Bungie has spent the past four years building a "state of the art" engine for its new shooter Destiny, senior engineers have revealed, and the developer expects that engine to last it an entire decade.
"Over the last four years we have built a truly state of the art engine," senior graphics architect Hao Chen told OXM during a presentation which included video of the engine's tools, plus prototype footage of exteriors and lighting systems. "It's by design multiplatform; it's highly multithreaded, scales very well to the current generation and the future generation of hardware.
"We have a ton of new features, from our multi resolution terrain systems, to our forests and trees, to rivers and likes, to real time lighting, visibility, lots of cool technology and I could go on and on about them. Maybe one day I can give you an in depth review of all this cool technology."
The engine is "fully multithreaded for performance on all platforms, both for today and the next ten years," according to engineering lead Chris Butcher. "We have an entirely new graphics engine and a fully featured world builder that gives out artists more expressive power than they've ever had before," he added.
The world builder is designed for maximum efficiency, Chen explained, allowing artists to road-test and implement changes in a fraction of the time it would have taken them using older tech. Bungie has also collaborated with nVidia Research to implement subtle global illumination lighting effects that are tricky to pull off in real time.
Another key aim has been to digest the game's unprecedented wealth of always-online networking systems, rendering them visible to the player only where necessary. "We've developed these over the last ten years of working on online action games," Butcher commented. "When you put them together it turns out something special happens. These technologies disappear in the background. They become totally transparent, no sign of their working, no progress bars, no UI spinners.
"You just sit back and play. The networking does all of its work behind the scenes, so the player experience of Destiny just emerges from all of these complex but totally hidden technologies. We think this may be the first time anyone has put these technologies together, at this scale in a game or anywhere else."
Sounds rather fearsome, no? We're looking forward to showing you video of all this in motion - the lack of public gameplay footage is a source of acute torment. For more on Bungie's new shooter, read our Destiny preview.