F1 Manager 2022 is a different kind of game for fans of the sport. The latest trailer revealing the new series used Unreal Engine 5 lighting effects, and was directed by Will Adams.
The trailer actually premiered in March ahead of the first instalment in the F1 Manager series. Assisting in the production of the trailer were Goodbye Kansas’s Henrik Melsom, Technical Artist and Real-time Lead, and Tim Hermes, Technical Artist and Real-time Supervisor.
Whereas usually you’ll be racing around the tracks in the latest EA Sports F1 2022 racer, F1 Manager 2022 instead puts you behind the race, so to speak, as the name discloses.
Although the trailer was originally planned to be developed as an offline piece, the director of the trailer, Will Adams, wanted to explore creating shots in the newly-released Unreal Engine 5. The late decision to involve real-time production for the F1 Manager trailer narrowed an already-tight time schedule, but the team were certain they wanted to get Unreal Engine 5 tried and tested into their workflow. With an early access version of the tool, the team at Goodbye Kansas were able to test new features in a project context.
Melsom notes, “We were particularly interested in trying Unreal Engine 5’s Lumen (for lighting and reflections) and Nanite (for virtualized geometry) systems. Lumen served us really well, particularly for the shots with an ‘LED wall’ behind the car.”
Other than Unreal Engine 5, the team made use of several additional tools. “The main stars were Maya for some rigging and Houdini for pre-processing some meshes,” explains Melsom. “Also, we always use Perforce for version control on Unreal Engine projects.”
The F1 Manager trailer presented several challenges to overcome. Melsom describes the high-level difficulties that proved challenging but equally motivating, including: “The fast pace of production, an ambitious director, and also having to train some team members who were less experienced with Unreal Engine. The obstacles pushed us to be creative – in our skillset, our approach and our storytelling – and led to a trailer we were really excited to share.”
The learning curve led to the team being able to take full advantage of Unreal Engine 5’s features to create a visually stunning trailer for F1 Manager 2022. Melsom highlights a favourite component of the trailer: “The car in the trailer has a very specific-looking iridescent paint, which has an optical component called diffraction grafting, that went through many iterations.”
“We tried taking a physical approach at first, where we would approximate the diffraction grafting. In the end, what worked better was taking it outside of ‘reality’ by decoupling it from the lighting. This allowed us to control the iridescent highlights separately, leaving it as something we could control on a per-shot basis independent from other lighting and meaning we had more control over the composition. This was my favourite part about working on this project – I love a tough nut to crack!”
F1 Manager 2022 is coming to PC, PS4, PS5, and Xbox consoles on August 30th, 2022.