Mark Lamia, Studio Head at Treyarch, recently gave an interview to Dan Amrich over at OneofSwords.com. Dan is a community manager of sorts at Activision and had the chance to sit down with Lamia on the One of Swords podcast.
One of the things that Lamia discussed is a hot issue in the Call of Duty community - the game engine. Black Ops 2 is once again built upon IW Engine 3.0; the same engine that powered Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare nearly 5 years ago. The engine has been tweaked more times than any Call of Duty studio can count, but the fact remains the same - it has been the same engine for a very long time. How is Black Ops 2 going to look cutting edge with 5 year old tech?
I think the whole thing about a new engine…sometimes that’s a great buzzword. Well, I have a new graphics engine — is that a new engine? Where does it start and stop? Elements of the code, you can trace back for a very very long time…but whole parts of the code are entirely new. Two areas we did focus on for this game were the graphics and the lighting — a pretty significant amount of work is going into that.
I think what people are asking for is for us to push. They want us to make a better-looking game; they want things. I don’t think those are things people can’t ask for. We asked ourselves that very same question — we wanted to advance the graphics. I think the questions are valid. The answer may not need to be an entirely new engine, but you might need to do an entire overhaul of your entire lighting system. The trick is, we’re not willing to do that if we can’t keep it running at 60 frames per second — but we did that this time. So this is the Black Ops II engine.
Lamia also likens the game engine to remodeling a house. If you went to remodel your home, you most likely wouldn't be tearing down the house and starting from scratch. You may bust down a few walls here and there, add a room, put in new flooring, etc...but the foundation that your house was built upon stays the same. There's no need to rebuild that foundation if it is strong and can support all of the changes you want to make on the inside.
That kind of analogy speaks volumes to us, and really boosts our confidence in what Treyarch will be able to do with this technology. We can't wait to see a proper gameplay trailer for Black Ops 2, but in the meantime - what are your thoughts on the game engine?
We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!