The first thing any fan of the award-winning Total War* series will notice about Total War: ROME II* is its jaw-dropping graphics. “The visuals are difficult to ignore in any Total War title, because we pride ourselves on being at the leading edge of gaming technology, but the jump in graphics quality in ROME II is phenomenal,” said Mike Simpson, creative director of Creative Assembly. In developing ROME II, the UK-based team sought to bring the statecraft, politics, and intrigue—as well as epic battles of the ancient world—to life in thrilling detail.
Through a combination of real-time and turn-based gameplay, players command vast armies and floating armadas in bone-crushing combat in exotic places ranging from the Spanish coast to Germanic forests and far-flung Eastern kingdoms—all rendered with an updated graphics engine that’s capable of displaying the action from virtually any perspective. “It’s our intent to supply a stunning level of fidelity across a significant range of systems, from high-end gaming machines to all-in-one PCs and Ultrabook™ devices, so players can experience ROME II any where, at any time.”
To accomplish that goal, Creative Assembly used new Intel® technologies exclusive to 4th generation Intel® Core™ processors with Intel® Iris™ graphics.
“These features allow new techniques that have not been possible before,” Charlie Dell, the lead programmer of the Total War series explained.
“Intel’s per-pixel synchronization technology allowed us to implement soft edges when rendering foliage by using Intel’s Adaptive Order Independent Transparency (AOIT) algorithm. This algorithm and the supporting technology provide a highly efficient approach to Order Independent Transparency that’s currently unique to Intel® hardware, making this feature viable on integrated GPUs.”
Through close collaboration with Intel, Creative Assembly optimized the AOIT algorithm and various low-level graphics-engine systems after joint analysis of the game’s performance on Intel hardware. “We continue to make widespread use of Intel® Threading Building Blocks. This library provides an efficient and easy way to harness multi-core processors,” Dell said. “We also rely heavily on Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers as a key component of our graphics profiling tool set, and Intel® VTune™ Performance Analyzer remains a stalwart of our CPU profiling tool set.”
In addition, Intel’s Direct Resource Access extension allowed Dell’s team to accelerate moving data between the CPU and GPU, greatly improving the performance of streaming high-resolution normal data for ROME II’s campaign map display.
“We utilized DirectX* 11 functionality to a greater extent than on previous titles,” Dell said, “and we have completely new high-dynamic range lighting, terrain rendering, and VFX systems.” The resulting visuals are a study in detail and variety.
“Working closely with Intel on Total War: ROME II has benefited the game enormously,” said Rob Bartholomew, Total War brand director. “One of our objectives when we started this project was to guarantee that the game would look great on any desktop PC or laptop you could buy, not just on top-end gaming rigs, and Intel helped us achieve that objective with the game now running particularly well on mobile Ultrabook™ devices.”
"It’s our intent to supply a stunning level of fidelity across a significant range of systems, from high-end gaming machines to all-in-one PCs and Ultrabook™ devices."
—Mike Simpson, Creative Director at The Creative Assembly