Treyarch Doesn’t See Need For New CoD Engine Yet

One of Swords sat down with Treyarch honcho Mark Lamia last week for and extended conversation about their work on the Call of Duty series, including the upcoming Black Ops 2. The entire interview is worth a listen (though it’s long, 40 minutes, so grab some coffee). However, one particularly interesting moment concerned the Call of Duty engine. It seems that Treyarch is in no hurry to chuck it for an upgrade.

“People always ask me, “Is this a new engine?””, Lamia told One of Swords. “I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodeled. Just because you’re remodeling the house and it will look new or it will have a new kitchen, you don’t tear out the foundation, or break out some of the framing… Engines, each time they get touched, they change. The creators alter them; they don’t modify what they don’t need to, and then they alter what they need to. You can’t make a competitive product if you’re not upgrading that engine along the way.”

Obviously, he has a point. The Call of Duty series generally delivers precisely what its fans want, and has done so for years. It doesn’t need to be a graphical powerhouse with a constantly replaced engine in order to do it, and as Lamia points out, the little tweaks they make with each game constitute a evolutionary process. Even so, it’s also true that the series, especially in 2012, looks wonky. Check out the Black Ops 2 trailer for proof of that. Which is why I find some of Lamia’s other comments curious.

“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.”

Interesting. I suppose we’ll soon see if they pulled it off. Game Front will be at an Activision E3 preview event this week, and we’ll hopefully get our hands on some early Black Ops 2.

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1 Comment on Treyarch Doesn’t See Need For New CoD Engine Yet

Julio Marhand

On July 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm

If Lamia is placing frame rate as a brick wall for not upgrading the lighting system then why doesn’t Activision drastically reduce the number of unnecessary objects from the maps. I play MW3 and connections reliability and accuracy are a constant setback. But I am more annoyed at the number of objects that serve no purpose in the game and are sucking quite a bit of frame rate.

For example, a clothes drier. Probably no one has seen a drier in the game but i walked by it and it has sound, garbage all around it and detail that is totally unnecessary. There are many many objects like that through out the game. And talking about detail, that is one of the reasons everyone leaves the multiplayer lobby when Downturn and Carbon show up as the only options.

I like CoD, It has great maps, But they need to tone it down…a lot.