Bioshock Infinite development is PS3 focused and uses Uncharted 2 tech

November 21, 2010

Bioshock Infinite development is PS3 focused and uses Uncharted 2 techBioshock Infinite is Irrational Game’s massive undertaking that has pushed the studio to rebuild its engine from scratch. As detailed by Irrational, the new engine which was built with the PS3’s architecture in mind also uses tech seen in Uncharted 2.

The studio decided that the engine used for Bioshock 1 and 2 was not powerful enough to build the floating city of Columbia. Chris Kline, technical director of Irrational Games recently wrote:

We started out by taking a look at the original BioShock engine, and very quickly realized that the tools in that engine were too underpowered and unwieldy for the depth and complexity of the gameplay and narrative we had planned —

The studio built a heavily modified version of the UE3 to fit their needs from scratch. In order to do this the studio looked at implementing tech based off Deferred Lighting which is used by many Sony first party games like Uncharted 2, Killzone 2, and inFAMOUS 2.

Kline writes:

To meet the aesthetic goals of our art team, our rendering gurus had to write a whole new renderer for BioShock Infinite based on Deferred Lighting (a technique used in Uncharted 2, CryEngine3, and Killzone 2), and on top of that they’ve developed a proprietary per-pixel dynamic relighting scheme that allows characters and dynamic objects to receive global illumination.

According to Kline, Deferred Lighting allowed the team to move away from only utilizing the PS3’s GPU and onto the seven dedicated SPUs for rendering. Many of Sony’s first party studios have been using this strategy to offload most of the rendering aspects to the PS3’s SPUs on the Cell processor.

Kline quells any concerns over a sub-par PS3 port of Bioshock Infinite by revealing that the new development process is based off the PS3’s architecture.  He also indicated that the engine has been optimized for the PS3 while giving a performance boost to the PC and Xbox 360.

He says:

So instead of declaring a "lead platform" and porting the game to the others, we’ve instead changed the game engine so that all platforms look (to a programmer) more like a PS3.
This means implementing a task-oriented task processor… that mimics the PPU/SPU split of the PS3. Writing code this way is more difficult for us, but has a key advantage: it’s both optimal for the PS3 *and* gives speed improvements on other platforms…

Kline finishes by stating, “I hope that gives you some confidence that we’re serious about making a great PS3 game.”

Clearly developing a game this way is much more difficult, but its also quite admirable that Irrational Games recognizes the technical benefits and have decided to take on this challenge head on.  Other major third party studios and publishers such as EA have also gone this route by structuring their development process around the PS3’s architecture.

92 Responses to “Bioshock Infinite development is PS3 focused and uses Uncharted 2 tech”

  1. phranctoast:

    Jofamang says:
    “Interesting piece of tech info that really throws a monkey wrench into the “360 GPU > PS3 GPU” argument. If this statement can be trusted, we really are seeing the advent of integrated CPU/GPU function and design (the PS3 GPU has a very close and wide data link to the CPU, tighter and lower latency than the standard PC model) that intel is boasting will be change the game with their upcoming Larabee chipset.

    Maybe some fanboys will start understanding the effect of total architecture, combined with dedicated understanding and usage of available tech, outweighs the standard PC mindset of sum-of-parts performance possibility.”

    “I might add, as a dedicated PC gamer alongside my console gaming, U2 is by far the closest you can get in graphical intensity to playing on an expensive gaming rig. It really is something special as far as that goes, and if this is the direction of PC gaming, I shouldn’t be as wary about it as I have been (assuming the competitive separation of component production, IE GPU/CPUs, is the best path for PC gaming) and I guess I understand nvidias movement towards GPGPU, as an alternative way to accomplish the same goals.”

  2. PS3 RULEZ890:

    took them bloody long enough to figure out how to code for the ps3 proply.

    now sony will launch the PS4 in 2016 and it will have the power to do x50 anti alising, 1080p 3d in all games, with 120fps support and they will have their own ISP.

  3. dans303:

    I finished first Bioshock and enjoyed it. I bought the second one around 4 months ago and I played the first 5 minutes and haven’t played it since.

  4. Roca.:

    I finally finished Bioshock 2 yesterday. I got all but one damn trophy on my first playthrough. God I was so mad when I found out that stupid trophy.

    I recently backed up all my data on my PS3 so instead of replaying the whole game I might just grab one of my old save files.

  5. dans303:

    What trophy was it Roca?

  6. Roca.:

    It was one of those stupid ‘hidden’ trophies. The trophy is called *Savior* – “Saved every Little Sister and spared Grace, Stanley and Gil”

    I saved every lil sister and spared Grace and Gil but I blew Stanley’s head off (he was kind of annoying). Hidden trophies should be story-based that can’t be missed.

