Martin Ellis: A Hat in Time: VFX Reel

I don’t post here often, but I finally got something big to post.
I’ve been working on A Hat in Time for the past year, making and remaking most of the effects in the game, and now that it’s out I’ve been able to make a reel of some of my work for it!

It’s the first big original game I’ve worked on and the first full VFX reel I’ve gotten to make. I worked in UDK Cascade, the Unreal Material Editor, and Autodesk Maya to create what’s seen in the reel. I hope everyone enjoys it!

I hope this is the right place to post this. I’ve been really excited to share this for a while.


I’ve been watching a lot of gameplay footage of Hat in Time, and one of my prevailing thoughts has been about how great so much of the FX work is.

Seriously, there’s so much creativity and style on display here, awesome job!

I was curious how you did that noisy sand effect for the sandbags exploding, reminded me a lot of the sand fx in Kirby 64.


Great work! I will definitely buy Hat in Time!
How did you do that awesome masked fire? Is it a sphere mesh?

Thanks for the questions! I hope I can give some good answers!

There’s a couple different methods of making fire that I did actually! The one shown in the video is the sprite version of the effect.and there’s another one that uses a teardrop shaped mesh. The actual effect is several noise/fire textures blended together with a gradient for the fade towards the top and a mask for the shape of it.

The color is essentially a couple of lerps using the generated fire noise from the first screenshot, and the version used on meshes is basically the same thing but without the mask for the shape!
It has a lot of parameters too to make for easy instancing. All the colors can be changed per-instance and the mesh mesh version of the material has parameters to change the threshold for the masking as well as dithered alpha toggle and adjustments for overall transparency.

It could probably stand to be better optimized but that’s why I want to learn more stuff!

And @TheVman the sand is a pretty simple dithered alpha mask setup made by multiplying a noise texture against a randomized smoke texture!

Nearly all of my materials that generate any effect at runtime also have dynamic particle parameters for use in cascade to randomize the uv positions of all the noise to make it more random!

I hope this answered some of your questions!


Great answer, thank you very much!

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