Tomb Raider: Bringing Lara Croft’s Epic Origin Story to NVIDIA SHIELD TV

Developed by Crystal Dynamics and brought to NVIDIA SHIELD TV​ ​ by Lightspeed Studios, Tomb Raider, the visually stunning reboot of Lara Croft’s origin story is now available to ​ download and enjoy on SHIELD TV. While NVIDIA’s next-gen entertainment platform runs on Tegra X1—NVIDIA’s most powerful mobile processor to date—it still required a great deal of technical know-how to ensure ​Tomb Raider plays perfectly on SHIELD TV.

Thankfully, Lightspeed Studios has successfully remastered a number of hit titles for the SHIELD platform before, so they were up to the challenge. But just as Lara Croft relies on the help of her friends, they received a tremendous amount of support from the company that created the critically acclaimed Tomb Raider​ ​ franchise, Crystal Dynamics. The ability to work with key figures like Chief Technology Officer Gary Snethen helped Lightspeed Studios capture every detail that made ​Tomb Raider such a hit with the gaming community.



While every element is important, one of the things the Lightspeed Studios team paid extra attention to was the game’s graphics. As Senior Graphics Developer Rob Stepinski notes in the dev diary above, gamers have grown used to a certain level of visual fidelity from their games. Tomb Raider was also rightfully recognized for its impressive graphics and stellar art design, so ​ the SHIELD TV version had to deliver an equally memorable experience. Of course, working with a device that’s equipped with the most powerful mobile processor around helps, and thanks to the Tegra X1, the SHIELD TV version of ​Tomb Raider lives up to ​ the high bar set by the original. The SHIELD platform also has access to what Stepinski calls
“some of the most advanced 3D APIs” available, which aided their efforts to capture the look and feel of Crystal Dynamics’ work.

Found In Translation Lightspeed Studios’ determination and hard work also factored in. As Project Manager Blair Yakimovich relates in the video, there are major differences in the way specific platforms render graphics onto the screen. Because the original was developed for specific gaming platforms with different system architecture, Lightspeed Studios had to translate the code to work on the SHIELD TV. That meant spending long hours reworking and tweaking the game so it would run smoothly on the SHIELD TV’s Android powered operating system. They also had to take painstaking steps to ensure that finer details like character meshes (the “skin” that gives each character their look) were properly displayed. Then came the important task of replicating the controls: Tomb Raider ​ ​ is full of fast-paced action sequences, intense battles and cleverly designed environmental puzzles, so you need precision inputs to survive. As Yakimovich says, they wanted to ensure that the controls were naturally mapped to the SHIELD TV. Luckily, Lightspeed Studios had the SHIELD Controller to work with, so the game handles just as well as the original. Big Things, Small Packages Another interesting challenge Lightspeed Studios faced had to do with size: specifically, the digital kind. A game as massive and beautiful as ​Tomb Raider requires a lot of hard drive space ​ due to the high-resolution textures, movie-quality cinematics and other elements that make it such an unforgettable experience. But without having to cut any features or reduce visual fidelity, Lightspeed Studios managed to bring the size down to under five gigabytes, a feat that Senior Core Developer Eric Van Beurden calls “a big win.” This means SHIELD TV gamers can start enjoying Lara Croft’s reimagined origin story that much quicker.

As the developer diary embedded above illustrates, bringing ​Tomb Raider to SHIELD TV was a ​ true team effort. Lightspeed Studios’ technical expertise and dedication combined with Crystal Dynamics’ support resulted in a faithful translation of the award-winning game. The ​SHIELD TV’s powerful hardware a​ nd capable software also played a pivotal role, giving Lightspeed Studios the framework necessary to deliver gamers a picture perfect version of Lara Croft’s adventure. Tomb Raider ​ on SHIELD TV proves the device is capable of amazing things, and it​ will be exciting to see what developers bring to the platform next. Don’t own a SHIELD TV yet? Get NVIDIA’s ultimate streamer for gamers here​ .

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