Interview: About New World of Warships Graphics…

As the resident graphics expert here at MMORPG, I had the opportunity to ask World of Warships team about their shiny new image and yes, ray tracing. I can’t help but talk about ray tracing, guys. Water-related updates, material changes, new vegetation, and more. Many thanks to the team for their time. You can watch the full interview below.

MMORPG: Back to the country, you said your old model was ray-traced in some way. Can you expand on that?

We don’t actually use raytracing, our model is based on reading multiplier samples from huge water elevation map textures and approximation of these samples to determine the wave gradient at the given point. So when it comes to distant points, we need a large number of samples to get an exact mean. With the new approach, we can use mipmapping instead. That way we always have the correct roughness for any water surface scale.

MMORPG: What prompted the decision to switch to DX11 instead of other APIs like Vulkan? DX11 was previously “heavy” on system resources than Vulkan.

Basically, we need to adapt to our players. Vulkan is suitable for parallel computing and modern multi-threaded devices, but a large portion of our audience plays with up to 12 [year] old hardware. These devices cannot take advantage of modern APIs like Vulcan and DX12.

MMORPG: Regarding photometry, can you describe your intake manifold for implementing such new textures and materials?

We have now started using photometry to create objects and textures. We use photometry by finding ready-made models or, if necessary, we arm a quadcopter drone ourselves and film the position ourselves to get the 3D objects we need. But, of course, this process takes time.

Then we start creating natural objects of the location using photometry for detailing and we can use it at different scales, for example, for general shapes and for some small details. After we started overlaying the cells on the resulting model (texture of rocks, sand, grass and others) they were also obtained using photometric and volumetric storage. The bricks are stacked by masks on the object, taking into account the volume.

For example, a stone when applied to grass will always be higher, the sand lower than the grass, which ultimately creates a realistic interaction and results in a very high quality object.

MMORPG: Does the sky also use optical scanning or is it limited to land and sea geometries?

The sky is different. We captured the sky without volume adjustment, but at 360 degrees including the horizon with a high color range, accurately conveying the bright and dark areas of the sky. This allows us to achieve realistic lighting of the subjects in the scene.

warship world terrain

MMORPG: Does your lighting system use standard probe light or leverage some kind of voxel-based GI to complement the PBR material? Specifically, how is indirect lighting handled?

Now, we’re not dealing with indirect light at all. For very open maps, the GI takes up a small portion of the total light. We use pre-recorded AO (ambient) maps for ships. And in [the] Next version we will introduce AO space dynamic screen.

MMORPG: Going forward, are there any plans to implement ray tracing as a lighting solution? This will no doubt require a switch to DX12 to take advantage of DXR.

Right now, Ray is following [techniques] too heavy for most of our PC players. But our colleagues at WoWS: Legend will bring raytracing to modern consoles in the near future.

MMORPG: With all the new features and effects, should DLSS and FXR be included to offset any performance costs? If not, are there any future plans to implement these technologies?

Indeed, FXR was implemented. DLSS is only supported by modern hardware, and such devices can run World of Warships in native 4K without any performance issues.

We’re happy to say that for the majority of players, the graphics update has virtually no impact on performance. Interview: About New World of Warships Graphics…


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