Call of Duty: Ghosts – Next-Gen or Not?

In recent articles here on MP1st, there seems to be a lot of controversy about what makes a new game engine and what doesn’t. Is the engine of Call of Duty: Ghosts new, or is it a copy/paste job from the last generation of console hardware? In a very strict sense, no. It is not a brand new engine. But that in itself is not a bad thing. The actual answer is, as usual, a lot more nuanced.

Before you can judge whether an engine is worthy of being called “next-gen”, you need to know what a game engine does. A game engine doesn’t just draw the picture on the screen. A game engine does literally everything. I probably didn’t make that clear enough. Everything.


So, what exactly does everything mean? I can’t go into details or even just mention everything that goes on, but I can give a simplified view. First of all, an engine checks the available hardware. This goes from processor speed to available RAM to whether the internet is connected, USB accessories are attached and more. This is quite an extensive process on PC, but even on consoles, this happens to a lesser extent. Once that is done you can launch your graphical interface. But that’s not the end of the line. A game also needs to load data and all that data needs to be represented inside the memory somehow. Just how to load, store, and retrieve big amounts of data is a science on its own. The engine is constantly using caches, dozens of different data structures, and is managing and keeping track of where everything is, and making sure you don’t run out of memory. This is not something you think about when you run a game, but it is extremely critical and very complex for modern day games, even on current-gen consoles.

But once again, it doesn’t stop there. If all this works as it should, you can now start loading your intro videos. So, what’s next? You need to show the main menu. Menus are another data structure you need to be able to display at different depths. It is not as complicated as most of the other parts of a game, but a game needs to have a system that allows designers to easily change the structure and look of the menu without having to touch the underlying code too often. A game also needs to intercept commands from the user. This can be your controller, but increasingly often, voice commands and gestures as well. What button or command does what at what time is another system that needs to run. Depending on where you are in the menu or game, buttons can do different things, so it’s not as easy as binding a button to a single action. The input manager needs to be context aware. Also, people like sound. Using the detection code the game ran before launch, it knows which audio device to send audio to. For now it will be just a simple .mp3 file or some other format.

Oh, before I forget: If you happen to plug in your headphones, or your controller loses connection, a game needs to handle that as well. There is a system constantly listening to messages from the underlying operating system about changes in hardware. It needs to make sure that at any point in time those changes get resolved as elegantly as possible. Not a simple task.

The main menu

So with all those systems up and running, we made it to the main menu! Awesome. You’re reading this on MP1st, so I’ll assume you’d want to launch multiplayer next. For this, you need internet connectivity. This is usually handled by the OS, but you still need a system that handles all the different requests a game can make. Again, efficiently and correctly transferring data over a network is a science on its own, so what follows is very simplified: The game will send a request to some master server, asking for available servers or lobbies. In a lobby format, the game usually tries to determine which result will provide the best latency. For dedicated servers, it usually just shows you the list and lets you decide. When you connect to a server (dedicated or not), a lot of data goes back and forth so both sides know who’s who and what’s up.

The server accepts your connection and you’re finally about ready to play… after the loading screen. Every single thing the game has to be loaded now using that memory manager system I described above. This will be many gigabytes and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of different files that need to be stored in data structures. With everything loaded, it’s time to start rendering. But what do we have to render? And how? Whether you are in single player or not, on a dedicated server or P2P, your game needs a representation of the game world at all times. This is not the image you see on the screen, but is an abstract representation of the current state of the game. It includes objects with their current state, location, rotation and special properties, but also zones where different sounds have to play, particles like ejected bullets, places where you can do special actions like vaulting a wall and much much much more. In a multiplayer session, every single player has their own unique version of the game world. Keeping those in sync is a very hard problem to solve and that’s where the dreaded “lag compensation” comes in, as one solution. Every frame, time advances, and the whole thing gets updated. Physics, updates from the server, actions by the player… they all get applied in this abstract representation of the game world.

Finally, 3D!

Only now does the 3D renderer kick in. One of the first things it does is decide what objects are in vision of the current view and which parts. This is a very fundamental part of the renderer because if done right, you only render exactly what you need. If done wrong you throw away a lot of performance on things the player doesn’t see. Once it knows what to render, it draws all the objects from the correct angle and position. But it doesn’t do just that. It also makes a representation of the angles of each surface for every pixel, how far away it is from the camera, how reflective it is and much much more. Once it has this data, it can start applying lighting effects. Once the lighting is done (among other things), it all goes through post processing, the UI is drawn on top of it, and that’s what makes it to the screen.

Most of the rendering systems do exactly what they are told to do. If you want to know how far away pixels are from the camera and you have a good algorithm for that, that’s all you’ll ever need for that problem. There is no point in throwing out working systems, only to rewrite them to do exactly the same. Throwing out a whole engine, in general, is a bad idea unless there are some big technological barriers stopping you from improving it. If a developer wants to improve the lighting in their game, all they need to do is improve the lighting step of the renderer. Many of the new features you find in modern engines are building blocks that plug right into the rendering pipeline, as they call it. There are a lot of technical and mathematical challenges to many fancy rendering techniques.

Call of Duty: Ghosts: next-gen or not?