  7. phranctoast:

    Hidden trophies are bullshit.

    You shouldn’t need a guide to know what trophies you need.

  8. dans303:

    I agree, what’s the point of having trophies if you don’t know what you’re aiming for?

  9. FahKinSuPah:


    I just got Bioshock 2 yesterday. I got it for 360 though.

    I did get MAG as well, which I did msg you on PSN last night.

    Im probably gonna check out MAG either tonight or Friday/Saturday.

    I dont have as much time left on my Xbox Live Gold sub so I want to get as much time in on Live now since I definately won’t be renewing for a little while (unless my girl gets me a live card for Xmas) At any rate I have until Dec 5.

    I was thinking about getting AC Brotherhood but I decided against it for now.

  10. Roca.:

    “I agree, what’s the point of having trophies if you don’t know what you’re aiming for?”

    That’s why I was pissed off.. how am I suppose to know that I should spare the lives of these freaks?

    I was also waiting for a epic final boss at the end of the game but apparantly ‘final bosses’ are not cool anymore lol.

  11. Roca.:

    Yeah I got your message..
    MAG is a great online game but you’ll have to get to ‘at least’ level 10 to unlock all the cool shit (modes, abilities, weapons, squad leader, etc). Mic is a must.

    The game has gone through many updates since it came out so you might want to find something to do while it’s updating (over 3GB)

  12. phranctoast:

    I hear starting as a medic is smart as you get lots of XP for helping out which opens up more options quicker.

  13. phranctoast:

    Bioshock 2 was an overall disappointment. It hardly felt like a new game. Lack of end boss was kind of ridiculous.

  14. FahKinSuPah:


    Bioshock was awsome. Only game ive ever seen that freaked out my girlfriend lol. Kinda creaped me out in some places too. Best part was that my girl went on a cruise after seeing me play Bioshock and parts of the ship reminded her of Rapture LMAO.


    Thanks for the heads up. I figured as much about the update so I might do that later today, but I probably wont play until friday. I have alot of stuff to do this week and I figured I need plenty of free time to realy get into MAG.

    BTW I wrote up amuch longer post but it wouldn’t go through lol. Comcast HATES Bitcomet lmao.

  15. FahKinSuPah:


    I also wanted to say that “Would you kindly?” turned out to be one of the biggest mind fucks I have ever seen in gaming lmao. Was quite awsome IMHO

  16. Roca.:

    “but I probably wont play until friday”

    don’t worry, your online access on PSN won’t run out anytime soon ;)

    Yeah Medic the best class for noobs because even if you don’t get alot of kills you can earn some decent amount of XP helping and reviving teammates.

    Also, MAG offers ‘double XP’ for your first hour during a 24-hr period. so lets say you play MAG today for 2 hours (5pm to 7pm), from 5pm to 6pm you’ll get double XP. After 24hr (next day after 5pm) you’ll be eligible for another 1hr double XP session..

  17. phranctoast:

    I’m not familiar with “would you kindly”. Was that a Bioshock level?

    I really enjoyed Bioshock. Bioshock 2 seemed…I don’t know…phoned in.

    It’s hard to put it down, as I really did enjoy Bioshock and the second one brings some additions to the table. Notably the remote hack.

    You’ll understand once you play it. It seems more like an expansion pack than a new game.

  18. FahKinSuPah:


    Wow… I can’t believe you don’t remember that since you say you did play the first Bioshock. I don’t exactly want to spoil it for those who haven’t played Bioshock.

    Roca played it, he probably remembers “Would you kindly?”

  19. Roca.:

    You really don’t remember the “would you kindly” twist at the end of Bioschok 1?

  20. Roca.:

    I definitely remember it.. I felt like puppet after I found what was that all about…

  21. dans303:

    Can I tell him? One of the best and unexpected twists ever.

  22. FahKinSuPah:

    @Roca and Dans

    I have to agree with both of you guys. Definately one of the best VG moments ever, if not the best unexpected twist ever.

    I have to go back and play Bioshock 1 now. Back when I played it i still had my SDTV. The game definately had some awsome graphics. I really need to go back and play it again with my HDTV now lol

  23. dans303:

    @Roca & fahkin

    I remember everytime he spoke and gave me instructions I was thinking ‘stop f#cking saying that’ but I didn’t even come close to thinking there was something actually wrong.

  24. phranctoast:

    Guess I forgot.

  25. phranctoast:

    oh.. OK. Now I got it. I was thinking more in the lines of the name of a level, instead of the instructions to follow with the key phrase.

