Monday, May 14th 2012

Treyarch says Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Doesn't Need a New Engine to Advance Graphics

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 doesn't need a brand new game engine to improve the graphics over previous games in the series, Treyarch has insisted. Black Ops 2 is built using the latest, most advanced version of the engine that Call of Duty developers have used to build the first-person shooter series since 2005's Call of Duty 2: a heavily modified version of the id Tech 3 engine. Some fans have called on Activision to invest in a brand new graphics engine in order to spruce up Call of Duty's visuals. But Treyarch chief Mark Lamia said continuing to upgrade the current engine was enough to meet the development team's design goals. "People always ask me, 'Is this a new engine?' he told One of Swords. "I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodelled. Just because you're remodelling the house and it will look new or it will have a new kitchen, you don't tear out the foundation, or break out some of the framing. You might even go as hardcore as replacing the plumbing, and we will do that sort of thing, as an analogy. It's a gross simplification, but it's one way to say that. There's a lot of good still in that foundation that you wouldn't get rid of, and we don't. We look to advance in the areas that support our game design.

"Engines, each time they get touched, they change. The creators alter them; they don't modify what they don't need to, and then they alter what they need to. You can't make a competitive product if you're not upgrading that engine along the way." He added: "I think the whole thing about a new engine... sometimes that's a great buzzword. Well, I have a new graphics engine - is that a new engine? Where does it start and stop? Elements of the code, you can trace back for a very, very long time... but whole parts of the code are entirely new. Two areas we did focus on for this game were the graphics and the lighting - a pretty significant amount of work is going into that."When Activision announced Black Ops 2 earlier this month it promised a "visual overhaul", with graphical upgrades a mix of "tech and technique". In a demo to press played on an Xbox 360 build of the game, an unpopulated level set on Socotra Island in Yemen showed HDR lighting, bounce lighting, self-shadowing and a new texture technique called reveal mapping - all running at 60 frames per second.

"I think what people are asking for is for us to push," Lamia explained. "They want us to make a better-looking game; they want things. I don't think those are things people can't ask for. We asked ourselves that very same question - we wanted to advance the graphics. I think the questions are valid. The answer may not need to be an entirely new engine, but you might need to do an entire overhaul of your entire lighting system. "The trick is, we're not willing to do that if we can't keep it running at 60 frames per second - but we did that this time. So this is the Black Ops 2 engine."Source: Eurogamer
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95 Comments on Treyarch says Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Doesn't Need a New Engine to Advance Graphics

#1
digibucc
i think to most people it signifies that they are not planning to innovate, or do anything "new".
to expect cod to change anything drastically is... not very logical. they have a winning formula, and they will keep releasing games following that formula, because it's a winning formula.
no new engine, no new ideas. they don't need them, because they have millions of customers.
Posted on Reply
#2
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Kreij said:
An "engine" is just code and can be modified to any extent if they have the rights to modify the source code (which I'm sure they do).
If they have heavily modified their current engine, then they have a TON of code in their code base that relies on their mods.
If they get a new engine, they will have to redo it all, or at least spend a butt load of money on regression testing ... and that is not necessarily a good financial move if their design requirements won't facilitate all of the new bells and whistles of a new engine.

Sure, the latest engine tech is impressive, but there is a lot more that comes into play when trying to manage the creation, and budgets, of a AAA game.
I don't care how much gravy you add to stale potato's.

If everyone worked this way we would NEVER have new engines. So you mean to tell me iD with a half the sales of the CoD series is able to create a new engine every 5 years but Activision with BILLIONS of revenue can't for their flagship game? BS. They are just being cheap asses because they know the name sells. Doesnt matter whats under the hood.
Posted on Reply
#3
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
TheMailMan78 said:
I don't care how much gravy you add to stale potato's.
I lover 'taters. Mmmmmm
Your analogy is completely ridiculous, but I still love 'taters.

TMM
If everyone worked this way we would NEVER have new engines. So you mean to tell me iD with a half the sales of the CoD series is able to create a new engine every 5 years but Activision with BILLIONS of revenue can't for their flagship game?
Of course they can. Why should they if everyone keeps buying their games by the millions?
Posted on Reply
#4
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Kreij said:
I lover 'taters. Mmmmmm
Your analogy is completely ridiculous, but I still love 'taters.
My analogy is perfect. It over flows with levels of win that cannot be comprehended with the force of one thousand suns.

Kreij said:
Of course they can. Why should they if everyone keeps buying their games by the millions?
There used to be a thing called pride in a job. I read about it in books.
Posted on Reply
#5
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
No tesselation for you! Doesn't mean they won't put a crappy attempt at it in though. Tesselation is a major design change when used to its fullest extent.
Posted on Reply
#6
digibucc
the thing is the engine doesn't really matter. cod is about not having to worry whether your friends are buying the same game or not - that's really the only important point.
it doesn't have to actually be better than any other game, it's that you can feel safe knowing you aren't weird for trying something new.
Posted on Reply
#7
Fourstaff
TheMailMan78 said:
I don't care how much gravy you add to stale potato's.

