Tesla Effect Devs: HD is Not Enough – We’re Doing 2K Resolution

Tex Murphy’s next adventure has been a very long time coming, and fans and backers of Big Finish Games’ successful Kickstarter campaign were elated to hear in the recent video update that the game was going to be as large or bigger than we’d hoped. But if they’re anything like me, they felt their stomachs drop when Tesla Effect lead developer Chris Jones announced that they’d be unable to meet one of their campaign promises. “Now, because of the size of the game, we will not be able to deliver on one of our promises, and that is that the game would be in 1080p. Instead, we’ll deliver an experience that’s higher than that.”

Tesla Effect Tex Murphy Police Station

Chris Jones had dropped a bombshell – Tesla Effect would be playable in 2K resolution. Now, PC gamers have been hearing about 2K and 4K resolution for some time, and while very few games support it, none of them have live-action cutscenes. 2K is more commonly used for digital film production rather than video games, but in this case, Tesla Effect marries the two. This carries on the Tex Murphy tradition of pushing technology beyond accepted standards and limits.

I asked Big Finish Games’ Visual Effects Supervisor and Lead VFX Artist Mat Van Rhoon for some more details, and he was more than gracious enough to provide them: “2K refers to any video feature that has a horizontal resolution of 2048 pixels wide (or above). You could technically say 2,000 would suffice, but in digital terms 2,048 is the more adopted figure.”

Tesla Effect Laboratory

To calm anyone’s fears that they would need to buy a new monitor or graphics card to enjoy Tesla Effect, he added, “The video codec we are using is extremely efficient. Even at 2K the bandwidth required is very minimal whilst delivering phenomenal quality. You should have no issues running the video on even a modest machine, and it will scale to whatever resolution you want. It also will have an option to choose HOW you want your video scaled if you are running alternative resolutions (full screen crop or letterbox).”

When I asked him about whether the codec they were using was publicly available, commercially licensed, or developed in-house, Mat said, “It is a commercially licensed codec, but it is a brand new iteration of it, and we are one of the first to implement its SDKs to this level. We have been working closely with the developers to provide a delivery system that is customized for the individual needs of this project, and we are so far extremely impressed with the results.”

Tesla Effect North Hill Clinic

He then further elaborated on another point Chris Jones had brought up in the video – Tesla Effect’s size and length. “Despite being a KS campaign, as CJ said in his update, this game will be big. We have essentially crammed 2 games into one. The intention was to commence a trilogy, but given how involved the story is, we felt it would not really bring the story justice if we did not at least delve deeper into the story. This means there are around 1,000 steps to take in the game in order to see you through to its conclusion, and one of the five possible endings.”

Mat also wanted to ease some concerns about the amount of hard drive space Tesla Effect will take up. The game’s development utilized 2600 film shots, all of which were visual effects shots, and 140 hours of green screen footage, resulting in a grand total of 12 terabytes of video data. But, Mat laughs, “the 12TB video data statistic does not mean the game will be a 12TB download.”

At the end of the update video, Chris Jones hints at an updated release date in April, but that cannot be confirmed at this time. At any rate, this is an excellent time to acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with the Tex Murphy series of PC sci-fi adventure games – all of the games are 70% off this weekend on GoG.com for their Classic Adventure Cruise Weekend Promo.