  26. Roca.:

    “Guess I forgot”

    Did you beat the game?.. because that’s like beating Infamous and forgeting that Kressler was Cole.

  27. FahKinSuPah:


    LMAO. That was a good one. I was wondering if phranc was asleep while playing or he had his volume turned down.

  28. dans303:

    Infamous was another good one. I recently completed it again (while a villian this time) and it was still a ‘WTF’ moment.

  29. FahKinSuPah:

    For some reason I kinda saw the WTF moment in Infamous comming. It was still awsome though.

    I didn’t see Bioshocks at all though.

    What other games have those “wtf?” moments?

  30. Roca.:

    FF7 – Aerith’s death
    FF10 – Aaron was dead the whole time
    Resistance 2 – its Ending
    Heavy Rain – Many WTFs
    Metroid – Sammus being a girl
    RE5 – “WTF” this game sucks
    Super Mario Bros – “the Princess is in another castle” WTF!!
    Uncharted 1 – You’ll see when you get to final chapters (FahKin has not played it yet)

  31. dans303:

    We’re going into some serious SPOILER ALERT territory here. . . .

  32. phranctoast:

    I don’t know if it falls into the WTF category, but GOW2 when fighting on the sword that’s used to kill Ares in GOW1, and preventing it from being destroyed was an OMG this is insanely cool moment.

    the very end of Shadow of the Colossus, and finding out SOTC is really a prequel to ICO.

    The ending of Assassins Creed 2 (too new to spoil).

    Dead Space and finding out that your chick is dead the whole time. The first letter of each level spells it out to you…..

  33. dans303:

    AC2′s ending was definately WTF – I was totally confused when that lady was speaking at the end.

  34. FahKinSuPah:


    FF7 – Agreed
    FFX – Definately. But its Auron, not Aaron lmao
    Metroid – Hell yes. Justin Bailey anyone?
    RE5 – disagree with you there. RE5 was awsome
    Super Mario Bros – In another castle?!?! Again? How many times do I have to do this!

  35. dans303:

    Tearful moments for me were SOTC (as mentioned above) and POP:Sands of time when Farah, you know . . . . *sniff, sniff*

  36. Roca.:

    MGS4 ending – WTF are talking about!!

  37. FahKinSuPah:

    I want to add

    FF7 – Reeves is Caith Sith. Cloud isn’t who he seems to be.

  38. FahKinSuPah:

    Oh yeah MGS4 ending… holy crap that was crazy lmao. Whatever Hideo Kojima is smoking/drinking/taking he needs to share it with some other game developers and stop hogging that shit.

  39. phranctoast:

    Tomb Raider Underworld.

    only the WTF was more of a…..”I got through a trilogy to find out what?” WTF!!!!!

  40. Roca.:

    killing Athena in GOW2 was another WTF moment

  41. FahKinSuPah:

    Oh I got a good one.

    Gears of War 2

    Tai is one of the baddest guys in the game but he gets captured by the Locust and tortured. Later on in the game you end up rescuing him, and when Marcus hands him a shotgun BAMM! he kills himself.

  42. phranctoast:

    or the crazy reveal that Kratos ‘sees dead people’……………….at the end of his blades after stabbing them ;)

  43. FahKinSuPah:

    OMG, we got our very own WTF moment here.

    No one is acting like a flaming fanboy right now lmao

  44. PS3 RULEZ890:

    Stop posting spoilers please

  45. FahKinSuPah:

    Stop reading spoilers please

  46. Roca.:

    Bioshock 2 final stage was a WTF moment for me. Since I was playing on Hard (it took me lik 20 tries to beat Bioshock 1′s final boss on hard) I spend all my money and adams gearing up for the final boss just to find out there wasn’t any..WTF man!

  47. FahKinSuPah:

    lmao yeah that would kinda be a WTF moment. Final Bosses are awsome.

    another WTF moment for me in FF7 (since were on the final boss subject) was getting to the Final Boss, Safer Sephiroth, and beating him in under 2 minutes. Damn Omnislash lmao.

  48. ncaissie:

    WTF is with all the spoilers?
    Come on guys. I haven’t played some of those games yet. Spoiling it just makes me not want to play bioshock now.

    I still need to play, Batman AA, Bioshock 1 & 2, Tomb raider Underworld and Infamous.

  49. Roca.:

    We though you took the day off ncaissie..
    You didn’t post all morning

  50. twilight:

    I was wondering where you were as well.

  51. ncaissie:

    I had a doctors apt.

  52. Roca.:

    did it came out negative?

