Posted 2:00pm

How J.J. Abrams inspired the visual effects of Velocity 2X

Look out for a few of the Star Trek/Super 8 director’s signature lens flares

Hi everyone! My name is Hussain Sheikh (@shakemayster) and I’m the Technical Director at FuturLab! I’ve been writing a series of ‘making of’ articles about Velocity 2X over on our blog, and today PlayStation Blog has kindly offered to host this particular post about the most awesome of visual effects: LENS FLARES!

VerticalBlast

Since the release of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek in 2009, people noticed just how much lens flares were synonymous with sci-fi. Carrying that baton forward, we decided to go full on J.J. Abrams crazy with on Velocity 2X.

Have a look at these beautiful things in our early concept art:

fight_withbullet_whoops

Actually we were so inspired by J.J. Abrams’ style of lens flares that we started talking about them all the time.

After many months of this, the inevitable abbreviations began, and what started as “J.J.Abrams style lens flares” soon became “J.J. Abrams flares” then “JAbramzFlares” and finally settled as “JBraamz”.

JBraamz is now part of our codebase:

JBraamz

All lens flares in Velocity 2X are generated as a post-effect and are triggered by intensity levels of the rendered scene. This means the lens flares react to dynamic lighting, get hidden by foreground objects and react to other effects.

You can see our lens flares reacting to explosion lighting below. Notice the very subtle blue lens flare generated by the blue light above of the switch numbered 3.

LensFlarePreExplosion

Now see how the lens flare becomes brighter and stronger when the switch is blown.

LensFlarePostExplosion

We also wanted our lens flares to feel like they are being generated by bright or hot spots in the scene. To achieve this, our lens flares also generate halo glows around bright objects, making the flares look more natural. In the screenshot below you can see how the lens flares appear to be just streaks pasted on top of lights.

LensFlarePreHalo

Turning on the halos gives the lights a more natural and brighter feel.

LensFlarePostHalos

The particle effects also generate lens flares!

EffectsMain

We are very proud of our JBraamz lens flares as they truly make the game feel sci-fi when seen in action! See if you can spot them in the trailer!

This game looks amazing, can I win it?

Yes! If you complete our short survey, you could win Velocity 2X on PS4 and Vita, a Velocity 2X t-shirt and a limited edition Velocity 2X Art Book!

Yes I want a chance to win!

Velocity 2X is released for PS4 and PS Vita on 3rd September.

You can catch us on Twitter @FuturLab
Read more about Velocity 2X here: http://www.velocitygame.co.uk
Read more about FuturLab here: http://www.futurlab.co.uk

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Comments

40 Comments 25 Author replies
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Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 2:02 pm   1

Hello everyone! Loving this, my first time on PS Blog!
I’m here to answer any questions you have, fire away! :D

James Marsden 22 August, 2014 @ 2:11 pm   2

I’ve got a question for you. Where is everyone? =)

     
    Porcupeth00 22 August, 2014 @ 2:17 pm    

    my question is why does this game look so awesome?

    but a more serious one. i played Velocity Ultra on PC..i liked it but when i used a controller i had a lot of trouble with the teleport dash, too hard to use it quickly and accurately, so i switched to mouse
    is teleporting going to work the same way here in 2X? cause aiming it with the analog stick is a bit tricky..

 

What a awesome read. Always enjoy reading your blog post over on your FuturLabs website Hussain. They are truely inspiring and a great insight on all the work you, and the rest do.
Would never had thought Abrams flares insprised you to use it. And you even managed to make it just(or even more) awesome!

Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 2:19 pm   4

Thank you so much Rawanz. Yes, movies like Star Trek were a great inspiration for lens flares. Especially our lead artist, Chris Goff loves them, so he was always asking me “Man when are the JBraamz coming to life”. Should’ve seen his face lit up when I posted the first screen shot (internally) with lens flares in it :D

Never been that excited. You guys know how to rock :))

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 2:23 pm    

    Thanks buddy. We had the backing of some amazing people ( our fans ) that kept us motivated. And with all the love we have received so far for Velocity2X, all the effort was so worth it! :)

 
KC-alpha-14 22 August, 2014 @ 2:21 pm   6

How long does it take to ‘complete’ this? How much larger is this game in terms of scale and size than Velocity Ultra?

    James Marsden 22 August, 2014 @ 2:29 pm    

    Hey, whilst it’s got the same number of campaign levels, each level has a lot more to it. Nearly all levels have at least two platform sections inside every top down section. Some levels have as many as six platform sections within the level, so charting them, finding all the hidden areas and perfecting them is going to take a lot longer than Velocity Ultra =)

James Marsden 22 August, 2014 @ 2:22 pm   7

@Porcupeth00 Hey, we’ve greatly improved the teleport cursor movement. It’s a lot more intuitive to use now because the cursor travels at a reasonable speed in open space, and then speeds up when it’s over terrain. It means you can quickly hop across walls to arrive on the other side easily.

