Cloud Imperium Games - VFX Team Sketchbook

Hi! I am creating this sketchbook thread on behalf of the VFX team at Cloud Imperium Games. Here we will post sketchbook examples of the many cool effects our game engine allows us to create. If there is interest in how we achieved certain effects, we will be happy to show our workings - although full disclosure, everything I share here needs to be cleared by our Marketing department. :slight_smile:

Some disclaimers below, before the real fun commences!

The examples shared here are representative of the type of effects we can create in our engine, but NOT representative of how the effects look or will look in the games we are developing. Because these are simple sketchbook ideas, we are not necessarily worrying about optimisation and other such limitations to the extent that we would for actual in-game effects.

We will NOT be using this to post content from the games we are developing (Star Citizen, Squadron 42). If you want to see some of our in-game examples, take a look at our recruitment video…yes, we are hiring!: CIG VFX Recruitment Video


Vimeo link: Volatile Portal 1

I’ll start things off with a simple ‘portal’ effect. It’s fairly straightforward but I’ll be happy to explain how I created it if anyone is interested.

Full disclosure, I created this entirely as an example to show our Legal and Marketing departments the type of thing we would like to share here… :smiley:


Vimeo link → Caleb’s VJ Loops 2!

At CIG we have a monthly challenge, similar to the regular challenges here at RTVFX. One of my favourites of recent times was our ‘VJ Loops 2’ challenge, and here is @cEssex’s entry which I thought was a really clever use of our particle system. Put your favourite tunes on LOUD while watching this! :sweat_smile:


Side note: I can’t work out how to full embed vimeo links, so any tips would be appreciated :slight_smile:


Video embedding should work by having the video link as it’s own line

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Thank you for helping, yes that works. So simple! I was thrown off by the preview not showing the video in my browser. I’ve updated the above posts with direct links now.

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Ha! You finally managed to get these posted. Makes me very, very happy! Very nice work on the volatile portal. You gonna hate my question since there’s so much going on in this effect and I’ll ask about something miniscule… but are these 2d rock sprites or actual 3d geometry? :smiley:

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MICHAL!!! Yes it took some doing, but it finally happened :slight_smile:

I’m using 3D geometry for the rocks. Of course if I was trying to make this effect optimally, I would have a combination of 2D and 3D.

I’ve got them using screen space collision (I was playing with our quite new rotation options), which is why they are not casting shadows. If you look closely enough, you’ll see that several of the rocks are being clipped out by the horizon line of the floor mesh, particularly in the early part of the video. I couldn’t massage the settings in a way to get rid of that issue though :slight_smile:

The rocks look opaque though, how do you get depth collision without colliding with themselves?

The rocks are indeed opaque. They don’t collide with themselves because they are reading an earlier version of the depth buffer, not the one they are writing to at time of collision. So the order of what is happening in our engine is:

  1. Draw opaque geometry (excluding particles).
  2. Take a copy of depth texture.
  3. Simulate particles, and compare against the copy of depth texture.
  4. Draw particles (using original depth texture, but generally not writing to it).
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