Goodbye Kansas Studios delivers real-time VFX for ‘F1 Manager 2022’ trailer using Unreal Engine 5 

Frontier Development’s F1 Manager 2022 has released their teaser trailer for the first edition of the new game series, delivered by Goodbye Kansas Studios. The trailer premiered in March ahead of the first installment in the F1 Manager series. 

Goodbye Kansas’s technical artist and real-time lead Henrik Melsom and technical artist and real-time supervisor Tim Hermes, assisted in the production of the trailer. 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.

“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,” said Melsom. 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. Also, we always use Perforce for version control on Unreal Engine projects,” said Melsom.

The F1 Manager trailer presented several challenges to overcome. Talking about the high-level difficulties that proved challenging but equally motivating, he said, “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 highlighted one of the favourite components 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,” he said.

“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,” Melsom added. The game F1 Manager 2022 is set to release on 30 August 2022.

Goodbye Kansas recently created cinematic trailer for PUBG: Battlegrounds, which follows the format of Battle Royale – characters fighting until death for survival.