While modding websites remain popular ways for gamers to make changes to their favorite games, some fans decide to take their creativity to the next level. Talented players can recreate game assets in advanced game engines such as Epic Games‘ Unreal Engine. Unreal Engine will be recognized at the Annie Awards in April for the advancements in computer animation it has made possible, and game development teams aren’t the only people to put that to good use. One World of Warcraft fan has used Unreal Engine 4 to recreate in-game areas and show off one of the most talked about graphics rendering techniques: ray-tracing.
Daniel L works on the projects as a solo developer, and uses assets from the Unreal Engine’s marketplace to ease the process of rebuilding these iconic settings in a brand new space. Though they aren’t available to download as a demo and stroll around yourself, the video tour of Stormwind City, Goldshire and the Lion’s Pride Inn, Duskwood and Grizzly Hills is very soothing and I’d absolutely recommend this if the spring showers have ruined your plans for a daily stretch of your legs.
Now I’ll be honest here, these Ray Tracing effects are not that mind-blowing. For instance, CONTROL and Metro Exodus showcase in a better way the visual improvements that this tech brings to the table. On the other hand, though, we should not forget that this a fan remake from a single person.
Daniel L worked out the environments in detail in Unreal Engine 4, including a complete interior for Lion’s Pride Inn. In the video you can see how he walks through Duskwood, where buildings are provided with open and far away. He has worked out Duskwood the most extensively.
While these locations may not be the flashiest representations of ray-tracing technology, the benefits are plain to see. The sun is often the most powerful light source in games, so overhead shots of Stormwind City make clear the benefits of the complex light distribution that ray-tracing offers. Ray-tracing also improves the fog effects in the Duskwood and does wonders to reduce harsh shadows against objects, like a tree outline on the Lion’s Pride Inn. Gamers impressed with the Nvidia RTX technology should also know that Nvidia’s DLSS will now be natively supported by Unreal Engine 4.
Last year, World Of Warcraft got an animated series titled Shadowlands Afterlives ahead of the Shadowlands expansion. Though there were only four episodes, it renewed interest in new media about the classic role-playing game. Of course, the Warcraft movie is the highest-grossing video game adaptation ever made, but it wasn’t a hit with the critics. A sequel isn’t likely, as a result. However, director Duncan Jones does have ideas on where the story could go in the future. “Basically the trilogy was the fulfilling of Durotan’s promise to give his people a new home,” he said in an interview in 2020. Never say never, I suppose.
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