Using the extra horse power, the CoD:Ghosts engine significantly improved many parts of the renderer and added many others. It will probably not be as pretty as Battlefield 4, but then again, it will run at twice the framerate. Both Frostbite 3 and the new CoD engine are “next-gen”, even though neither is completely new. Both will become better as time goes on. As a good example, compare CoD2 with BO2, or the original Bad Company with Battlefield 3. This is just the first wave of games for the new consoles. The best has yet to come. Throwing out perfectly working engines instead of improving on them will only slow that process down.

So next time an engine is “just” an improved version of the previous version. Don’t light your torches or get out the pitch forks. Give it a fair shot. Great software is like great wine. It takes time. Two years of improving will have a much greater effect than two years of doing everything from scratch again.

In the end, we are all winners because we will all get better games built on better engines. As a PC gamer, I can definitely appreciate good graphics, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters to me when playing games is having fun. Play the game you want to play, and let others do the same. Good times are coming, so let’s just enjoy them instead of fighting about it on the internet!

  • Dirtknap

    If concessions are made within the engine for the additional features, without compromising any of the factors that contribute to a less than stellar online experience, I’m not overly concerned about how “new” the engine is. If the end result is a game that is similar to previous iterations in terms of graphic fidelity, that will be a little disappointing, but I’d make the trade for a solid online experience.

    This has me even more convinced to wait and see with this title, and be a Christmas noob if it proves to be worth its salt.

    BTW, great article Niosus, I’d like to see more from you!

    • Niosus

      Thanks, I have a few ideas in my head for future articles. I’d like to write more, but juggling my studies and being webmaster at MP1st leaves little room to write.

      • Dirtknap

        Fair call, I look forward to your next piece anyhow. Cheers.

  • TheMuskyPotato

    lets hope infinity ward makes another game like they did years ago

  • SubXero

    My biggest complaint is that the engine was fingered (not THAT fingered) as the culprit for so many of the issues plaguing CoD last gen. Throughout last gens course they continuously did not rectify the issues and repeatedly laid blame to the engine.

    So here we are at a time where they could have unveiled a COMPLETELY NEW engine without these “built in” issues and they chose to continue building upon an apparently flawed foundation. I fully understand that building an engine is not easy but Activision has BILLIONS (Take note of the “S” there at the end) of dollars. They easily could have funded a new engine that was strictly their own and not only used it for CoD but used it for their other titles.

    Maybe this “new” engine finally has the kinks worked out but considering how long they had to solve these problems over the span of last gen and did not… I have little faith. To paraphrase a comment I made in an earlier article; I went from being super excited to adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

    I guess I’ll close with the fact that I will definitely be picking this game up but my excitement to do so has been replaced with reluctance.

    • Niosus

      I used graphics as an example, but the same goes for any of the “built in” issues you mention. There is no need to throw out the vast majority of stuff that works perfectly, they need to focus on those issues and maybe rewrite the systems responsible for those issues. A full rewrite is almost never necessary.

      • True but their engine just got HAVOC physics with Black Ops II and the reason being id Tech 3(or IW engine some of you call it) never had physics to begin with. And with the problems the PC version had since MW from UI to connection issues and what have you, nothing about this engine works “perfectly” or is “well optimized after 7 years. Is that why the net codes still glitch or how they just got HAVOC physics?

        • Niosus

          What UI problems did it have?

          And again, I am not defending the products they make. If they don’t see the need to fix certain issues in current versions, what makes you think they will fixed in a full rewrite?

          You say nothing works, but I only see 1 big complaint from most people: The way they handle lag compensation.

          I think I made it clear in my article that there are many many different systems and parts in an engine. Even if there are multiple systems that need a lot of work, there are many more that are just fine as is.

          • Lestat87

            My biggest complaint is we have been pointing the issues out since codmw2 (when they started) and Activision makes their billion dollars each year from it so they don’t care. Last year we were told we were getting a new engine for bo2 and it still had the problems. The mp lag issue is the big one for me. Makes the game just plain frustrating to play. My other Q would be if core engine has no effect of graphics how come the last 4 games has all looked the same. Yes I know they have different fov and hud, but more or less the same. Looks to me like they have reached some bottleneck within their engine and cant be bothered fixing it as that would cost money and Activision simply doesn’t care cause they know we are stupid enough to keep buying it. I know I did up until mw3.

            • john doe

              COD perfected the curved bullets. Period

            • No they don’t make billions on the game, they make it from us.

  • MegaMan3k

    The problems with Call of Duty result because they do not pair with their game design with their available engine, but instead say “close enough” or think of band aids to make it less noticeable (*cough* artificial 150ms ping to all players in Black Ops 2).

    • Niosus

      Which is a very very small part of their engine. I’m not excusing them for the issues they have, I’m saying that nearly every issue can be fixed without throwing out the whole engine. The lag issue doesn’t have any impact e on anything below (the “hidden” systems) or above (the 3D renderer) it.

      • MegaMan3k

        I don’t blame the core of their engine. I think that there are some things that they could replace in their engine that they have not been, particularly with how the network interfaces with hit detection.

        I think it’s more that their net code has likely become bloated over time with all the additional features they’ve stuffing into the system and they need to re-evaluate the information pipeline there to better optimize network performance. As well, the relationship between how much the game falls apart in the presence of latency – as is, many weapons kill faster than real latency and definitely faster than the fake artificial latency that they put into Black Ops 2. That’s where a lot of the problems are coming from. The game is not designed around the engine infrastructure they have available and the real world situation that it’s played in.

