BioShock's Rapture Gets the Unreal 4 Treatment

BioShock's Rapture Gets the Unreal 4 Treatment

BioShock is starting to show its age, but the advanced lighting effects of the Unreal Engine 4 make it look young again.

The first BioShock game came out seven years ago. In addition to making you feel old, that means that our first look at Rapture is pretty dated by the standards of today's graphics. Sure, it looked great at the time, but how much better could it look on a modern engine? A modder by the name of noodlespagoodle decided to find out, and managed to port a little slice of Rapture into Unreal Engine 4.

A few of you skeptics will probably say that it doesn't look very different from the original engine. Well... you may need to take off your rose-colored glasses; here's a screenshot from classic BioShock for comparison. The game used a modified version of Unreal Engine 2.5, so we've made some big advances since we set foot in Rapture in 2007. The lighting is a lot more dynamic in the modded video, with a few hiccups - that Big Daddy shines like a lamp, because modifying the model's original reflection variables would be far more difficult than simply dropping it into the new engine.

Yes, these are unmodified assets from 2007's BioShock. Unfortunately, converting the whole game to Unreal Engine 4 isn't exactly feasible. While bringing in the old models was simple enough, the animations and certain meshes didn't come with them. That's why the Big Daddies here are missing their iconic drill arms; the game's weapons aren't easily ported. Still, you get the idea of how gorgeous Rapture could look like on a next-gen engine - if only Irrational was still around to make it happen.

Source: reddit

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It's impressive. But I think that Bioshock still holds up pretty well. I don't think it's in any danger of aging badly.

What do you mean Bioshock has aged poorly? Its still one of the best looking games on the last gen consoles, and it came out in 2007. The only complaint I have today is that the skin textures weren't necessarily... well done (okay, some of the splicers looked like they had rubber for skin).

But that's it. With its unique aesthetic, creative visuals, and well done lighting, it has achieved timelessness.

the great thing about bioshock is that most of it is supposed to look degraded and terrible because it is degraded and terrible

Bioshock had strong enough direction that it still holds up extremely well despite its technical shortcomings. I remember a lot of its texture issues were noticeable at the time and seven years on hasn't really improved that situation much.

But even if it was just a new engine and not remastered resources as well, I would buy this instantly with zero hesitation

I know I'm going to get some people mad by saying this, but I don't like the Unreal 4 engine's graphics if this video is anything to go by. Sure it does look impressive, but the lighting and reflections are what kills it. People keeping joke about how many lens flares the Star Trek movies have, meanwhile this is almost the exact some thing and people are praising it.

Transdude1996:
I know I'm going to get some people mad by saying this, but I don't like the Unreal 4 engine's graphics if this video is anything to go by. Sure it does look impressive, but the lighting and reflections are what kills it. People keeping joke about how many lens flares the Star Trek movies have, meanwhile this is almost the exact some thing and people are praising it.

I don't think its specifically the engine so much as them sticking ludicrously bright light effects into their tech demos to show off the various reflections and such. Seems to crop up with any new engine, where the new features are used to the point of oversaturation

So from what I can gather the benefits of 3.5 to 4 are better lighting, shadow and particle effects, Texture quality didn't look too much better than 3.5 and Poly-count didn't seem so much better either. I'd like to see how it runs on a more modest risk instead of high end test rigs too see if it's as vast an improvement as 3 was over 2 in terms of stability and scalability and resource allocation. Maybe better Havok integration and more efficient use of GPU power, as things like Cry-Engine though excellent looking are a little sloppy in that regard. A great engine that can make moderately good looking games on a mid-range system is really where this graphics arms race needs too go.

Well it's certainly plenty of shine and glare to it... and to be honest that makes it worse for me, blinding lights just make it look cheaper then it is.

Transdude1996:
I know I'm going to get some people mad by saying this, but I don't like the Unreal 4 engine's graphics if this video is anything to go by. Sure it does look impressive, but the lighting and reflections are what kills it. People keeping joke about how many lens flares the Star Trek movies have, meanwhile this is almost the exact some thing and people are praising it.

