Tropico 5 PS4 Interview: An Audience With The Game’s Head Programmer

GamingBolt catches up with Ivan-Assen Ivanov, Head Programmer at Haemimont Games to know how the PS4 version is shaping up.

Posted By | On 18th, Nov. 2014 Under Article, Interviews | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

Tropico 5 was a critical and a commercial success when it was released on the PC earlier this year. Haemimont Games are now bringing the game to the PlayStation 4 along with a wealth of upgrades and features. GamingBolt caught up with the game’s head programmer Ivan-Assen Ivanov to understand some of the finer details that have gone into the development of Tropico 5 on the PS4.

Will Tropico 5 run at 1080p and 60 fps on the PlayStation 4?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: Unlike most games, Tropico 5 is a game with open-ended, unpredictable visuals – it is all about building your own island, however you like it. We’re focused on maintaining a locked 30 fps even in the late stages of the game, when your city is huge and bristling with life. The resolution is 1080p.

What kind of upgrades have you done to the game’s engine to accommodate the PS4? Furthermore, how easy or difficult was it to port the engine over the PS4 ?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: We’re offloading more and more work to the additional CPU cores offered by the PS4 – which will ultimately benefit other platforms, too. Most of the porting work was in the low-level rendering code, since the graphics API is pretty different. Porting was a long period of nothing or almost nothing visible on the screen, and suddenly most of the game was up and running at an amazing framerate! None of that “1 fps barrier” notorious in the previous console generation.

Tropico 5 (1)

"Our engine uses a so-called “deferred lighting” rendering pipeline, the kind of which makes hardware-assisted antialiasing like MSAA harder, so right now we're sticking with our postprocessing, image-based antialiasing.

PlayStation 4 features 8GB RAM memory. This is more than the average RAM found in PCS. How has this helped in development of the PS4 version?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: In our previous console ports, fitting the game in the available RAM was a significant effort. Now this problem simply disappeared, as, indeed, we have access to more memory on the PS4 than we have on PC.

Are there any plans to use the touchpad feature of the DualShock 4 controller? If yes, can you please describe it?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: No it doesn’t.

From a top level, what are the differences between the PC and PS4 versions?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: Between our support for cross-platform multiplayer (which requires the same game logic running on both sides), and our plans to bring the visual improvements done for the PS4 version back to the PC via free updates, the game you’ll experience on the PS4 will exactly match what you can get on a (fairly high-end) PC.

Did you face any issues while developing on the PlayStation 4?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: A new platform is always a challenge, but overall, it was easier than expected.

Can you let us know what kind of anti-aliasing solution will the PS4 version use?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: Our engine uses a so-called “deferred lighting” rendering pipeline, the kind of which makes hardware-assisted antialiasing like MSAA harder, so right now we’re sticking with our postprocessing, image-based antialiasing.


"This is our first game for any Sony platform, and we're pleasantly surprised.

Given that you guys work on multiplatform games, what are your thoughts on PS4’s API?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: This is our first game for any Sony platform, and we’re pleasantly surprised. We’re looking forward to spending more time with PS4 on future projects.

What kind of changes and bug fixes have you carried out in the console versions of the game?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: Tropico 5 is still under fairly active development. Hundreds, if not thousands of small bugs and performance optimizations have been made since the initial PC release, and will be shipped in both the console versions and, as patches, in the PC version.

Are there any plans to add new content in to the console version?

Ivan-Assen Ivanov: We have lots of plans for the future of Tropico but it is too early to talk about them.

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