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Treyarch: Graphical Advances Don't Need An Entirely New Engine

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Activision, Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2, FPS games, Trailers, Treyarch, Videos

Treyarch's Mark Lamia has called for gamers to recognise that the term "new game engine" is just a buzzword, insisting that Treyarch don't necessarily need an "entirely new engine", and stating that the studio will instead be looking to "advance in the areas that support [their] game design.

"People always ask me, 'Is this a new engine?'," says Lamia. "I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodeled. Just because you’re remodeling 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."

Lamia's point is that engines grow and evolve with each and every use, that in order to stay competitive all engines have to be upgraded and tweaked.

"Engines, each time they get touched, they change," he said. "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.

"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."

Lamia admits that the fans have questions and concern, that they want a better looking game, and his view is that this is far from unreasonable. But he argues that this doesn't necessarily require a complete overhaul.

"I think what people are asking for is for us to push," he said. "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 II engine." [One Of Swords]

Add a comment10 comments
jk12324  May. 14, 2012 at 17:38

I agree with this on some levels. Remember when Bethesda said that Skyrim was going to be using a "brand-new engine"? Yeah...

Last edited by jk12324, May. 14, 2012 at 17:38
hicks12  May. 14, 2012 at 19:36

A brand new engine doesnt always mean new graphics, i think its hard to call Bethesda on that because simply put they were working with the same stupidly pitiful console hardware, its holding everything back... if publishers went back to high end PC only then yes game engine advances would shine through (look at crysis 1... its taken what 4 years and only crysis 2 matches it after many patches! Game are made to be cheaper and optimised for consoles so until the underlying hardware changes (read: new consoles or pc only) then we wont see advances in graphics.

imdurc  May. 14, 2012 at 19:48

I totally get that peeps want better graphics from CoD (me included). But, am I the only one who wants something that feels/plays differently? Fresher? That would be why, I think, some people ask for a new engine more and more, now.

A different experience is not just down to the game, but what's under the hood. Frostbite engine one game, Bad Company 2, feels different from BF3's feel. And I don't just mean, because it's a different game. I believe that BF3, if made in the first Frostbite engine, would not feel and/or play the same.

Great games can be made with seemingly lesser graphics (Super Meat Boy, Bastion, Tell Tale's games, etc.). Gameplay is always no. 1. Remembering that, you have to wonder, how different will the next CoD game, really play?

jk12324  May. 14, 2012 at 20:21

A brand new engine doesnt always mean new graphics, i think its hard to call Bethesda on that because simply put they were working with the same stupidly pitiful console hardware, its holding everything back... if publishers went back to high end PC only then yes game engine advances would shine through (look at crysis 1... its taken what 4 years and only crysis 2 matches it after many patches! Game are made to be cheaper and optimised for consoles so until the underlying hardware changes (read: new consoles or pc only) then we wont see advances in graphics.



I wasn't saying Bethesda didn't deliver with the graphics. It's just that they kept advertising about how it runs on a shiny new engine, but then the PS3 lag bug kicked in and it was obvious that it was just the old engine in a shiny coat of paint (apparently Fallout NV had the same problem). They probably only changed a few lines of code, then re-branded it to attract people into buying the game, which closely relates to what the article was talking about.

gmdlogan  May. 15, 2012 at 00:10

The engine wasn't poor for MW3. The map's made the game poor. I still play MW2. This is the first COD in years i won't be getting. The whole bull about ELITE and all the dlc. Not worth the bother.

It definately needs a change, not necessarliy a new engine. The engine is still slick. Still looks good. The gameplay/multiplayer just sucked.

Tsung  May. 15, 2012 at 07:49

Ahhh the MW3 maps, indeed some do feel like they were knocked up rather than planned. What I'd love to see is randomly generated maps (SOF2 anyone?). Sure the map generated might not be "fair" for one side but life isn't fair, each map could be played twice (switching teams/starting points). It might be a bit of a nightmare for the developers but it's better than keep pumping out the same game every year.

I know clans would hate it, however, if you can't play on a battlefield you don't know "inside out" you cannot be a very good team. :p

Late  May. 15, 2012 at 10:32

They would, of course, require you to put another 50p into the machine each time the server generated a new map, Tsung... ;)

I'm pretty much with gmdlogan on this. The current COD engine is pretty bloody good. Make it better if you you want - you'll get no complaints on that front. But for the love of god please make the game different. COD has been one of my favourite game series ever, and I've racked up hundreds of hours on most versions in recent years - but MW3 got about 8 hours play (on multiplayer). That's woeful.
I didn't abandon it because of the game engine. I abandoned it because it's stale.

That said, though, I imagine the engine's partly to blame for that. As good as it is, it undoubtedly has it's limitations. You can update and add to the code but if millions of fans feel they're just getting a lick of paint instead of a complete renovation (see what I did there, Mr. Lamia) then sales will inevitable start to dwindle.
Doubt I'll bother with Black Ops 2, personally. That'll be the first COD I've neglected to buy in a long time - but if I'm not getting value for money then I'm not interested. And eight hours play doesn't qualify as value...

darkspark88  May. 15, 2012 at 22:18

I think Treyach is trying to distract from the issue of a new engine under the premise that all a new engine does it produce nicer prettier graphics.

New engines, change the physics, environmental interactions and countless other variables that often become stale. For instance the source engine was groundbreaking at the time when it came to physics and water effects. Now the physics are distinctly stale.

The same is happening with MW. I understand they want to keep stuff the same, simply because it works perfectly with their logging system COD Elite and a host of performance reasons. But this is exactly the situation that everyone predicts. When a firm has a monopoly over a franchise, they get lazy and milk it. Unfortunately the only way to change things is to vote with your feet. If it keeps selling, there is little incentive to change things.

It's the same with consoles, a manufacturer will never launch till the product is in decline. So we can only hope that on release, the next iteration doesn't break another sales record, otherwise it's no surprise to what you'll get for christmas the following year.

X10  May. 21, 2012 at 12:51

Is this a non-story?!

Have gamers actually been calling Treyarch out on their "new game engine"??? Or is it just more marketing to make people look the other way.

A "new game engine" is not a buzz word, it is a simple statement indicating that the engine is new. Using Lamia's analogy an old house that is renovated is not a "new house" it is a renovated old house, it's pretty simple.

Is the average gamer so moronic that they are deceived by such marketing BS nowadays.

/sigh

DivideByZero  May. 21, 2012 at 16:07

Well yeah, I have been calling the CoD teams out on their engines for a while now. Other people will be too.

The CoD engines are very dated and perform and look like it too.

It is granted that they don't necessarily have to build a new engine from the ground up, but they are in need of a huge overhaul if you compare all the other games out there with new engines and new engines coming.

What this story is basically saying is they do not have time and Activision will not pay to build a new engine but will actually spend some time polishing their existing one.

If it works then great... but if they just re-up the Black Ops engine... then remember, that was the World at War engine, which was the CoD4 MW1 engine......

YOU CAN'T POLISH A **** BUT YOU CAN ROLL IT IN GLITTER!

Last edited by DivideByZero, May. 21, 2012 at 16:08

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