Nordic Partnership Between Umbra and Fatshark

The Stockholm based developer Fatshark AB has licensed new 3D graphics tech from Finnish based company Umbra for their upcoming Warhammer game.

The swedish developer Fatshark AB is developing a new title under the Warhammer IP – an action game set in the endtimes of the Warhammer universe. Warhammer Endtimes Vermintide is being developed for PC, Ps4 and XboxOne in the Stingray game engine developed by Autodesk.

“After evaluating Umbra, it became apparent that it was the best solution for our need.  In many ways, using methods like Umbra’s has always felt like the “right” or at least best solution to a complex problem. ” says Rikard Blomberg, Deputy CEO at Fatshark AB.

The technology is allowing scalable occlusion culling, making it easier to optimize the framerate on all platforms. The technology is highly scalable and therefore easy to use whether the developer is a large AAA company or a smaller indie firm.

“Now, after we have gotten more experience handling the technology, we have also realized that it is not just about culling. We have come to see the technology more as an alternative representation of game data that is structured to be very efficient for a certain subset of problems”, Blomberg says.

He continues to explain that: “By integrating it (Umbra) in the Autodesk Stingray Engine for Vermintide, we are able to render at high frame-rates without sacrificing graphics quality. It has also sped up and simplified our production pipeline.”.

Developer relations manager, Thomas Puha from Umbra adds: “Middleware by it’s nature is extremely specialised. You have audio middleware, AI middleware and of course, occlusion culling middleware like Umbra. An game engine has to do so many things, that you choose the ones you will really concentrate on. It’s impossible for an engine to do everything supremely well, no matter how good it is.” He continues to explain why their technology was interesting to Fatshark: “The Stingray engine is really good, but our occlusion culling tech performed better especially in terms of speeding up the production process, which is really important for Fatshark. So it was not just the occlusion culling tech operation that was interesting, but the other things that Umbra can provide as well.”.

 

The partnership is a great example of Nordic companies working together to reach a higher goal. Fatshark AB gets the benefits of Umbras tech, while Umbra gets exposure by being associated with a major title. “We are very happy that our technology can help Fatshark to play a part in helping them to realize their vision in Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide” Otso Mäkinen, Chief Technology Officer of Umbra explains. Puha further adds: “Getting to know a new engine like Stingray, having Umbra integrated into it so that other Stingray developers can easily take advantage of it. Those are great things and of course the feedback from a developer really helps us to refine and develop our technology to suit game developers and their projects.”

When asked about the challenges of a collaboration like the one between Fatshark and Umbra, Thomas Puha responds: “It’s been smooth sailing so far, our guys have been over at Fatshark to make sure Umbra’s technology is doing what it is supposed to do in a very optimised fashion. We work with a large roster of developers from Bungie to Infinity Ward and Eidos Montreal, so we have a lot experience. What really helps with Fatshark is that they are in Stockholm, so only one hour time difference and also very close to visit, which really helps.” Furthermore he concludes: “A lot of the times when developers use outside technology like ours, there’s a lot of communication early on, how it works, how it fits the engine, the problems that might occur when the integration is done etc. It’s easier to do that in person than over email or Skype, so it helps that Fatshark’s development team is close by.”

 

Umbra was founded in 2006 and has had a lot of success creating 3D Technology, which has been used by millions of people. Fatshark AB was founded in 2004 and is an independent developer comprised of 50 experienced game developers.

*Update* Comments from Developer Relations Manager, Thomas Puha from Umbra has been added the 26th of May.

Authors
Johnny Josefsen

A Level/Game designer who previously worked on the puzzle game: The Reaper and the hellish racing game: Hell Driver. Enthusiastic about everything from games to litterature, music and movies.

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