Development Report: Jan. 2023

Development during January focused on level design including integrating the Lumen, Virtual Shadow Maps, and Nanite features of Unreal Engine 5. I also worked on improved level transitions & performance.

Development Report: Jan. 2023

Welcome back, I'm excited to share the first Development Report of 2023.

Before I get into the report:

Development Reports are supposed to be published at the end of every month. That being said, I know the last report I shared was from September, and most are probably wondering "When are we going to get a report or an update?" This report details the hardships, and the tremendous amount of progress that has been made over the past few months.

I would have liked to have published reports sooner, and more frequently, but I had to put them lower on the list of priorities. I also regret not being able to push updates to Steam for distribution. In hindsight, I believe that even the Early Access release of Morbid was premature. After all the hours I put into this project just to get it to an "Early Access" build, I was ready to get the project announced and published on Steam.

I am again making this a priority and you can expect a report at the end of each month. I won't make any promises on when the next update will be pushed to Steam, but hopefully, it will have been worth the wait.

Lumen + Virtual Shadow Maps + Nanite

This has been one of the most time-consuming aspects of development.

I can't stress enough, how important all of this work has been to this project. My goal is to create detailed, high-quality level designs for Morbid that feel realistic and immersive. In the past few months, I've worked on each level's lighting, performance, and details, with each iteration improving over the previous. Looking back at the build that is currently on Steam, I'm very proud of the progress that has been made since then.

Screenshots from the editor featuring various levels and rendering views.

If you're interested, you can read more about these features below.

Lumen Global Illumination and Reflections
A high level overview of Lumen’s dynamic global illumination and reflections features.
Lumen is a fully dynamic global illumination and reflection solution. Lighting and reflections are one of the most important steps in creating a realistic level environment.
Nanite Virtualized Geometry
Overview of Unreal Engine 5’s virtualized geometry system to achieve pixel scale detail and high object counts.
Nanite is Unreal Engine 5's virtualized geometry system, being used to bring exceedingly high-quality assets to Morbid with increased performance and automatic level of detail.
Virtual Shadow Maps
Overview of using high resolution shadowing designed with film-quality assets and large dynamically lit open worlds in mind.
Virtual Shadow Maps provide high-resolution shadowing that works alongside Nanite Virtualized Geometry.


I've decided to use Unreal Engine's MetaHumans to create highly realistic characters for Morbid. I plan on giving these characters a few voice lines, and already have a solution for lip-syncing with audio in real-time.

Screenshots from the MetaHuman Creator.

Level Design

One of my priorities is a complete rework of the house level. It's a great foundation to start with, but I will be starting from scratch. I want Morbid to have a completely original atmosphere while still utilizing the Unreal Marketplace to streamline development. Before I purchased this asset I had no idea how widely it has been used (mostly unaltered) in many games. I've seen it all over YouTube in various indie games. There's even a Ready Or Not mod featuring it.

An exciting feature I have been working on is level transitions with cinematic effects rather than loading screens, and have also been working on the Detective's Office, to allow the player to start gameplay right from the menu.

Thanks for reading. I'm looking forward to the future of Morbid, and will keep you updated every month.