“Sony’s R&D team led by Richard Forster and Jason Doig took a very interesting role in our game development,” says Yousuf Mapara.
Update: Given that the PS4 supports 4 players at one time we asked Yousuf Mapara for a clarification. We received the following reply:
“Secret Ponchos supports Split screen matches between 2 players on a single machine. The 2 players can then take it a step further and compete online together as a team in matches supporting up to 8 players. Mixing local coop online was very exciting to us, but came with a lot of hard work. The reason this challenge was significant was potentially each side of the split screen could be rendering battles with 8 players in a match, so we had to evaluate rendering a total of 16 players and 2 sets of environment on a single machine and maintaining 60 FPS. We put a lot of effort into optimizing to make this work, because ultimately we felt the idea of having a friend over as a teammate next to you on the couch, and then going online for battles against other players was a great experience we wanted to support.”
Secret Ponchos is an online combat game due for the PlayStation 4 and PC. In the game players battle against each other for skills like notoriety and reputation. Players can also contest other players in one-vs-one duels or in free for all mode.
Ever since the announcement of the PlayStation 4, Sony has maintained an open arms approach with indies. Sony has went a step ahead by assisting and encouraging indie development teams, besides offering PS4 dev kits. Speaking to Switchblade Monkeys’ Yousuf Mapara who is the Creative Director of Secret Ponchos, GamingBolt asked about their experience working with Sony.
“One area that Sony has helped us with a lot, is their world wide reach to gamers. As a multiplayer game our lifeline is the size of the community. You need a healthy population playing the game, or else matchmaking falls apart, and people end up sitting around in empty lobbies. Sony’s invitation for us to participate in Playstation Plus helped Secret Ponchos because it will create a very healthy install base right off the bat and a strong Secret Ponchos community as the foundation we build off,” Yousuf said to GamingBolt.
Sony also helped them in technical matters such as making changes to Sony’s Sonys proprietary Phyre Engine. “Another huge area of assistance was technology. We switched Engines to Sonys proprietary “Phyre Engine” when we found out we were going PS4. Sony’s R&D team led by Richard Forster and Jason Doig took a very interesting role in our game development. They looked at how we were using their engine, and actually became more and more involved in directly supporting how the engine handled things. This was amazing for us, because A) they are a top notch crew that knows their stuff and B) they could help us understand the engine side, or adapt it if we needed something the engine did not support.”
Yousuf also revealed to GamingBolt that the game will run at 1080p/60fps on PS4 with 8 players split screen. “We use Sony’s Phrye engine, which supports multi-core, asynchronous task management. It wasn’t too difficult to utilize the CPU cores available. Memory-wise, we’ve room to spare, because our levels are not open world or huge. We did put quite a lot of effort into GPU optimizations to attain 60fps 1080p split-screen with 8 players.”
Recently we reported why Switchblade Monkey won’t be developing games on the Xbox One anytime soon. You can read that story here. Secret Ponchos is due sometime later this year. Stay tuned for more news and updates.
This is just a snippet from our interview with Switchblade Monkeys and we have should have more in the coming days.