King Arthur 2: Exklusive technical interview - More than 100 million polygons on the battlefield
King Arthur 2 ist expected for a January 10th release. The interesting mixture of realtime battles and RPG elements shows a lot of interesting technical aspects. An exklusive interview with developer Neocore Games reveals some of the DirectX 11 optimizations.
Our German website already published a technical hands-on-test for King Arthur 2. Now we focus on the technical aspects of the game in-depth as the new Coretech 2 engine has some muscles when looking at at the latest graphic cards support and multicore optimizations. Battlefields consists of up to 100 million polygons (in same cases even more), big monsters feature 70-100k polygons, heroes 30-50k. The engine supports HDRI rendering, parallax mapping, SSAO, bokeh depth of field, MLAA, volumetric shadows and more buzzwords.
We conducted an interview with Neocore Games with focus on DX11.
1) What DirectX format do you support with King Arthur II?
King Arthur II supports DirectX 9-10-11. We use the DirectX 10 and 11 to increase the game speed and to fine-tune several elements.
2) In spite of the fact that for a Roleplaying Strategy Game visuals are not as important as for a shooter game why do you decide to utilize the very modern DX11 API?
The DirectX 10 and 11 versions have introduced only a handful of new, basic technics that cannot be utilized with DX9, basically they're full of structural improvements. The few features that are new and special in DX11 – like the tessellation support – cannot be used for the moment to build a game upon it, since it is still not wide-spread enough. However, the structural improvements of these newer versions can be utilized to run a more stable and faster game code compared to running only the DX9 on a 64bit Windows 7 for example.
3) Did you decide to integrate DX11 support into the engine from scratch or did you decide at a certain point of development to extend the renderer with a DX11 path?
We decided from scratch that we should utilize all three "current" versions of DirectX. That is what we wanted from the very beginning.
4) What do you think are the deciding advantages of DX11/Shader Model 5? What make the API so suitable for your game?
With DX11 it's possible to further increase shader complexity and thus we can use them more efficiently. It enables the use of technics that are not necessarily obvious for the players when they first see the game, but still, these grant a physically more precise look for King Arthur II. For example, using DX11, the ambient occlusion also appears besides the normal shadow on the surfaces that use parallax mapping. Only a couple of these alone cannot change dramatically how the game looks, but if you add plenty of these effects it can create a more realistic outcome. Moreover, we were able to accelerate the particle systems and now the entire Coretech 2 engine runs more optimally.
5) How does DX11 allow you to optimize or simplify the rendering in your game? From which DX11 feature does you game profit the most?
It's easier and faster to handle and optimize numerous resources in the new API. With DX11 first of all the game speed and the memory usage is expected to show better results in King Arthur II – apart from several graphical improvements of course. The compute shaders for instance have helped us a ton in the optimization of complex post-processes.
6) Do you focus on using DX11 for speeding up the rendering or will there be special visual improvements resulting in applying DX11 rendering techniques (Tessellation, HQSSAO, better performance, better post processing effects, advanced Anti Aliasing modes, improved lighting)? If there are special DX11 features what visuals will gamers with older DX9 video cards miss?
There won't be major, extremely spectacular visual differences between the different versions of DirecX. However, with DX11 several elements of the game will be faster and several elements will look better due to the improved shadows or the further range of the billboard to see objects with a higher LOD (Level of Detail) from a distance, and so forth. Basically we can turn on most of the graphical features on the older DX9 graphics cards as well, but the performance will not be enough in that case to run the game on maximum settings.
7) Will there be visual differences even between DX11 and other supported DX versions? In other word, are there any features that can only be rendered and displayed with a DX11 video card?
Yes, there will be features like that. But they are not the core elements of the visuals (post processing effects and alike) and their presence or absence will not be obvious for an average player – for example the newer DirectX versions will use a more detailed shadow calculation and the post illumination effects and parallax will be more precise.