It took us nearly 5000 words to cover the first half of our two-part interview with Cloud Imperium Games CEO Chris Roberts, who joins us now for the second half. In the first part, we dove straight into discussion on Alpha 3.0, plans for unveiling procedural generation V2 at CitizenCon, and Star Marine & Arena Commander A2.6 updates. Roberts' procedural generation plans initially disclosed to GamersNexus in 2014 have mostly been realized, and the team is now working on a second iteration of the internally built Planet Ed[itor] toolset. Much of the new procedural generation technology will be shown at CitizenCon on October 9, but Roberts also teased to us that new character technology would be on demonstration at the event.
This is the second and final half of our interview with Chris Roberts, CIG CEO & Chairman, but not the final interview for our trip. Technical Director Sean Tracy joined GamersNexus to discuss deeper engineering solutions to technological challenges faced by the team, offering some insight to game development that we think our 'regulars' will enjoy from an engineering standpoint. The first half of that content will post on Friday, September 30. The second half will be announced alongside the publication of the first half.
Both interviews – with Roberts and with Tracy – ran about forty minutes in length, and contained a trove of new information related to the title's immediate future. With Tracy, we'll discuss engine architecture, what it actually means to “refactor for 64-bit,” authoring tools, and more.
It's been three years since we first visited the Cloud Imperium Games studios in Santa Monica, though we've conducted a dozen interviews with CIG CEO Chris Roberts in the time since. Now, taking a victory lap through Southern California's hardware manufacturers, we stopped over at CIG's offices for a second in-person visit.
A lot has changed. The studio, for one, is now in a new location that's farther from the Santa Monica beach, but in a larger space. The team has grown significantly in both organization and team size, and challenges faced, and Roberts has adjusted his interview technique just enough to ease off on providing release dates.
Our latest visit had us focusing on the new planetary procedural generation tech, version 2.0, the predecessor for which we originally detailed two full years ago. Roberts talked us through the start-to-finish plans for CitizenCon's presentations, additional Alpha 3.0 launch details, Star Marine, procedural generation, character tech, and engine refactoring in a forty-minute interview. We've split the interview into two parts, the second of which will go live on Monday (September 26). Our time spent in the office was doubled to accommodate a second interview with Technical Director Sean Tracy, responsible for answering our deeper hardware and software engineering questions. That content will go live next week, after the first two parts of the interview with Chris Roberts.
We saw a lot of games at PAX West and, as always, didn’t get a chance to cover all of them individually. One little game stood out, though: Midair, the spiritual successor to the Tribes series.
Cloistered away in the back of the sixth floor of the Seattle Convention Center, Archetype Studios barely got their game into PAX. Another exhibitor dropped out of the show two weeks prior to kick-off, opening a slot for waitlisted Archetype. As longtime fans of the Tribes series, Archetype Studios and its founders were disappointed by Tribes: Ascend’s support and payment model, leading to the creation of Midair. The game was already successfully Kickstarted for nearly $130,000, about 30% more than initially asked.
The Coalition's Gears of War 4 demonstrated the capabilities of nVidia's new GTX 1070-enabled notebooks, operating at 4K with fully maxed-out graphics options. View our Pascal notebook article for more information on the specifics of the hardware. While at the event in England, we took notes of the game's complete graphics settings and some notes on graphics setting impact on the GPU and CPU. The Coalition may roll-out additional settings by the game's October launch.
We tested Gears of War 4 on the new MSI GT73 notebook with 120Hz display and a GTX 1070 (non-M) GPU. The notebook was capable of pushing maxed settings at 1080p and, a few pre-release bugs aside (pre-production hardware and an unfinished game), gameplay ran in excess of 60FPS.
