Foamstars director opens up about PS5 exclusive’s bubble troubles

From barely churning out ten shots of foam to boatloads of the stuff, Square Enix explains the magic behind Foamstar’s froth on PS5.

Foamstars foam system: a blonde-haired man with blue eyes and a devilish grin

The title of Foamstars is pretty on the nose, and anyone who’s managed to spend any amount of time with the new PS5 exclusive will know that our resident bubble buddies churn out a ton of the stuff. Now, game director Chikara ‘Rickey’ Saito has taken to the PlayStation Blog to tell us of Square Enix’s “trials and tribulations” when creating the game’s “dynamic, persistent foam.”

According to Rickey, the foam that we see on the ground is the result of some pretty clever problem solving. You see, the processing power required to render unlimited foam is untenably high – so high, in fact, the dev says the team could “only make about ten shots worth of foam remain on the ground” in the PS5 exclusive’s first test build before CPU load got too high.

When also considering the fact that up to eight players’ worth of unlimited foam would have to be rendered and synced in an online instance, the team was way off the mark. Less ‘Foamstars’, more ‘Foamless’, Rickey says that he was facing “pressure to alter the direction of the game to account for these limitations.” Fortunately, the programming team had a solution for its best games list candidate at hand that, in our opinion, is absolutely genius.

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By dynamically altering Unreal Engine 4’s Landscape tool – a system “originally designed for sculpting rugged terrain ahead of time” – Rickey’s team was able to make it so that the very landscape of Foamstars could be altered by players. Instead of firing off foam as objects that had to be managed individually from the top down, it was now being added to the terrain as vertex data from the ground up.

The result, as we see in-game, is a metric froth-ton of foam that doesn’t tank our FPS. It’s a fantastic example of literally turning a problem on its head, and a truly enjoyable read – you can check out the full PS Blog article here.

For more of the latest PS5 news, check out why the rumored PS6 specs sound great if you can take advantage of them. If you’re still here, read up on the Project 007 job listing that hints at a feature seen in a certain underrated Bond game.