Level Design Changes | Coming in Convergence

Hello Travelers,

The Pre-Patch Hype Week continues! In today’s blog post, we’re going to be covering some of the improvements in level design. Everything from the lighting, assets, and layout of the area you’re fighting (or dying) in has a very significant impact on not only the gameplay feeling itself but also immersion. These visual aspects can convey a lot of feeling and emotion behind the meaning of a scene and help establish it within the world, making each scene feel unique and impactful.

The physical layout of different areas is also quite crucial in an ARPG due to how the camera angle works, how movement works, and how players interact with it. As a quick example, ever notice how most maps like to go up and to the right? This is because you have the most visual area in the top of the screen, as well as for many people reading left to right leads to a natural tendency to go right first. Of course, there are exceptions to provide uniqueness, but there are many small rules that go into making maps for an ARPG. But today, we’re going to be covering some of the improvements we’ve been making since 0.8.5, and showcase some of these improved scenes!

Updated Scene Assets

Assets are one of the fundamental aspects of any level design. This may be plant models, surfaces, textures, and a whole host of other things. We’ve been updating scene assets accross Eterra for both better visuals and better performance. Just because something looks better, doesn’t mean it needs to impact performance; this is the balance we’ve been striving for. Assets can also introduce a consistent theme, with specific lighting and atmosphere, areas can be tied together thematically.

For today’s example, we’re going to be looking at Lagon’s Temple. As a key area housing one of the Gods of Eterra themselves, this beautiful temple has had a lot of attention provided to it with new assets, lighting, and terrain tools. Our level design team has used our newest terrain tools to achieve localized wetness and blend dirt texture into the floor to make the area more distinct and stand out as a whole new experience.

New End of Time Zone

The End of Time is one of the most important zones in Last Epoch. It’s where you achieve one of the largest turning points of your character, it’s where the primary endgame system is housed, and it is, as the name implies, where everything ends up. Previously, The End of Time was not as visually distinct of an area as we would have liked, given its importance in story, gameplay, and as the primary central hub in Last Epoch.

Here we’ve gone through the End of Time, giving it the visual distinctness warranted by its importance. The background as a key part of The End of Time’s identity, which really helps drive home how final it is. We’ve kept the core of it while adding some more fractured elements with islands of reality in the environment to put on display the existence of this place outside of reality itself. Following Patch 0.9, this area will also become one of the primary town hubs, where you’ll be able to encounter other players traveling through their own timelines or yours if you chose to share your timeline with them in forming a party.

Volumetric Lighting

It’s hard to see all the beautiful textures and assets without lighting. However, just having a skybox light and some reflective surfaces doesn’t make an area very engaging. This is where volumetric lighting comes in. In the past, we have used volumetric lighting, but in a minimal way. We’ve improved our tools to be able to use volumetric lighting more globally, keeping visuals consistent no matter where you are in the scene. Instead of having localized god rays, we are now setting volumetric parameters for the whole scene, where light sources can properly react with these volumes, creating more believable fog and atmospherics.

Volumetric systems can also work together with particle systems, like rain, to achieve a dramatic look where the rain is illuminated by other light sources or even thunderstorms. This is a much cheaper (performance-wise) way to create these types of effects compared to having lit semi-transparent particles. For today’s showcase, we’re showing off some of these new volumetric effects, which are in high use on Admiral Harton’s Dreadnaught, where the scene takes place on open water in the middle of a thunderstorm.

We can also use volumetric properties to create visual effects, such as in this ravine. Having thick fog volume illuminated by glowing void assets.

Vegetation Shaders

In the past, we have used several different vegetation shaders for different vegetation assets, but this was causing a number of issues. Consistency between different assets was not great, as they had different shading models, different motions, or even no motion at all. With this, it was hard to maintain and create great-looking environments.

We ended up creating our own vegetation shaders to unify all vegetation in the game. These shaders are optimized for our renderer and how we want to use vegetation now or in the future. Because this is a solution we made for us, the system is less expansive and focuses more on what we need. Meaning vegetation not only looks better, but also generally resulted in improving performance of these shaders across the board. It also means vegetation is now consistent with the same shading and lighting models.

This also gives us a set of unified controls that allow us to achieve new effects previously not possible! This means we can have rolling winds, gusts, gales, light breezes, and everything in between able to affect all the vegetation consistently. Imagine tiny grass, tall trees, and bushes all able to be controlled by in-game wind. It’s very exciting, and you will see many of these effects coming in patch 0.9!

A new view

With new scene assets, volumetric lighting, and vegetation shaders at our disposal, we’re bringing the world of Eterra to life in a much more immersive way. Patch 0.9 will bring these improvements and more to many zones in Last Epoch during the Convergence update on March 9th, and you can look forward to more scenes receiving these improvements on our road to 1.0.

Farewell for now Travelers, and we’ll be back soon with another hype week blog post for our next look at our upcoming Multiplayer Beta - Convergence!


Just want to say that I really appreciate the performance improvement these changes have brought


Zowie! These look prettier than my momma’s purse.

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This all looks gorgeous! I love the aesthetic and feel of the environments! :slight_smile:

I’m consistently impressed at how much nicer this game looks with every patch.


Ugh it looks so good, hopefully performance doesn’t tank!


Very nice :grinning: almost wish you had put spoiler tags on those.

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im more worried about server issues on the 9th lol


are those textures and technologies improved from open beta multiplayer or is that the same thing I cant distinct?

Some changes were available in the Open Beta, not all of them though! We’ll also be continuing to apply these new improvements to more and more zones after 0.9, continuing to improve the Level Design in Last Epoch.


thank you for the answer, is there more improved combat feel and skill visuals coming in 0.9 or is that all what we so in multiplayer open events?

The jump in graphical robustness from 0.85 to 0.9 looks impressive. I definitely felt some of the areas I played in during the 0.9 open beta looked better, and it sounds like there are even more coming. Great to see the investment and evolution, and a really well written article that has me excited to play again in just a few weeks!

These demonstrations look phenomenal. I hope we players can experience them within reason while also sustaining healthy and stable FPS amidst combat!


I got an average of +60FPS during the multiplayer testing :slight_smile:

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Volumetric lighting makes everything so much prettier! Crazy how big of a difference it makes with revamped areas compared to 0.8.5! Great job EHG :kissing_heart:


These look like some really awesome improvements to the graphics. I have only one concern. The first video under Volumetric Lighting shows that at times this can be hard on the eyes and maybe make it a little hard for play at times. Hoping you’re looking at that aspect, otherwise it all looks great.

Thank you for your continued diligence!

Can’t wait to see all of this on 4k ultrawide! The game already looked great, but this one looks even better.

Also looking forward for the juicier parts of these patch notes coming up this week!

Single player experience was great during their full testing. Hopefully they did not botch it

All this game needs now is PERFORMANCE and some additional changes in skill-effect-sounds. Of course people are waiting for more content and new classess or even new skills or tree-rework. Not for new graphics. What I am worried about now is that EHG is trying to make LE look like Diablo 4. If I wish to play ARPG with fantastic graphics and medium content I will go for D4. Last Epoch provided me more fantastic content and ALL I want is to run this game - even - at lowest settings without a single fps drops. Please don’t forget what ARPG defined is by. New Visual Graphics or new content with new classess and new skills.

You will be glad to hear that some of us got better graphics, higher and more stable FPS :slight_smile:

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