The hardware we play games on continues to advance at a rapid pace with exciting new graphics features. Our Creation Engine has evolved to incorporate this new technology in order to empower the artists and designers at Bethesda Game Studios to create an immersive new world. The tech team here is closely aligned with the art team, and together we carefully selected each individual feature based on specific artistic and performance goals we wanted to achieve in creating this world.
The first thing we did after Skyrim was to enhance the Creation Engine’s graphical core by adding a physically based deferred renderer. This new renderer allows us to add many more dynamic lights to every scene, and paint our surfaces with realistic materials. We want objects and characters in the world to feel tactile and grounded, and a big part of that is ensuring that these materials are distinct – that metal reflects light in a distinct manner from wood, for example.
As always, our world features fully dynamic time of day and weather. To create that volumetric light spilling across the scene (sometimes called “god rays”) we worked with our friends at NVIDIA, who’ve we worked with dating back to Morrowind’s cutting-edge water. The technique used here runs on the GPU and leverages hardware tessellation. It’s beautiful in motion, and it adds atmospheric depth to the irradiated air of the Wasteland. Like all the other features here, we’ve made it work great regardless of your platform.
When a rain storm rolls in, our new material system allows the surfaces of the world to get wet, and a new cloth simulation system makes cloth, hair, and vegetation blow in the wind.
The player can go anywhere in the world at any time of day, so we added dynamic post-process techniques that enhance the vibrancy and color of our scenery for maximum emotional impact. Our virtual cameras received a major upgrade as well. We’re not going to spoil every improvement we’ve made, but for those of you who enjoy the technical details, here’s a sampling of what we’ve added to the latest version of the Creation Engine:
- Tiled Deferred Lighting
- Temporal Anti-Aliasing
- Screen Space Reflections
- Bokeh Depth of Field
- Screen Space Ambient Occlusion
- Height Fog
- Motion Blur
- Filmic Tonemapping
- Custom Skin and Hair Shading
- Dynamic Dismemberment using Hardware Tessellation
- Volumetric Lighting
- Gamma Correct Physically Based Shading
If you’re not sure what all of that means, don’t worry. What’s important is how this technology comes together with the art and gameplay of Fallout 4 to create a dynamic, immersive experience – no matter your gaming system. We pride ourselves in being a highly collaborative team, always balancing graphics, gameplay, art, and performance. We hope that when you get a chance to play the game on November 10, you’ll agree.
While a lot of these new features look great in these screenshots it is my hope that they will not harm performance too much on PC, especially on AMD hardware.
A lot of what what Bethesda has talked about here is what are part of Nvidia's GameWorks program, like cloth simulation and God rays, not to mention the "Dynamic Dismemberment using Hardware Tessellation". Tessellation is a task that Nvidia have traditionally been leaders in ever since it was introduced with DirectX 11. With God Rays, HairWorks and cloth simulation techniques from Nvidia heavily using tessellation, many people have claimed in the past that Nvidia with GameWorks has been trying to specifically harm AMD's performance in games, though right now we do not know which GPU maker will perform best in Fallout 4.
While Fallout 4 has not been marketed as a GameWorks title up until now it looks like many of it's core features seem to have been implemented into Fallout 4. Let's hope that this will not mean that one GPU manufacturer will not have a huge advantage over the other, I guess we will find out next week.