News Article

VD-Dev Aiming For 60 Frames Per Second For Gears Of War-Style 3DS Shooter IronFall

Posted by Damien McFerran

Third person action title uses a custom game engine

VD-Dev may not have revealed a great deal about its forthcoming 3DS shooter IronFall but the game is already causing quite a stir with Nintendo fans.

The indie studio — which was responsible for the technically impressive DS title C.O.P. The Recruit — has been speaking to Nintendo Everything about the development of the title and its future plans.

The game itself is described as being similar to Gears of War and will make full use of the 3DS console's two-screen setup. Stylus control is VD-Dev's "preferred" interface, but co-founder Fernando Velez insists that his team will listen to feedback and include as many control options as possible.

Velez also revealed that the team is aiming for 60 frames per second with the 3D effect enabled, which will be an impressive achievement in itself:

60 frames per seconds is our goal. Shooters offer better playing experience with this frame rate. With the engine we can reach 60 frames per second with and without stereoscopic view.

But if frame rate drops we don’t want to sacrifice the amount of AI, and graphics we have on screens, just because of the stereoscopic view (sometime we have to draw 3 screens, 1 for the left eye, 1 for the right eye, and 1 for the bottom screen where action will also take place sometimes. So maybe we will add a feature that allows in REAL TIME, the player to switch from 60 FPS with the 3D slider pushed down, or 30 FPS with 3D slider pushed up (no need to go to some menu).

Velez is clearly proud of VD-Dev's bespoke game engine, which should provide impressive results:

The engine used in Iron Fall is called the ‘Big Bang Engine’. Its an engine we have programmed from scratch and is optimized for the Nintendo 3DS. It took us several months to write (days and nights), and is written fully in assembly code, using all the ARM optimizations we know. We also have written our own graphics driver for communication with the 3DS GPU to get the best of the handled graphics processor (well at least we hope). The engine has many features, more on this will be shown on a video available on the 28 October.

Interestingly, one of the newest members of VD-Dev — Frederic Zimmer — has joined the studio from Ubisoft where he worked as a technical lead on Watch_Dogs. Given the incredible scope of that title, such news certainly bodes well for IronFall.

Finally, Velez spoke a little about VD-Dev's future plans, including developing for the Wii U and a possible 3DS sequel:

We have to finish IronFall on the 3DS, that takes us all our time, the Wii U seems to be wonderful maybe be we’ll work on it one day.

If IronFall is successful we want to listen what players like or don’t like about the game, and if they want more we could realize their wish.

Do you think VD-Dev can achieve its lofty aims? Are you looking forward to playing IronFall? Tell us by leaving a comment.


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User Comments (68)



cookiex said:

For a 3DS game it looks really good, and having that running on 60 FPS both with and without stereoscopic would be an impressive achievement.



PinkSpider said:

Count me in, I just hope its not another conduit where the developers made this new engine but forgot to Mcactually make an interesting game.



Sekuiya said:

If they can achieve that, that will leave me wondering how GameFreak made Pokémon XY so laggy in battles.



Keep said:

if they succeed, might set a whole new standard in delivering visuals to the 3DS...



Hunter-D said:

Sounds impressive. They're certainly putting in the effort. Hope it goes well for them!



ajcismo said:

Totally going to support devs who put in this kind of effort for a quality product.



ToniK said:

We Nintendo fans are funny. Saying graphics don't matter and still constantly hyped when something graphically impressing is coming up. Let's be honest here: we all care about graphics to an extent



Goginho said:

@ToniK Yea, I agree. I noticed that too, especially with Wind Waker HD before it came out. We're such hypocrites



DarkCoolEdge said:

I wish they achieve that goal but I don't think they will. Anyway, I just want the game to be fun.



datamonkey said:

Impressive feat if they can pull it off! Not sure it will be maintained at 60fps with lots of enemies on screen at once though? Would like to be proven otherwise...



Captain_Toad said:

"We will listen to feedback."
Heh, that's all I needed to hear.
Admittedly, it's nice that they're optimizing a 3ds engine despite graphics on the 3ds being somewhat a moot point.



Spoony_Tech said:

The more I hear about this game the more I hope it is seccessful! Really hoping for a great game here!



Spoony_Tech said:

@Sekuiya Just turn the 3d off and no more lag. Talking about a developer that doesn't know how to use 3d! No wonder they didn't use 3d in the main world! Plus what there (3d) isn't good at all!



Mommar said:

@ToniK I think it's more we're just happy somebody is putting in the effort to utilize the hardware.



Marshi said:

@ToniK Its funny,because I was just about to write that I dont care how well the game looks or runs as long as it plays well and has an interesting premise



TheRealThanos said:

@Tonik I personally would sooner say that graphics shouldn't be the main point, which it is for so called 'graphics whores'. Of course we want great graphics too, but if there's no great gameplay to accompany it, then what's the point. And let's face it; Nintendo are masters of great gameplay.
I also have to agree with @Mommar, because it is indeed great to see a company taking an effort to maximize what can be done with the hardware AND trying to make sure that they're giving us a nice game as well.
If they succeed, they will be on my radar for some time to come, because they will be part of a very small group of worthwhile developers, Shin'en amongst them.
If this delivers both on gameplay AND graphics, I will definitely buy this for my 3DS XL.