        • Niosus

          They need to rethink that part indeed. Another option has little to do with the engine design, but also fixes a lot of it: dedicated servers. I haven’t played BO2 or MW3 on PC, but in the older CoDs dedicated servers really fix most if not all of the lag. It completely negates any host advantage and guarantees a good host.With a P2P system you are almost guaranteed to have bad lag. If there is more than a quarter of a second delay there is just nothing you can do as a programmer.

          But that’s a business decision. The people working on the engine can’t do anything about that.

          • MegaMan3k

            Not being a software engineer, I’ve always wondered if a “cloud” approach could be taken to P2P “hosts”. Such as if all the information could be spread across all of the players and retrieved as convenient and instantly reshuffled as players enter or leave.

            • Niosus

              That would make things very complicated. Maybe it could help, but I don’t know how you’d determine what the “truth” is. What ACTUALLY happened. Right now it’s basically which action reaches the host first. It’s possible, but also has downsides. But no matter which approach you take, if the delay becomes too big there really is no good solution.

              Better matchmaking could do a lot, maybe something like dynamic host migration when the host becomes to laggy or if someone else joins with a better connection.

            • MegaMan3k

              I guess what I was thinking would be if every player “knew” everything, or maybe “knew” what was around them, then the player’s client could selectively poll the information sources near them (or that could affect them) to determine what “happened.”

              I mean if you have 64 players on an enormous map, a player at the end of one side wouldn’t need to know if a player on the other side was standing or crouching with any degree of latency. But that player would need to know the players near him.

              So could the client not look at the players near by and say “according to player A, with 53ms latency, X happened, and player B with 20ms latency, X happened, but according to the 100ms players involved, Y happened, we determine that X happened.” and then all four involved parties send to all latency significant parties (ie, players nearby) that “X” happened, while the latency tolerant parties (everybody else miles away on the map) have that information queued up to be delivered as convenient to their connection.

              … I don’t know. Sounds infeasible. It might require a lot of parity with regards to all players connections.

            • Na then you have rage quitters (Me). If that happens you on that good streak. This random comes in and migrates to them and you die. Then what?

          • RanParty

            Blops 2 on pc dedicated servers still has latency/coding/networking issues. Hell the game has the problems on LAN

            • MegaMan3k

              I keep hearing mixed things about whether that was actually disproved. What’s the latest on it?

            • Hoosting

              Well mw3 didnt work at all on LAN. Blops 2 i dunno if they were truly just rumors but the game just felt bleh. Ive had a 50 down 10 up connection since blops 1 and ive been sp lag comped since i havent killed anyone since i had host in blops 1. Mmm blops 1 host

            • MegaMan3k

              BLOPS 1 host was ridiculous. My K/D (LOL K/D) in BLOPS1 is like +1.5 from any other COD because I pulled Host so often.

              … I loved it.


            • Because its not all about lag. The cameras are way off on BOII even when playing offline. You’re character model is way behind your camera when doing animations.

            • The BO2 game has broken cameras, lag, OP weapons, glitches, too many things needing a patch. I could go on, you want me to?

          • awkenney

            Nope. Lag compensation compounds with a hit registration issue in other parts of the engine in the PC version just the same as it does on the consoles. Dedicated Servers (Treyarch Owned) haven’t fixed this. Previous COD games featuring dedicated servers do not suffer from this as they allow the admin to turn off ping balancing. Those games also do not feature the hit registration issues of the IW3+ engine.

            • Your Mom

              As long as I can kill people IDGAF

    • Niosus

      You’re saying that as if it’s a bad thing. Care to elaborate?

    • MegaMan3k

      Frostbite 3.0 is based on Frostbite 2.0 is based on Frostbite 1.5 is based on Frostbite 1.0.

      UE 4.0 is based on UE 3.0 is based on UE 2.0 is based on UE 1.0.

      Creation Engine (Skyrim) is based on GameBryo (Oblivion, Fallout 3) engine.

      • The Core of an engine and “based on the engine” are two different things.

        Id Tech 5 or currently in development id tech 6 from Id Software is based on the old engine principals but they don’t upgrade an old engine with belts and whistles. There is a complete different design philosophy and completely new technologies that can’t be supported with the old engine code.

        Infinity Ward engine is based on id Tech 3 at the core. It’s common knowledge. The basic upgrades they tout as new are the most obvious ones. Better shaders, better textures, HDR lighting(BOII, Bounce Lighting(BOII) Self Shadowing and Lens Flare(BOII) and so on but core of it is the same old thing and it’ evident.

        An example. Up until Black Ops 2, there was no HAVOC physics because id tech 3 never supported physics from the beginning! And some people were inclned to believe “wow that’s amazing!” It’s not, almost every game nowadays runs the HAVOC physics engine.

        When people say things like “it’s easier for them to use” or “It’s well optimized”, in my mind, I simply think “No, no it isnt.” Is that why they could not implement decent physics engine for so long that everyone else has been using? OR why network code is glitchy after 7 years?

        • Sheldon

          I only brought this up to counteract a bad logic. But also to show that a new engine can be made if needed. Also, neither Treyarch nor what is left of IW have shown themselves to be trendsetters in engine development. We shall see.

        • MegaMan3k

          Didn’t they redo the entire rendering system for Modern Warfare 2 so that they could allow for their new “hypertexture” technology, or something like that? I remember reading about it on FourZeroTwo’s blog (which has since been taken down).

          Of course, that opens up more issues because newer titles have never gone back to Modern Warfare 2. To this point, MW2’s is the most “advanced” engine – by certain definitions.