Hussain actually details this and much more on our blog here:

http://www.futurlab.co.uk/inside-velocity-2x-controls.html

 

Do you have any livestreams planned to show off your GOTY before release? Roll on Sep 3rd!

    James Marsden 22 August, 2014 @ 2:25 pm    

    Yup, subscribe to our site and follow us on Twitter and you won’t miss it =)

 
grounded_dreams 22 August, 2014 @ 2:33 pm   9

Absolutely adored both Super Stardust Delta and Velocity Ultra, played them to death on the Vita.
Been following the development of Velocity 2X for a while and was great to play the early build at the EuroGamer event last year, was my game of the Expo.
Good luck with the launch, with definitely be buying it day one.
Can you advise when the reviews will be out [won't affect me purchasing the game] but will help to build the hype and to get people who have not seen or played any of your games interested prior to release, or will it be on the day of the launch?

     
    MrSabuhudo 24 August, 2014 @ 12:07 am    

    Super Stardust Delta was developed by Housemarque! I agree with the rest though. ;-)

 

Not reading, barely watching…..been hard to stay under the radar when I want to experience everything for the first time when it comes. But!!

#welovegamedevs

Oh and Sony, get a grip!! Sell me a custom Vita that has been 2X’d!!! The world deserves nice things :)

 

Sony should sell us a 2X’d custom Vita. This is great…I think…trying not to spoil myself :)

Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 2:39 pm   12

Thanks for the support and well wishes. Reviews will be out on 02nd of September, so we can make as much noise as possible for the launch. Many thanks for your support and yes please anything you can do to build the hype will be super awesome :D

 
zalwelgoedgaan 22 August, 2014 @ 2:47 pm   13

To be honest, I absolutely hate the overuse of lensflares in certain movies and music videos. It’s not even subtle, it feels like you’re making out with the headlights of a car.

That being said, it probably won’t be as noticeable in this game. I love nice special effects, but they shouldn’t be overkill and disrupt the gameplay. From what I am seeing here, it looks good.

Btw, at 0:18 you can see a simple white lensflare on the wall, thought that looked cute.

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 2:54 pm    

    I agree with you. Overuse of anything is not good and actually can be detrimental to the gameplay. For us, we always want players to feel in-control and Kai to feel super awesome. That wouldn’t be possible if the effects took the focus away from player actions. So we have placed and tuned them in a way that they will never take focus away from what you are trying to achieve. You will notice them when you actually want to notice them and not be in your face at any time!
    Re: 0:18 Thanks :D

     
    zalwelgoedgaan 22 August, 2014 @ 3:09 pm    

    That’s a good mindset to have, very appreciated. Velocity is about twitch action, and there should be as little distraction as possible between the position of the player and the enemies/obstacles.

    Also thanks that you’re here chatting with us and answering our questions, most developers who post their copy/paste articles here don’t even want to do that. Is it also raining cats and dogs in the UK?

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 3:23 pm    

    Not a problem buddy. We love our players, and we believe that if you take out time to read our articles and talk to us, then you deserve our attention too. We love your questions and any aspect of game you want to know about, please fire away :)

 
Porcupeth00 22 August, 2014 @ 2:49 pm   14

in case you guys are still here; what is going to be the price for this game?
(kinda odd that nobody asked it yet xD)

    James Marsden 22 August, 2014 @ 2:55 pm    

    It’ll be tremendously good value. If you take a look at our other games, you’ll see that we price them fair.

 

It’s nice and all, but I had to google to actually find out who that Abrams is. An American, so yeah, I don’t want to be picky or anything but… got something European for Europeans on the European PS Blog?

    James Marsden 22 August, 2014 @ 3:01 pm    

    The game we’re talking about is made in Brighton, which is in the UK, which is in Europe =)

    Does it matter where J. J. Abrams lives? It’s what he does that matters. We take inspiration from creative achievements by human beings wherever they live.

     

    Much better, thank you~

 
LieutenantFatman 22 August, 2014 @ 2:51 pm   16

Would just like to say thanks for continuing to support the Vita with your awesome games. Looking forward to playing this, loved the first one.

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 2:56 pm    

    Thank you so much. We love all the support messages. Fuels us to keep pushing harder :D

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 3:02 pm    

    And by the way, same amount of love has gone into Velocity2X as we did with Velocity Ultra. Can’t wait to see what you think when it comes out.

 
pablo-hassan 22 August, 2014 @ 3:01 pm   17

Great stuff !! Never go wrong with Abrams!!

 
crusher915 22 August, 2014 @ 3:21 pm   18

HODOR! hodor, hodor hodor?

ThreeWallzz 22 August, 2014 @ 3:29 pm   19

This game does have a chance to be the best this year tbh.It looks fantastic!

 
zalwelgoedgaan 22 August, 2014 @ 3:52 pm   20

Might be a bit too late, but how about some Velocity avatars to increase the hype even more on the PS Blog? If Populus Media can release alphabet avatars and charge €1,19 for each letter (dead serious, they should stop polluting the webstore), then surely Sony will allow you to sell some avatars that are worth something, right?

