When building the next installment in a beloved franchise like EA’s Battlefield, every decision needs to make sense for the game developers and the gamers eagerly awaiting their next favorite game. Every new feature needs to add something special to the game without radically changing the way the game is developed.
So, when the team at DICE was presented with the possibility of adding Dolby Vision support to Battlefield 1, they had to make sure it would deliver a new experience to gamers without derailing development. After they had seen Dolby Vision in action, the decision was an easy one.
“When we first saw Dolby Vision HDR, we were impressed at the increased tonal range available to us,” Timothy McGrath, Art Director at DICE LA, said. “HDR opened a whole new world of opportunities to explore artistically.”
The artistry at play is evident in the final product, which takes the visual style that defines Battlefield 1 and expands upon it, while staying faithful to its original creative choices.
“Battlefield 1 has a filmic visual style, where the base assets are created to a photo-real standard,” McGrath explained. “Dolby Vision takes the cutting-edge visuals of Battlefield 1 and makes them even more realistic and visually exciting for the player.”
In order to make that visual upgrade possible, the Battlefield 1 team worked closely with the team behind the Frostbite engine, which powers many of EA’s most popular games, to implement Dolby Vision support and make sure it worked on a wide range of hardware.
“Our philosophy, when implementing HDR in the Frostbite game engine, was to keep it true to the original low dynamic range (LDR) version and do a tasteful increase in range, rather than go too extreme,” McGrath said. “Frostbite provided most of the core technology and we integrated it into the game, added UI options to support it, and updated our maps to make best use of the new functionality.”
For Battlefield 1’s army of fans, that means “additional visual detail with snow and ice on the cold Eastern Front, sizzling sun in Sinai Desert, and the scorching fires of Verdun,” McGrath said. Even on an entry-level TV with Dolby Vision support, “players will notice all that extra range and visual fidelity they were missing before – sunlight feels hot, dark areas are suddenly full of detail, and colors are more vibrant.”
Given the opportunity to view the standard and Dolby Vision versions side-by-side, the benefits are obvious. While HDR gaming is still relatively new, the reactions from the Battlefield community have been positive so far, according to McGrath.
See Battlefield 1 for yourself on a Dolby Vision television hooked up to a PC running Battlefield 1.