Sid Meier’s Civilization* V Scales to Build Empires:Optimized by Intel® Tools
Few computer games have the audacity to encompass the entire span of human civilization within their boundaries or to resurrect famous leaders across centuries of human existence to offer guidance to gamers. Sid Meier’s Civilization* franchise doesn’t shirk from giving players an epic journey through the victories and perils of building an empire, whether through diplomacy, ingenuity, or physical force.
Civilization V (Civ5), the latest version of this long-running, turn-based computer strategy game, introduces a brand new architecture built from the ground up. This architecture substantially improves the performance of the game engine and uses parallelism to enhance the responsiveness of gameplay on a wide range of hardware platforms. Given a processor with two, four, or six cores, Civ5 will distribute tasks and workloads to maximum advantage. Efficient threading is the key to rapid-fire gameplay (with up to 12 threads available on some Intel® processors) and tools to streamline threading proved to be an essential element of Firaxis’ development process.
As a key tool in building this ground-breaking enterprise, Intel® Graphics Performance Analyzers (Intel® GPA) 3.0 gave Firaxis developers a window into the game’s processor core usage, platform operations, and frame complexity. This enabled Firaxis developers to tune and optimize the game and graphics performance for a wide variety of hardware platforms. The result is a monumental advance in the Civilization franchise and a gameplay experience that scales well whether played on a laptop or a scorchingly fast desktop gaming rig. The new Intel® Core™ processor family featuring Intel® HD Graphics offers a choice of gaming platforms for prospective empire builders, spanning entry-level, mainstream, and enthusiast PCs.
“We used [Intel®] GPA extensively to analyze the game from both the CPU and the GPU side to make sure that we are getting very efficient use of resources. And so far, this kind of shift—making sure that the graphics are not going to slow the game down—has yielded even better results than we expected. We are in a situation now that we haven’t been in before: we don’t believe that our game designer can slow our game down.”
—Dan Baker, Graphics Lead, Firaxis