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TheLastOfUs

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag Ocean Technology Talk

21 posts in this topic

I read FXGuide's Assassin's Creed III tech article. Loved it - but nothing really goes in depth to currently one of the best looking oceans for the PC platform in the shape of Black Flag.

 

Question for the experts -

 

How did they do the water? I read several SIGGRAPH papers and stuff on fluid dynamics. Did they use a "mesh" which had physics based wave frequency equations built in? If no one knows - mind telling me the most common way one makes a realistic ocean with beautiful colors like Black Flag?

 

Also what exactly are "shaders". I'm guessing it's a programmed script that draws pixels in a specific way...but can someone explain how "shallow water shaders" are more "advanced" in the next-gen version of this game?

 

Thank you,

 

Michael

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I read FXGuide's Assassin's Creed III tech article. Loved it - but nothing really goes in depth to currently one of the best looking oceans for the PC platform in the shape of Black Flag.

Question for the experts -

How did they do the water? I read several SIGGRAPH papers and stuff on fluid dynamics. Did they use a "mesh" which had physics based wave frequency equations built in? If no one knows - mind telling me the most common way one makes a realistic ocean with beautiful colors like Black Flag?

Also what exactly are "shaders". I'm guessing it's a programmed script that draws pixels in a specific way...but can someone explain how "shallow water shaders" are more "advanced" in the next-gen version of this game?

Thank you,

Michael

Haven't seen this assasin creed yet but the most realistic water/water physics i've ever seen was in the watchdogs physics demo . . .
Omg, ubisoft owns watchdogs so that means disrupt engine may have been involved and they said they made some sort of world physics/wind implementation that affects clothing (Aiden Pierce's coat), water (in watchdogs), vegetation, effects like explosions, cars etc.

At the end oft the demo they showed some kinda really long lines that showed the movement of the wind.
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I read FXGuide's Assassin's Creed III tech article. Loved it - but nothing really goes in depth to currently one of the best looking oceans for the PC platform in the shape of Black Flag.

Question for the experts -

How did they do the water? I read several SIGGRAPH papers and stuff on fluid dynamics. Did they use a "mesh" which had physics based wave frequency equations built in? If no one knows - mind telling me the most common way one makes a realistic ocean with beautiful colors like Black Flag?

Also what exactly are "shaders". I'm guessing it's a programmed script that draws pixels in a specific way...but can someone explain how "shallow water shaders" are more "advanced" in the next-gen version of this game?

Thank you,

Michael

Haven't seen this assasin creed yet but the most realistic water/water physics i've ever seen was in the watchdogs physics demo . . .
Omg, ubisoft owns watchdogs so that means disrupt engine may have been involved and they said they made some sort of world physics/wind implementation that affects clothing (Aiden Pierce's coat), water (in watchdogs), vegetation, effects like explosions, cars etc.

At the end oft the demo they showed some kinda really long lines that showed the movement of the wind.

 

 

Good to know...but not exactly answering my topic =D

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Also what exactly are "shaders". I'm guessing it's a programmed script that draws pixels in a specific way...but can someone explain how "shallow water shaders" are more "advanced" in the next-gen version of this game?

Shaders are like scripts, yes, but they have a very cut down language without alot of features, and they run lightning fast on the videocards instead of the CPU.

 

There are multiple places in graphics APIs where you can plug in a shader to do custom work, and depending on where you plug them in, the shaders have different names. Geometry shaders work with meshes of polygons (I think), Vertex shaders work on each corner of triangles, and Fragment shaders work on each 'fragment' of triangles (where 'fragment' can kinda be thought of as a pixel, but not exactly).

 

I'm not sure if there were any talks yet about AC4's oceans, but GDC is in two weeks, so you might get some details then.

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I doubt you'll find start-to-finish explanations on those techniques. They'll probably be either too simple (ie, tutorial like, step by step guides to do simple things) or too advanced (ie, research papers that assume plenty of knowledge in the subject).

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That ocean does not have many rogue waves....not very realistic to me at all. Black Flag seems more realistic.

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Thank you for your help.

 

The #1 question I wish someone would answer is simply - when I see waves go up in the game - there is this turquoise color in the upwell of the wave / peak - basically like a gradient. Wondering how they accomplished that.

 

Similar to this picture

 

assassins-creed-iv-black-flag-general-sc

Edited by TheLastOfUs
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That's covered in the FXGuide article under SSS. They're a bit hand-wavy but the essentials are there. Read it carefully.

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Thank you so much for your help Promit - found it. Seems like its subsurface scattering phenomena using a ramp gradient.

 

Last question - was the ocean one big mesh or was it individual planes i wonder?

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I cant say for sure but they probably used some LOD system similar to the ones used in terrain rendering where the ocean is divided in patches with different LODs based on distance from camera, etc.

Though if it's procedural, they can generate the ocean mesh chunk by chunk during runtime, and discard the mesh when out-of-view. Certain procedural algorithms can, given a state, generate a low-res mesh, and then procedurally generate more and more detailed versions (higher LOD) of that same mesh when needed.
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I cant say for sure but they probably used some LOD system similar to the ones used in terrain rendering where the ocean is divided in patches with different LODs based on distance from camera, etc.

Though if it's procedural, they can generate the ocean mesh chunk by chunk during runtime, and discard the mesh when out-of-view. Certain procedural algorithms can, given a state, generate a low-res mesh, and then procedurally generate more and more detailed versions (higher LOD) of that same mesh when needed.

 

 

Thank you! I managed to get the following from a dev on twitter:

 

He says the ocean is 1 mesh on a plane - which is procedural and done by a pixel shader (runtime-generated). I think you hit the nail on the head. He also says they used LOD's between shallow/deep water oceans and further waves are lesser detailed but detail only as the boat gets closer to the water.

 

Procedural seems to be some kind of code that "Streams" or processes graphics differently, am I right Servant? Not understanding how that exactly works when an ocean is 1 plane and generated "procedurally"

Edited by TheLastOfUs
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Thank you everyone.

 

All the answers are here. I feel this topic has reached the end of its thread.

 

Servant, everyone else - thank you so much.

 

I truly and humbly appreciate the time you all have taken to write in detail to me about this. It has not gone unnoticed.

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