This year’s biggest upcoming games – including Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Watch Dogs, Splinter Cell: Black List, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Batman: Arkham Origins – are being built with technology from NVIDIA.
No surprise, given NVIDIA’s investment in game development, Tony Tamasi, NVIDIA’s senior vice president of content and technology told an audience of press, game developers, and industry analysts at E3 this week.
NVIDIA has more than 200 dedicated gaming engineers. Their inventions are woven into more than 56% of AA or better games. And NVIDIA now owns more than 66% of the market for the discrete GPUs powering the most sophisticated PC games.
With the latest generation of consoles adopting more ‘PC-like’ technologies, such as DirectX 11, Tony argued NVIDIA is more relevant to game developers than ever, 48% of whom are building games for the PC, more than any other platform.
Tony brought a group of them on stage to talk about what they’re building with NVIDIA technologies now:
- Weirder Weapons – Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software showed off an upcoming downloadable content (DLC) pack for Borderlands 2 that transforms the offbeat sci-fi world of Borderlands 2 into a dungeon crawler that pits players equipped with futuristic weapons that go bang in amazing ways against armies of creepy critters.
- Wider Worlds – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, will be set in a world ten times the size of any earlier Assassin’s Creed installments, said Carsten Myhill, lead content manager at Ubisoft. Players will explore environment alive with rolling seas, roaring waterfalls, lashing rain, and exotic landscapes. “We wanted to push the visual technology as far as imaginable,” Myhill said. “Our relationship with NVIDIA helps us do that.”
- Sneakier Sneakiness – Visual effects are a central part of Splinter Cell’s action, Andy Wilson, a producer at Ubisoft Toronto, said, allowing the franchise’s stealthy hero, Sam Fisher, to flit through shadows undetected. To build Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Wilson invited NVIDIA engineers to work alongside Ubisoft’s own. The result is a demo packed with lightning that illuminates darkened rooftops, slick rain-soaked walls, and characters who fog the cold London air as they exhale.
- Nicer Threads – Limin Lu, senior technical director at Snail Games explained that NVIDIA’s PhysX technology lets his developers create outfits that shake and shimmy as characters move through Snail’s virtual worlds. The result: selling new clothes to players has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in Age of Wushu a game set in ancient China.
- Quicker Development – Steve Sinclair, creative director for Digital Extremes, isn’t shy about it. His small studio dug deep into NVIDIA’s technology toolbox to build a game packed with big effects. Warframe which Sinclair describes as “Ninjas in Space,” is a free to play game filled with frenetic action. And, for gamers using NVIDIA’s GPUs, it’s also full of clever visual touches that give the free-to-play game a big-budget sheen.
- Explodier Explosions – Everyone likes stuff that goes boom, and there’s plenty of that in the Planetside 2 a PC game coming to the PlayStation 4 later this year that pits thousands of players against one another on sprawling battlefields. Tramell Isaac, a senior art director with Sony Online Entertainment credited NVIDIA for a host of visual flourishes – among them, spectacular explosions. “The NVIDIA guys are really great to work with,” Isaac said. ‘They actually knew our game.”
- Visions of What’s Next – Epic — which builds game engines for a host of cutting-edge titles — is known for gameplay demos that set the tone for each new generation of games. And Epic didn’t disappoint when it unveiled its Infiltrator demo earlier this year. The technology behind the demo: NVIDIA GPUs, said Alan Willard, senior technical artist with Epic. “Our development workstations are NVIDIA machines,” Willard said. “NVIDIA allows us to do things we wouldn’t have thought possible.”