PCGH exclusive: Facts about Call of Duty: World at War
Today we are able to deliver an exclusive interview with Cesar Stastny, PC Lead on Call of Duty: World at War. He gave a first insight into the technical background of the action game.
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PCGH: What will be the base technology of Call of Duty: World at War? Do you as a new developer write a brand new engine from scratch of do you reuse many parts of the technology of Call of Duty 4? Why do you decide program a new engine/modify the existing technology?
Cesar Stastny: Treyarch has worked on various games during the last decade so we had our own engines, including the one on which all the Spiderman games were built. For Call of Duty: World at War, we chose the original Infinity Ward Call of Duty4: Modern Warfare engine as the base technology. Call of Duty 4 is widely considered the best cross platform game to date (Xbox 360/PS3/PC), so it is logical to consider its engine as the best next generation cross platform as well. We chose it for its excellent lighting and game scripting. We enhanced the existing Call of Duty 4 engine with visual improvements, new effects, cooperative multiplayer, as well as using Activision's proprietary DemonWare technology for online, lobbies, matchmaking on PC and PS3 platforms which do not come with the equivalent of Xbox Live.
PCGH: Call of Duty 4 was developed cross platform and there were no major differences between the console and the PC version as far as visuals and other technical aspects is concerned. Will this be the case for Call of Duty: World at War too? If yes, what are the advantages of a cross platform development? If no, how do you optimize your technology for the different platforms?
Cesar Stastny: The only difference between consoles (Xbox360/PS3) and PC will be if a player has a machine that is less powerful than actual consoles. In this case, you may dial back some visuals to compensate. If you are running on a modern multicore CPU and Nvidia 8800 video card you will get the same look and gameplay experience with the same or better frame rate and equivalent or higher video resolutions (1680x1050 or even 1920x1080).
The big advantage of cross platform development is the guarantee that the PC gamer can play the same game on the same date as the consoles - this is not a classic port which usually ships later and from a different studio than the original developer. Treyarch has a lot of experience in cross platform development. We were one of the first studios to ship on all major consoles (Spiderman 1 and 2) and we have been doing this consistently for the past 5 years, shipping all of our games on all consoles on the same date.