        • Clay… I’m going to need you to stop copying and pasting your comments, please. Even if its still relevant. Thanks 🙂

      • Sheldon

        Frostbite 1.0 was made in 2008. Quake engine (id Tech 1) was made in (drum roll) 1996!!!

      • blackmorth

        IW Engine was made in 2005…

        • id Tech 3 was made in 1998 and IW Engine is at its core id Tech 3. IW never made the engine, Activision bought it from id Software. It wasn’t even being called IW Engine until Modern Warfare 2 but all that has changed was a name.

          • blackmorth

            Ok, thx for the info 🙂

  • blondbassist

    For me, it’s all about the gameplay, Not graphics.

    However for call of duty, It seems both will still be the same.

  • asgaro

    Very good informative and well-written article, Niosus/Jorik!

  • Sheldon

    You go Mp1st. Getting some money from Activision I see. Only thing is, you are supposed to stand up for us the gamers.

    • MegaMan3k

      One of the most ignorant things I’ve ever heard a gamer say, and I don’t make it much of a secret that I see gamers as the bottom of the intelligence barrel.

      • Sheldon

        Awww. Such a wonderfully dramatic dis. Now say something on topic idiot.

      • Sheldon

        Simmer down sir

    • Niosus

      Sometimes we get money from Activision, but only when you see Activision ads on the site.

      But no, I did not get a handful of cash from Activision to write this. I wrote this as a reaction to the comments on the article linked at the top. The majority of this article isn’t even about anything related to Activision.

      Hell, I don’t even get paid by MP1st to write this. As a programmer I have more perspective on this kind of stuff than most people, so I decided to share that perspective and why some demands are just illogical and unreasonable.

      Feel free to disagree, but claiming we get paid by publishers to post this is just wrong and frankly disrespectful.

      • Sheldon

        Well I apologize for discrediting your hard work sir, but this is a very sensitive topic which seems to couple Frostbite with the garbage engine that IW puts out every year and I was insulted.

        • Niosus

          Why is it sensitive? I don’t get it. 10 years ago nobody cared about game engines, but suddenly it’s a big deal.

          Frostbite has better graphics but runs at 30fps. Battlefield games use dedicated servers instead of a P2P solution.

          Frostbite is more advanced on a technical level, but that doesn’t make Frostbite games better. You can have great games on crappy engines and crappy games on great engines. The engine is nothing more than a tool to build an experience. It’s like what a camera is to a movie. The camera is important, but what they do with it makes or breaks the movie.

          • John doe

            So you are saying BF is a crappy game. BF3 runs at 30 FPS because it is on 7 year old hardware. There is a article on eurogamer that said BF3 is a technical masterpiece on every platform. They said they was suprised to see it even run on current gen hardware. This time with it launching right next to new next gen power i would bet my savings that BF4 will run at 720p at 60FPS on next gen. You mark my words.

            • John doe

              Type in (BF3 digital foundry face off) in Google and you can read the article.

            • Niosus

              I never said BF3 or BF4 is a crappy game. I said that even though it’s a technical master piece, the technical side only does so much. Having a better engine does not make a better game.

              Look at Portal 2. It runs on the Source engine. Granted, a slightly updated version but it’s still basically the same version we had since 2007. Technically nothing special about it. In terms of technical graphics FAR below average. However the aesthetics, gameplay, sound, environments, story and all those other elements were sublime. That’s what makes Portal 2 a great game. Not the engine.

              A good engine will help to create an immersive environment, but is by no means necessary. CoD CAN be a great game without a cutting edge engine. I’m not saying it is or isn’t, but it can.

            • Asmitty56

              It’s good thing that it’s a good game on a good engine

          • I agree look at Minecraft. 8 bit graphics and it’s still one of the most played in the world.

        • This is not very sensitive. One solution if you feel it’s not good. DON’T BUY IT!!!

      • mrup2nogud

        Disrespectful is exactly what his comment was and frankly I’m amazed he’s even willing to visit the site if he thinks that I know if I thought a site was being paid to favourably report on a game I wouldn’t go to it.. I really respect mp1st I get good info here.. Thanks

        • MegaMan3k

          I don’t mind it at all. I see it as a way for news sites and blogs like these to stay in business when 90% of their readers probably have ad-block (I turned ad-block off for MP1st, cheers!). But, that said, it absolutely must be labelled as a sponsored post. Otherwise it’s inexcusable.

          I don’t mind that Kotaku runs some posts sponsored by companies about how great their games are because it’s plastered with “THEY PAID FOR THIS POST.” I don’t mind that Collider ran a trailer for a new season 3 trailer of The Killing and labelled it as a “Sponsored Post.” I do mind that GameSpot has changed reviews based on publisher feedback, and I’ve stopped visiting their site in response to that.

          That’s just my opinion, though.

          • mrup2nogud

            I never use adblock on anything I doesn’t make sense to deprive content providers of the revenue that keeps them going. However I feel paid favourable reporting is wrong as the opinions of those reports go towards my purchase decision making and it’s just wrong to give a bum steer that could lead to my hard earned wages being spent on a turkey..

  • Sheldon

    Will the new engine fix the lag issues that get worse every time they overburden the same quake engine?

    • zacflame

      either every player chips in and buys an internet connection worth 70$ a month, or (will never happen) activision uses their money to give improved servers for customer satisfaction.

