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See How You Can Fake Extreme Speeds in Unreal Engine 5

A combination of Niagara, radial blur, and camera angle tricks lets you make moving objects look much faster than they actually are.

When it comes to creating video games, it is a common practice for developers to fake certain aspects of their products in order to make them seem convincing without being too resource-intensive. One such aspect is the speed of the player character, which, at times, the devs increase artificially through clever combinations of techniques designed to deceive our perception for a more engaging gaming experience.

A recent example of this was shared by Game Developer and Systems Engineer Toshiyuki Wada, who demonstrated an impressive comparison of two Unreal Engine 5 mannequins running in a straight line.

Despite moving at an absolutely identical speed, the mannequin on the right appears much faster thanks to a shift in the field of view from 90 degrees to 140, a simple Niagara effect, and the addition of radial blur. "Unless you measure the movement speed precisely, I think most people would be fooled by the effect alone. It seems that the exhilarating feeling of appearing to move fast is more important," commented the author.

Earlier this week, BioWare's former Cinematic Designer John Ebenger revealed that this technique was used in Mass Effect when you run on the Citadel. "No change in speed, just in the FOV of the camera to give the illusion you’re moving faster," Ebenger noted.

And back in 2023, it was also confirmed that that horse sprint in BioWare's Dragon Age: Inquisition just looks faster but doesn't actually make you move quicker.

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