Infinity Ward’s animation lead Zach Volker has been talking about Call Of Duty Ghosts’ new next-gen tech and explaining the difference between a completely new, from scratch, engine and one that’s been upgraded enough to be called new.
Call Of Duty Ghosts new engine explained
Volker told me: “When we’re talking about a new engine we’re talking about upgrading significant systems within in that engine. We’re not talking about throwing it all away and saying we’re starting from the ground up”. The reworking of the old engine to create the new engine is, says Volker, because it’s, “impossible to develop a new engine from the ground up in a two year cycle”. Instead it come down to the amount that the current tech has changed. “What we do is we say, ‘okay what are the things that are significant and that we would say that are encompassing of the engine or its visual quality?” explains Volker. “Are those being upgraded in a significant way? Alright, then I think that warrants that we’ve got a new engine on our hands”.
You can listen to the full interview above or read the transcript of the engine talk below.
OPM Why wait to make a new engine? Was it because the current engine could do what you wanted, or because it was too big a job?
Zach Volker Developing a new engine comes out of a necessity of something. So it comes out of necessity of what we have now is an open bandwidth that can accept more things going on and so maybe the current engine can’t push that. Or it comes out of a certain particular feature that we want to create that we haven’t been able to in the past. So looking at our current situation, focusing more on the next generation of hardware, we are now going to have the bandwidth to build many more things and our engine just can’t handle as much as we’d like to throw at it right now. And that necessitated the need to go onto a new engine. It’s a fine line when you define a new engine, and augmentations to an engine. What you want to be careful of is making too much of a distinction of a new engine. As we develop and we add features, at what point does it become a new engine? Because it’s impossible to develop a new engine from the ground up in a two year cycle. You would need an army of 200 engineers. So what we do is we say ‘okay what are the things that are significant and that we would say that are encompassing of the engine or its visual quality? Are those being upgraded in a significant way? Alright then, I think that warrants that we’ve got a new engine on our hands.
OPM Can you say what tech the new engine’s built on?
ZV The original engine years ago was built on Quake engine. We’ve done so many new engines and overhauls on top of that I’m not sure any of it still exists.
OPM Is it still built from the original tech or is it built on something new?
ZV When we’re talking about a new engine we’re talking about upgrading significant systems within in that engine. We’re not talking about throwing it all away and saying we’re starting from the ground up. It comes down to the systems we’re augmenting and upgrading, and trying to decide what is the significance of this upgrade. So there is certainly going to be remnants here and there of our pieces of our last engine, where it was appropriate when, you know what, this doesn’t need any changing. It’s good the way it is. Because at Infinity Ward we make a really clear point to make sure we only upgrade the things that are necessary for driving the things and the gameplay experience we want to push for that project. So just because we could do some cool 3D smoke, that if you walk through it, it ‘poofs’ and moves to the side, if that doesn’t aid in the gameplay experience we’re trying to push then we’re not going to pursue that technology even though we would have the capabilities for it. We make sure the engine is built the way we want it to be built so that it handles as efficiently as possible the things we want to show on the screen.
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