As was pointed out below your comment too, that isn't the engine's "fault". That was *someone's choice of settings. It doesn't have anything to do with the engine per se.

Here are some other demos with made specifically to show off UE4's prowess. (and "yes", these are all real-time. ie. what it could look like in-game)
Infiltrator
Elemental
Elemental Demo "walkthrough"
Tools demo
Also remember that the engine is actually more than just about the "raw graphics". It handles physics etc. too.
The things UE4 can theoretically do within the realm of physics are pretty damn cool too.
Remember: you can make a bad looking game using any engine.

---

The moment I saw the opening shot I knew they had "just" ported the assets over from the original. The polys on the arm rest of the chair?
*It's never made clear who did this Bioshock UE4 demo so I followed the YouTube link back and it appears that it is "just" some kid who took the Bioshock assets and whacked them in to UE4. So the results are not that which they could have been. Though it sure doesn't look bad.
To be fair, this isn't really what Bioshock would look like in UE4 - it's what it looks like when someone (non professional) opens the Bioshock assets in UE4. If you see what I mean.

I don't know about you, but I liked the older screenshot better. This sample video seems a bit too dark to me.

MonkeyPunch:
[quote="Transdude1996" post="7.848677.20950700"]

The moment I saw the opening shot I knew they had "just" ported the assets over from the original. The polys on the arm rest of the chair?
*It's never made clear who did this Bioshock UE4 demo so I followed the YouTube link back and it appears that it is "just" some kid who took the Bioshock assets and whacked them in to UE4. So the results are not that which they could have been. Though it sure doesn't look bad.
To be fair, this isn't really what Bioshock would look like in UE4 - it's what it looks like when someone (non professional) opens the Bioshock assets in UE4. If you see what I mean.

Hey there! I'm the youtuber who made the video. I don't know if you read the actual description of the video, but I never claimed to have done anything other than import the original assets for the sake of seeing how well they would hold up in a better engine against current standards. In fact, that was the sole purpose of creating and uploading the video. Although I am more than capable of recreating assets, I do not wish to re-make any high poly, updated meshes or textures. I already do up to 12 hours of design work daily for my indie game GRIT. That said, this was more of a fun little side project than anything else.

In conclusion I agree to your above statement about "just porting the assets", however you should understand that fully remastering was not my goal. Hope you liked it otherwise :)

noodlespagoodle:

Hey there! I'm the youtuber who made the video. I don't know if you read the actual description of the video, but I never claimed to have done anything other than import the original assets for the sake of seeing how well they would hold up in a better engine against current standards. In fact, that was the sole purpose of creating and uploading the video. Although I am more than capable of recreating assets, I do not wish to re-make any high poly, updated meshes or textures. I already do up to 12 hours of design work daily for my indie game GRIT. That said, this was more of a fun little side project than anything else.

In conclusion I agree to your above statement about "just porting the assets", however you should understand that fully remastering was not my goal. Hope you liked it otherwise :)

Hi back. Indeed I understood :)
I was just trying to clear things up as it's this news story and some of the commenters (that's not even a word?) that seem to be murky about what this was and what it meant UE4 was capable of. Or at least it seemed so to me.
[edit]
It could be just me reading this first thing in the morning, but I'm pretty sure that your name and the fact that you're a modder was missing from the original story. Or maybe I should have finished my coffee before reading.

I didn't mean to downplay what you did. Hence I even added quotation marks around the "just" [porting] :)

Rellik San:
So from what I can gather the benefits of 3.5 to 4 are better lighting, shadow and particle effects, Texture quality didn't look too much better than 3.5 and Poly-count didn't seem so much better either. I'd like to see how it runs on a more modest risk instead of high end test rigs too see if it's as vast an improvement as 3 was over 2 in terms of stability and scalability and resource allocation. Maybe better Havok integration and more efficient use of GPU power, as things like Cry-Engine though excellent looking are a little sloppy in that regard. A great engine that can make moderately good looking games on a mid-range system is really where this graphics arms race needs too go.

Well it should be pretty obvious that the textures and meshes were not modified. The engine has no say in those things (beyond affecting the overall performance, which would ALLOW for better textures to be used).

 

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