, almost at the same time appeared on Tatiana’s screen. We are excited while the two explained eagerly. "The editor of EMERGENCY 5 can also be used as an online system, we use this system in our productive environment - while our level designers change something on a map, here in Potsdam, another level designer in Tübingen can immediately follow the changes on his map while working on another part of the map."

The communication works on a server, on which the project is stored. All project files are - similar to a cloud solution - compared with all participants of the project and updated. If you modify a file in the project, all changes will be broadcasted immediately to the other participants. This feature, however, does not stop the editor: If something is changed in the editor, the change will be broadcast live on all other currently running clients. To avoid chaos, certain areas and objects can be locked by the level designer, edits by other users are then prohibited for that area. The modders among us immediately got an explosion of ideas and usage possibilities through the head. Ralph Stock additions: "Anyone can set up a project for his own server and enable collaborative work in the EMERGENCY 5 Editor. However, the function is not a must - those who prefers to work alone, are free to do so as well.."

While we are still dreaming of more scenarios with this new awesome feature, Art Director Martin takes over. We have now seen a lot of new features and cannot wait to finally put our hand on the keyboard and mouse. To illuminate the technical and graphical capabilities in greater detail, various visual tricks are explained with the help of the currently loaded map and some sample scenes. Technically, the engine, which is programmed by Sixteen Tons Entertainment cannot be compared to other engines: lighting and shadows are calculated completely dynamically, objects throw realistic reflections and from certain angles the light reflections from the sun are visible. Martin Dietrich mentions at this point, for example, "Physical Based Rendering", the reflection of the sun beams depends on the different materials in the objects. A technique that was recently only used in complex CGI-Production at the cinema, the current versions of the CryEngine and Unreal Engine 4. In addition, the engine simulates the adaptation of the human eye in changing light conditions. Especially impressive is the representation of different materials and their different properties. This is illustrated with teapots, which have been assigned different materials. In the game, plastic looks different from metal and even different metals differ in their surface and reflection.

Similarly, the engine responds dynamically in the simulation of different environmental factors: For the representation of snow, the shader can be set over any 3D model - by changing various settings in the editor the intensity of the shown snow can be adapted. Gone are the days where the snow has had to be presented with separate textures - the engine will do this almost automatically.

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Also impressive: The engine is designed to be extremely flexible, changes are automatically reloaded on the fly and displayed directly in the editor. Even profound adjustments are possible. As an example, the processing of a shader code is shown to us - right after you save, the change is immediately visible in the editor and the look of the game world changes according to the changes made to the file. This allows testing, even profound changes, quickly - without switching between different windows and without long loading times.

As a conclusion, the developers present a special highlight again: At the beginning we have already seen a scene that, in addition to the optical possibilities, shows creative and artistic aspects. Now, Martin and Tatiana, show us a scene that is especially visually appealing again: we see an accident situation at an intersection, it's night and it's raining. Several seconds after the scene appeared through the projector on the wall, a gentle murmur goes through the room: EMERGENCY 5 looks fantastic! The lighting of the scene is very well done, with "Wet shader" all surfaces are wrapped in a soft wet, the glow of surrounding lights and shop window lighting reflects on the wet asphalt. In the right corner there is an ambulance which really remind as resemblance to a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. On the bonnet and the windscreen water droplets are visible and are gliding off the surface. To the left of the ambulance, a fire truck, which looks confusingly like a Scania is parking. The wealth of detail is tremendous and the graphic representation is more appealing than ever - in terms of graphics, the fifth part of the EMERGENCY series is definitely not hiding!

With this scene, the presentation ends - we are surprised. Expectations were high and yet the development team in Tübingen and in Potsdam surpassed them with ease. EMERGENCY 5 doesn’t just look great, but it is also pursuing new and interesting approaches. If similarly ambitious approaches are pursued in terms of game design and gameplay, and the spirit of the EMERGENCY series is retained, nothing can go wrong.

