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DICE's Johan Andersson Talks BF4, Frostbite, Mantle, The Future

What Are The Chances That AMD Shares Mantle With Anyone?

Chris: In the multi-vendor slide from APU13, you mention that Mantle isn’t tied to GCN. Right now, the API is GCN-specific. What would it take to expose its functionality on other GPUs then? Can this be done now, or would AMD need to make a decision to open it up? There’s a bullet that says forward-compatible, but can it also be made backward-compatible to prior/existing architectures?

Johan: Mantle requires a certain set of key functionality of the GPU, so it can’t be supported on older architectures before AMD’s GCN architecture. The focus right now for Mantle is to finish the implementation of the first version of it, and get it out together with a Mantle-based rendering back-end in Battlefield 4. This back-end will only be able to run on AMD’s GCN-based GPUs. Again, going forward I would like to see a future version of Mantle support GPUs from more vendors, and that would be a discussion that would have to happen between AMD, the other vendors, and us developers to figure out a way to make it happen.

Chris: Very cool. Okay, so I’ll just take us back to beginning; now that we've got Battlefield 4, and of course we want to do the best job possible of reflecting real-world performance on the hardware platforms we're testing. There's so much we can do with that on the single-player. I know you were always a big proponent of testing multi-player for the experience that's more persistent and probably more popular once everybody gets done. Is there a better way to do that yet in Battlefield 4? Do we have a solution for consistent multi-player testing?

Johan: Unfortunately not. We do have some internal tools that sort of records parts of the network stream that we use and then play that back and so you sort of play back multi-player footage, which is quite good. But it's not really packaged together in a sense that we can use it in the retail game unfortunately. It's also not fully true either because it's skipping quite a few things, actually, that you're doing in a full multi-player scenario there. Multi-player, unfortunately, as I say it’s rather chaotic, but it is the truer thing to see the real performance when you especially when it comes to CPU performance. GPU performance you can see pretty well with the single-player. But CPU performance is primarily multi-player. We don’t really have a great solution there unfortunately.

I think one of the best things one can do for benchmarking, but it's very tiresome for you guys, but that is to essentially play multi-player on the same level and play it similar ways. 

Chris: Right.

Johan: Then spend quite a lot of time playing it actually, but it becomes, yeah, not a very exact science unfortunately.

Chris: Yeah, difficult to quantify for sure. 

Johan: Yeah.

Chris: Johan, I again appreciate your time.

Johan:  Yeah, no problem. 

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • anbello262
    On Page 1, the soldier, is that Joey Tribbianni? :D
    Reply
  • DanglingPointer
    I can't wait till this game is on Linux with proper fully baked FGLRX drivers and Mantle on Linux!

    Come on AMD! Bring it already!!!! SteamMachines are around the corner!
    Reply
  • vaughn2k
    Yeah, it seems like him... but I am skeptic, if he could do a bad ass soldier though.. ;)
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Very low quality Interview. All questions are made in a way so that Johan Andersson can promote their company and their games. There is not a single question about something meaningfull to the comunity. Its all like:
    -Your game is good in this?
    -Yes our game is good in this becouse .

    Just the phrasing and the form changes.

    At least the users in tomshardware can still offer some solid information. And later people dont understand why 80% of the readers automaticly jump to user comments before reading the full article.
    Reply
  • shaydogs
    Arrgghh, Give us more details on Mantle implementations in BF4 already!!!
    Reply
  • bemused_fred
    "Sure we did still have to do a little bit of a compromise on the solution. We're not running at the full native 1080p; we’re running a little bit lower resolution than that."

    Good lord! The PS4 can't even run Battlefield 4, a launch title, at 1080p? Where will these consoles be in 5 years time?!?!
    Reply
  • tomfreak
    12087857 said:
    "Sure we did still have to do a little bit of a compromise on the solution. We're not running at the full native 1080p; we’re running a little bit lower resolution than that."

    Good lord! The PS4 can't even run Battlefield 4, a launch title, at 1080p? Where will these consoles be in 5 years time?!?!
    Gulf town or Any 6 core Intel CPU will be the next QX9650, after 5-8years and will still be kicking ass.

    May be spending $500-600 on a CPU + a 5years warranty reliable Asus Sabertooth X79 isnt a bad investment. lol

    Reply
  • ikefu
    12087857 said:
    Good lord! The PS4 can't even run Battlefield 4, a launch title, at 1080p? Where will these consoles be in 5 years time?!?!

    Its still early in the console cycle and devs will need time to fully unlock them. With the semi heterogeneous architectures of the new consoles its going to be a steep learning curve to figure out the best ways to utilize GPU compute power. They talk about having the CPU at 95% utilization but just because its busy doesn't mean its efficient. Busy is easy to achieve, efficiency is not. There's a lot of room to grow yet.

    That plus I don't think most exclusive console gamers are really worried about 1080p (other than a random number in a vacuum that seems bigger than other random numbers). If they were truly worried about resolution they'd be on a PC. The games are still prettier than a 360/PS3 so they'll be happy in the end.

    Reply
  • cypeq
    12087857 said:
    "Sure we did still have to do a little bit of a compromise on the solution. We're not running at the full native 1080p; we’re running a little bit lower resolution than that."

    Good lord! The PS4 can't even run Battlefield 4, a launch title, at 1080p? Where will these consoles be in 5 years time?!?!

    Frostbite is probably most demanding engine out there... check if your PC can run BF4 at min. 60 FPS in high details @ 1080p. There are many that can't.
    Next gen consoles are speced like mediocre gaming PC of today. WTH you expect.
    In near future programmers will be able to squeeze bit more juice of them because of more unified and exposed hardware but that's all.
    Performance and Quality is on PC.
    Reply
  • deejaybos
    Yeah, the game looks amazing, then it crashes randomly. Then you play it a little, then it crashes. Then in single player it crashes, then during a map change it crashes, then when someone blows something up somewhere else on the map, it crashes. Guess they forgot to mention the terrible release they've had and the lack of support or acknowledgement. Unless of course you count double XP and a pistol attachment, "acknowledgement".
    Reply