      • Rosemeadshredder

        that’s kind of a tough one to do. In my area the internet kind of blows. Daytime hours were fine, but once 5pm rolled around the internet went to crap. And I was paying $55.

        • awkenney

          I don’t have an issue with anyone playing MP in COD, but the game should always treat players with the superior Internet connection as if they had the superior Internet connection and it should always treat those whose who have the inferior Internet connection as if they have the inferior Internet connection. That would truly be fair.
          But Activision understands that the widest player base is chock full of shitty Internet connections, so they are going to do whatever favors players with shitty Internet, like give the best hit registration to those with the highest ping to the host/server. There is code in MW3 to anticipate another person in the home suddenly hammering the connection with YouTube. That’s just stupid, and should never need to be included in the game.

          • BOB


            • Your Mom


          • ckpinkham

            How is that fair? Not many people can actually afford more than the basic internet package from their ISP. And before you say “get a job” you should keep in mind, there are barely any jobs out there in America. We’re nearly $17 trillion in debt now. Until we fix that, dedicated servers are the only thing that’s really fair. I have almost no issues in Battlefield 3, even though we only have the cheapest package our ISP provides us. My mother has been looking for a year-round job for about a year now, and I’ve been been looking for over 2, so I can finally move out .-. but there’s nothing available.

            • awkenney

              Dedicated servers don’t fix bad code. Turning the bad code off fixes the problem, but that screws people with high ping as well. It’s a matter of preference. I prefer the scenario that doesn’t force me to nerf my Internet to 512kb/sec to get reasonable hit registration.
              I could argue the other way however. QuakeWorld was created as a way of balancing latency among other things in Quake 1. I preferred it when I was on a 38k modem. But when I was back in college on 15Mb/sec, Quakeworld SUCKED. So I guess those on a crap connection will always prefer ping balancing/lag comp and those who aren’t won’t.

            • ckpinkham

              Did I ever say it fixed bad code or anything? No. I said I don’t really have any problems on dedicated servers. I have a shit ton of issues in practically any peer-to-peer connection, besides maybe Splinter Cell Conviction, and that’s 2 people maximum so it’s a bit different.

      • No they don’t. Don’t you people listen? They added Lag Compensation. To help against what every one bitched about MW2’s “Host Advantage”. They even stated and tried to explain this. They are not even getting dedicated servers. That’ll fix everything. I run off $80 worth of internet. So don’t bring connections as an excuse.

  • it isn’t going to amaze us in both of consoles

  • Mario Porfírio Souza

    I need to know if this engine will fix the bugs of cod that came since mw2 like the lag in the split screen game and the head glitch.

  • profoundWHALE

    Since when will COD run at 120fps? You said “Then again, COD will run at twice the frame rate.” Talking like BF4 isn’t on PCs, or next gen consoles won’t play it at 60 fps.

    • Niosus

      I am talking about the consoles since there is a fixed roof there. On a sufficiently powerful PC you can run any game at 60fps.

      Btw as a matter of fact, I used to run CoD4 Promod at 250fps. My display can’t show it but it gives you a little edge. Good luck with that in a Battlefield game 😉

      • John doe

        I see 100% BF4 will run at 720P at 60FPS on next gen consoles.

        • Niosus

          I could be wrong, but so far it seems likely that BF4 will run at 1080p30 like all those other “pretty” games. That or 720p60 (unlikely) or scaled back graphics.

    • MegaMan3k

      You don’t know that next gen consoles will play it at 60FPS.

  • Flare Demon
    • MegaMan3k

      Seems like you’re making an arbitrary distinction.

      • Your Mom

        In English?

    • SubXero

      That’s actually quite hilarious.

    • Andrew Redwine

      You do realize this pic isn’t from the final build of the game, right?

      • Lestat87

        While that is true lighting is usually done as some sort of top layer as it has an effect on everything. This is why in Crysis2 you could still see your shadow even when cloaked. So unless they are planning some major engine change this is staying. 6months to release I’d say game is most likely built and they are making and testing new objects within the worlds.

        • Andrew Redwine

          I see your point. That being said, the environment itself could be creating the effect. I’m just guessing BTW, based on what I’ve seen in other games

      • Close enough for me.

      • Your Mom

        Shut up you stupid guest

    • MasonMei

      Two suns —-> Not next-gen engine.
      Dat logic.

      • Devin Jackson

        I actually think they are

        • AtheistMason

          Then you must be stupid. Hah.

    • Your Mom

      It’s just more next gen than we thought, there are two suns!

  • Andrew Redwine

    This will be the question in my mind if I decide to rent & play CoD: Ghosts: Is it better/running smoother than MW3? That’s all I’m concerned about at this point. I don’t compare a new CoD title to a new BF one, or even the newest title to last year’s. I compare it to the last one made by that developer, since CoD has two keeping the franchise going.

    If it is, I’ll keep it on my hard drive (I’m going digital this generation). If it’s not, I’ll make room for another game.

    • MegaMan3k

      My two cents would be to compare it to Modern Warfare 2, then. I’m pretty sure that Modern Warfare 3′ was primarily developed by Splash Damage and Raven, since Infinity Ward had lost so so many of their employees.

      • Andrew Redwine

        Splash Damage didn’t have a hand in MW3. It was a co-op between IW and Sledgehammer Games. Raven handles DLC and/or ELITE for the whole franchise I believe. Plus, there’s Neversoft, but I think they only do the handheld versions.