We've got an early look at Gears of War 4's known graphics settings, elevated framerate, async compute, and dynamic resolution support. Note that the Gears team has promised “more than 30 graphics settings,” so we'll likely see a few more in the finished product. Here are our photos of the graphics options menu:
Like most games, id Software's Doom greeted launch day with its share of bugs and crash-to-desktop issues. To some extent, it's permissible – games are hard to make, there's a million hardware configurations (we benchmarked Doom on several GPU configs over here), and developers are under serious deadline pressure lest they risk missing the market timing. But that doesn't make it easier for gamers to deal with – particularly after spending $60 on a dysfunctional product.
Having put Doom through the ringer with several hardware configurations, we've seen the most common issues and have found the solutions. This quick guide contains Doom 4 crash fixes, FPS drops, and FPS locks.
Before Rainbow Six: Siege launched, it seemed like the game had some real momentum behind it -- even potential as a competitive shooter. Counter Strike: Global Offensive has also been making waves in the eSports scene; last year, ESL Cologne set the record for most viewers on a single stream with 1.3 million watching CS:GO. There is real demand for tactical, team-based shooters.
The team at Giant Enemy Crab are currently looking to fulfill that desire with upcoming title “Due Process.” Comprised of around nine people, Giant Enemy Crab have been putting Due Process together for around a year and a half now. We recently had a hands-on gameplay session with Due Process, joined by GN Hardware Editor Patrick Stone and members of the Giant Enemy Crab team.
The freshman effort from studio Fool’s Theory looks promising. A small group of seasoned game developers that comprise the studio has been together now for about a year – including former CD Projekt Red (The Witcher) team members – and PAX East 2016 offered our first look at their game, Seven: The Days Long Gone. The Polish group set out to do something they said “no one has done,” which was to create an isometric, parkour-style, jump-and-climb action RPG. We got the chance to play Seven: The Days Long Gone, an Unreal Engine game, and speak with project lead Jakub Rokosz at PAX East.
The game takes place in a “beyond post-apocalyptic” future where mankind is slowly rebuilding. The plateau of Peh begins our story, and players get to explore the Empire of Vetrall throughout the campaign. We were placed in the game as protagonist Teriel the thief, but were informed that Fool's Theory also intends to allow players to choose their own character when the game is complete. Teriel is possessed by a demon, Artanak, who has an agenda of his own. The demon and its host work together to learn about the Empire of Vetrall, aiming to discover much about the ancient world and its secrets. Gamers can expect about 10 hours of campaign play with many more added, assuming all the side quests and adventures are also completed.
Torn Banner's Mirage: Arcane Warfare made its inaugural press tour at GDC a few weeks ago, but we weren't allowed to play it until last weekend's PAX East. Previewing a mechanically deep game from a show floor environment is always difficult – you've got a few minutes to figure out the controls, and it's normally just enough to get a good “base feeling” for the heart of the game. That's it, though, and there's little to be learned in the form of combat or mechanics intricacies.
We previewed Mirage: Arcane Warfare gameplay at PAX East in a full multiplayer match, managing to play each class at least once between the two of us. One class remained locked, but the rest were open to play.
The games industry moves in trends – RTS, MMOs, shooters, space sims – but the industry's also big, and one segment that's developed a new trend is the indie games market. The current trajectory of indie games is a retro one – using graphics that resemble the classic 8- and 16-bit games of old, particularly games like Nidhogg, Kingdom, and Organ Trail.
Mages of Mystralia doesn't go down to 8-bit to accomplish its goals of revitalizing nostalgic titles. Mystralia looks to recapture the spirit of older games – specifically the Zelda games, taking artistic cues from Windwaker and differentiating for originality. We had the opportunity to preview Mages of Mystralia while at PAX East, reminded of a more “intellectual” Magicka fused with Windwaker elements.
We spoke exclusively with the Creative Assembly team about its game engine optimization for the upcoming Total War: Warhammer. Major moves to optimize and refactor the game engine include DirectX 12 integration, better CPU thread management (decoupling the logic and render threads), and GPU-assigned processing to lighten the CPU load.
The interview with Al Bickham, Studio Communications Manager at Creative Assembly, can be found in its entirety below. We hope to soon visit the topic of DirectX 12 support within the Total War: Warhammer engine.