Ken Levine talks about development of BioShock Infinite and next-gen systems

While we’re waiting wide-eyed for Irrational Games’ upcoming title BioShock Infinite, we have a chance to hear what co-founder Ken Levine has to say about gaming technology, both current and future. In an interview with The Inquirer, Levine talks about the development of BioShock Infinite.



Levine talks about how the original BioShock, from a technical standpoint, was essentially a dungeon. This paved the way for the expansive city of BioShock Infinite, which has vistas and sunlight. He also talks about the challenge the team faced while working with the giant floating city of Columbia with Unreal Engine 3. The Engine has issues with making large objects move and the programmers found a way around that limitation.

According to Levine, he talks about the most difficult challenge the team faced—the AI for Elizabeth. Unlike most companions, she isn't a simple turret that walks around with you. Instead, she is a person who has to be engaged in different situations, like when in combat and when not in combat. He also talks about the animation efforts involved.

Elizabeth's AI is complex, so she is a big drain on the hardware resources. This, coupled with more enemies and in larger moving worlds, caused some problems during the game's development.

Every system has its own advantages, says Levine. You have to design for each system from the outside if you don’t want to face trouble down the road. Both current-gen systems, namely the PS3 and the Xbox 360, have the same hardware that ran the original BioShock. New games have become better because developers have gotten more used to the hardware, with new technology and techniques popping up as more developers learned.

When asked if he is looking forward to the next-gen consoles, he said that it's always good to have more processing power and more memory, but he hasn't thought about the next generation. "We're not a technology driven company," he said.

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Back in January, Irrational Games had announced the system requirements for the PC version of the game and elaborated on some of the differences between the PC and console versions. The big difference between the PC and console versions of the game is that the PC version gives players the ability to remap all the default action bindings, and both primary and alternate bindings are available simultaneously. The company has also made it a point to not include artificial mouse smoothing and has given the option to toggle mouse acceleration in the game's options menu.

The game will also include a bunch of options for those who prefer controllers. There are three separate controller layouts—Default, Marksman and Retro—each of which supports different configuration options. The options let players tweak things like aim assist, sensitivity, vibration and inversion. It also includes options to switch around controls for left-handed people, or for those who prefer the N64 controller layout.

The company is also giving the PC version a lot of options on the graphics side of things. The game will have full widescreen support by implementing the "horizontal plus" system. In the system, the wider the resolution, the more players will be able to see on the screen. It will also have multiple monitor support for setups compatible with AMD Eyefinity, Nvidia Surround and Matrox TripleHead2Go. There will also be separate controls for aspect ratio, resolution and display mode.


BioShock Infinite is available for pre-order on digital distribution platform Steam.

Published Date: Mar 15, 2013 16:43 PM | Updated Date: Mar 15, 2013 16:43 PM