Gioku said:

@ToniK: A game has to have good graphics; it's just that a game with a high degree of pixelation can still look good!

Anyway, I didn't know about this game until just now; but now I'm super excited! It sounds awesome!



yenly said:

this is telling much about the 4DS, you guys should be ready for a great evolution in 2 years I predict. with great games and great programmers putting work to it.



WinterWarm said:

I'd be perfectly fine with 30 FPS with 3D and 60 with none. I'm also very relieved to here they're not graphic junkies, and are actually focusing on smart AI, don't get me wrong, I love fantastic graphics, but I don't want to watch a beautifully realistic grenade slowly turn and tumble because of horrible frame-rate.

As for controls, I'll probably use the face buttons. One thing I like about this game already is the action 'style,' in the barely view-able picture they released, I saw a person hip-shooting. Hopefully that means bullets will fly all over in a wonderful, chaotic battlefield. Also, I'm eagerly awaiting to see if maybe online will be in there, that would make it irresistible. As it is they already have a copy in the bag.

@Keep Indeed, it'll be interesting to see how much this costs, they've really gone all out. My estimate's, $7-15.00.

Even Local Play would be epic. All you UK folks with your StreetPass area next year at the Expo.



Gen0neD said:

Circle pad pro, circle pad pro... CIRCLE PAD PRO! Do this and my money is yours!



SubZer023 said:

Yesss Yesssss Yessss Omg Thank you So Much Thank You x1000 i will be buying this game in it will make up for my Conduit loss XD



SubZer023 said:

Yesss Yesssss Yessss Omg Thank you So Much Thank You x1000 i will be buying this game in it will make up for my Conduit loss XD



VoiceOfReason said:

If this turns out to be a cool series like GOW, then Nintendo should team with Vd-Dev, make this a Nintendo exclusive series, Make an AWESOME one for Wii U, and advertise LIKE CRAZY! It could become a huge system seller for Wii U.



SCAR said:


That's all I got to say.



SCAR said:

I see... I didn't read the article on Nintendo Everything.

Never the less, this game seems to have some promise for fans of 3rd person games. I'll be watching this.



Neram said:

I like to hear about developers who have passion and put as much effort into developing games from scratch as possible. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this.



audiobrainiac said:

Nothing wrong with aiming high. I'll be happy knowing they pushed hard to give 3DS owners a worthy FPS. Can't wait to see it in action.



accc said:

Hopefully it has gyro aiming, which is by far the best control method for playing shooters on the 3DS.



SubZer023 said:

yes gyro's Good and CPP even tho no multiplayer online im kinda glad but not because first it give them the time to understand what we loved about the game and what best fits the controls, so then when they get feed back there going to want to make a part 2 with the same engine so it wont take longer continue the same campaign and add online. i can already feel this game is going to be great



strongest_link said:

For the non-computer scientists here, the fact that they coded the engine entirely in assembly is a pretty big deal. Coding in a higher level language like C gets translated in a "best attempt at efficiency" assembly code. Coding directly in assembly means a heck of a lot more work, but can result in a much more efficiently running engine, and one that is more tailor made to the hardware. I'm not sure how common this is in the industry, but I suspect it is quite rare. Intriguing.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@strongest_link I agree. I've taken an assembly class, and it really makes you appreciate things you take for granted in high-level languages. That's some dedication to do that and write a custom graphics driver. If they can't get 60 FPS in stereoscopic 3D after all that custom work, it's just not possible for a 3D shooter on the 3DS to pull off without settling for low-budget graphical quality or style.

This game sounds really interesting. Hopefully they won't go overboard on the violence and thereby avoid an M rating.



sinalefa said:

I hope this one turns up good. I don't care that much about FPS in a FPS (that would be the frames per second in a First Person Shooter) but still they sound like they care. So if the product delivers, my money will be delivered to them.



strongest_link said:

@BulbasaurusRex Absolutely. Not sure if they can find a FPS control scheme that will work on the 3DS, but they are doing some interesting things. I'll pay attention to this one.



Beechbone said:

Sounds promising. They just need to change the name of the studio. VD-Dev, really?



JoostinOnline said:

@ToniK I think a more accurate statement is that we care about graphics, but don't let them define our choices in games or consoles. Eye-candy is great, just don't sacrifice the gameplay or story for it.



WinterWarm said:

I'd also be happy if it had a 'VS Bots' mode. With CTF, etc. Anyway I'm so excited!


I figured it was rare, but dang, from your comment I'm amazed it didn't take them longer to make the engine...

Hey, there's some sort of misunderstanding among us all, is this a TPS or a FPS? Because Gears Of War was TPS, right? But some people are saying FPS... I hope it's a TPS and the character has really cool armor. ^–^



BlackStar9000 said:

@Sekuiya same issue that capcom had in Resident Evil Mercenaries, They didnt expand the file size enough to accommodate high end graphics, which is why they doubled the memory of the game card for revelations, which is still the best looking 3ds game so far. Also a patch was just released for X&Y which may alleviate some of your issues.

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