UI/PC Game Design Q&A: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC)


As answered by:

Julien Bouvrais (JB)- Director of Technology, Eidos-Montreal

Jean-Francois Dugas (JFD)- Game Director, Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Jurjen Katsman (JK)- Founder and President, Nixxes


-          What was your biggest challenge about developing Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the PC?

JB: Certainly the biggest challenge in developing Deus Ex: Human Revolution for PC has been ensuring that the franchise lives up to the expectations of the gamers who have been following the franchise since it started in 2000. The PC version of the game needed to be a game in itself and not just of port of the console version.


JFD: The original Deus Ex was a PC game at its core and we wanted to make sure Deus Ex: Human Revolution felt that way as well, even though it's a cross-platform game. Therefore, we took the time to go back to the original game, look at the interface, the inventory mechanic, etc. Though Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a different game, we wanted to recapture some of the look and feel of the original in regards to these aspects. Our challenge was to make sure that we would get the time and the resources needed to develop these distinctive features adapted for the PC version, which we ultimately did.


-          How close has the partnership been between the Eidos-Montreal development team and Nixxes in developing the PC version?

JB: While it is true that Nixxes is not working geographically in the same location as the rest of the team, they are truly a part of the Eidos-Montreal development team. They are working in the same development branch as we are and we talk to each other on a daily basis. Nixxes works hand-in-hand with the same design team that takes care of the other versions. Eidos Interactive and Nixxes had a long history of collaboration even before the Eidos-Montreal studio existed. We needed an expert in the PC field to partner with and we knew Nixxes was that developer.


JFD: We’ve been developing Deus Ex: Human Revolution on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 simultaneously since the beginning, with the same level of importance. Nixxes stepped in pretty far along in the project to give us a hand on the PC version because by its very nature it’s the version that requires the most platform specific work and we simply didn’t have the resources to assign dev team members to work on one platform. Nixxes really has been a terrific partner and I feel very lucky to have been able to enlist their talent and expertise.


-          What do you want fans to know about the PC version?

JK: We really want them to know that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a true PC game. Yes, you will have a lot of options, no “press start” screen, full mouse support-- everything we feel a PC game should have. Further, with the graphics, there are multiple options for anti-aliasing, shadow quality levels, and the ability to enable or disable various post processing effects. All controls can be fully remapped as expected from a PC game as well.


JFD: I want the fans to know that when they play the PC version that it won’t feel like a console game with a keyboard and mouse... they’ll be playing a true PC game in terms of the feel of the controls and gameplay.


-          What is your favourite feature of the PC version?

JK: It is difficult to pick a favourite feature. There is a lot of cool stuff in the game. But one thing specific to the PC version that we think is quite cool are some features we have been working on with AMD. I can’t talk about these right now, but a video and details will be released on Thursday. Let’s just say that they fully immerse players in the Deus Ex: Human Revolution experience visually.


-          Is there anything exclusive to the PC version? If so, please explain.

JK: Well, the main game is the same on all platforms-- the same story, the same endings. But, we do have additional graphics features and a different weapon selection bar to tailor to the keyboard and mouse. There is a simple drag and drop interface to bind things in your inventory to specific keys on your keyboard, making them quickly accessible, and you can then also cycle through these with your mouse scroll wheel while in-game. For graphics, there are some unique features, like smoother shadows, more realistic ambient occlusion effects, stereoscopic 3D-- various things that the extra hardware allows us to do. Our focus has been making sure that the game is built for the PC platform as well as possible.


-          Can you explain a bit about the control scheme of the PC version?

JB: The game can be played either with a controller or with a mouse and keyboard. The control scheme can be customized to the player’s liking. A lot of rework has been done for the mouse and keyboard control. Every piece of the game UI has been adapted for this. When you are playing a game on PC, you expect the pieces of UI (button, controls, etc) to react with the mouse as opposed to tapping up and down on a controller and then selecting your choice with the accept button. This was a real challenge in the case of Deus Ex: Human Revolution because we use a lot of in-game UI. The hacking interface is a prime example of this. The team basically had to re-think the control scheme of the hacking mini-game, so that it made sense on PC.


JFD: We support controllers, of course, but we tried to stay as close as possible to the control scheme of the original Deus Ex in terms of the mouse and keyboard. Of course, it can't be totally the same since we have features like the cover system that require their own scheme. So, the numeral keys are allocated to the items/weapons and the F keys are allocated to the active augmentations, for example. One very cool thing in regards to the control scheme that fans will enjoy is that they can use the keypad on the keyboard to enter numbers like in the original Deus Ex.