Preview: Battlefield 3, New Engine, More Destruction

By Michael Perry

February 22, 2011

DICE is known for making exceptional shooters for the PC in the past and has recently made a splash in the console realm. The Bad Company series and Battlefield 1943 were both met with critic success and showed just how passionate they are when it comes to making quality FPS games. Their flagship series, Battlefield has needed a proper sequel for quite a long time and DICE is preparing a sequel that will appeal to both console and PC gamers by bringing their great concepts introduced in Bad Company and applying them to their core Battlefield experience.

The shooter genre is a crowded market, but is always in need of improvements. Battlefield might be part of this crowd but it’s also the one that sets apart from the rest with a large array of vehicles to decimate your opponents with. The large scale of the battlefield is also unique allowing massive environments and an infinite amount of ways to handle any situation. DICE isn’t scared of its competitors; they plan on releasing Battlefield 3 right next to all the other major shooters by the end of this year.

Battlefield 3 will be running on Frostbite Engine 2.0; an upgrade from the original engine introduced in Battlefield: Bad Company. This engine still is really impressive even by today’s standards with destructible environments, amazing details to objects and shading, and HDR audio which is great for gamers who use headsets or surround sound setups. With Battlefield 1943 and Bad Company 2, the team rewrote Frostbite and named it Frostbite 1.5 that allowed not just walls to be blown up, but full building destruction. It also was made so as to allow their games to make the leap back to the PC.

Frostbite 2.0 is another huge leap for the company and will show how talented the company is with building these amazing engines. It will take full advantage of DirectX 11 but has no support for DirectX9, which means that Windows XP users are out of luck on Battlefield 3.

Frostbite 2.0 is also bringing what DICE calls Destruction 3.0, an upgraded version of their destructible environments. You could already take apart buildings with your arsenal, but they want to make the destruction look more believable. Imagine shooting an RPG at an enemy on the top floor and taking out just part of that floor, but having the building still intact for you to navigate through. Their outlook on Destruction 3.0 reminds me of what was introduced in Red Faction Guerilla, a game where buildings could be taken down brick by brick with your sledgehammer.

Single player is important in a Battlefield game, but players consider it to be second in terms of its multiplayer. Since this game is being tailored to PC gamers, multiplayer is going to be different between PC and console. On PC, matches will pack in sixty-four players where as console matches will be twenty-four players. Shooters have been lagging on PC, where developers will develop with consoles in mind then port their game to PC, sometimes months later and not make any changes at all using advantages the PC offers. DICE isn’t allowing this to happen. They are holding their PC fans as well as the console fans and making sure they deliver a product that will play to the strengths on both systems.

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Details are still a bit iffy, but EA is already making bold claims as naming Battlefield 3 game of the year. They are really bringing a new amount of detail no shooter game has seen thus far. In a genre that is overloaded with sequels that don’t really expand on the identity of shooters, DICE is preparing a legend that they believe will outperform any shooter on the market.

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