        Still, I stand by what I said. As long as it’s better than the last one the current IW made, I’ll keep playing it until I get bored with it.

        • MegaMan3k

          Oh good call, I mixed up my developers. Splash Damage is totally different studio. I meant Sledgehammer. Thanks for the correction.

          Neversoft is involved with the development of Ghosts, but in an unknown capacity. And you’re completely right about Raven. Although I heard some speculation that Raven actually made the launch maps for BO2, while Treyarch made the DLC maps. I don’t think there was ever any real supporting evidence though other than “vanilla maps feel like MW3 and DLC maps feel like Black Ops.”

          My understanding was that with Modern Warfare 3, Sledgehammer and Raven took a much larger chunk than they normally would have. I heard some people claim that the multiplayer was nearly totally constructed by Sledgehammer, but I don’t remember what sources were used.

          • Andrew Redwine

            Neversoft might be taking care of the DLC for Ghosts this time around. IW seems to be making the core game by themselves, but we’ll find out after it launches.

            As for MW3, IW and Sledgehammer basically teamed up 1:1 (50/50) for the core game: Campaign, Spec-Ops, & Multiplayer. Raven did all of the DLC, as far as I know.

            I’m not chewing you out over this BTW. I’m just stating the info I read and heard.

  • By biggest hope is that Call of Duty: Ghosts feels different.

    Like, I’m not sure what exactly IW could do, but I hope that the feel of the game is different enough that it feels new and fresh, but that it still stays as smooth as CoD aways has been and runs at 60 FPS, which we know it will.

    I really do hate comparing, but to illustrate my point, take Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3. Both games are made by the same developer, but they feel totally different, despite both being Battlefield games (and I think that’s the reason why gamers still love BC2 – because it feels like a different game.) 343 Industries did a great job in making Halo 4 feel different from its predecessors, but it still remains “Halo.”

    If Ghosts ends up feeling exactly the same way or plays exactly the same as MW3/BO2, I may begin to feel burdened by the whole experience.

    So many feelings…

    • SubXero

      Great points and I totally agree.

    • MegaMan3k

      Call of Duty Ghosts is going to facing unprecedented competition. They need to innovate this year or they risk losing a massive chunk of market share. I’m not saying that Call of Duty could die or anything like that. But if they come out of the box on a next gen system and offer nothing but “yup, this feels like Call of Duty,” then they will be swallowed up by Battlefield 4, Destiny, Homefront 2, Patriots, Killzone: Shadow Something, and Respawn’s “Titan.” And then there are some “out there” guesses too. RARE could be bringing back Perfect Dark from Microsoft’s tease, or Crytek could be preparing for some sort of free to play Warface for Xbox that could be a big hit for a new console, or maybe Ubi Soft continues their mega onslaught of Far Cry greatness in a way that makes it a viable multiplayer competitor…. The shooter environment is a bit of a powderkeg right now.

      And, speaking from my experience, a lot of people seem turned off by the newest Call of Duty games. At work some people are creating an “Xbox Live game night” and you’d be amazed at how many people are recommending Modern Warfare 2 and immediately shooting down any mention of MW3 or Black Ops 2.

      My suggestions, or I should say, “What I want to see,” is the game scaled back. I want to feel like the game director said “No, let’s hold back a little bit.” Call of Duty is becoming burdened with craziness and chaos. For a series that could at one point be fairly described as a “twitch reflex tactical shooter,” I think they’re losing sight of the words “reflex” and “tactical.”

      And, in further support of your arguments, I would suggest looking at Battlefield 3 in comparison with Back to Karkand / Close Quarters / Armored Kill / Aftermath / End Game. Not only did DICE manage to make Battlefield 3 feel different than Bad Company 2 (note: I think I disagree with you on the extent of that difference, but I digress…), they managed to make every expansion pack feel totally unique.

      That said, I cannot imagine Ghosts taking as much of a risk as Halo 4 did, though. Halo 4 so dramatically upset the gameplay of Halo that it alienated a lot of players. I think that Halo 4’s removal of static power weapons from the map is as game changing as removing all killstreaks and perks from Call of Duty, maybe even more so.

      In the end – well said. I agree with your sentiments and conclusions.

      • I agree with your suggestions of “scaling back” Call of Duty a bit. It’s definitely lost that tactical touch.

        To add to your “out there” guesses, I’m hoping Rainbow 6: Patriots just comes out of nowhere and shows everybody what’s up. Huge fan of the Rainbow Six series. I’d love to see them do something fascinating with the multiplayer that would give us a real, legitimate alternative to COD/BF, but we’ll see. Those days may be over.

        I also agree that IW needs to make more unique/themed expansion packs. That would definitely add to the value of the game’s DLC.

        Yeah, the only Halo title I’ve ever seriously played this generation is Halo 4, so I wouldn’t know the full extent of the effects 343 had on the series. I did feel they made Halo “cooler” though, If I may say that – better visuals, huge improvements in the audio department. Stuff like that.

        Anyways, I enjoyed reading your response, good sir. Cheers!

        • Lestat87

          Agreed. Terrorist hunt mode was incredible. I still play it every now and then. The random spawning locations combined with the fact you can use stealth even when they will run to the other side of the map just to flank you.

