The team at Frostbite, the gaming engine behind many popular console titles and more recent mobile games, today published a blog post showing off a tech demo of the graphically demanding Battlefield 4 console game running on an iPad. The company previously showed off what the Frostbite engine was capable of with the Battlefield 4 Commander app and the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare tech demo it showed off at WWDC, but the Battlefield 4 tech demo was made possible thanks to some big graphics improvements courtesy of Apple’s new Metal graphics API.

The team says “Metal has created possibilities previously out of reach and for the first time we can include both high visual fidelity and a large number of objects.”

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It has been quite a challenge. To handle dynamic features such as destruction or moving light sources, most things in the Frostbite engine happen in realtime. This puts extra demand on performance to be able to deliver large, highly detailed worlds with superb visual quality. We were making great progress feature-wise, but hardware and software limitations forced us to either scale down the number of objects and their complexity to retain visual fidelity, or accept lower visual fidelity to cope with a larger number of objects.

It’s just a tech demo for now, so don’t get your hopes up for a Battlefield 4 release on iPad just yet. But it does an excellent job of showing just what is possible thanks to Metal,  Apple’s new graphics technology in iOS 8 that allows developers to improve graphics performance by offering “the lowest-overhead access to the GPU.” 

Frostbite’s Kristoffer Benjaminsson notes that the team plans to share more details of its progress with Frostbite and the new Metal tech in future blog posts.

Another screenshot of Battlefield 4 on iPad below:


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