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Why is Battlefield 3's Frostbite 2.0 engine so special?

Insight: DICE gives us the rundown of key features...

If you're an FPS fan, you've no doubt seen or read something that suggests Battlefield 3 should very much be on your radar this year.

From stunning lighting effects to show-stopping set pieces, DICE's FPS looks set to shake-up a genre in dire need of a kick up the ammo clip.

The power behind the game's stunning effects is DICE's own Frostbite 2.0 engine - something both the developer and owner EA believes can put a major dent in Call Of Duty's claim to the FPS throne.

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Speaking at GDC earlier this month, senior producer Patrick Bach talked us through the engine piece-by-piece, describing exactly what it allows the studio to do that it couldn't achieve in the past.

Here, we repeat Patrick's comments in full. It's an incredible looking slice of gaming, but just wait until you hear the thing in action - just one more facet of Frostbite 2.0's capabilities...

We have been working for more than three years on Frostbite 2.0. This is of course something that we needed to build the Battlefield 3 game that we wanted to create. But what does Frostbite 2.0 actually do? Allow me to talk about some of the pillars we actually have in the engine:

The first thing that's important to mention is the Animation system. We are using a technology that has been developed within EA by EA Tech. This animation technology has been used by the FIFA games - you can see it in the actions of the players there - and it's called ANT. It really takes the first person shooter genre a big step forward and this is what we needed to build Battlefield 3.

Destruction is also a big part of Battlefield games nowadays. We're expanding it both on a macro level by being able to take down full buildings but also in the micro-destruction where you can chip away small pieces from cover, which will come into play throughout BF3.

Scale has always been a big part of Battlefield games and now we're taking that to a whole new level. Bigger landscapes, bigger cities but also a sense of difference when going indoors - showing the cities from a very tight, narrow perspective.

And then there's rendering - the wrapper that makes everything else look awesome. If you're to take this game to the next level of realism, you really need a rendering engine to support that. It has everything you could ask, including dynamic radiosity, particle lighting and much more.

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Our audio is something we've been winning quite a lot of awards for and that we're very proud of. I would say we're already best in class, but in Battlefield 3 we're taking this a major step forward. Pretty cool, huh?

But Frostbite 2.0 is just tech. This is not the game - not want we want you to play. These are just the tools we are using to build the full experience of Battlefield 3. We fully hope you enjoy it.

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