Creative Assembly’s historical RTS is nearly upon us, and they kindly invited us to see how things were shaping up. There was an exclusive look at the final Prologue battle, on top of the Battle Of The Nile campaign mission that was showcased at Rezzed earlier this year. There were Roman cocktails made from Kraken spiced rum and I got rather jolly quite quickly. But before I got to a state of absolute inebriation, I got a chance to have a chat to some of the developers there.
The game runs surprisingly well at first look. The rigs were composed of an Intel i5 CPU, 16GB of RAM and an NVIDIA GTX 680 graphics card. This I was told would be a medium to high PC running at 1920 X 1080 resolution, however the detail I noticed was not as high as it could have been. For full graphical appreciation with high tessellation and anti-aliasing settings such as TXAA, I would imagine you would need an i7 chip and perhaps a GTX 690 or above. Gamers with lower end PC do not need to worry too much however. There are 5 LODs (Level Of Detail) in terms of textures for assets and so on, so that most PC confgurations will be catered for. However, there are limitations for higher end PCs.
Unlike Crysis 3 for example, Rome II is built around 32bit code. The reasoning behind this is that many home PCs still have 32bit systems and Creative Assembly simply did not have the resources to make both a 32bit and a 64bit version. This of course means that there are memory limitations with 32bit addressing, which means a only maximum of 2GB can be used for graphics. 64bit computing has been around for quite some time, but this does not necessarily mean that software developers have the resources to take advantage of this. Neither does it mean that the populace can afford to replace their creaking 32bit systems. It will happen one day I am sure, but for now it means that games like Rome II have minimum spec requirements which restricts how much pretty they can put in a game. Although the overall detail was decent, when zooming into individual units there was a clear framerate hit. One of the main features that drew me to the new Rome II was the Unit Cam and the ability to see facial expressions on your units, right in the heart of battle. This means that a much heftier machine is required in comparison to the ones they used.
Later in the event, we were lucky enough to take part in their filming of a new Rally Point episode. If you have not heard of this, it is Creative Assembly’s Youtube sensation that discusses not only the development of the Total War series but also gives you an insight to the thought processes of how their games are made. I may appear in the episode in my drunken stupor, so I apologise in advance if I did anything untoward. Overall it was a fun night; I drank way too many of those Roman cocktails and I am now paying the price. Rome II will also be playable at Gamescom where I shall hopefully be more sober to play it properly.