Irrational details Unreal 3 and audio tech within BioShock Infinite

Wednesday, 3rd November 2010 21:32 GMT By Stephany Nunneley


Irrational Games has said on its forums it is using a modified version of Unreal Engine 3 for BioShock Infinite, and even detailed what exactly it has done to the engine, as well as what the changes do to the game’s effects.

According to Irrational’s technical director Chris Kline, the firm’s engineers are doing “whatever it takes” to bring the game’s setting to life.

“We’re talking about a world where entire buildings are moving around in the sky, you’re fighting AIs at 90mph on Sky-Lines as you dangle high above the earth, and racing through vicious weather to rescue Elizabeth while battling your way through hordes of enemies determined to stop you at any cost,” said Kline on the forums. “Right from the outset we realized that this was going to be a monumental undertaking on the tech side, but decided it was a challenge that we simply had to take on in order to give gamers the kind of quality experience they’ve come to expect from Irrational Games and BioShock.”

The original BioShock engine was a modified version of Unreal Engine 2.5, but since it was outdated only in terms of how the team wanted to us it, engineers started modifying Unreal Engine 3 for the title.

“Everything in Columbia is capable of moving,” said Kline. “The very ground beneath your feet could fall out of the sky at any moment, which makes for some awesome gameplay and visuals but required us to create a completely new technology that we’re calling ‘Floating Worlds’. You saw a little of this in the gameplay video(s) and you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in the future.

“To meet the aesthetic goals of our art team, our rendering gurus had to write a whole new renderer for BioShock Infinite based on deferred lighting and on top of that they’ve developed a proprietary per-pixel dynamic relighting scheme that allows characters and dynamic objects to receive global illumination.”

Kline goes on to char about updating the AI system, the addition AudioKinetic’s WWise technology for Infinite’s sound, which allows voices to “properly echo down corridors and around buildings” while also reinforcing “a dynamic wind audio system” for the dynamic weather in the game world.

It’s a rather interesting post, especially if you are interested in tech. Kline’s response with all the details is the 12th post down.

BioShock Infinite is out in 2012.

Thanks, BigDownload, Digital Foundry.



  1. LePlatypus

    I really want to play this game, it looks phenomenal

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Moonwalker1982

    It indeed looks phenomenal. The gameplay trailer on XBL, damn…i keep watching it. The littlest of details you see,it’s just brilliant.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. OrbitMonkey

    I do not want to hear anything more about this game. It’s not out till 2012!
    But its sooo pretty…..

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Thalius

    Unreal Engine3?!? Prepare for slow texture loading on the PS3, every game that i own that uses Ue3 has the same problem.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. freedoms_stain

    @4, it’s a heavily modified UE3, so you never know, it might be better :p

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Callum

    @5 indeed, I imagine thats one of the first things the engine programmers would fix lol.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. osric90

    I’m getting frozen until 2012, see you then!

    #7 4 years ago
  8. LordCancer

    @7 didn’t go so well for cartman

    #8 4 years ago
  9. freedoms_stain

    lol, say Hi to the otters for me :p

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Blerk

    This game really can’t arrive soon enough. :-|

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Callum

    Haha, I loved that episode of south park! Was it beavers that ruled the world? Lol.

    Looks so polished already, I can’t imagine what adding a new feature to a game that complete is like. And yet they have 2 years left? Crazy times.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. endgame

    hey what version of the unreal engine does me2 use?

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Blerk


    #13 4 years ago
  14. endgame

    well I have to say that textures loaded just fine on my low-end machine and on high quality settings so I guess there shouldn’t be any problems in infinite.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. klewd

    @ Thalius
    I doubt you’re going to see texture pop-in. It has been fixed in the latest version as far as I know and developers tend to fix it themselves (e.g. Mass Effect 2 doesn’t have texture pop in).

    #15 4 years ago

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