If everyone worked this way we would NEVER have new engines. So you mean to tell me iD with a half the sales of the CoD series is able to create a new engine every 5 years but Activision with BILLIONS of revenue can't for their flagship game? BS. They are just being cheap asses because they know the name sells. Doesnt matter whats under the hood.
If it ain't broken why fix it? To use a new engine you basically need to retrain your entire workforce to familiarise themselves with a new environment. Given the development cycle of a COD game is about a year, I would say that if they adopt an all new engine the next COD game will only have one guy holding a knife with a few boxes as terrain.

Bethesda released Morrowind, Oblivion, FO3, F:NV, Skyrim and I don't hear as many people complaining. Double standards?

FordGT90Concept said:
No tesselation for you! Doesn't mean they won't put a crappy attempt at it in though. Tesselation is a major design change when used to its fullest extent.
Tesselation is still not one of the more premium features in a game, there are not many (but growing number) games which uses it.
Posted on Reply
#8
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
TheMailMan78 said:
My analogy is perfect. It over flows with levels of win that cannot be comprehended with the force of one thousand suns.

There used to be a thing called pride in a job. I read about it in books.
god Mailman is a boss!

Fourstaff said:
If it ain't broken why fix it? To use a new engine you basically need to retrain your entire workforce to familiarise themselves with a new environment. Given the development cycle of a COD game is about a year, I would say that if they adopt an all new engine the next COD game will only have one guy holding a knife with a few boxes as terrain.

Bethesda released Morrowind, Oblivion, FO3, F:NV, Skyrim and I don't hear as many people complaining. Double standards?
Thats because those games actually were new iterations. All CoD brings each year is more 12 years olds screaming in the mic "I F$@KED YOUR MOM LAST NIGHT".
Posted on Reply
#9
TheMailMan78
Big Member
digibucc said:
the thing is the engine doesn't really matter. cod is about not having to worry whether your friends are buying the same game or not - that's really the only important point.
it doesn't have to actually be better than any other game, it's that you can feel safe knowing you aren't weird for trying something new.
This is true. When I was growing up I used to strive my best to do the opposite of everyone else at the time. Didn't matter if it was good or bad for me socially. I just HAD to go against the grain. I dunno why that was. I was always the outcast but enjoyed it. I bet today if I was a kid I would be all about BF3 or Bejeweled or something just to spite the crowd.

Fourstaff said:
If it ain't broken why fix it? To use a new engine you basically need to retrain your entire workforce to familiarise themselves with a new environment. Given the development cycle of a COD game is about a year, I would say that if they adopt an all new engine the next COD game will only have one guy holding a knife with a few boxes as terrain.

Bethesda released Morrowind, Oblivion, FO3, F:NV, Skyrim and I don't hear as many people complaining. Double standards?
1. They already fired 90% of the IW team. Time for a new engine? NAAAAAAAA.
2. No one bitches about Bethesda using the same engine? Are you kidding me? Ill bet you last 5 minutes with Crazyeyes in TS at the mention of that engine.
Posted on Reply
#10
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
there was a time when people used to play a game for its story above all else. I loved CoD1 for how the story played out. with the more modern CoDs todate, the story has been utter crap. so why not sex up the game visually?? at least players can get immersed in the graphics rather then the storyline. but then i guess CoD players dont really care about how bad/dated the game looks or how crap the storyline is so long as they can run and gun and camp in corners in MP.

Then again. out of all the people who play black ops mainly play or bought it for the zombies.... So why not leave the CoD series be and make Zombie games since thats what a lot of people buy the game for?
Posted on Reply
#11
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
TheMailMan78 said:
There used to be a thing called pride in a job. I read about it in books.
That only applies to people who actually do the work ... and yes they have a lot of pride in their creations.
It's the beancounters that crush their hopes and dreams by nailing them to a budget and time constraints that make some things impossible.
Id sells their engine. It's a money maker for them, and their games are not dependant upon the cost of licensing the engine.

Mmmm.. baked 'tater with broccholi, melted cheese and bacon. Drool.
Posted on Reply
#12
MilkyWay
Kreij said:
An "engine" is just code and can be modified to any extent if they have the rights to modify the source code (which I'm sure they do).
If they have heavily modified their current engine, then they have a TON of code in their code base that relies on their mods.
If they get a new engine, they will have to redo it all, or at least spend a butt load of money on regression testing ... and that is not necessarily a good financial move if their design requirements won't facilitate all of the new bells and whistles of a new engine.

Sure, the latest engine tech is impressive, but there is a lot more that comes into play when trying to manage the creation, and budgets, of a AAA game.
Like others have touched on it doesn't really matter what engine they use if people are buying their games. If they can tweak their engine and it makes them and their fans happy then they will. Sticking with that house analogy, some people are fine living in the same house for years on end. My point before was there is only so much they can do with a dated engine.

