Rayman creator Michel Ancel isn’t just impressed by the technology inside the Wii U GamePad. He’s also more than pleased with the console’s hardware.
Speaking with Nintendo Power this month, Ancel noted a couple of times how he finds the Wii U to be “surprisingly powerful.” Like most developers, he’s noticed that the system offers “a lot of memory”, which allows for “huge textures”.
Because of the hardware behind Wii U (and Ubisoft’s own optimizations), the Rayman Legends team has been able to implement a new lighting engine. Sprites now have proper lighting as well as shadows.
“What surprises me with Wii U is that we don’t have many technical problems. It’s really running very well, in fact. We’re not obliged to constantly optimize things. Even on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions [of Origins], we had some fill-rate issues and things like that. So it’s partly us – we improved the engine – but I think the console is quite powerful. Surprisingly powerful. And there’ a lot of memory. You can really have huge textures, and it’s crazy because sometimes the graphic artist – we built our textures in very high-dentition. They could be used in a movie. Then we compress them, but sometimes they forget to do the compression and it still works! [Laughs] So yeah, it’s quite powerful. It’s hard sometimes when you’re one of the first developers because it’s up to you to come up with solutions to certain problems. But the core elements of the console are surprisingly powerful.
“And because we’re developing for Wii U, we don’t have to worry about cross-platform optimization.
“We can push what the console can do; push it to its limits. And of course, we have a new lighting engine. In fact, the game engine for Origins was mostly just classic sprites in HD, but now we can light them and add shadows and all these things. So there is some technical innovation with the engine itself. “