Exclusive Interview with Epics Tim Sweeny on Unreal-Engine-3 and UT 3
The original printed version was first published in issue 06/2007 of the german PC Games Hardware magazine. Here you'll find the unabridged interview of PCGH with Tim Sweeny. The Interview was conducted via email by Frank Stöwer on behalf of PC Games Hardware, all rights reserved. (2007)
PCGH: You rescheduled the game to Q3 in 2007. Was one of the reasons behind this that you had to do some technical changes with the engine or that you found ways to improve your game technology?
Tim Sweeney: We didn't reschedule anything. UT3 has always been about being done when it's done. We're taking our time with the game because the UT franchise is very important to us and we want to get it right for this, the third generation in the series.
PCGH: You are using deferred shading. Will there be any chance to get FSAA working with DX9-Level-cards? What about DX10-cards?
Tim Sweeney: Unreal Engine 3 uses deferred shading to accelerate dynamic lighting and shadowing. Integrating this feature with multisampling requires lower-level control over FSAA than the DirectX9 API provides. In Gears of War on Xbox 360, we implemented multisampling using the platform's extended MSAA features. On PC, the solution is to support multisampling only on DirectX 10.
PCGH: Can you at this point of development tell our readers what kind of hardware will be required to play the game with all detail in 1024x768 (No FSAA/AF) and 1.600x1.200 (with 4xFSAA - if available - and 8:1 AF)? Will there be any fallback modes for gamers with older hardware like Shader 2.0 cards?
Tim Sweeney: Optimization is still ongoing, so these numbers change on a daily basis. In general, our Unreal Engine 3 games run quite well on DirectX9 class hardware that NVidia and ATI released in 2006 and later, and amazingly well on the high-end cards including DirectX 10 cards. We also support Shader Model 2.0 hardware with minimal visual difference.
PCGH: Can player speed up performance remarkably by buying a second card for a SLI- or Crossfire system? Have you already measured/experienced differences between those two systems?
Tim Sweeney: We test on SLI configurations on a regular basis. There impact at higher resolutions is significant so if you want to experience the full beauty at high resolutions this is a great way to preserve performance while doing so. We haven't had a chance to run on Crossfire yet, but would expect similar results.
PCGH: Could you in a couple of sentences sum up the technical as well as the visual highlights of the Unreal Engine 3 and especially UT 3 that will make your product superior to other competitors like Crytek (Cry Engine 2) id (doom 3 engine with megatexture technique)?
PCGH: When did you get your first next-gen-hardware (DX 10-cards) to fiddle apart from console stuff?