Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, an action-adventure game from Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment, is visually one of the most visually impressive to have seen at E3 2021. To achieve this level, as the first trailer showed, the creators rely uncompromisingly on ray tracing.
In an interview with the German portal GamesStar, the technical director of the Ubisoft Massive studio, Nikolai Stefanov, confirmed that the only rendering method used in Avatar will be ray tracing . Users won’t be able to opt out of ray tracing effects to improve performance, like Cyberpunk 2077, where you can turn off rays separately for lights, shadows and reflections, but the game will scale quality and performance, probably through configurable tracing options.
At the same time, the requirements for the game will not be limited only to GPU models that support hardware-accelerated ray tracing. Alternatively, for older video cards, all necessary calculations can be performed using classic compute shaders.
In addition, a little earlier Ubisoft released a video about the development of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora with a more detailed story about the capabilities of the updated Snowdrop engine, on which the game is built.
- Since the world of Pandora is significantly different from what the developers did before with urban locations in The Division, the engine required significant improvements.
- We are talking, in particular, about a new micro-detailing system, which allows processing thousands of objects in one frame. Thanks to this, developers can create a much more varied and detailed environment for Pandora than in previous games. At the same time, automation tools were partially used to fill the location. For example, this is how some plant species were placed.
- The developers noted the flora separately. To bring Pandora’s plants to life, many sophisticated interactive shaders were created for the game, providing, among other things, wind simulation and reaction to the player’s presence. In addition, in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, you can not only explore the dense jungle but also fly on the banshee, admiring the realistic volumetric clouds.
- Ray tracing mentioned above has created believable reflections and significantly improved global illumination, which, together with dynamic weather and a change in the daily cycle, will give the picture more natural and photorealistic.
- A special system was created for NPCs that allows them to understand the world, react to the weather, the player’s progression and the time of day.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be released next year on Xbox Series X / S, PlayStation 5 and PC.