2K Games have been a strong third party supporter of the Nintendo Switch system bringing the following collections to the Nintendo Switch last year, BioShock: The Collection, XCOM 2 Collection, and Borderlands Legendary Collection. Virtuos, the team which handled these ports, spoke to Automaton Media about how they handled the porting process and the difficulties they encountered along the way.
How did you go about optimizing both BioShock: The Collection and XCOM 2 Collection for Switch?
Fong: We started off by playing the game on the actual console to identify performance hotspots where the frame rate would dip. We then analyzed both the CPU and GPU to determine the source of the problems. After compiling and analyzing all the hotspots, we then created a plan to optimize everything. We laid out the tasks and evaluated the efficiency of each one, such as working hours, the right people for the tasks, and the potential benefits or impacts on the overall quality.
The CPU’s performance can be changed rather quickly by reducing the resolution and graphics settings, so CPU optimization is usually the priority. It requires a detailed understanding of both how certain features are implemented, and a strategy to change or utilize the CPU’s resources as much as possible – it’s a very time-consuming process.
We always try to use the Switch’s inherent features with the Maxwell GPU first before reducing the resolution and image quality. Maintaining a stable frame-rate is more important than retaining graphical features from versions of the game on more powerful hardware. With that in mind, we arrange graphical features in order of priority and might simplify or remove some of the lowest priority features, depending.