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How does Red Faction do destruction so well?

The secrets behind Volition's Geo-Mod engine

Red Faction: Guerrilla's destruction engine is still the most impressive on PS3. But how did Volition go about developing the technology? The company's senior programmer Eric Arnold gives us some exclusive insight:


"People think the power of the Geo-Mod 2.0 engine lies in the pocket protector-laced land of maths and physics. They're wrong. The true power wasn't unlocked until we gave control to Armageddon's designers.

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We supported a work flow that made sense to them instead of one that was most efficient from a programming perspective.

In Guerrilla, buildings needed to be a single set of connected data so that the stress system could analyse them and determine when pieces should break off.

One of the first tasks [with Armageddon] was to make sure buildings could be constructed out of smaller blocks.

We were trying to supply the designers with a library of generic pieces that they could snap together and rearrange.

It meant they could prototype gameplay ideas without needing help from an artist to bring them to life.

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Iteration time was slow in Red Faction: Guerrilla because the designers had to wait for artists to build assets before they could be used to test the gameplay.

We gave the power to create set-pieces to the editor; designers could create a new room with a few clicks.

We unlocked their creative potential and it resulted in scenes that weren't possible in Guerrilla.

In the end, any piece of technology is only as good as what people manage to create with it, so time spent making it more accessible and flexible is every bit as important as time spent adding cool new features."

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