Midnight Laundry Missive: Unreal Engine 5, Steam Deck support, and preparing for launch
It's been almost two years since Midnight Laundry was announced. I intended to post more updates along the way, but as many side projects go... life happens. While things have been slower than I wanted, I'm happy to say the game is almost finished. I'll announce the release date very soon, but in the mean time, I wanted to share how things are going.
Unreal Engine 5
At first I thought I wouldn't bother migrating the game to UE5. It's a small game, and everything was working just fine in UE4. Then I got my hands on UE5.
It is a joy to work with. It has a modern UI and several new features that make it difficult to return to UE4. More importantly, it has surprisingly good backwards compatibility. Upgrading to UE5 just felt like upgrading to another 4.x version! Everything worked out of the box. The game looked and felt exactly the same, and I was even able to package a working build right away.
The engine is set up in a way that allows you to adopt the shiny new features one at a time, at your own pace. You don't have to commit to all of them in order to upgrade, which is really nice. In Midnight Laundry, I'm getting the most out of 3 particular new features:
- Lumen – A fully dynamic lighting system that is perfect for horror. I no longer need to bake lighting every time I move things around!
- MetaSounds – The new audio authoring system in UE5. It's miles ahead of the old SoundCue system from UE4. If you're familiar with the material graph in Unreal, it's like that... but for audio. I can use a flow graph to design sounds, manipulate them, mix them, and even layer music – all at runtime. It's wild.
- Modeling Tools – The built-in modeling tools first appeared in UE4, but they were experimental, limited, and often produced mixed results. In UE5, the modeling tools are far more fleshed out and stable. They allow me to easily modify and customize assets I use from the Unreal Marketplace, right in the engine. It's a huge time saver.
These features have allowed me to be a lot more productive, which is important when you're working on a side project and time is limited.
I pre-ordered my Steam Deck the day it was announced, and received it several months later. It's a really exciting device, and I knew I wanted to make games for it as soon as I got my hands on it. My goal is for Midnight Laundry to fully support Steam Deck on launch day. I'm aiming to get the little "Great on Deck" badge that you see on the Steam store.
Getting the game to run on Steam Deck has been challenging and involved a lot of trial and error, but I'm happy to say the game is now running smoothly on my Steam Deck, even with Lumen enabled! Here's a quick demo.
Preparing for launch
As I mentioned earlier, the game is almost done and I will soon announce a release date. When I do, I will be launching a Discord server where you can ask me questions, connect with other fans, participate in exclusive events, and get a chance to join the closed beta test.
I will publicly announce all of this, but if you want to be among the first to know, make sure you subscribe to my newsletter.
I am both nervous and very excited about all this. Midnight Laundry is almost here, and I can't wait for you all to get your hands on it!
A short horror game where a long night at the laundromat takes an unexpected turn. Coming soon for Windows and Steam Deck.