  53. ncaissie:

    I have to go for another surgery to remove the useless spinal cord stimulator they put in June 2009.

  54. Roca.:

    good luck man..
    so what have you been playing lately?

  55. ncaissie:

    nothing, I haven’t had any time at all. I work all day at my day job and work at night for my contract work and this weekend I took a job installing laminate flooring for my neighbors apartment building. I’m to tired to concentrate on games. Still need to finish up COD BO. I just got Castle Crashers for my daughter. And picked up Hustle kings for $5.

  56. ncaissie:

    I’m not use to the labor work so my ass and legs are sore from doing the flooring. lol

  57. phranctoast:

    OK..last spoiler.

    Nathan Drake is really Tyler Durden. :D

  58. twilight:

    Glad your okay. I’m sure you’ll be just fine with your surgery. I fractured my shoulder in the car accident. Fortunetely, it wasn’t bad enough for surgery. I just had to keep my arm stabilized so it would heal.

  59. ncaissie:

    I have been living with chronic pain for a few years now.

  60. phranctoast:

    That’s no way to talk about your wife. ;)

  61. twilight:

    That really sucks Ncaisse. I only wish you the best.

  62. twilight:

    Naughty…Naughty…Blaming it all on the girls…
    As quoted in the Def Leppard song, “Women. Men can’t live without them.”

  63. ncaissie:

    “That’s no way to talk about your wife.”
    LOL that has been 10 years.

  64. Roca.:

    10 years of chronic pain..ouch lol

  65. CaptBirdman:

    Captain Birdman’s WTF moments (least to greatest)

    10. SSFIV online (seriously, WTF?!)
    9. MW2- No Russian’s ending
    8. MW2- What happens to Ghost (and Roach). I am still pissed.
    7. LFD2- This damned game is frustrating beyond belief
    6. Yoda in Battlefront II (WTF! He’s awesome!!)
    5. Raiden replaces Snake in SOL/Substance
    4. Realizing I liked Raiden in SOL/Substance
    3. GLaDos tried to forking kill me!!! And lied about cake! WTF?!
    2. RE2 and RE3 were going on at the same time? WTF…
    1. The PS3 costing $600 on November 17, 2006

  66. CarlB:

    “while giving a performance boost to the PC and Xbox 360.”

    Impossible. EA said 360 was maxed out a year and a half ago. Programming software and new engines doesn’t make ANY difference to graphics. EA and fanboys agree.

    #1 WTF: Gold price hike after PSN Plus had been out for some time without Gold adding any real gaming value.

  67. Barnabe Jones:

    hmmm, latest WTF moments… I’ll be vague, because I don’t want to spoil…

    Heavy Rain – the ending.
    AC2 – the ending.
    inFamous – ending
    Bioshock 1 (not 2) – ending.
    MGS 4 – ending.
    Uncharted – about 75% mark

    lol I have to agree with birdman, Street Fighter 4 online was a WTF moment also.

  68. oldschool1987:

    Shadow of the Collosus’ ending was awesome! Great twist!

    Has anyone mentioned the Castlevania epilogue? I was very impressed with the twist.

  69. CarlB:

    Castle’s ep was okay, but Patrick Stewart on a Sean Connery character model was more of a WTF for me.

  70. Rhino:

    My WTF was MW2.
    Why The Fuck did I waste my money on this POS.

    Ohh wait your talking the other WTF.

    Rhino’s list
    1. Girlfriend tells me she’s pregnant. I mean that’s the daddy of WTF’s!!!!
    2. Bioshock still does it for me.

  71. The Future of Sega:

    Bioshock is old people :) I beat that game in 2007.

  72. CaptBirdman:

    @BJ- SSFIV is just terrible online, in my opinion. I’m glad you agree

    @Rhino- You just put me in stitches twice mate. Cheers.

    @TFOS- Right? I didn’t even like Bioshock. LOL Check my Gamertag ( I had it for 360) and you can see how much I cared for that game. Just overrated IMO. Also I remember some source saying it’s creepy to find out what they’re (Big Daddies) made of. What the hell were they made of?? I guess I didn’t catch that part

  73. FahKinSuPah:


    I beat Bioshock in 2008, but that doesn’t stop it from being an awsome game. :D

    Definately one I would go back and play again

  74. phranctoast:

    Wow. How did I forget Castlevania’s ending.
    What a great set up.

    Patrick Stewart looked more like Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun from Demon Stone to me. It doesn’t hurt that he voiced the part ;)

    Prince of Persia (2008) also had a twisted ending that required you purchase the DLC for the epilogue. I enjoyed the game a lot but buying the true ending was a WTF moment..