Doesn't effect me as i dont play their or Infinity Wards games.
Posted on Reply
#13
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Kreij said:
That only applies to people who actually do the work ... and yes they have a lot of pride in their creations.
It's the beancounters that crush their hopes and dreams by nailing them to a budget and time constraints that make some things impossible.
Id sells their engine. It's a money maker for them, and their games are not dependant upon the cost of licensing the engine.

Mmmm.. baked 'tater with broccholi, melted cheese and bacon. Drool.
Yeah? How many AAA games you seen with the Tech 5 engine?
Posted on Reply
#14
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
TheMailMan78 said:
This is true. When I was growing up I used to strive my best to do the opposite of everyone else at the time. Didn't matter if it was good or bad for me socially. I just HAD to go against the grain. I dunno why that was. I was always the outcast but enjoyed it. I bet today if I was a kid I would be all about BF3 or Bejeweled or something just to spite the crowd.



1. They already fired 90% of the IW team. Time for a new engine? NAAAAAAAA.
2. No one bitches about Bethesda using the same engine? Are you kidding me? Ill bet you last 5 minutes with Crazyeyes in TS at the mention of that engine.
that is so true. I about just spit all over my screen laughing!
Posted on Reply
#15
Batou1986
I really don't care what game engine they use that is not my major issue with the new series of COD games.
I loved the first modern warfare and the games before it then WAW which was ok, what isn't ok is they have been recycling the same boring MP ever since then.

The reason i like BF/TES/DoW/Witcher/Fallout is the premiss and game play remain similar yet its different enough to be a new experience not just new textures perks and the like.
Tho Bethesda has been lacking any marked improvement in game mechanics where CDPR did a great job making tweaks and improvements.
Posted on Reply
#16
Fourstaff
Its really sad that people nowadays are bothered about how good a game looks rather than how good the gameplay is (COD fails at both counts though, unless you are playing with your friends pwning noobs). Humans are so superficial
Posted on Reply
#17
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
TheMailMan78 said:
Yeah? How many AAA games you seen with the Tech 5 engine?
How much does it cost to license it, and what are it's advantages for your given design requirements?
Sure it's good for a studio's e-peen to say they have the latest, greatest engine ... but not if they go bankrupt to get it (and you know the studios aren't in the best shape these days).

4Staff
Bethesda released Morrowind, Oblivion, FO3, F:NV, Skyrim and I don't hear as many people complaining. Double standards?
Lol ... no comment.
Posted on Reply
#18
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Fourstaff said:
Its really sad that people nowadays are bothered about how good a game looks rather than how good the gameplay is (COD fails at both counts though, unless you are playing with your friends pwning noobs). Humans are so superficial
What do fake tits have to do with this?

Kreij said:
How much does it cost to license it, and what are it's advantages for your given design requirements?
Sure it's good for a studio's e-peen to say they have the latest, greatest engine ... but not if they go bankrupt to get it (and you know the studios aren't in the best shape these days).
Activision bankrupt from a CoD title......you realize thats what you just said right?
Posted on Reply
#19
Fourstaff
TheMailMan78 said:
What do fake tits have to do with this?
What makes you think of fake tits when I say "superficial"?

TheMailMan78 said:
Activision bankrupt from a CoD title......you realize thats what you just said right?
They are morally bankrupt?
Posted on Reply
#20
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
TheMailMan78 said:
Activision bankrupt from a CoD title......you realize thats what you just said right?
No, in this case it's really unlikely. But why should they cut into their profit margins by purchasing a new engine (and the expense of making it work with existing code base) since people are buying their product like hotcakes?
Posted on Reply
#21
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Kreij said:
No, in this case it's really unlikely. But why should they cut into their profit margins by purchasing a new engine (and the expense of making it work with existing code base) since people are buying their product like hotcakes?
Because a new platform is right around the corner and getting a leg up on the competition with a new engine that's future proof NOW will insure future domination of the market?
Posted on Reply
#22
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Fourstaff said:
Tesselation is still not one of the more premium features in a game, there are not many (but growing number) games which uses it.
...because most engines out there are still designed to run on 7 year old consoles. You won't see tesselation in PC games until consoles support it too. Sure, there's a few exceptions but they're mostly half-assed.


Fourstaff said:
Bethesda released Morrowind, Oblivion, FO3, F:NV, Skyrim and I don't hear as many people complaining. Double standards?
FO3/F:NV engines really weren't meant to involve guns and they compensated using silly VATS. F:NV is at least passable.

Skyrim...I really don't like the direction they took it. It feels like more action and less RPG.
Posted on Reply
#23
Crap Daddy
I'm very curious to see what Max Payne 3 is capable of. The system req. go from 8600GT to GTX680. Now that's some engine.
Posted on Reply
#24
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
From what I saw in the ad spots, expect Grand Theft Auto IV with gameplay tweaks.
Posted on Reply
#25
Kreij
Senior Monkey Moderator
TheMailMan78 said:
Because a new platform is right around the corner and getting a leg up on the competition with a new engine that's future proof NOW will insure future domination of the market?
Market domination, or better yet market saturation, in the gaming industry has nothing to do with the engine you use.
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