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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Tools Summit: Cryptic Studios' Magic Legends: FX Engine Support for Artists

Brent Haley  (Technical Director, Cryptic Studios)

Date: Monday, July 19

Time: 9:40am - 10:40am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: I acknowledge GDC 2021 is an all-digital event and commit to participating virtually.

This session presents Cryptic Studios' abridged workflow for authoring, integrating, and debugging special effects in their upcoming title Magic: Legends. During this presentation, you will see how the artists use in-game editors to build multi-use, optimized special effects directly for the environment and content teams without software engineers needing to be involved. You will also see the various tools that were put in place as safeguards against giving the artists direct access to the underlying modular programmable pipeline; Tools that keep an eye on auto-generated script correctness, resource utilization, and provide the artists with feedback for troubleshooting problematic technical issues. This session doesn't deeply delve into simulation or rendering specifics. Rather, this session covers the different tools, techniques, and tricks the studio has found to work well while giving their artists more direct control over special effects than in the studio's prior games.


Attendees will walk away from this presentation with many of Cryptic Studios' hard-won insights from developing their new FX engine. Specifically, attendees will discover what artist facing techniques Cryptic found worked well, what tools Cryptic introduced to provide automated feedback, and what Cryptic will be focusing on for future improvement.

Intended Audience

This presentation assumes the audience has a surface level understanding of modern FX engines. While the presentation is on a highly technical subject, and is presented by a software engineer, it focuses on the tools and pipeline from an artist's viewpoint. The presentation doesn't delve into code or hardware specifics.