  75. dans303:


    I am a huge POP fan but I didn’t really enjoy that game. I finished it and it was OK but it didn’t match any of the previous POP’s on any level except graphical style.

    And you couldn’t even die!! That was WTF!!

  76. FahKinSuPah:

    I never played the most recent POP game.

    I do own all 3 of the last gen ones for Xbox, but I only played through the SoT. I never made it through the other ones cause my Xbox started giving me trouble and out of all 3 games only SoT is compatible with 360.

    SoT was good though

  77. dans303:

    SoT was the best but I still thought that WW and Two Thrones were good as well.

    I completed SoT about 5 times over cos I enjoyed it that much.

  78. phranctoast:

    “And you couldn’t even die!! That was WTF!!”

    I found that hurt combat if anything. Falling during platforming would still land you further back to a “made up checkpoint”.

    I’ll be buying the Sands of Time HD. I want to see if all three will come to the states as a collection though..

  79. dans303:

    They probably will bring the collection out on disc for America.
    I saw the disc in a shop the other day and almost bought it but then I remembered I’m going to lose most of my life to GT5 as of tomorrow. =)

  80. phranctoast:


  81. The Future of Sega:

    @ Captbirdman & Fahkinsupah

    It was scare tactics and frustrating gameplay that determined my view of Bioshock. Usually I play games at night but Bioshock is a game that should only be played during the day :D

    To be honest I do think it’s a little over rated given how the storyline REMAINS in Rapture..At first Bioshock reminded me of Resident Evil given it’s dark underworld feel.

    I liked Dead Space better until I got stuck HALF WAY through the game! I can’t get past the part where you chase the wacko guy and walk into a room full of zombie attacking. I kept dying and dying to where I just gave up on the game!

    I haven’t touched the fucker since!…It was probably in late 2009….What I don’t understand is why do game developers make games so FUCKING hard!? Do they honestly think that people get a kick out of cussing and screaming at their tv????

    You know I want to ENJOY a game at first…and THEN play a game in hard mode and so on. It’s not entertaining when I’m constantly flicking off my 360 or PS3 because game developers want to ruin gaming fun with their “expert” modes just for shits and giggles…That pisses me off!

  82. CaptBirdman:

    “Do they honestly think that people get a kick out of cussing and screaming at their tv????”

    Infinity Ward/Activision does. MW2 does this to me constantly. I really began despising online gaming because of this bleeding rubbish pile. Unfortunately, I cannot stop playing.

  83. dans303:

    MW2 does this to me constantly. I really began despising online gaming because of this bleeding rubbish pile. Unfortunately, I cannot stop playing.

    I could not agree with you more. No matter how many times I die I just keep giong back for more.

  84. CaptBirdman:

    I’m pretty decent actually, 3rd Prestige (don’t live, eat, and sleep with the game. Sue me), but I’m on the cust of breaking into the 2 million players mark in kills, and I’m in the top 1.6 million in score rank, with a 1.11 K/D ratio. But getting there has been filled with countless nights of almost destroying my $2000 TV.

  85. dans303:

    Add me on PSN birdman, it’s dans303.

  86. The Future of Sega:

    Lmao online I expect for that to happen. People play like they’re life is on the line while smashing buttons. I rarely play my games online…even MW2! It just adds more stress in my life :D LMAO.

    But I do like Oblivion, DBZ Budokai Tenkaichi 1 & 2, Virtua Fighter, Soul Calibur 2, Halo 1 & 2, and a few other games. At least in fighting games I have a fair chance. One of my lady friend’s on psn THOROUGHLY kicked my ass in Tekken 6….that’s why I never liked Tekken in the first place!….slow ass game..

    If it’s not fast pace I won’t even BOTHER to play it in my place! Tekken is a disgrace to all fighting games.

  87. CaptBirdman:


    Tekken is much better than, say, SSFIV, which is touted as the best thing since spreadable butter.

  88. FahKinSuPah:

    “If it’s not fast pace I won’t even BOTHER to play it in my place! Tekken is a disgrace to all fighting games.”

    I always had some issues with Tekken. The series has always had shitty collission detection. When your fighting and you can clearly see that the hits are not connecting its pretty frstrating.

    I like some of the endings in Tekken though, how they have that bit of humour tossed in.

  89. phranctoast:

    Wait….hold the phone. When the hell did this spreadable butter thing happen?

  90. FahKinSuPah:

    It happened at some point in time between sliced bread and the invention of the iphone

  91. dans303:



  92. CaptBirdman:


    That’s actually historically accurate too

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