Insomniac Games Talks About the Tech Behind Marvel's Spider-Man

Mike Fitzgerald of Insomniac Games talked to the PlayStation Blog about the technology behind creating New York City, PS4 Pro support, and detailing faces.

Insomniac Games recently talked to the PlayStation Blog about the technology used behind creating Marvel’s Spider-Man on PlayStation 4. Director of Core and Chief Architect Mike Fitzgerald gives some interesting insights into the development process behind creating New York City as an open world and its PS4 Pro support.

While there is already a video detailing how Insomniac nailed the swinging mechanic in the game, they do touch on it again in this interview. Aspects such as camera movement, field of view, and animations go a long way in giving the feeling of being a super-hero swinging through New York City. Most importantly, webs attach to buildings that are covered in tagged places where the web can attach to.

Fitzgerald reveals the open map of New York City is split into around 800 square tiles that are about 128 square meters each. These squares are loaded and unloaded as you make your way through the city as the PlayStation 4 can’t load the entirety of Manhattan at one time. Due to Spider-Man’s speed the game is approximately loading one new tile every second.

Temporal injection, a technique used to create a full 4k image without rendering every pixel on every frame, was used in Ratchet & Clank and is used once again in Marvel’s Spider-Man. Since Ratchet & Clank the technique has been improved to make it faster and less soft.

On a PlayStation 4 Pro Marvel’s Spider-Man renders frames at 2816×1584 or 2560×1440 and then “projected over time into the master output 4k image using the “temporal injection” technique mentioned above to accurately anti-alias the picture.” On the base PlayStation 4 or when running on a 1080p television it adjusts to perfectly match. As advice for other developers looking to develop for the PlayStation 4’s base and Pro models, he states, “If you want to deliver the best product you can, dig into the documentation, use the profiling tools, think about the quirky bits of the PS4 design, and figure out how your game can take advantage of them.”

HDR can be seen best when swinging through the city at night and in the rain, as the difference between the city lights and the darkness are a great contrast.

While swinging through the city is how you will experience a majority of the game, Fitzgerald encourages players to spend some time on the street level to appreciate their attention to detail even on the ground level.

Lastly, Insomniac utilized a facial animation system that can represent the movement of around 60,000 vertices in a face. Each character also has a different detail model that is used for close-ups, cutscenes, and scripted sequences. The final foe is also rendered with over a million polygons, which is more detail than Insomniac has ever had for a single character in a game before.

Marvel’s Spider-Man released tomorrow for PlayStation 4, you can read our appraisal of the game as well as the previous video highlighting the swinging mechanic and pre-order the game on Amazon.

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Steven Santana

Born in Queens, raised in Vegas, living in Vancouver. 25, loves dogs, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and long form video critiques.

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