Lionhead: Fable III PC “has never looked more beautiful”

Tuesday, 17 May 2011 05:29 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Lionhead staff have commented that the PC port of Fable III is the most beautiful version of Albion seen so far, trumping its Xbox 360 progenitor.

“Because our artists originally authored their assets at such a high quality, removing the limits that the Xbox 360 imposed upon us immediately made the game look better,” lead engine coder Don Williamson told Beefjack.

“The main benefit to a PC release is to be able to see the world of Albion realised at such a high resolution,” added senior designer Mike West.

“We have some mighty PCs in the office and along with the fantastic 3D mode, Fable has never looked more beautiful which the artists love.”

Williamson gave some specific examples of graphical improvements to the PC version of Fable III, including greater texture pools, deeper draw distances, and increased shadow resolution.

Not that it was all smooth sailing, of course: the programmer said many Xbox 360-specific engine features had to be re-written for the port.

“For example, the PC version had to somehow keep up with the tens of thousands of occlusion queries the Xbox 360 engine could do every frame,” he said.

“Our histogram evaluation had to be moved from the CPU to the GPU to prevent stalls, some video cards can’t sample the depth buffer as a texture making depth-of-field and crepuscular rays difficult, we were employing lots of tricks to occupy space on the 360 that couldn’t be done on the PC, we had to counter lots of inefficiencies introduced with the higher level of abstraction in D3D on the PC…

“The list goes on, but the engine guys did a great job bringing it all under control.”

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