    • Asmitty56

      If Call of Duty Ghosts can give this franchise a bit of a tactical shooter feel then I’ll be satisfied. I mean why not add a bit more of a realistic shooter that requires team work and thinking game play to counter the arcade shooter CoD is known for? Some more realistic gun mechanics that requires you to master the recoil of the guns that act differently from one another. Ghosts already has that stealthy tactical feel, players will have to use cover to their advantage and pick their shots better instead of run and gunning the whole time.

      • awkenney

        I wouldn’t purchase it because you couldn’t force the players to play as a team.

        • Asmitty56

          Of course you can, you just need to adjust the points to be more team oriented. Also encourage more clan play.

          • awkenney

            The developer would never do that.

            • Asmitty56

              Umm, why? They say they want change and innovation in the CoD franchise, so why not?

    • Lestat87

      IW is responsible for codmw1 and mw3. MW1 is still the best Ive played (haven’t played bo2 cause I gave up on activision making a decent cod ever again). MW3 has so many server issues it wasn’t funny. They forget that everyone is connected to the internet. So say someone is hosting and a sibling of theirs decides they want watch hi-def youtube then bam whole server pays.

    • awkenney

      I think a Call of Duty game should respond to the player operating the controls the same way every game, excepting new functionality like sliding, or more pace-conscious climbing animation.
      But I don’t agree that the engine used in COD2, 4, [email protected] and BO1 feels the same or plays the same as the engine used in MW2, MW3 and BO2. In fact I’d say the older engine has more responsive controls and has better hit registration in MP, making it thus superior to the newer engine.
      I would appreciate going back to the feel of COD4. Not a completely different feel altogether.

      • Yeah, I agree that there are definitely nuances between each COD title. I was speaking in very general terms. Like you said, the sliding, vaulting, and leaning might bring some new stuff to the table. I just wonder if it’s enough to really freshen it up!

        • awkenney

          I’d say most people are thinking the same as you. I realize I’m not on that bandwagon of change for the sake of change however. I prefer “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s what I felt was the case in COD4 and World at War. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t go back to that feel and that engine, leave the “feel” and controls alone and update the graphics at 1080p to include modern GPU functionality. Add whatever features you like, and if it breaks hit registration, scale it back and try something else. Honestly, I do realize how much work that is, but that is what it is going to take to impress me as a customer.

      • B_Boss

        Agreed for sure.

    • John doe

      Call me a fanboy or whatever but considering DICE has had 2 years of optimizing Frostbite 3 and the BF experience. I may be going out on a limb but i see BF4 being DICE’s swan song. I loved BFBC2 and i loved BF3 but there is no denying that DICE is a very talented studio. They know how to make a epic war game like nobody else. They do stuff in there Multiplayer that other games can only do in there single player.

    • Devin Jackson

      It will. The new movement touches, mainly the vaulting and leaning over cover will make it so much more fluid.

      • duhasst

        The new leaning? It was in every COD until MW2. Theure trying tonbring an old as feature back and call it new.

        • Your Mom

          So what? You mad?

    • Asmitty56

      “I think it’s important for devs to make players re-learn their game every so often too (though I know the competitive community would hate me for saying this). If you learned how to play Call of Duty 4 well, for example, you knew exactly how to play every Call of Duty since then. I think that’s what gets stale for many of us.”

      Exactly my thinking.

  • Sam

    Fantastic write-up. Absolutely great! And very helpful to someone like me, just finished my first year at Uni Studying Computer Game Development.

  • uwantSAM0A

    Very cool article. I don’t mind admitting that I have close to zero knowledge of how a game actually works, so this article painted a visible image for me to understand.

  • Lestat87

    COD has been using the same modified engine since COD2. So over 10 years old now. I disagree with you in this case as the last 4 cod games all pushed the engine to its bottlenecks and more or less all looked the same. It also created a massive lag issue where players are somewhere before they appear on the others players screens. Without heavily modifying just about everything except the physics I can’t see it returning to when it was about skill rather than hardware and connection.

  • John doe

    I disagree about the new COD engine running twice the frame rate of Frostbite 3. DICE has not shown or even said that the Next gen versions will be 30FPS. I think after seeing the specs of the new consoles and knowing DICE they will optimize the hell out of BF4 for next gen. I can easily see it being 720P at 60FPS on next gen consoles. I doubt they could do 1080P at 60FPS but who really knows. That is why i cannot wait till E3 so everything is spilled. If BF4 runs at 60FPS on Next gen Cod will lose its only leverage over BF and that would be big.

    • MegaMan3k

      I thought that the reveal demonstration was 30FPS?

      • john doe

        No it was 60fps on a powerful pc they have not unveiled the next gen version yet so nobody knows what fps it runs at. 720p at 60fps is My bet for the next gen versions considering the large leap in power from current to next gen.

      • john doe

        Google bf4 tech analysis by digital foundry and it is also a solid read on the power behind bf4. They clarify it was 60fps with 3k resolution.

      • Sgt. Mofo

        If you catch the video on YouTube, I think its capped at 30FPS. There is an uncompressed video running at 1080p @ 60FPS out there clocking in at over 2GB. Watch that if you want to get the full effect.

      • Your Mom

        I was sure it was 69FPS

    • Ryan Schulze

      Exactly the same thing I was thinking. If BF3 can run on my PC at 60FPS, where is this thought that Next-Gen BF4 will only run at 30FPS? Maybe it will. Maybe will have options. Wouldn’t that be great. Up the resolution and lower your frame rate or set it at 45 for that perfect balance. How about lower resolution and 30 FPS for 4 player split screen. PLEASE, let’s have some local multi-player options besides sports on Next-Gen.

