Frostbite (game engine)
Current logo used since Frostbite 3
Frostbite is a game engine developed by DICE, creators of the Battlefield series. The engine currently is designed for use on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One platforms and is adapted for a range of video game genres. The engine was first used by DICE to create first-person shooters, but it has been expanded to include various other genres such as racing and real-time strategy and is employed by a number of EA studios. Thus far, the engine is exclusive to Electronic Arts with all titles being published by EA.
DICE used the first generation of the engine for their in-house games Battlefield: Bad Company, Battlefield 1943, and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. The Frostbite engine launched with the release of Battlefield: Bad Company; subsequent titles employed an updated version referred to as Frostbite 1.5. Frostbite 1.5 was also used for the multiplayer component of Medal of Honor which DICE developed. (The single-player was developed by another EA studio with the Unreal Engine 3.) The next generation of the engine, Frostbite 2, debuted with the release of Battlefield 3. The creation of Frostbite 2 started the first usage of the Frostbite engine by other EA studios other than DICE. Some notable Frostbite 2 powered games include Need for Speed: The Run,Medal of Honor: Warfighter, and Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel. Upcoming games using the engine include Command & Conquer,Dragon Age: Inquisition, the next Mass Effect, and the next Need for Speed game. A new version of Frostbite, Frostbite 3, will debut with Battlefield 4.
Frostbite debuted in 2008 with Battlefield: Bad Company. It features HDR Audio, which adjusts different types of sounds' loudness and lets players hear important sounds clearly even if there are other noises being generated (for example, gunshot sounds are always louder than in-game music; the in-game music will lower in volume while shots are being fired), and Destruction 1.0, which allows the player to destroy certain objects, like walls.
The second version of Frostbite debuted with Battlefield 1943 in 2009. It improved on the in-game destruction capabilities with Destruction 2.0, allowing the player to destroy entire buildings instead of just walls. In 2010, DICE released Battlefield: Bad Company 2 using this version of the engine, which was the first game to bring Frostbite Engine to the Windows platform. The Windows version of the game has minor DirectX 11 shader support; consequently, it doesn't take full advantage of the entire API. The multiplayer component of Medal of Honor also uses this version of the engine, though with limited in-game destruction capabilities.
The first major upgrade to Frostbite debuted in 2011 with Battlefield 3. It takes full advantage of the DirectX 11 API and 64-bit processors, with no support for DirectX 9 (nor, therefore, Windows XP). It also features enhanced in-game destruction with Destruction 3.0, creating more refined physics than its predecessor and quasi-realtime radiosity using Geomerics' Enlighten technology. Additionally an important distinction on its naming is that Frostbite 2 is not called Frostbite 2.0.
DICE has given several presentations on advances in their rendering technology with primary focus on the aspects of Animation, Destruction, Scale, Rendering, and Audio:
- "Tile-based deferred shading acceleration" via DirectCompute. This is being ported to the PlayStation 3's SPUs.
- Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA), again implemented with DirectCompute, for bandwidth conservation.
- Quasi-realtime radiosity using Enlighten from Geomerics.
- Improved environmental destruction.
- Separable bokeh depth of field
- Tile-based deferred shading on Xbox 360
- Temporally stable screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO)
- GeForce LAN 6:
- DICE's lead graphics guru, Johan Andersson, presents an in-depth examination of Battlefield 3's game engine and visuals.
- Streaming data from disc to memory: "We can have 512 megs every hundred metres if we wanted to."
Frostbite 3 is the next generation version of Frostbite and is powering the upcoming games Battlefield 4 (set to release October 29th of 2013) and Need for Speed: Rivals (to be released in November, 2013). The game engine has several upgrades including improved tessellation technology. It also features Destruction 4.0, which enhances the in-game destruction over its predecessors. Frostbite 3 will also power Dragon Age: Inquisition, the new Star Wars: Battlefront, and Mirror's Edge 2.
