Developer High Voltage Software is celebrating 20 years of game development. The majority of that time was spent working on console games. But the advent of powerful chips like NVIDIA Tegra 3 and Tegra 4 has opened up new opportunities for the San Francisco-based game studio. Eric Nofsinger of High Voltage Software, explains why his studio is now committed to mobile gaming in this exclusive interview.
What does it say about The Conduit franchise that it started on consoles and is now on mobile devices?
We were really excited about what we were able to do on Nintendo hardware on the Wii and when we had the opportunity to bring it over to NVIDIA hardware on the Tegra chip set, we were able to do a lot more. We were able to up res the graphics. We were able to do shader effects. We were able to take advantage of multi cores plus geometry and just make it a better game all around.
For those who didn’t play it on the console version, what’s The Conduit about?
The game is essentially an espionage story. It has some intrigue. An alien invasion takes place in Washington DC and you’re sortcaught in between different factions and have to discover what it’s all about and it goes deeper and deeper and eventually culminates in a big reveal.
How have you worked with NVIDIA with Tegra technology?
NVIDIA has been a great partner and they’ve been able to provide us with a lot of insight into how to take advantage of the Tegra hardware. More importantly, we were able to work closely with Wardrum Studios, which was a partner of us on this. They have a great deal of experience in taking full advantage of the NVIDIA hardware. They did great games like GTA and Dungeon Defenders and we’re really excited to have them as a partner and help us with a lot of this. We were able to really do a lot of great stuff as far as new water shaders, really eye-catching things that folks haven’t seen before on a tablet device.
What are your thoughts on the gap closing between console and tablet games?
It’s super exciting. You know at this stage of the game we’re looking at mobile devices that are easily as powerful as the last gen of systems and they’re catching up quickly with anything that’s on the horizon. It’s neat to see the convergence of being able to play on the go and being able to play it with the same system in your home. As developers, it’s an exciting time where you can really take advantage of powerful systems and bring new kinds of gaming experiences to new gamers.
When it comes to new gaming experiences, what are your thoughts on the Project Shield device that NVIDIA has?
It’s a really neat device. I’ve had some hands-on with it at DICE and we’re really jazzed about its capability. I’ve seen the continuity on it and was very happy with the way it looked and certainly the performance is outstanding. It’s going to be a head-turner and a lot of folks once they get their hands on it, they’ll really get a sense of the ergodynamics of it. It feels comfortable in your hands. At the same time when you’re playing with it for an extended period of time, you don’t get fatigued. Sometimes mobile devices like that they feel awkward in your hands and this really has a great balance between performance and feel, which is a big part of longer games.
What are your thoughts about the leap that we’re seeing between Tegra 3 and Tegra 4 and what it means to a game like The Conduit?
What it means is a graphical experiences that no one’s ever seen before in a handheld device. We’re already seeing experiences with Tegra 3 that had only been seen before in consoles. I think we’re going to see some things that really give everyone a run for their money with Tegra 4.