Interview: Lukewarm Media head talks about Primal Carnage

First person shooters. Dinosaurs. You would think those two concepts would work great together but so far we have yet to see a really good dinosaur themed first person shooter game (although the recent Dino D-Day was a good attempt). For the past few years, the independent development team at Lukewarm Media has been working on such a game called Primal Carnage. The game, which uses the UDK version of Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3, will pit players controlling human characters battling against other players as the big lizards.

The team at Lukewarm Media has been silent about their plans for Primal Carnage for a little while now but a couple of days ago they released a new video that showed off some amazing DirectX 11 effects that are being developed for the game. We got to chat with Lukewarm Media head Ashton Andersen about the video and he hints about a possible launch of a Primal Carnage benchmark program that would precede the release of the game itself.

First, tell us about the video itself. Why did you decide to make it in the first place?

The main reason why we wanted to produce a small preview video and start jumping into learning the technique and pipeline for DX11 is that I feel there is a huge gap in the industry right now and a large lack of content using DX11. It gives our team the opportunity to start "filling the gap" and push UE3 DX11 before any other teams take that spot. We also want to be able to provide our sponsors, like Nvidia, Origin, EVGA, some content to use to market and promote the new hardware and tech, which will hopefully encourage other development teams to start creating more content that pushes the limits of DX11 tech. Besides, what shows power and speed better then a massive dinosaur walking across your screen in real time?

How hard was it to get the DirectX 11 effects working for the demo video?

Surprisingly easy. With new technology, you always assume you will run into many bugs and crashes. We had a few initial issues with tessellation and depth of field, however we manged to pull through just in time. It's always challenging to learn new tech and produce a tech video within 48 hours of needing to produce a small presentation, however our team came through and we learned alot about the pipeline as well as created a few methods ourselves, which has paid off. A few of the issues with this preview, such as it being a bit hard seeing the difference between DX11 Rex and DX9 Rex is because we have really pushed our pipeline and artistc methods to get our game looking amazing with DX9 tech, which is not really all that bad of a problem to have I suppose.

Can you go over quickly what the additional effects are in the DirectX 11 version of the movie?

In the preview video, we focused on testing the methods of setting up some of the standard DX11 effects available in the UE3/UDK engine, some of these effects include 1. bokeh DOF, 2. tessellation, 3. subsurface scattering, 4. FXaa

We understand that you are developing a full benchmark based on Primal Carnage. Can you talk about that?

I cannot talk too much about that since we're trying to keep that a bit on the down-low for now but you can expect to hear more about this soon enough, real soon in fact.

Finally can you give us an update on the game's development?

We have a lot of updates on the development front. Some of these include setting up a new location in California, a new team roster, and tons of new content and functionality, which we plan on showcasing soon after we finish gearing up for GDC, so I encourage everyone to check our website for those updates.

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