AusGamers Battlefield 3 Interview with DICE's Karl-Magnus Troedsson
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:34pm 29/08/11 | Comments
At this year's GamesCom, AusGamers caught up with DICE's Karl-Mangus Troedsson to talke Battlefield 3. Read on for what he had to say...
Watch the full video interview embedded above, or click here to catch it in HD.
AusGamers: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to AusGamers. You are here with Stephen Farrelly and I am here with Mr. Karl-Magnus [Troedsson]. You all know him; you all know this game; you’re all waiting for this game.
Let’s start at one of the ones that a lot of the PC community is a little annoyed about -- no mod tools. Can we talk about the decision behind that and what’s the philosophy for you guys? Because you’ve supported the mod community for so long and those guys kind of feel like they’ve been left out in the cold.
Karl-Magnus: Well first and foremost, I will say that there’s been a lot of cool things coming out of the mod community for many years; I have a lot of respect for the people in the mod community. At the same time, as developers of a game of this magnitude -- I mean, it’s the biggest thing we’ve ever done -- we have to select what it is we’re going to spend our focus on. We cannot do everything; it’s basically like that.
We have to make conscious decisions about what we actually do put into the game and what that actually gives us back. What that gives the players back that actually play the game. We have heard the community very loud and clear on this topic -- that they want mod tools. We are considering it, back in the studio. The game won’t ship with mod tools, but we have heard it. I’m not saying that we’re going to do it, I’m saying that we are thinking about it.
But the reasoning behind it is as well, is that at DICE, we are very committed to quality and innovation when we do something. So if we do mod tools, we really want to do it right. It can’t just be some hack that we throw together and people have to reverse engineer it and do all these kinds of stuff. It needs to be a very proper tool that people can use and that’s not a small thing to do.
There’s also a security risk behind all of this. It means that we need to open up our precious game and let people just tear around in it in whatever way. I would love to do this, but there’s a lot of things we need to consider in the background before we can make the decision if we want to do this.
AusGamers: Now the other big one is -- and I actually feel a little bit responsible for this. At E3 I spoke to Glen Schofield from Sledgehammer and he was the one that called out the 30 frames per second versus 60 frames per second. Now you talked about the idea that this is a new product and it’s new technology and I guess it’s EA’s kind of slap in the face at this particular genre [or] throwing down the gauntlet so to speak to kind of own this particular genre.
Which means that you’re going to have to take control of consoles, because consoles are where the money is. But the game has been demoed heavily on PC up until recently. And there’s no question that the console version doesn’t look quite as good. It’s not running at 60 frames a second. I guess I just want to get your spin on the decision behind 30 frames a second; what you feel 60 vs 30 means and do you at all feel like you’re doing anyone a disservice by throwing the game out there not in its entirety like you’re getting it on PC versus the consoles.
Karl-Magnus: Well first and foremost, we’re not throwing the game out there in any way. We have been working on this game for three years. We’re very conscious about quality and we’re polishing it to the last bits. Secondly, our games have been running at 30 FPS since we started doing console games.
There’s nothing “bad” about this. This is a unique selling point for some of the other competitors out there that are running at 60. I believe that they want to create an experience that are more twitchy, and it’s faster and these kind of things. 30 FPS works really well for us. I believe this matter is completely blown out of proportion. If you look at the frame-rate, a lot of games do run at 30 FPS and [for] shooters from console, it works very well. The tempo of Battlefield 3 is slightly lower so it works really well for us.
It also comes with the fact that our games have large open environments; we have tonnes of vehicles; we have more players; we have all-out destruction in the environment.
AusGamers: Yeah, so it’s basically a point of, that’s, I guess, what you have to do to make the game more engaging. To make it run better; to get a smoother experience for the player right?
Karl-Magnus: 60 FPS is not a technical problem, it’s very easy to do. If you turn off all the things I just mentioned, we can also get it to run at 30 FPS -- sorry, 60 FPS. [laughs]
AusGamers: Well let’s move forward. With Origin and Steam, there seems to be a bit of contention there as well among the PC players. But one of the cool things that’s happening on Steam at the moment is it’s available on the PS3.
