Battlefield 4’s Patrick Bach on platform scalability and PC optimisationby Steve Wright 4 April 2013
People might be divided when it comes to Battlefield 4’s emotional core, but one thing is absolutely certain – the game looked amazingly gorgeous. Joking that my wallet hurt at the mere thought of the PC specs required to run the Battlefield 4 GDC demonstration, DICE’s Patrick Bach laughed.
When I told him I was primarily an Xbox 360 gamer, Bach laughed even more. As beautiful as the recent presentation was, Battlefield 4 also needs to impress on Microsoft’s aging console, one that’s been around since 2005. If you don’t have the cash to run a high-end PC – or buy a new PS4, even though DICE won’t confirm next-gen availability at this time — I was curious as to how Battlefield 4’s experience would scale down on its eldest platform.
“There’s no easy answer, of course, because we’d need to show it [the Xbox 360 version] to you,” Bach began.
“Battlefield 3 was very scalable. The Frostbite 2 engine [in BF3] was a great piece of software,” Bach continued. “The focus of the Frostbite 3 team now has been usability at its core, to create better toolsets and create better games, focusing on the experience. And on top of that, of course, creating better visuals than ever.”
Bach said that a proper mix needs to be achieved when optimising Battlefield 4 and Frostbite 3 with the Xbox 360. “When you talk about scalability, it’s about scaling the right things. We want to create the same experience for the player, even if you’re on a seven year old console. The cool thing with having a tool like Frostbite 3 is that we can cherry-pick exactly what goes and what stays. Some of it will actually just scale – so it’s still there, but at a lower fidelity. To us, it’s a great place to be, when you want to make the same game on a super-high end platform or a seven year old console,” Bach said.
Of course, if you’ve got the hard-earned cash to spend on a ridiculously powerful PC, DICE hasn’t forgotten about you either.
“We are trying to provide the most options possible for PC. You can already see that in the Frostbite 2 engine, where we support not only multi-CPUs,” Bach said. “Of course, we’ll use all the memory that you can possibly put into your machine.”
“We’re working closely with a lot of hardware manufactures to pinpoint and increase what is possible with specific hardware. I don’t know if you remember Battlefield 3, but we had unique drivers from the graphics card manufactures that were BF3-optimised. Again, we’re working with manufactures to create a super high-end experience. We ran the demo yesterday at 3-point-something K in that cinema in 60 FPS [frames per second], which no one has done before.”
It looks like DICE plans to have you covered, regardless of your platform of choice.
Stevivor.com was flown to San Francisco recently by EA to attend and cover the Battlefield 4 reveal. Thoughts and feelings on the game are the writer’s own.