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Xbox One X Hardware Was Even Better Than Expected; Both XB1X and PS4 Pro Have Their Own Advantages, Says Dev

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Jan 5, 2018

Are you a massive train buff? Would you love to build and handle your own railway network? Railway Empire could be the right game for you and it’s coming out soon.

Developed by Gaming Minds Studios, a German software house based in Gütersloh which recently released Grand Ages: Medieval, Railway Empire is not only coming out on PC but also on consoles (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) shortly. With the January 26th, 2018 launch fast approaching, we were able to set up a quick interview focused on the game’s console ports – including a comment on the feasibility of a port for the Nintendo Switch. Enjoy!

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There aren’t many games in this genre on consoles. Was it hard to port Railway Empire on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, particularly with regards to controls and UI?

As we have developed a few strategy games on consoles before, we are in known territory here. Designing a UI for both mouse/keyboard and controllers is indeed a hard task that requires a lot of work, especially for the UI designers and programmers. We spent about the same amount of time coding for the user interface as we did for the rest of the game’s systems! This shows how much effort we put in this central task. Thankfully, I think it was worth it, as player feedback has been great so far.

The game is listed as Xbox One X enhanced on Microsoft’s dedicated page. Can you share your impressions on this newly released console as a developer and the technical specs of Railway Empire running on the hardware?

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Microsoft sent us a development kit for the Xbox One X very quickly, so we were able to add support in time for release. Truthfully, the hardware was even more powerful than we expected. For the high-end PC version, we added native 4K support – including a high dpi user interface and high detail textures for most objects. On the Xbox One X, we were able to implement all of this, rendering 3D scenes in native 4k with our maximum quality antialiasing solution at 30 fps. So we are very happy with the results.

The game is coming out on PlayStation 4 as well. Will it feature support for PlayStation 4 Pro and if so, how does it compare from a technical standpoint with Xbox One X?

On PlayStation 4 Pro we support native 4k rendering as well. In order to achieve this, we had to modify the antialiasing solution a bit to reduce the GPU load. Both high-spec consoles are great and have their own advantages.

In terms of graphics settings, how do the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X stack against high-end PCs?

On consoles, we hardwired the graphics detail settings so the game runs as good as possible at a steady 30fps. However, on PC the user can freely choose which quality they want. On a high-end PC, the game runs at about 200fps on 1080p displays with maximum detail settings. When rendering in 4k this is reduced to about 50-70 fps (depending on the quality of the GPU).

Finally, is there any chance that you might look into porting Railway Empire to the Nintendo Switch as well or is that out of the question?

We like the Nintendo Switch as well. I think the game would be nice on that platform and it is tempting to try it…but there are plenty of obstacles in the way, and the CPU workload is very high. So it’s not out of the question. Let’s see what the future brings. 😉

Thank you for your time.