Q&A With Magicka Developer, Arrowhead Game Studios

Magicka's Use Of Deferred Shading

Personally, I didn't experience any issues with the game. In fact, the only setback I suffered was that Magicka refused to run on my laptop using Intel's integrated GPU (which was recently sold off in favor of something more capable). Frustrated, I headed into the forums to discover numerous other players having various issues, other than what I was experiencing.

It took a little digging to find out that Magicka doesn't support integrated GPUs, and won't play on an Intel graphics engine at all. That didn't seem to make sense, given that the laptop could run StarCraft II and Torchlight. But a commenter correctly pointed out that larger developers have the time and money to extend testing to a larger variety of hardware. Small studios like Arrowhead don't have that luxury. Given that many mainstream laptops feature Intel integrated graphics already, it would seem that the exclusion would lock out a large chunk of potential customers.

There was also mention that Magicka uses Shader Model 3.0 (part of DirectX 9.0c), which can play havoc with older, mainstream integrated graphics. Many forum members weren't too pleased that the game wouldn't run on their laptops, despite the Diablo-like isometric viewpoint. But according to Anton Stenmark, lead programmer for Arrowhead Studios, the team actually chose to use deferred shading instead. This technique is currently being used in other games, including Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, both Dead Space games, and StarCraft II.

"We decided to use deferred shading as our primary rendering method after discussing the spells and effects we would use in Magicka," Stenmark says. "Deferred shading allows us to dynamically add and remove any number of light sources at any time. Deferred shading is theoretically possible to implement using Shader Model 2.0, but most cards that don’t support SM 3.0 would have horrid performance using this method."

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19 comments
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  • vexun11
    This is a fun game, worth the $ for sure
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  • belltollsforthee
    Great game, love the comedy and elemental spells
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  • Ragnar-Kon
    Great game, that is for sure. Arguably the best $10 I've spent in my life.

    Also a great article, particularly regarding DirectX/OpenGL and APIs. I remember reading an article a while back talking about removing the API and coding on the hardware directly. Having done some DirectX/OpenGL work myself, the first thing that came to mind for me was "wooah, thats gonna take forever." Glad someone else on this planet agrees with me. Just not feasible for smaller studios.

    Although he does seem to be a fan of DirectX, which I am not. Not only do I think OpenGL is easier to code with, using OpenGL could easily open up a whole new market for games, especially with the ever-increasing Mac popularity (not to mention make our Linux friends happy).
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  • jrnyfan
    This is one of my top 5 games I currently play, it's worth ~$20 but the fact that it is ~$10 makes it amazing. I haven't had this much fun in multiplayer since Goldeneye64...
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  • cknobman
    I just picked up Torchlight off of Steam and am currently having a blast. Magicka looks very appealing, especially for $10, but reading reviews it seems as though the game is very very buggy and unpolished. As the game was released 4 months ago can anyone comment on the state of the game now? Have any of the bugs been fixed or is it something you just have to live with?
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  • Anonymous
    Bought this game on Steam a couple of weeks ago. It's fun, but be aware that multiplayer may not be on the standard that you're used to. It's very much P2P hosting, which comes with its usual problems of having the right ports open/forwarded. The hosting machine has the save file, so if the person who's been hosting isn't available, the rest of you will have to start anew. Dedicated server software is something that would be pretty desirable here.
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  • teaser
    cknobmanI just picked up Torchlight off of Steam and am currently having a blast. Magicka looks very appealing, especially for $10, but reading reviews it seems as though the game is very very buggy and unpolished. As the game was released 4 months ago can anyone comment on the state of the game now? Have any of the bugs been fixed or is it something you just have to live with?

    So far ....21 updates since january,the game is in a much better state then it was on release day........
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  • sirmorluk
    Best $10 I have ever spent. My 6 year old spends hours on it and has completed it a couple of times along with the Nam challenge. Me? Well I suck at it.
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  • Camikazi
    sirmorlukBest $10 I have ever spent. My 6 year old spends hours on it and has completed it a couple of times along with the Nam challenge. Me? Well I suck at it.

    QRSAER as weapon enchantment or as AE spell is very helpful :) and FQFQAAS for a beam :)
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  • Gman450
    Magicka is a great game. Really nice.
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  • Trialsking
    Its definitely a fun game. But it is alittle short. But its is only $10
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  • ikefu
    Hmmm, I think reading this article may have just cost me $10...
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  • Niva
    Really enjoyed this game, been meaning to pick up Vietnam. I never got all the spells my first time through the game though.

    I also never played multiplayer... hmmm, weekend project coming up, figure out how to play with my friends on that :)
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  • belltollsforthee
    cknobman Have any of the bugs been fixed or is it something you just have to live with?


    @cknobmna
    I can only speak for my system,i52500k cpu, 6950, asus mobo. The game is great and no bugs that i have noticed, i just bought it 2 weeks ago, its great!
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  • cmartin011
    this looks very promising to be a good short came this article just cost me 12.99 for the whole pack lol :-)
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  • philipjacobs
    qfqfsaa
    qrqrqrqr(s)"or"(a)
    qfassss

    Veitnam is awesome!
    Seriously though, I'm sick of zombie games, how about an aliens and predator mode?? Similar to Alien Swarm???
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  • Camikazi
    ikefuHmmm, I think reading this article may have just cost me $10...

    I lucked out, friend told me about it few weeks ago when the game and all it's expansions (minus the new Marsh one) were on sale for $5 :)
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  • Morton
    Arrowhead Game Studios could make a fun remake of Cannon Fodder.
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  • Anonymous
    I see your angle, but IMHO this article misses the point of the game, which is hardly anything grafix related (1997 much?).
    In some respects this game is truly space age. I don't play it but if you watch the collabs on Ytube you get the social addictiveness shooting through the roof. It's very simple design and concept shine in an environment which is still mainly dominated by old age games, namely single player campaigns.
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