PC Games Hardware had the chance to conduct an extensive interview with Capcom Producer Masachika Kawata talking about Resident Evil 5.
Resident Evil 5 Producer Masachika Kawata [Source: view picture gallery]
Console gamers have been dealing with the infected from Resident Evil 5 since March. According to the latest information the PC version of the game will be released on September 14 (North America) respectively September 18 (Europe).
PC Games Hardware had the opportunity to send in a couple of questions to Capcom Producer Masachika Kawata. This is what he answered: PCGH:Did you develop your own engine for Resident Evil 5 or did you license a technology? What were the reasons for developing your own technology/using middleware? What are the advantages when utilizing your own technology/a commercial product?
Masachika Kawata:We use our own proud game engine, ‘MT Framework'. The current version is compatible to PC (DX9/DX10), Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 formats. It allows the sharing of application source code and resources for each platform that exempts us from the need of individually developing for each platform in case of a multi-platform title such as RE5. Also, by continually researching and developing a game engine internally we can maintain high standards of technology and stay up to date. This then means that we can alter the engine as we like, even when we update the hardware. Another benefit is that it allows information sharing between systems and applications so the application could demand a change to the system or vice versa, very speedily. PCGH:Your game has already been developed for the consoles (Xbox 360/PS3) and will at the moment be developed for the PC. Can we nevertheless speak of a pure cross platform development or do you heavily adjust your base technology for the PC as a platform?
Kawata:Fundamentally we will accurately port the console version but utilise the advantages for PC such as improved graphics and more powerful CPU. This has resulted in improved frame rates and higher resolution game screen. We have also added a game mode for after completing the game first time round, ‘Mercenary Mode' with increased number of enemies on screen. We also natively support Nvidia's 3D Vision and realistic 3D gaming is possible with 3D lenses. PCGH:If you develop a special PC build of Resident Evil 5 and not a simple console port, what are your reasons to do so? What technical features can only be realized with the PC as platform? What are the main differences between the console and the PC version as far as general technical aspects as well as the visuals is concerned?
Kawata:That would be to fully utilise the hardware advantage. In terms of graphics, the console version was already ‘over-specced' so even by using the same resources the high resolution environment of PC will draw out the full potential of what we have created. Due to various limitations we had to maintain the frame rate of the console version at 30fps so the PC version will feel a lot smoother in comparison. PCGH:You announced that the PC version of Resident Evil 5 will natively support Nvidia's Geforce 3D Vision. Did you have to modify the rendering pipeline for that feature? If yes what changes became necessary?
Kawata:For most parts the driver automatically stereopsises but there were some parts that failed - mostly post process effects and shaders - and for this we have manually implemented changes according to Nvidia's guideline. PCGH:In general, how far do you try to utilize modern rendering techniques like Parallax Occlusion Mapping, Soft Shadows, HDR, a lighting model with Deferred Shading, Screen Space Ambient Occlusion, Shader Model 4.0 or post effects like Tone Mapping, Depth of Field or Motion Blur? Can you please give examples how this modern rendering techniques are utilized in the PC version of Resident Evil?
Kawata:We've implemented HDR, tone mapping, depth of field and motion blur from your list. But to be honest we tried our best in allowing the game to run at high frame rate rather than packing it with all the wacky latest technologies. PCGH:When developing your title for the PC do you try to leverage very modern PC technologies like Dual GPU Rendering/SLI or Crossfire Systems? In other words: As far as overall performance is concerned, can players increase it remarkably by buying a second graphics card or a card with two GPUs? Do you have to add the support for multi GPU setting when developing the PC version?
Kawata:We have confirmed that when running SLI the performance increased by about 80 %. (180 % compared to single card environment) In order to fully utilise multi GPU we had to reduce the inter-frame dependency and we have done exactly that. PCGH:It is no secret that an engine developed for a cross platform development has to be multithreaded. As far as the technology for the PC version of Resident Evil 5 is concerned will it be heavily optimized for multithreading? Will the engine scale well with four or more cores? If yes, up to how many cores could be supported and can you give some detail about the thread structure?
Kawata:RE5 supports a maximum of 8 cores and 8 threads. We have also confirmed that at 8 cores the performance is 350% compared to a single core. Threads consist of rendering, sound, network and general threads so more the number of threads, higher the performance and this relationship is scaleable. PCGH:Can we expect an advanced physics simulation in Resident Evil 5 for PC? Do you program your own physics engine or do you utilize a middleware? Does the game even support hardware accelerated physics calculated on the GPU (via PhysX, OpenCL or even DX Compute)? What do you think about the topic? Is GPU-Physics the future way to go?
Kawata:RE5 uses Havok but does not support hardware acceleration. Capcom has no comment on the topic at the moment. PCGH:Will the PC version of Resident Evil like done with previously Capcom titles like Lost Planet or Bionic Commando be upgraded with support for DX10/DX10.1 or even DX11? What was or were the deciding technical advantages of the DX10/11 API/Shader Modell 4/5? In what way does it allow you to optimize or simplify the rendering process in your game? From what DX10-feature do you think your games profits most? Will the DX 10 (10.1) visualization differ substantially from the graphics that are rendered with DX 9 hardware or will DX10/10.1 just speed up the rendering process? If there are special DX 10/10.1 visuals, what are the graphical features that can only be rendered with shader model 4 hardware?
Kawata:RE5 Will support DX10. This is mainly because our game engine, ‘MT Framework', already supports DX10. We also intend to encourage the gamers to shift to DX10. The rendering process has become even more complex due to the co-existence with DX9 thus to really fully utilise DX10 we'd even need to look into the option of letting DX9 go as a whole. Although RE5 does not have any DX10 specific feature, it does however benefit from less memory usage, faster loading and more stable windowed mode. PCGH:Finally: Can the previously benchmark released with the demo be found in the final version of the game, too? Does the chosen benchmark scene reflect the real hardware requirements of the game?
Kawata:There will be benchmarks included in the product version. There will in fact be 2 benchmarks to minimise the result being affected by the software and accurately reflect the hardware environment.