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 4:09 pm    

    LOL. Can’t say for sure, will ask James and see what he thinks. But I doubt if we are allowed to do Avatars on PS4 yet :)

     
    zalwelgoedgaan 22 August, 2014 @ 4:22 pm    

    Oh, but there’s still PS3/Vita, right? It’s easy money, €0,25 a piece for a 5 minute cut and pase job and you’re all set! XD Couple of weeks ago I told everyone that this image — http://i.imgur.com/YCz5kIL.png — shows beautiful crystal clear water and it got 260+ views. If I sold that for real, I would have made at least €0,50. That’s almost enough for a Snickers bar.

 

Looks so awesome, going to buy it day 1. Is crowdfunding for a physical release completely out of the question?

     
    zalwelgoedgaan 22 August, 2014 @ 4:09 pm    

    We had to plant our claws into SCEE’s legs for a physical copy of Freedom Wars. Even if it’s crowd funding, it’s quite an expensive business for indies to release their games at retail.

    Maybe in the future there will be some sorta Indie Mega PS4 bundle where they can include a download voucher for Velocity 2X, who knows.

    Actually, that’s a great idea. Sony should pay me.

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 4:11 pm    

    That is a very good question/suggestion. Will definitely put forward this suggestion and see if it makes sense for us :)

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 4:12 pm    

    Yes very true, even setting up for crowd-funding is quite expensive. There is a lot that goes into marketing and preparing the assets for crowd-funding.

 
Mike_POdoLSKI 22 August, 2014 @ 4:21 pm   22

Game looks fantastic but it’s music that made me buy it – it just magical like i’m 20 years younger :P Roll on september

 
SuperJag86 22 August, 2014 @ 4:58 pm   23

I think I’ve been waiting for this game since completing the original Velocity mini on my shiny new Vita! I’m already looking forward to Velocity 3 ;)
(Still on Vita obviously!)

 

I don’t have a question but nonetheless I wanted to thank you guys for coming here and answering/speaking to us gamers.
Thank you very much indeed.

 
johnnycide 22 August, 2014 @ 6:04 pm   25

So this will be released the same day as the September Plus update? Now isn’t that a coincidence…..

Luckily, this looks pretty damn good!

 

As always Hussain I love your more in-depth write ups.

Think a book about game design might be in the cards for your future! :D

Doesn’t need to be said but, cant wait for 2X.

    Hussain Sheikh 22 August, 2014 @ 6:53 pm    

    Thanks. In all honesty, James is the guy to write about Design. I Guess I can write about how to implement the design ideas and work with them in a way that the design and technology gel together :)

 
Pica_Man 22 August, 2014 @ 8:16 pm   27

Really impressed with what FuturLab are doing and have enjoyed several of their games. Each game just keeps getting bigger and better. At this rate, won’t be long before they are making AAAs that sell consoles. Keep up the good work guys.

 

Not enough lens flares, I can actually see the character. JJ loves obscuring the view with needless lens flares.

    Hussain Sheikh 23 August, 2014 @ 1:40 pm    

    LOL. Yea we didn’t want them to be so over-powering that you loose focus of gameplay :D

 

Great game and blog post, I do love a bit of lens flare!
I have been a fan of Velocity since the mini days and will be buying this day 1. Think the Vita will get more play time but reckon it’ll look awesome on the Big TV!
Also thanks for actually taking time to reply…. many debs don’t even bother on this blog to communicate properly.
Best of luck for launch day… I’m sure it’ll be the hit you deserve!

 
Sletchman 23 August, 2014 @ 11:02 am   30

Any chance of you releasing that Artbook as a PDF or other digital download? As an artist myself, and a big fan of good videogame art, I love me some game art books (and collect ones for games with good art direction and style). I did the survey / competition, but the odds of winning that are not exactly fantastic (especially with me never having one anything in my entire life).

Loving the art style, music, and you guys sound awesome (always good to see game devs who are cool people). Not really my style of game, but with the style, sound and innovations to the genre I’ll be picking it up anyway (for my Vita, unless it’s crossbuy).

 
howboutthisthen 23 August, 2014 @ 7:06 pm   31

Definitely the Vita version for me!

This looks awesome, thanks for the update, will check out the blog posts.

 
Sletchman 26 August, 2014 @ 4:26 am   32

I’m not sure if you guys are still checking this, but my original reply didn’t show up and I just noticed it. So I’ll just repost.

Thanks for the reply Hussain. I’d actually prefer a physical book, but for some reason I read “limited edition” as “prize winners only” (don’t know why, totally my own error…), so figured it was impossible to get. Definitely picking it up, since it’s a book (I can add it to my huge collection of cool game art books), so I’ll keep an eye on your website. I checked out the OST after reading this article, and the soundtrack is killer. Good excuse to upgrade the headphones I use with my Vita if I ever saw one.