Are you guys even looking at the concept of cross-platform play? Even by putting Origin on PS3? Obviously the controls are different and it would make for a different experience, but you know, some people have PS3s some people have PCs. Some people want to play each other and especially in co-op, it could work. And you’re talking about the game being a bit slower-paced, so maybe the twitch controls aren’t really necessary.
Karl-Magnus: I mean first and foremost the reason behind Origin is of course that we want to create a more of a community connection in between our games. We want to make it even easier for people to have a good experience with our games and we want to get auto-patching and [have] people to be able to download the games again after they bought them and re-install their computer and what not. But it’s a separate team within EA that’s building Origin, so I don’t have the inside regarding if they’re planning to bring this to console as well, so that’s actually a question you need to ask somebody else. Do I think that it would be a good idea? Sure, I like the idea.
AusGamers: Now let’s go to Frostbite. You mentioned earlier that it’s your new baby and you’re all very protective of it. Obviously Black Box are using it to make Need for Speed: The Run. For you guys, I guess what’s the process in giving those tools over to somebody who’s never used them. You’ve been working with them for so long and obviously it’s an iterative process from the first Frostbite engine. Have you found that there’s much of, I guess teething problems for anyone else taking control of the tools?
Karl-Magnus: Well, DICE has been committed to building our own engines for a long time. You know, if you go back to 1942 and Battlefield 2 and these kind of things. So we have a very long heritage of knowing how both compelling it can be to get new technology -- because you can go and do new things -- but also how painful it can be to actually go through a generation change of your technology.
With that in mind, now when we’re switching to Frostbite 2 in Battlefield 3, it comes with some problems for the dev team naturally. The thing that has helped us out when it comes to other teams within EA actually using this engine as well, is that we have a separate Frostbite 2 team that’s now dedicated to actually support not only Battlefield 3 but also Need for Speed: The Run.
So it’s been both a technical challenge, but also like a communication challenge and how do you make sure that several teams get more support with it.
AusGamers: Are you guys excited that, I mean essentially all of EA IP can now be running on this amazing engine?
Karl-Magnus: Yeah of course, we’re super happy that more people want to use our engine. But, I mean we’re not planning on putting it any further out than that. It’s not an engine that we plan to license out or do anything like that.
AusGamers: Ok. Now I guess we’ll kind of wrap it up real shortly. My next question is, what’s your favourite feature in Battlefield 3?
Karl-Magnus: Well, interesting. I have to say -- after playing it here and now -- I think it’s actually several of them. We have a lot of new weapon systems that come with the vehicles and also the more established vehicles. Laser-guided bombs; laser-guided bombs that you have to drop in.
We have a lot of teamplay functionality in between ground-forces and air-forces. Where you can have people spotting enemies; locking on to them, and then everyone that has lock-on systems can use them. This really creates for a huge war feeling -- this typically classic Battlefield feeling that we definitely had in Battlefield 2. Seeing that come back, together with the jets and helicopters; the tanks, the boats and everything at the same time is really, really.. it’s a very cool experience. And it’s not a feature per se, but everything together makes for that perfect experience that I really love.
AusGamers: OK, now do you guys think that you’re going to own the holiday shooter experience?
Karl-Magnus: Define own? I would say this: at DICE, we’re committed to making the biggest and best Battlefield game that we’ve ever done. First and foremost, we compete with ourselves and we are very competitive and we always want to innovate in our games, always drive quality and make a better game and these kind of things. But we’re trying not to get too involved in the whole slugfest out there when it comes to the different franchises against each other. They’re working on their game. They’re probably working as hard as hell to make the greatest title that they can. We’re doing ours.
It’s going to be an interesting Autumn for sure, but it’s going to come down to the players out there; what they want to play. Hopefully -- naturally -- I want them to play our game because I think it’s better, but I’m not going to stand there and judge that -- it’s up to the gamers out there.
AusGamers: Ok, diplomatically I think there’s room for both, but your game looks fantastic and thanks for talking to us today. We can’t wait to play it!
Karl-Magnus: Excellent. Thank you.
AusGamers: Thank you. Cheers.