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DEATHLOOP Game Upgrade 3

Important addition to the Photo mode in the game

Deathloop's Photo Mode comes out today with Update 3 and looks like a really well done feature due to its great variety. I still have to test it but from the video released by Bethesda Software House it presents the possibility of seeing your character and adjusting it to our liking, not only in the pose, but also in the space of the shot.

“One of our biggest challenges was to adapt Photo Mode for a first-person shooter where your character isn’t displayed apart from the hands and weapons,” explains Leulier. “We wanted to offer the best possible experience for this mode and took the time to playtest it thoroughly and even asked for insight from players who are experts in using different Photo Modes in games. We took so much pleasure testing Photo Mode that we added a lot of relevant options for the player to make it even more fun and funnier to use.”

“Each time we release a game, Photo Mode has been one of the most requested features by the players,” adds Studio Director Dinga Bakaba. “Seeing how virtual photographers were able to make incredible shots in our worlds without one, we can't be more thrilled to empower the entire community with these tools.”

The basic adjustments such as lighting, contrasts, filters, frames and more are all present in the function.. in short, nothing will be missing.

I had the pleasure of interviewing @shinobi_space who has been a consultant and advice on the implementation. A great chat from an expert and supporter of Virtual Photography.

Shinobi_space you can see his work on his website

Q: How did the opportunity to collaborate on a photo mode with Arkane Lyon came up ?

A: At the time, I think I was shooting and posting pictures of Dishonored 2, a previous game from the studio, on Twitter. Some of the developers, and people at Bethesda (the publisher of Dishonored and DEATHLOOP) were always very supportive of my work. I also played DEATHLOOP at launch and loved the game, and shot it using Nvidia Ansel and a little anti-cheat bypass to unlock the camera and be able to pause the game (in offline mode).

But it was kind of complicated to shoot it.

On December 25th 2021 Dinga Bakaba, co-creative director of the studio, posted on Twitter a message that had been circulating around this time. It was a text inviting people to tell him anything they’d like before the year ends.

I took the chance and sent him a DM, as I often do with many studios I love and respect, asking if they’d ever consider making a photo mode, that I could help, that I had experience (mentioning my work with Cold Symmetry on Mortal Shell) etc.

He answered me after 8 minutes, thanking me and asking for an e-mail address in case he’d want to send me an NDA (non disclosure agreement) regarding that. Two weeks later, I was contacted by Jérémy Leuliet, producer, and Alexandre Leboucher, designer, both in charge of the photo mode feature that they were actually just starting developing! The timing was incredibly perfect! They presented me their roadmap regarding the feature, what they had already, and we started having some video calls meetings the 3 of us to work on that nice photo mode.

Q: What is the most important feature that you pointed out to them to make a good photo mode?

A: Just after our first meeting, I sent them a 4 pages document with my most important recommendations, and some pictures of the game I took before, using camera hacks, to illustrate my point. Every time I do this, I always start by the same feature: the free camera and its range.

I mentioned other possible features, like frame skip, slow motion etc, but those couldn’t be implemented after all. The document mentioned also other ideas that ended up in the game like composition grids or specific aspect ratios borders, etc.

Q: So is the camera completely free or does it have limitations?

A: This is probably what I’m the most proud of. They finally got convinced that a range as long as possible, was the best way to go, even with the concerns about the texture quality, the clipping problems etc. And they were actually grateful to discover how it was beneficial to their game. I really hope more and more big studios and AAA games will take a look at this and understand the value of such a huge camera range (75 meters I think it is now). We also had to talk about the problem of camera movements when tilted for horizontal shots, because the axes are not behaving the same, so they wanted to make sure to make it as convenient as possible for the players

Q: What is the addition you said that they hadn't thought of?

A: I think there are a number of them, but as I said, they already had in mind and in building process a lot of good features and ideas. When we were talking during our little feedback sessions after testing a new build, we were very often sharing the same ideas or plans. Sometimes I’d mention something and they would say they already had this planned for the next version etc. So it’s hard to take credit specifically on 1 feature. I can say that implementing contrast and saturation was not easy because of the HDR settings recent console have natively. Not going into details right now but it made everything challenging, but I pushed for it, and they agreed to make double effort to bring it in.

Of course the camera range, as I already mentioned, is probably the aspect I had the more weight on, because they were not even considering the importance of it, especially because they saw the game as mainly an « interior environment game » which I disagreed on.

Q: DEATHLOOP is famous for its variety of gameplay, can a Virtual Photographer have artistic variety in the photo mode?

A: Absolutely ! It was always at the center of their preoccupation, and mine, to push the limits in order to give more freedom and encourage creativity for the players ! The amazing work they did on the filters, the stickers, and the character poses is tremendous.

DEATHLOOP was released on September 14, 2021 developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Software House

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