PCGH interview about Borderlands

Borderlands: DX10 confirmed - Exclusive PCGH interview with Gearbox

PCGH interviewed Corrinne Yu, Studio Wide Director of Technology at Gearbox Software, about the science fiction shooter Borderlands.

Borderlands [Source: view picture gallery]
Corrinne Yu is Studio Wide Director of Technology at Gearbox Software
Corrinne Yu is Studio Wide Director of Technology at Gearbox Software [Source: view picture gallery]
PCGH: Why did you decide to license the Unreal Engine 3 and not to develop your own engine? What are the advantages when developing a title utilizing a middleware?
Corrinne Yu: Borderlands had one of the strongest prototypes I ever worked with. We were off to a good start from the beginning. Many content tools are ready to go because we license. Using a licensed engine allows us to have more man-hours to devote to technology and game play. We spend those man hours programming technology that matters the most.

PCGH: It can be read that you modify Epics technology heavily. What parts of the engine were modified or reprogrammed from scratch? What do you alter? What are the special features Borderlands has to offer (e.g. 500.000 different weapons, improved Lighting, new physics) and how has the base technology to be altered to realize them?
Corrinne Yu: I designed and analyzed the fastest methods of rendering, displaying, streaming, and loading 0.5 million weapons of Borderlands on multiple video cards and multiple CPU's on PC cards and on Xbox 360. We adapted the engine to enable the world to more properly receive and cast shadows. Consistency of occlude-able and occluded geometry displays a properly lit and shadowed world that improves immersion. We adapted the engine with a believable vehicle physics system that makes driving and vehicular combat fun.

Borderlands: Vehicle is the highlight of Borderlands' physics...
Borderlands: Vehicle is the highlight of Borderlands' physics... [Source: view picture gallery]
PCGH: You develop your title for PS3 and Xbox 360 too. Will your modified engine then be a pure cross-platform product or will there be an optimized version for the PC? If there is a special built for the PC what technical feature can't be realized with the console version or in other words are there any features the PC is the ideal platform to develop for?
Corrinne Yu: We adapted a PC-centric engine to be truly cross-platform and we adapted the engine so it is optimized for PC. Players with high end PC upgrades can expect a richly textured world at a higher resolution than on console.

PCGH: First screenshots already indicate that Borderlands will offer next gen visuals. What do you think are the graphical highlights of your game? Can please go into detail what modern rendering techniques are utilized to archive them? Does the render utilize features like Parallax Occlusion Mapping, Soft Shadows, HDR Rendering, Deferred Shading, Ambient Occlusion, Shader 4.0 support or post effects like Tone Mapping and Depth of view?
Corrinne Yu: We adapted the engine to have high precision high resolution soft shadows. In addition to tone mapping, we have film-like full screen post process to give the game a cinematic look.

Author: Kristoffer Keipp (Jun 12, 2008)

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