Frostbite 2.0 is a Hell of an Engine

There are a few things about the handling of Battlefield 3 that are troubling – Origin exclusivity and the Online Pass come to mind – but DICE can’t be faulted for their new engine, which looks to be as cutting edge as edges get. The Swedish developer’s general manager Karl Magnus spoke at the Eurogamer Expo this week about what Frostbite 2.0 will deliver.

Magnus admitted that the company’s obsessed with visuals, but they don’t want to settle on being able to produce an amazingly detailed frame for a screenshot – they want to have depict the most realistic animation possible. They felt the animation in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 wasn’t up to scratch, so they searched for the best animation engine they could find.

“We were surprised and happy to discover that it was in the EA Sports games.

“So we worked with the sports team, we worked with a group within EA called EA Tech, and we implemented the ANT animation system into Frostbite 2 – we’re the first FPS to be using this animation technology, and for us, it’s a big, big difference; how the soldiers move, how they go into cover, how they look under suppressing fire … it really takes you out of the uncanny valley.”

The Frostbite engine which powers Battlefield 3 first appeared in 2008’s Battlefield: Bad Company. Frostbite 1.5 powered its sequel, as well as Battlefield 1943 and the multiplayer component of the latest Medal of Honor. Battlefield 3 will be the first game powered by Frostbite 2.0, followed by Need for Speed: The Run in November.

Magnus also spoke of the game’s audio, which was one of the most immersive features of Bad Company 2. He argues that sound is an integral and often overlooked part of the experience, and to ensure it was done right, DICE sent their sound team to military exercises around the world to capture the sound.

“”I’m going to be a bit cocky here and say that I believe a lot of developers overlook this area. I play games every now and then that impress the hell out of me visually, but when you fire a gun it’s like, ‘ping’, ‘pooooo.’

“If you’ve ever been to a range and fired a gun, it’s one of the most visceral experiences you can have, it’s so fricking loud! We see this game as a very physical experience and when you play it through your 5.1 system, I would say audio makes up 50% of that experience.”

Battlefield 3 hits American shores on October 25, Europe on the 27th and Australia the 28th. The open beta starts on the 27th of this month if you’ve pre-ordered the game through Origin, and the 29th for everyone else.

The Guardian [Battlefield 3: the five key strengths of Frostbite 2.0]