IMPLEMENTING A PHOTO MODE WITH UNREAL
As game developers, we are on a constant look-out for features that could positively affect user engagement, product life cycle, and discoverability. This blog entry will discuss our most-recent initiative: Lemnis Gate’s photo mode. We’ve mainly focused on its overall impact and how the Unreal Engine facilitated its successful implementation.
With an overflowing amount of games being released every year, one of the biggest challenges for indie developers reside in being noticed. To aid with this challenge and increase visibility, we’ve added a photo mode which enables us to capture screenshots from inside the game and share them with our community.
Our photo mode allows players to pause the game mid-action, fly an external camera around, and position characters on-screen. Players can also adjust the camera's focus, rotation, and zoom to instantly get a great looking shot.
We originally built our photo mode for internal usage but quickly discovered that hovering the camera around was actually quite fun, especially when you could see yourself pulling off amazing moves! We didn’t want to keep all the fun for ourselves, so we decided to make it available for our players as well. This tool allows us to display how visually striking the game is shaping up to be while providing our future players with a means to generate content of their own.
To increase accessibility, one of our objectives was making the tool easy and fun to use. Navigating feels smooth, tilting the camera infuses adrenaline into every shot, and focusing on an object (or character) can be done with the touch of a button. After all, it’s not just about taking screenshots: it’s about capturing epic moments.
Given Lemnis Gate’s highly competitive nature, we also decided to include social features. Players can capture videos straight from the game and upload them to YouTube! They can even save match replays to revisit at a later date and take pictures using the photo mode. Ultimately, this will give players the chance to share their experiences, have some fun, and extend the conversation about the game online and on social platforms.
The Unreal Engine performed a vital role in Lemnis Gate’s photo mode implementation. All of the essential tools such as post-effect systems, dynamic rendering controls, and time-flow manipulation are already built-in the engine. Not to mention Unreal’s notable UI system, which greatly increased development efficiency. It took roughly a week to build a full-featured photo mode into Lemnis Gate using both C++ and blueprint scripting. The feature's visual fidelity is very high - particularly when it comes to lighting - and the engine’s cinematic quality greatly surpassed our expectations. We can’t wait to see what our fans will create using this tool!
* All images presented in this article were taken with Lemnis Gate’s photo mode tool and represent a work in progress.