I’m currently on a solo journey working on an unannounced voxel-powered game and the associated technology.

Previously I’ve been working professionally in the game industry for almost nine years, last as the lead graphics programmer at Deck13 Interactive. I’ve worked on the rendering and engine tech of Lords of the Fallen, The Surge, The Surge 2 and an unannounced game.

In my spare time, I’ve founded the “minecraftesque” open source project Terasology and open-sourced the initial prototype of my C++/Vulkan powered game engine Intrinsic.

Feel free to get in touch with me via Twitter!

- Benjamin / @begla

Professional Career

  • Soloing as an independent game developer (January 2021 till today)

  • Deck13 Interactive (2012-2020)

    • Lead graphics programmer (rendering and engine, 2019 till the end of December 2020)
    • Principal programmer (rendering and engine, 2017-2019)
    • Programmer (rendering, engine, and physics, 2012-2017)
    • Intern (master’s thesis on procedural animation, 2012)

Projects

Unannounced game (Indie, 2021 till today)

I’m currently working on a voxel-based game that started as a prototype back in 2018. More details will follow over the course of 2021.

Unannounced game I'm currently working on
Unannounced game I'm currently working on

Unannounced game (Deck13 Interactive, 2019 till the end of December 2020)

  • Initial implementation and design of the PS5 rendering backend
  • Design, implementation and maintenance of a shader node graph to enable artists to visually design materials (and shaders)
  • Design, implementation and maintenance of a (offline) ray tracing based irradiance volume system for indirect diffuse GI using Intel Embree as its basis
  • Various overall improvements of the lighting system and other rendering related subsystems

The Surge 2 (Deck13 Interactive, PC, PS4 and X1, 2019)

The Surge 2
The Surge 2

The second installment of the souls-like sci-fi action RPG. Some of the things I contributed:

  • Complete rewrite of the renderer which works well with all modern low-level graphics APIs (Vulkan, DX12, and GNM). Data orientation, hot reloading, and complete data drivenness are the concepts which make it unique
  • Implementation and maintenance of the Vulkan and GNM backends
  • Modernization of the whole lighting system
  • “Irradiance grid” for indirect diffuse illumination
  • Unified compute based volumetric fog/lighting system
  • Strand-based vegetation simulation
  • Texture streaming system
  • Various low-level CPU/GPU optimizations, like e.g. asynchronous post-processing and “static command buffers”

An in-depth behind the scenes video John (@dark1x) from the Digital Foundry created for The Surge 2. I’m one of the guys babbling in the video. 🙂

The Surge (Deck13 Interactive, PC, PS4 and X1, 2016)

The Surge
The Surge

Souls-like action RPG set in a sci-fi world. Amongst others, I’ve contributed the following:

  • GPU based particle system used for all particle effects in the game
  • Design and implementation of the physics-based “gibbing system”, which is a fundamental part of Surge’s gameplay mechanics
  • Moved the standard deferred lighting system to a compute driven approach. First various tile-based ones and, a tad later on, a clustered one
  • Compute based frustum/occlusion culling system for static meshes/instances
  • Various low-level optimizations to reach the target frame rate (60 FPS on PS4 Pro and X1X)

Lords of the Fallen (Deck13 Interactive, PC, PS4 and X1, 2014)

Souls-like action RPG set in a medieval fantasy world. Excerpt from what I did:

  • Design, implementation, and maintenance of the GNMX powered PS4 rendering backend
  • Volumetric lighting solution for local lights
  • Locomotion/IK system for humanoids
  • Ragdoll system and various physics-based effects
  • Software rasterization based occlusion culling system
  • Various optimizations of existing subsystems
Lords of the Fallen
Lords of the Fallen

Publications

  • Volumetric Lighting For Many Lights (in Lords of the Fallen, Digital Dragons, Poland, 2014) - PDF

Since its initial publication, this take on volumetric lighting has been integrated into many other projects. One of them being Warframe! You can take a look at the results in one of @sj_sinclair’s tweets:

Side Projects

Intrinsic (private, 2018 till today)

Intrinsic is the framework of choice powering all my game prototypes and research. It has evolved quite a bit since its initial prototype release in 2016.

Intrinsic (initial prototype, open-source, 2016-2018)

At its initial public release in 2016, Intrinsic already was a capable rendering and game engine. Written in C++ utilizing the cutting-edge Vulkan API, it featured advanced lighting techniques, volumetric fog, multithreaded rendering, and complete data-oriented design.

Due to time constraints, I’ve decided to keep further development private and decide on future releases when the time is right.

Screenshot of the Intrinsic demo level
Screenshot of the Intrinsic demo level

Terasology (open-source, actively worked on 2011-2012)

Terasology is a “minecraftesque” game written in Java and OpenGL. I started the project during my studies to understand the things that made Minecraft so interesting for me: procedural generation of worlds and voxels in general.

After finishing my studies in 2012, I sadly had to stop contributing to the project. It is now maintained by a small team that coordinates contributions from all over the world.

Shot of Terasology I took back in 2012
Shot of Terasology I took back in 2012

Hobbies

Photography and making music.