Getting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt to work on Nintendo Switch was a major undertaking. Saber Interactive helped CD Projekt Red in the process of creating the Nintendo Switch version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt . Today we get some really interesting statements about how they made this complex game work so well in the hybrid console.
Speaking with GamesBeat, the executive director, Matthew Karch said:
When the initial port was made, the game originally ran at 10 frames per second, was consuming 50% more memory than Switch and the build size was 20 GB larger than the larger Switch cartridge. Saber removed the dynamic shadows, removed environmental occlusion on the screen and reduced the number of NPCs in the world by 30% to get it.
While working on the game, we realized that these things were really essential to the game’s appearance. For example, after reducing the number of NPCs by 30%, we began to receive complaints that the levels, especially Novigrad and Toussaint, were quite empty. We had to reintroduce most of those features and find creative optimizations to increase the frame rate.
“We went back to other areas of optimization, such as animation in the game, AI, rendering, cloth simulation and so on,” Karch said. “In those cases, the process is not about deciding what to sacrifice, but about how to keep what the game really needs
One thing we know that has to change for switch is how the engine calculates the shadows from the sun, “Karch said. ” Shadows are obviously critical to creating a realistic look at a large outdoor level, but off the shelf solutions are too expensive on switches. We have to use a combination of static shadow map, terrain light map and dynamic shadow map to achieve a similar appearance to the original.
In outdoor environments, foliage can represent approximately 50% of all images. We had to rewrite the algorithm of how grass is generated and represented. We also had to change levels of detail for trees, lighting and shadows to keep the overall appearance and performance as close as possible to the original.
After all this work, the game looks really good on the hybrid console because fans have been able to verify it.