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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.

Karl, I guess we kind of know a lot of what’s going on, we know a lot about the game now. It’s basically just a trickle down until release day. What I do want to talk about is some of the controversies that have come up.

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.
Read more about Battlefield 3 on the game page - we've got the latest news, screenshots, videos, and more!

Latest Comments
Posted 07:05pm 29/8/11
I totally get the stance on modding. Yes, it sucks, but this is their prized new engine worth a LOT more money than a single game will make back. They need to make secure, well-made tools.

30 vs 60... meh. Get a PC if you don't want compromise. There's a reason RAGE and MW3 won't be having anything more than superficial terrain deformation and environment destruction.

I applaud them for giving the finger to the 512 bottle neck and maintaining a playable framerate. We were all happy with Goldeneye at 15-20fps back in the day...
Posted 07:08pm 29/8/11
could you even handle more than 15fps of pierce :P

Posted 07:18pm 29/8/11
Great Interview Steve
The ground forces spotting for target loc for air forces is very cool, unlike the mortar AI in BC2.
Posted 08:00pm 29/8/11
Screw console players, it's high time that PC community got a little extra after so many sloppy ports because greedy dev's know that consoles are the cash cow. Good to see some hard hitting questions in the interview Steve, no offence, but it felt like the last two were kinda pointless and stalling for time :|
Posted 09:11pm 29/8/11
I'd love to know what went through Steve's mind at 01:46... loved the shoulder action there.

my initial instinct was to punch Karl-Magnus Troedsson through the monitor. He doesn't strike me as a bean counter though imo he's nailed down by one.


him - not you Steve

last edited by koopz at 21:11:57 29/Aug/11
Posted 09:27pm 29/8/11
In his answer to the second last question, he said boats! Thats pretty sweet, I don't think they've shown off boats in any of the trailers, I wasn't sure they'd be in there.
Posted 10:55pm 29/8/11
I was hoping destroyers or submarines would have somehow made it like they were in 1942
Posted 07:26am 30/8/11
Why didn't you ask why the price to Australians is $30 more than the US?

Why didn't you make it known that Australians are being ripped off?

Don't make the excuse that they are the Devs not the Distributors, Dice is owned by EA. They know why.

Stephen, you still unable to ask the hard questions?
Posted 08:16am 30/8/11
Don't make the excuse that they are the Devs not the Distributors, Dice is owned by EA. They know why.
He's a developer that works out of Stockholm and although DICE might fall under the EA banner, development staff are completely removed from those kind of publishing decisions.

If you want to know why Australians are being ripped off, you don't need to ask him. It's because people here continue to pay the amounts that they set. If you want things to change, stop buying local and import and encourage others to do the same.
Posted 08:32am 30/8/11
He's a developer that works out of Stockholm and although DICE might fall under the EA banner, development staff are completely removed from those kind of publishing decisions.

So you think they are immune from being asked the question because they are removed or do you just don't want to rock the boat. Because isn't the bomb maker just as guilty as the person who sets it off?

If you want to know why Australians are being ripped off, you don't need to ask him. It's because people here continue to pay the amounts that they set. If you want things to change, stop buying local and import and encourage others to do the same.

You don't kill a snake by cutting off it's tail. You kill it by cutting off it's head, mincing the body and smashing the tail.
Posted 08:44am 30/8/11
So you think they are immune from being asked the question because they are removed or do you just don't want to rock the boat. Because isn't the bomb maker just as guilty as the person who sets it off?
He's not the "bomb maker" because they have nothing to do with setting the price.

If you want to ask people about regional pricing you need to go to the publishing executives and we rarely interview those types because they're mostly just walking, talking press releases so don't expect a straight answer.
You don't kill a snake by cutting off it's tail. You kill it by cutting off it's head, mincing the body and smashing the tail.
Except there's dozens of these so-called snakes so any efforts to kill one or two will be utterly futile.

There's a few indie developers out there that are able set their own universal digital pricing for their product, eg: Valve's in-house titles, Runic Games and CD Projekt as the first that spring to mind.

Any of the big players however, are just going to charge what people are willing to pay. And as long as Australian's keep forking over $89 -- whether they're happy about it or not -- at the scale they operate at, it just wouldn't be smart business for them to lower that.
Posted 08:53am 30/8/11
He's the guy that manufactures ferterlizer, it's not really his fault that EA use it to dump s*** over everyone instead of using it to grow a better gaming community.

It's very easy to get around pretty much every regional pricing roadbock. And slightly harder, but still easy, to get around the few that are left (with VPN's and such.) Information to buyers is the best tool to beat it, you're never going to convince people to "Stop making as much money as you possibly can."
Posted 09:14am 30/8/11
Posted 10:15am 30/8/11
Great interview
Posted 07:37pm 30/8/11
specs mentioned in this interview

can anyone confirm if there's an offline (lan) mode for comp play?

last edited by koopz at 19:37:23 30/Aug/11
Cat Scratch
Posted 10:35am 31/8/11
The only specs mentioned were "definitely be safe with dual 580s" ... well No S***! there is no way that they would make a game based on the next generation of GPUS out sometime 3 months after the game comes out, so he says the highest graphics card that you can get at the time.

AHhhhh - game is going from costing $80 to $780 if i need to upgrade..which I will do.....happily.
Posted 11:47pm 05/9/11
Bloody great interview Steve.
Posted 11:51pm 05/9/11
Still making games with infantry, planes and tanks? Yawn.
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