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Intel, APIs, And DirectX 11

Q&A With Magicka Developer, Arrowhead Game Studios
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Curious, we asked about how the team decides on who’s technology to more aggressively optimize for. After all, Nvidia seems to think that tessellation is the future of realism in next-generation games. AMD’s focus is a little less defined.

"This really depends on the game you are developing," Stenmark said. "Hardware tessellation can improve the realism of a game, but sometimes realism is not the goal. Here again you have to consider what hardware to support."

Suddenly my mind whirled back to the laptop with Intel integrated graphics. I asked about Arrowhead's take on Intel as a viable competitor in the GPU market.

"They don’t seem to be trying to seriously compete with Nvidia or AMD," Stenmark admitted. "They develop great GPUs from a mobile point of view with good performance and low power consumption, but they have next to nothing to offer a hardcore gamer."

Naturally we couldn't escape the topic of GPU support without covering APIs like DirectX and OpenGL. As we saw a few weeks ago, AMD's worldwide developer relations manager of its GPU division, Richard Huddy, claimed that some developers actually want APIs (DirectX, OpenGL) to go away, that it's getting in the way of creating some truly amazing graphics. Is that true? Is DirectX holding back the PC in terms of its overall potential?

"I think that APIs are crucial for smaller developers," he answered. "It is much simpler and faster to program with an API. As an example, we here at Arrowhead GS would never have time to program directly for the graphics hardware. On the other hand, for larger companies it would be great to be able to go in without an API and really get the most out of a graphics card."

He said the team makes heavy use of multiple render targets for deferred shading, particles, and so on. "Some of our shaders are also too big to compile for SM 2.0.," he added. "DirectX 11 is definitely a step in the right direction and we will make use of it sometime. We always keep a close eye on hardware development, but as stated earlier, we always have to consider other target hardware."

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  • 0 Hide
    vexun11 , May 4, 2011 5:59 AM
    This is a fun game, worth the $ for sure
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    belltollsforthee , May 4, 2011 6:16 AM
    Great game, love the comedy and elemental spells
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    Ragnar-Kon , May 4, 2011 8:02 AM
    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 , May 4, 2011 10:08 AM
    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 , May 4, 2011 1:20 PM
    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 , May 4, 2011 2:03 PM
    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 , May 4, 2011 2:20 PM
    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........
  • 0 Hide
    sirmorluk , May 4, 2011 2:33 PM
    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 , May 4, 2011 3:20 PM
    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 , May 4, 2011 3:24 PM
    Magicka is a great game. Really nice.
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    Trialsking , May 4, 2011 5:57 PM
    Its definitely a fun game. But it is alittle short. But its is only $10
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    ikefu , May 4, 2011 7:34 PM
    Hmmm, I think reading this article may have just cost me $10...
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    Niva , May 4, 2011 8:06 PM
    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 , May 4, 2011 9:25 PM
    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!
  • 0 Hide
    cmartin011 , May 4, 2011 10:07 PM
    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 , May 4, 2011 11:52 PM
    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 , May 5, 2011 3:00 AM
    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 , May 8, 2011 12:07 AM
    Arrowhead Game Studios could make a fun remake of Cannon Fodder.
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    Anonymous , May 13, 2011 9:22 AM
    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.