Frostbite 1.5 games are built using a complicated chain of compilers, version control and distributed caches, making it very difficult to install to a new environment: it took a week for one DICE employee to set the system up outside the company's offices. Frostbite 2 is said to greatly improve this "flaky" pipeline, and DICE has not ruled out the feasibility of releasing mod tools for it.
Games using Frostbite
- "Battlefield 3 to use DX11, Frostbite 2". GameFront. 2010-08-05. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- "Need for Speed: The Run Announced". IGN. 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2011-04-30.
- "A First Look at Medal of Honor Warfighter". IGN. 2012-03-06. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
- "Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel launching March 2013". GameSpot. 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
- "Next Command & Conquer goes free-to-play". GameSpot. 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
- "An open letter from Mark Darrah, Executive Producer". BioWare. 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
- "An Update From BioWare Montreal". BioWare. Retrieved 2012-11-12.
- "EA Gothenburg Working on Next Need for Speed". IGN. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- "EA Gothenburg is now Ghost, working on Need for Speed". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- Makuch, Eddie (2013-03-26). "Battlefield 4 confirmed for fall 2013". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-03-27.
- Ross, Peter (2009-11-16). "11 Days of DirectX® 11, Day Six: DICE". AMD. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
- Zivalich, Nikole (2011-01-03). "Battlefield 3 Will Not Have Windows XP Support". G4 TV. Retrieved 2012-08-27.
- Andersson, Johan, Senior Software Architect in the Frostbite Engine team at EA DICE (2011-04-29). "Dudes, it is "Frostbite 2", not "Frostbite 2.0"". Twitter. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
- Andersson, Johan (2010). "Bending the Graphics Pipeline".
- Einarsson, Per (DICE); Martin, Sam (Geomerics) (2010-08-01). "A Real-time Radiosity Architecture". SIGGRAPH 2010.
- Kihl, Robert (2010). "Destruction Masking in Frostbite 2 using Volume Distance Fields".
- Barre-Brisebois, Colin (2011-03-07). "GDC 2011 – Approximating Translucency for a Fast, Cheap and Convincing Subsurface Scattering Look".
- "Real-time rendering SIGGRAPH 2011". Retrieved 2012-08-26.
- "Battlefield 3 GeForce LAN 6 Graphics Presentation". Nvidia. 2011-10.
- "Battlefield 3 preview". Total PC Gaming. 2011-07.[dead link]
- Kalms, Mikael (2010-09-20). "So how about modtools?".[dead link]
- Fahey, Mike (2010-03-04). "Bad Company 2 Devs Have Nothing But Love For The Modding Community". Kotaku.
- Sliwinski, Alexander (2009-07-02). "Battlefield 1943 declares war next week, starting July 8". Joystiq. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
- "Battlefield Bad Company 2 Vietnam Release Date". Game-Debate. Retrieved 2010-11-30.
- "Battlefield 3 release date announced". Eurogamer. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
- "BioWare announces Command and Conquer: Generals 2". Joystiq. 2011-12-10. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
- "Battlefield 4 Beta". Electronic Arts. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
- "Next-Gen Racing". Need for Speed. May 24, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
- "Everybody Expected It – Dragon Age III: Inquisition". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-09-17.
- Gaston, Martin (2013-03-28). "Next Mass Effect and Dragon Age games using Frostbite 3". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- "Mirror's Edge 2 announced - an origin story for Xbox One". Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved 2013-06-10.
- "EA AND DISNEY TEAM UP ON NEW STAR WARS GAMES". 2013-05-06. Retrieved 2013-05-06.
- Cook, Dave (2012-11-12). "Mass Effect 4 uses Frostbite 2, is ‘respectful’ of previous games – BioWare". VG247. Retrieved 2013-01-24.
- Frostbite's Official Homepage
- Frostbite Rendering Architecture
- DICE Publications
- DICE's Official Homepage
- Geomerics' Official Homepage