Before we finish off the day with a dinner together, let us assure you: The editor shown here is provided with all available functions to the community. Ralph Stock: "Ultimately, without the EMERGENCY community, we may not be where we are today.." Martin Dietrich adds: "I have really developed many games in the last 15 years, but I have never experienced such a connectivity with the community." And also in terms of communication, there should be some changes, says Ralph Stock: "In the past we have [in terms of communication with the community] not delivered a very good image. Our ​​goal is to change that.."

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Thank you for the translation! I can't really describe how excited I am for this. Even though I'm wrapping up the Montana Mod this summer, if modding with this new engine is as easy as it seems it will be, there will definitely be a Montana Mod for Emergency 5.

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I agree.  The thing that really got me is how easily we can work in the editor.  I mean, spray-able textures? Two clicks to make a street and sidewalks?  I'm excited to try this out! 

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Thats awesome, could really make this an amazing game with all of the great modders we have.

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Do you know if they are going to release Emergency 5 on steam? 

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Will this be released at the same time as the game releases?

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It is similarly easy with the ground textures: These can now be "sprayed" directly onto the terrain using various brushes. With different textures and different colourings and adjustments to the underlying terrain textures, all possible types of terrain can be produced. The system, however, does not only engages the data of the texture - with paving stones , for example, height information can be stored. In the ISO view, these details may not necessarily stand out. But as the level designer suddenly zooms into the scene and fills the grooves between the paving stones with water, there is again enthusiasm in the room.

YES  :D

 

Edit: omg just got to the apart about working in the editor online, just awesome

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I see that the game will use another kind of model system. I wonder if we can port over .v3o into the MESH format. That would save us a lot of time.

Another thing I hope to see would be an improved scripting system with more defined functions. Say you want a cutscene, then you can simply tell an object in the editor what to do.

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I would hope that model converting would be easy, as it would save modders so much time.  They can just swap the models between games, but I'm sure there's gonna be an easy way to do it.

 

And didn't they mention something about the cutscenes?  I thought it said that they were going to be easier to work with or something...

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I can't tell very well in the picture, have they made the proportions of people, vehicles, roads and buildings more realistic?

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I can't tell very well in the picture, have they made the proportions of people, vehicles, roads and buildings more realistic?

 

Thats true, like stated in the text, it's not like "giants next to dinky toy car" anymore. It isn't yet 100% accurate but since we still need to see our persons in game this is a good way ;)

 

 

Will this be released at the same time as the game releases?

 

This ain't something I can answer you :)

 

 

What kind of food did you eat Stan?

 
I was not present at the meeting since I was not able to accept the invite for the planned day. But I guess they are in a normal restaurant. Guess you can classify that as "french kitchen"

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Do you know if they are going to release Emergency 5 on steam? 

 

Considering the fact that EM2012 - 2014 is on steam, it is very likely that EMERGENCY 5 will be on steam as well. 

 

Will this be released at the same time as the game releases?

 

We are planning to release the edtior with the game, yes.

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Sweet!

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Considering the fact that EM2012 - 2014 is on steam, it is very likely that EMERGENCY 5 will be on steam as well. 

 

 

We are planning to release the edtior with the game, yes.

So it won't work without steam?

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Currently I do not see a reason for the game not working without steam.

But if you buy the game with steam you might have to use steam as well. But we still have a good amount of time before discussing these aspects ;)

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Currently I do not see a reason for the game not working without steam.

But if you buy the game with steam you might have to use steam as well. But we still have a good amount of time before discussing these aspects ;)

This is obviously not an "Ask me Anything" thread from your side, but now that you're here I have to ask; Are the fire hoses movement or physics if you'd like, improved from Em4?

 

If you ask me thats one of the biggest visual draw backs that em4 has.

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Just make sure the game does not require online activation or anything like that please.

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This is obviously not an "Ask me Anything" thread from your side, but now that you're here I have to ask; Are the fire hoses movement or physics if you'd like, improved from Em4?

 

If you ask me thats one of the biggest visual draw backs that em4 has.

 

Do you mean that he hoses should move through the water pressure?

I do not think that such a detail will be implemented, but we can put that on the list for EMERGENCYs to come ;)

 

Just make sure the game does not require online activation or anything like that please.

 

Will do my best :D

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