PC and next-gen console gamers are looking forward to the third-person shooter “Tom Clancy’s The Division,” which is to launch sometime during the third quarter. More details were recently unveiled about the game's engine, Snowdrop, which is the first of its kind for a multitude of reasons.
Snowdrop was developed by Massive Entertainment, a Ubisoft studio. “Snowdrop is a dynamic, interconnected and united system,” said Massive in a statement last December. “The artists, the designer and the animators have the power to achieve their ideas and vision, simply by accessing the game directly within the engine.”
The cutting-edge Snowdrop will also run in real time. “Each thing the creators develop needs to be instant and in-game, so that they know exactly if it will work, with no baking time. That means lightning-quick iterations. The result is the ability to develop game features faster than ever,” Massive claimed. “We built Snowdrop in a way so that the game is always playable during development.”
On March 19, Ubisoft released a new trailer that further explained the Snowdrop engine during the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Check it out below.
“The forest shots, turrets and giant flies that you saw in the trailer are not part of ‘The Division,’” said Rodrigo Cortes, Brand Art Director at Massive Entertainment in a Ubisoft blog post last week. “This video is a technical demonstration, to display Snowdrop’s full capacities as a new generation engine. Snowdrop is capable of creating a large range of varied universes, procedurally, and in an unprecedented level of detail.”
Though views of the forest may not be part of “The Division,” it’s an example of the amazing effects the game will offer. “Snowdrop was created in-house, at Massive, in response to a specific requirement: to do things better, not bigger,” Cortes added. “Triple-A game development projects are growing in scope exponentially, so we wanted to be smart and not rely on brute force. We needed an engine that would support how we work in the studio, promote creativity and allow the freedom to experiment and prototype.”
Last year, the company also launched a trailer during the SpikeTV VGX awards show, displaying a few shots of the engine’s innovative features. The most important is the destruction system, which will be an important part of the game’s tactical cover-based combat system. Massive stated that “the destruction effect is not pre-baked into the game; it reacts differently depending on the physical forces at play.” This means that each time an action takes place – a car explodes or a glass window shatters, it will look different – and will actually be a separate experience every time.
Another striking result of the Snowdrop engine is the lighting system, which was created to mimic film production methods. If you move an object in the game, the surrounding light will immediately react in a cohesive manner. This also applies to the time of day, as well as indoor and outdoor lighting.
The next-gen engine also gives the developers incredible accuracy and speed when creating the game’s metropolitan setting. More importantly, the city will be unified, which means that any alteration or developed feature in one area will result in an automatic change throughout the entire game – which leads to a more harmonious experience for the player.
"Tom Clancy's The Division" will hit shelves sometime during the third quarter of 2014. Are you excited about Snowdrop? Leave a comment below or tweet me!