Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – New tech info about the DX11 game
In early March Battlefield: Bad Company 2 will be released. PC Games Hardware interviewed the producer of the PC version to get some technical information about the highly anticipated game.
Bad Company 2 is going to hit the markets in early March. The highly anticipated game will be released for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. PC Games Hardware interviewed the producer of the PC version, Anders Gyllenberg, about the technical background of the forthcoming action title. Bleow you can find the whole email interview as well as several new pictures of Battlefield: Bad Company 2.
PCGH: We know Bad Company 2 is a cross-platform product; it will be available on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Which platform are you using for developing as lead platform and why you decide to develop a cross-platform game?
Anders Gyllenberg: The game has been developed side by side for the PC version and the console versions.
PCGH: Are there any differences between the Console and the PC Version as far as technical or visual aspects are concerned (we know, BC2 is running with 720p and no AA on consoles)?
Anders Gyllenberg: We have added several PC specific features. Changing resolution & changing the graphical fidelity are the two obvious ones. We also have proper support for multiple aspect ratios like 4:3 and 16:10. The player has the option of activating the advanced control panel where you can set several settings such as detail levels, the AA, MSAA and HBAO. We support Dx9, Dx10 & Dx11.
PCGH: We also know that Bad Company 2 is featured by Frostbite Engine 1.x. Can you tell us the technical highlights of Frostbite Engine (for example SSAO, Depth of Field, Deferred Lighting or Global Illumination)? If yes can you please give examples how this rendering techniques are utilized in Battlefield Bad Company 2 (DoF while aiming for example)?
Anders Gyllenberg: The base renderer is a forward renderer. Some feature highlights would be an advanced SSAO technique called HBAO (Horizon-based Ambient Occlusion), DOF during cutscenes, particle systems optimized for huge amounts of particles, soft particle blending, and soft shadowmap filtering (DX11 only).
PCGH: Can you confirm that the PC version utilizes DirectX 11 (at GDC 2009, Johan Andersson showed some cool rendering features)? If yes, what were the deciding technical advantages of the DX11 API? In what way does it allow you to optimize or simplify the rendering process (we’ve heard you’re using Direct Compute for deferred shading)?
Anders Gyllenberg: Yes we can confirm that we support Dx11. The main benefits for us are efficient soft shadowmap filtering, and some smaller performance optimizations.
PCGH: Are there some graphical features that can only be rendered with shader model 5 hardware and how you realize them (especially Hardware-Tessellation and Direct Compute 5 for accelerated Ambient Occlusion)?
Anders Gyllenberg: We are using some shader model 5 instructions for improving performance with the soft shadow filtering. Other than that, the game engine is designed to run well with shader model 3 and 4 hardware.
PCGH: Beside DX 11, will there also be DX9 and DX10 as alternative rendering paths and if yes, which performance and visuals experience can we expect of this?
Anders Gyllenberg: Yes we also support Dx9 & Dx10. The Dx9 path is efficient, but lacks some of the features such as HBAO, AA and soft shadows.
PCGH: Developing for Console (and PC) usually requires an engine that is strongly multithreaded. What different calculations can be or are split up into different threads/worker jobs and what is the expected performance gain resulting from two respectively four (or more) cores? You are using DX11-Multithreading to lighten the load on the CPU?
Anders Gyllenberg: Most of the CPU processing is parallelized – culling, rendering, physics, audio, animations, collision etc. Performance increases noticeably with a quad core. We are currently not using DX11-multithreading.
PCGH: Frostbite Engine uses Havok physic engine. Why do you decide to work with a middleware solution? Does Frostbite support an advanced destruction system [yeah, we know it do so ;-) “Destruction 2.0”] like terra forming or other physic that influences gameplay? What is your personal opinion about GPU-accelerated PhysX or physics in general?
Anders Gyllenberg: Havok is a good base for us and we have built many layers of our own on top of it to support destruction and our large-scale multiplayer worlds. One interesting feature and quite unique feature is the destructible terrain - it actually affects gameplay and allows the player to take cover in the craters created. We are currently performing all our physics computations on the CPU cores in parallel. CPU/GPU hybrid solutions are an interesting future prospect.
PCGH: Bad Company 2 Beta does not support Anti Aliasing and the texture resolution is not as high as it will be in the full version and also there is no possibility to prone. Can you please explain the reasons for these decisions (smaller download etc.)?
Anders Gyllenberg: We do not support AA in Dx9. This is because we are utilizing other Dx9 features which are incompatible with AA. Dx10 and Dx11, on the other hand, are more flexible APIs.
We chose not to include higher resolution textures in the Beta in order to keep the download size small.
Regarding prone that is a design decision which we won’t change in the full game.
PCGH: Bad Company 2 Beta supports AMD’s Eyefinity technology. We’ve heard there will also be the possibility to use Nvidias 3D Vision – why do you decide to utilize these kinds of features?
Anders Gyllenberg: We are always eager to test out new ways to play our game. The support of multiple monitors has been on our agenda for a long time but it is not until now with Bad Company 2 and AMD Eyefinity that we have had the opportunity to do something about it. The NVIDIA 3D Vision system is also a really new and cool way of experiencing the Battlefield, and we are looking forward to the upcoming 3D Vision Surround.
PCGH: Do you have an explanation why games fully utilizing 64 bit architecture are so rare? If Crysis 2 is 64 bit ready, what benefit players can expect? If no, what where the reasons to make the game 32 Bit only?
Anders Gyllenberg: The main reason to go 64-bit is if the application needs to access more than 2GB of memory at the same time. Bad Company needs a bit more than 1GB of memory for the game itself, and therefore would not benefit from 64-bit.
PCGH: Does Frostbite Engine EAX 3.0 for a better sound experience?
Anders Gyllenberg: We use our in-house HDR Audio technology. It performs all software mixing on the CPU, and has a tremendous amount of flexibility. The output can be either Stereo, 5.1 or whatever sound setup you happen to have.
PCGH: Some games like ArmA 2 or Serious Sam HD offers Supersampling Antialiasing, will Frostbite Engine also support this technology as a fixed part of the CE3 (especially under DX10/11, where the engine needs to request AA)?
Anders Gyllenberg: We use MSAA only.