K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) stole the show in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Lucasfilm's John Knoll took to the stage, at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), to demonstrate how the caustic droid was fully rendered in real-time.
The technique was developed by a team at ILM, modifying Unreal Engine 4’s source code from developer Epic Games. Epic's Tim Sweeney was ecstatic.
"So final pixels rendered in the Star Wars movie, using the Unreal Engine, in real time. And it went into the movie! These are pixels you see in the movie! It's unbelievable," says Sweeney. "These real-world usage cases have pushed us much harder than before. Because as game developers, if we can't render a particular type of object well, we just put something else there instead, right. We can cheat. But these other industries cannot cheat. We have to solve all of the hard problems."
Rogue One was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars, but lost out to stablemate, and worthy winner, The Jungle Book.