Snowdrop Engine created 'to do things better, not bigger'
If Ubisoft's latest developer diary looking at the new Snowdrop Engine is any indication, then we are in for quite a treat with Tom Clancy's The Division. Though information regarding The Division has been sparse of late, Ubisoft has released a new video featuring the game engine's developers at in-house studio Massive discussing the philosophy behind it.
"Snowdrop was created in-house, at Massive, in response to a specific requirement: to do things better, not bigger," explained Massive Entertainment brand art director Rodrigo Cortes. "AAA game development projects are growing in scope exponentially, so we wanted to be smart and not rely on brute force. We needed an engine that would support how we work in the studio, promote creativity, and allow the freedom to experiment and prototype."
The Snowdrop engine is a node-based system at its core, affecting all systems of the engine, from rendering, to AI, to mission scripting and the UI. The engine is "a dynamic, interconnected and flexible system," explained Cortes, that allows developers to create assets quickly and interact with them on-the-fly.
"Thanks to the tools provided by Snowdrop, we can create more with less," Cortes added. "The engine enables procedural creation of environments: with a limited amount of blocks, we can create huge and detailed worlds. We are also able to reach an unprecedented level of lighting fidelity with real time global illumination.
"Thanks to the power of our technology, we have empowered our artists and thus can reach levels of quality never before seen in video games. With the usability of the tools, people really excel in what they create. This has resulted in amazing graphics, as well as unexpected new features and unique innovations that really push the engine, the power of the consoles, and the games we work on, forward."
Tom Clancy's The Division will be Ubisoft's first game to make use of the Snowdrop engine, though the studio points out that the forest shots, turrets, and giant flies you see in the trailer are not part of the game. This is more of a "technical demonstration" of the engine designed to "display Snowdrop's full capacities as a new generation engine," Cortes concluded.