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Physical Based Rendering and Visual Effects - Diablo IV Quarterly Update
24/12/2021 à 23:09
In the December 2021 Quarterly Update, we got a close look at the state of Visual Effects in the Diablo IV Alpha build. If you have not yet read the update, you can do so via the link below. It's definitely worth the time for any Diablo fan.
Diablo IV Quarterly Update December 2021
This breakout covers what we learned about the visual effects and how they are rendered. Before diving into what was especially interesting about the update and the videos, let's look at some background on Physical Based Rendering as it affects game visuals.
What Is Physical Based Rendering?
Physical-based rendering (PBR) has progressed rapidly from theory to live implementation in the last ten years. While CPU advancements have slowed, Graphics Processing Units have improved rapidly. Compared to your PC which may have ten to sixteen cores on the cutting edge of gaming PCs, a card like the NVIDIA RTX 3090 has over 10,000 cores. Each of them can be processing objects like light scatter, reflections, flying objects, and diffusion. Games (like Diablo IV) are among some of the first commercial applications to take advantage of this.
With that said, what is Diablo's new game engine using this new technology to do?
Diablo IV Updated VFX
In keeping with Blizzard's "Gameplay First" philosophy, they wanted to ensure that things which demand immediate attention are highlighted while environment effects are there but non-intrusive. They also wanted to balance atmosphere and gameplay with "VFX that meld into the atmosphere."
In the update, the dev team highlighted a few areas where visual effects were getting a fresh look. Videos are in the full update link above or individually on YouTube linked in the list below. These included:
Dynamic player skills
Weapon buff effects
Death effects and blood spatter
Skill driven deaths
Diablo IV VFX Video Review
All of the videos are exciting and show some neat effects, such as how AoE will be handled and how damage is applied. The atmosphere is great and it looks like the VFX will enhance gameplay as in, for example, the video of how Skill Effects scale depending on the level of a given skill. The werewolf getting covered in blood spatter as he kills more enemies is graphic and inline with what we have come to expect from the Diablo universe.
However, the video I want to highlight is the one including Skill Driven Deaths. In this video we can see, for example, a Sorceress burn her enemy to ashes, a Barbarian cut an enemy in half, a Rogue melt an enemy with poison, and a Druid flatten enemies into roadkill with a boulder.
Check out the video below and enjoy the 'roadkill' effect at 3:17. I hope you've enjoyed this breakout report and you're as excited to see more from the Diablo IV team as I am.
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