The Witcher 2: Tech Interview

The Witcher 2: New engine and console version for Assassins of Kings

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is currently developed by CED Projekt Red for the PC. Senior Producer Tomek Gop revealed that the engine has been created from scratch and that a console version is planned.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings [Source: view picture gallery]
In 2007 CD Projekt Red released The Witcher, which is regarded to be one of the best role playing games of the past years. The second part, which is called The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, is scheduled for release in early 2011. PC Games Hardware had a chance to send some questions about the new RPG to the developers and although Senior Producer Tomek Gop couldn't reveal much information, he nevertheless told us that the games is based on a completely new engine that has been created from scratch.

Tomek Gop is the Senior Producer of The Witcher 2
Tomek Gop is the Senior Producer of The Witcher 2 [Source: view picture gallery]
PCGH: Is the second part of The Witcher based on the same technology as the first part or do you reprogram or modify the engine or even write a new base technology from scratch?
Tomek Gop: We definitely started from scratch. It was one of the first things our programmers sat to, right after releasing The Witcher. Our engine has been rewritten mostly due to specific, RPG related tool requirements that we've had. Of course there are things that inspired us from Aurora; ideas, solution approaches, but still - all of the code was written by us (excluding few middleware applications).
PCGH: Do you develop The Witcher 2 as a cross platform product or will it be a PC only title?
Tomek Gop: Right now we're making a PC version of the game. The main concern we've taken was to make sure our engine would be capable of doing a console game as well. It is, that's why we will get down to making The Witcher 2 for consoles - and of course announce it as soon as it starts.
PCGH: Will there be noticeable visual and technical difference between the different versions? Are there any technical features that can't be realized with the console hardware?
Tomek Gop: Regarding the possible visual and/or technical differences, it's too early to say, especially because our policy is mainly "why talk about if you can't show it working?”.
PCGH: The Witcher was known for its detailed visuals. Can players nevertheless expect that The Witcher 2 offers improved and more detailed visuals. Do you utilize very modern rendering techniques like Parallax Mapping, Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (even HQSSAO) and Deferred Rendering? If yes, can you please give examples how these are utilized in the game?
Tomek Gop: I'd love to give you examples already, but we're saving them for later. Right now we're already showing screenshots and some gameplay videos - they are all in-game, in-engine, none of that is CGI. So, summing up, you can expect the detailed info later on but I can promise that it will include some latest graphical achievements.
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (11)
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (11) [Source: view picture gallery]
PCGH: Is the technology/engine utilized in The Witcher 2 optimized for Multicore CPUs? Will the engine scale well with four or even more cores - the first Hexacore CPUs are just about to be released? If yes, up to how many cores could be supported and can you give some detail about the thread structure? Do you use a scheduler to parallelize the engine code?
Tomek Gop: Similar to the question above - we definitely will reveal more about it sometime soon, but I can already state that our engine works with multiple cores. The more you have, the better for you. And yes, more than two is even better.
PCGH: What kind of physics simulation do you use? Will there even be advanced physics in the The Witcher 2. Do you plan to offer support for Nvidias Physx (physics calculated on the GPU)? What is your personal opinion about this new feature?
Tomek Gop: Regarding my own opinion on where to calculate physics in the game - it depends on how much stress we will like to put on this aspect of the game. I mean, nVidia's invention is interesting but we need to make sure first, that we have some GPU power to spare - depends on how much we'll invest in the graphics. Regarding the physics engine provider, we're not commenting on this one yet, as it's too early.
PCGH: Does your sound engine offer support for Creatives's EAX technology?
Tomek Gop: In one word, yes. But you would probably need to wait until we show you the examples of the implementation.
PCGH: Will your game offer a support for Direct X 10 or even DX 11?
Tomek Gop: DirectX topic is, again, to be discussed later.

Picture gallery  (enlarge to view source)

Author: Kristoffer Keipp (Apr 22, 2010)

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