The head of Abstraction Games, John Day, has talked about the Switch in great detail on the 'Fragments of Silicon' podcast. In the blurbs below, Day talks about his team's work to bring Ark: Survival Evolved to the Switch, the horsepower of the platform, making the port feature/content complete, and more.
“The Switch does not have the horsepower of a high-end… or even a PS4. It’s not actually particularly close to that. But as I said before, we are an engineering company. We have extraordinarily smart people who do very technical things very, very well and so by doing things like procedurally reducing meshes on assets and dynamically scaling the resolution in intelligent ways and things like that, we can manage some of that performance.
I’m unaware of any significant features or content that Ark: Survival Evolved Switch is lacking or otherwise. I’m pretty sure it’s pretty much that game. As I said, seeing as it’s on the Switch we have had to make a couple of adaptations to ensure… I mean not only in terms of things like performance but also in terms of controls and user interface and things like that.
Ultimately, the target is not as much about saying, ‘Okay, we need to be this resolution at this frame rate.’ It’s that we go, ‘We need to have this feel in quality of the user experience at these points in the game.’ It’s pretty easy to be like, ‘Oh we’re going to do an upscale to 720p at 30 Hz at least, everywhere we can, but better than that when we can, and worse than that when we have to.’ You have to understand, even Breath of the Wild dipped below 20 frames at certain points in the game. It’s just that you don’t notice because of the way that they’ve handled it. So I think that we’re trying to rather than be like, ‘Okay, here’s a frame rate benchmark – hit this or else,’ I think it’s more like, ‘We’re looking at this thing holistically from a qualitative standpoint.’ I guess there’s a range of parameters within there that seem to work depending on what the context is.
As I said, we have done some procedural reduction of some of the meshes and things like that. And there are a couple of other tricks… there are some others, I won’t bore you with the technical details. I think we’re trying to find places where we can ease the demand on the system without compromising the quality to the player. I think there are a lot of places where we can reduce the number of triangles in a given asset, and it doesn’t really look significantly different even though it’s got way fewer of them in it. So there are opportunities like that.”