    • Jason Davis

      I wouldn’t mind 720p @ 60fps as long as next gen consoles have some kind of AA options!

  • TI_21

    Imo this article missed the point entirely.

    The problem Call of Dutys engine faces aren’t graphics.
    The biggest problem are the devs in charge who are scared of fixing/touching the core mechanics which are tremendously broken.

    So when they announced an all new engine (they actually didn’t say so, but they intentionally repeated the phrase “all new”, in the dumbest way imaginable, so you’d think the engine is all new as well) hopes were up that they’d finally fix the core mechanics since they’d write them from the ground up.

    But these hopes were shattered.

    • thebulky1cometh

      I tend to go back and forth on this issue. I disagree that the MECHANICS are broken. What don’t you like? The knife animation, maybe. But in terms of running, climbing, crouching, reloading, etc., I think COD has done a great job.

      My biggest issues are always focused on the connection: lag, match making, hit detection, etc.

      • SubXero

        I’m personally sick of not being able to reload while sprinting. With all the other “out there” BS you can do in CoD, the fact that we can’t sprint and reload is just ridiculous. I swear… If we can slide and shoot and do all this other “new” stuff and still not reload while sprinting I’m going to be pretty angry/disappointed.

        • B_Boss

          I have to say that that is an annoying feature lol. In BC2 and BF3 you could do it no problem (and honestly I prefer BF but my point was that it seems like such a ‘no brainer’ for a modern, military shooter and DICE decided to implement it probably without thinking about it, it just makes sense given the fast paced battles that can occur in BF and especially in CoD). Come on IW….this is what I speak of when I meant earlier by tweaking certain elements within the core mechanics/engine…..these “little” things matter BIG time…….

      • TI_21

        When I said core mechanics i mean anything which is about the gameplay itself. Not about netcode.

        Things like bad hitboxes, sub par 3rd person animations, Aim Assist which they’ve never fixed which is the cause of the no-scope/quick-scope bug. (100% accuracy when an enemy is in the middle of the screen while you start to do an action, even when you hipfire).

        They only do workarounds for these issues instead of fixing the core mechanic.

    • B_Boss

      Well thats just it…..perhaps IW does not see the system as broken as some of the gaming community. To play devils advocate, they probably attempted to convey the idea that the engine has been so reworked that a new experience with the player will be inevitable. Of course this has yet to be seen.

      I think the core mechanics is….at the most basic level, what makes CoD, CoD. I say leave that alone but tweak aspects of the engine here and there to not only improve the experience with the core mechanics but to also create an experience that actually feels new….honestly as I think of it, it seems a like a damned difficult challenge…how do we keep the game the ‘same’ yet make it ‘new’…? Many may complain that the game “feels the same” but that could (I stress “could”) be a good thing.

      To give a last example, I really wouldn’t want a CoD that is 60fps, large, open battlefields, fully destructive environments (akin to the total BF experience). I’d like the line between BF and CoD solid and visible yet have both games continually improved within their respective engines….how is that to be done..? I guess we’ll see in the coming months. Sounds difficult as hell to me though, but I’m definitely no pro. You do have a good point though TI_21.

  • hey

    Lean feature with 14 year olds abusing cod mechanics with the epic lag that the game has with the same old engine, yeah sounds fun.

  • MasonMei

    “Two years of improving will have a much greater effect than two years of doing everything from scratch again.” Hell yeah.

    • AtheistMason

      Fuck you, noob, just vote me down, asshole.

  • B_Boss

    Why on earth ANY dev would simply scrap their engine and start anew would be crazy and unwise. Reading this really really reminds me to continually appreciate even further these studios, their engines and how they work….wow. Great article Jorik!

  • MrSunshine

    Next-Gen Engine

    The future, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Mase

    What they need to do with the new COD on single player make it so its like multiplayer, if me and couple of friends want to play single player finish the Campaign together. That would bring a new element to COD. Also they need to make the guns balance.

  • ckpinkham

    I disagree that it’s next-gen. The engine has made COD JUST NOW get to this generation’s standards at best. It’s not even up to par with Battlefield 3, which is on Frostbite 2, not 3. Therefore, even though I’ll give them the “new” engine due to the vast amount and level of changes, it’s NOT next-gen. However, by 2014’s inevitable COD, they might make it up to par with the launch titles for the One/PS4. Maybe if COD players are lucky, they’ll even tweak it enough that it’s up to par with the other games being released around the same time as the next COD (after Ghosts), though I doubt it. To put it bluntly, they basically maintain the lowest standards of all large developers, even though the game sells more than any other shooter. It’s completely ridiculous, but as long as people still buy the game, instead of demanding equal quality, or even higher quality games than say, Battlefield, they’re going to keep getting screwed.

    Sorry if that upsets anyone, but from what I can see, it’s the truth. I loved Modern Warfare 2, but it’s been downhill ever since in my opinion. I would love for them to take 2-3 years and really win me back with what could be the most epic COD EVER, but they probably won’t do that. Especially if fans keep buying every year’s version when it releases. If everyone just waited until the price tag dropped to $40, then they’d get the message and could potentially make the best shooter experience ever, then do the same again and again, every 3 years.

  • awkenney

    “Call of Duty: Ghosts’ new engine still iterative, not built from scratch”