BlizzCon 2017: Overwatch Lead Engineer on the Fear of Teleportation, Battle Royale Mode, and More

BlizzCon 2017: Overwatch Lead Engineer on the Fear of Teleportation, Battle Royale Mode, and More

At BlizzCon 2017, common hero shooter Overwatch acquired a brand new character so that you can play as – Moira – in addition to a brand new map referred to as BlizzardWorld. While updates like this are par for the course given Blizzard’s consideration to Overwatch, it made us marvel what the technical ramifications of such strikes are to a recreation that’s been receiving regular updates since its inception. Gadgets 360 spoke to Tim Ford, Lead Engineer for Gameplay Systems on Overwatch at Blizzard to search out out extra.

“If there’s one factor that at all times scares me relating to new characters, [it] is teleportation,” says Ford. “Moira would not precisely teleport. She turns invisible and then she strikes. That’s nice. Sombra teleports. D.Va technically teleports as a result of she summons a mech and will get in that. Tracer teleports. Those heroes give us the most grief [as they’re susceptible to glitches and exploits that break the game]. At launch Reaper gave us a lot grief as a result of he teleports. So my first intuition relating to new heroes is: ’Can she teleport? No? Cool. How many legs does she have?’”

“These are some of the considerations. Orisa for instance is a quadruped [which is challenging] as a result of we have not finished any animation techniques for quadrupeds but, in order that’s going to be a tech concern proper there,” Ford explains.


In phrases of tech, Overwatch doesn’t use a third-party recreation engine like Unreal or Unity. Instead, it makes use of a set of customized instruments developed at Blizzard. Ford shed mild on Overwatch’s engine.

“It’s a proprietary customized engine, the recreation is in C++, our instruments are C++ and C#,” he says. “We have a very senior team who have been exposed to not only a lot of proprietary engines made within Blizzard but also, off the shelf engines that are available to the industry at large so we very much stand on the shoulder of giants when we make an engine for a game like Overwatch.”

“We had been in a position to take learnings from all the approach like Quake World, to some of the earliest on-line video games, by means of Source [engine games], by means of a complete bunch of different applied sciences even studying up white papers from the groups behind Tribes,” he says.

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BlizzardWorld is one of the new maps coming to Overwatch early subsequent yr.

With Overwatch being obtainable on the PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, it’s one of the uncommon Blizzard video games that’s not on the Mac. It’s odd contemplating that each different Blizzard title has graced Apple’s line of computer systems. Ford defined why Overwatch won’t be making it to the Mac.

“We haven’t any plans of giving this recreation on the Mac,” says Ford. “There are a number of expertise selections that Apple has made that has made it a little bit tough for us to launch Overwatch in the approach we wish it to be consumed, and that’s the reason we have not pursued it.”

On the matter of platform selections, we introduced up how the Xbox One model of Overwatch has extra achievements when in comparison with the PS4’s trophies – Sony’s reply to achievements.

“I can not provide you with the particular particulars, I do not recall of the high of my head,” he says. “But I do know they must do with simply the totally different guidelines and preparations that every of the console producers have with respect to trophies and achievements so to talk. Yeah, that is all I can say intimately.”

The dialog strikes onto Overwatch’s netcode. Despite being an internet multiplayer recreation, it’s been completely playable for us even by way of 3G and 4G connections, utilizing our telephones as hotspots. Ford tells us it was found early on improvement when he was visiting a good friend in North Carolina, and couldn’t connect with the W-iFi community.

“Whenever I related to his Wi-Fi the complete Internet would go down for the total home,” he says. “I attempted tethering from my telephone and performed from North Carolina connecting to servers in LA over my cellphone and it labored nice. I used to be enjoying on-line on-line with Phil Orwig, one of our web code engineers and I informed him ‘I am enjoying on a cellphone proper now, the recreation runs improbable, that is going to work’ we had that working years in the past actually early. I must play nonstop for every week straight to even get near our 2GB restrict.”

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BlizzardWorld has callbacks to different Blizzard video games like StarCraft.

This would imply that if Blizzard determined to convey Overwatch to the Nintendo Switch, the web code wouldn’t be the limiting issue. Ford replied in the affirmative.

“No plans to bring it to the Switch. Though netcode wouldn’t be the problem there,” he says.

With video games like Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite have popularised the Battle Royale style, we needed to ask if Blizzard had plans to convey one thing just like Overwatch.

“That would be really fun. We certainly fantasise what Battle Royale would be like in the Overwatch universe. But we have nothing to announce as of now. It’s cool to see genres like that pick up steam and really see how industries react to a new genre as the case may be,” he says, then hints at attainable technical limitations.

“That’s a factor [the net code] when you talk about games at that scale, that’s absolutely a factor. It’s certainly an exciting assignment for me as an engineer who has worked on game architecture and net code to solve that problem. Overwatch as it is today works with 12 players.”

Finally, we requested if Blizzard had plans in place emigrate PS4 and Xbox One Overwatch gamers to the next-generation of consoles. He left us with this.

“We’d try to do right by the players under the constraints of the first party platforms that’s the best answer I can give. It’s too speculative at this point. One guiding value for us that’s been doing really well is do right by players.”

Disclosure: Blizzard sponsored the correspondent’s flights and resort for BlizzCon 2017.

Adapted From: Gadgets360

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