Johan Andersson, rendering architect at DICE, held a presentation called “Shiny PC Graphics in Battlefield 3″ at GeForce LAN 6, which took place on the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier, October 14-16. Andersson’s talk focused on five graphical components in Battlefield 3: objects, lighting, effects, terrain, and post-processing.
In the third video, Andersson said effects have always been a big topic, because due to the various vehicles and all the action occurring in the game, developers can’t just “script” the multiplayer portion. According to the Andersson, different effects need to interact with the environment straight out of the box and be both dynamic, and interesting in nature.
In order for this to work, effects in the game need to be made up of thousands of big and small particles. To DICE, it was essential that all particles in the game, whether mesh or sprite, fit in and interact with the environment.
“One of the key things we found out while working with our effects, is that it’s not really the individual look of the effect but that it fits into the environment,” he said. “The biggest part of this is lighting. Most games just use a single texture around the particle, and it can look pretty okay with a static lighting environment, but with our intertaction within [Battlefield 3's] environments, adding proper effects to our lighting and particles adds a lot. So, it’s all about lighting, again.”
According to various presentation slides, particle lights should light up both themselves and the surrounding surfaces, which make the entire environment “fit together very well.”
A second slide during this portion showed what the game looks like with shadow particles both on and off, and the viewer will see an obvious difference between the two.
“There’s a traditional problem in many games, where light sources don’t receive shadows themselves,” said Andersson. “They have this strong sun lighting up the particle, which is pretty easy to do, but you need to have areas of the scene, especially in urban environments, to have different particles with shadows.”
It’s a very techy presentation, which is to be expected when speaking at a PC-related event. You can watch the entire presentation below, in five parts.
Also, to find out how well your PC will run Battlefield 3, Nvidia has provided a link to its GPUAnalyzer. We ran it, and apparently our ATI Radeon HD 5700 Series is “below the game’s recommended specifications.” Great.
Battlefield 3 is out in the US today, and hits the UK on Friday. PC reviews can be found here.