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August 10th, 2017, 22:36
This update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker is about rendering water and comes with plenty of watery screenshots.

Today's update is all about water rendering in our game. Water is the most complicated rendering object from a technical point of view. To make the magic happen we use various subsystems of the game engine and thoroughly prepare both procedural and baked textures. Besides, we need a combination of programming skills, the abilities of our technical artists, lots of patience and a bit of luck. For our update, let's not dwell on trivial things, such as calculations of water lighting. Instead we are going to tell you about the difference between water rendering and rendering of regular geometry. Let's dive right in!


Perfectly clear water is usually almost colorless, and only if its layer becomes thicker, it gets a bluish shade. However, there are only a few places on Earth, where you can find such clear water in a natural environment, e.g. Blue Lake in New Zealand. In most cases, water contains tiny particles of other substances, which can color it into various shades. This effect is especially noticeable in rivers and streams, where running water carries more of such particles.

However, water color depends not only on particles of other substances, but also on some other parameters, and the most relevant for us is density. To make things easier, we'll make the assumption that the water color depends on depth (layer thickness) multiplied by density. In shallow water it becomes easier to see what's beneath, and in deeper places we can see more color of the water itself. The density is adjusted by our artists, and as for the depth, we calculate it via shader, using z-buffer.
More information.
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August 10th, 2017, 22:36
Being from the Pacific NW, I appreciate a good flowing water simulation since we have plenty to compare it to around here. It's looking very nice. They need to add more driftwood logs and fallen trees though.
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August 10th, 2017, 23:05
Considering what they're doing, as well as going fully 3D (as opposed to 2.5D like Pillars), they seems to be keeping the system requirements quite low.
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August 11th, 2017, 00:45
Very interesting as are the comments. To me a great game isn't just basic mechanics - it is the immersion and attention to details of many things. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. So I disagree with some of the comments about the water being a waste of resources and time. It is all these little things that add-up to a great game experience.
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August 11th, 2017, 01:04
Totally agree with you, Wolf! I'm not saying it should be the main focus but details like that contribute significantly to immersion when done well.
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August 11th, 2017, 01:15
Agree as well. To me the joy of exploration in PoE or D:OS, D:OS 2 (beta) was significantly enhanced by the beautiful rendering of the water bodies, coastal areas etc. - It very much enhances the atmosphere of the locations and of the whole setting by magnitudes.

I've never really gotten the gameplay > graphics argument (except for games like Tetris ) because great graphics and well crafted, detailed worlds can actually be or become an integral part of the gameplay.

Happy backer here and don't consider this a waste of resources at all. Quite the contrary. Keep up the good work, Owlcats!
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August 11th, 2017, 09:37
Nice, but where is the gameplay and fun in these features? Rather would have simple water and awesome fun features near/in water..
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August 11th, 2017, 12:30
Not me. I want my inner graphics whore to get it's fix.
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August 11th, 2017, 12:55
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Nice, but where is the gameplay and fun in these features? Rather would have simple water and awesome fun features near/in water..
If the river has a cardinal direction which causes a blood trail in the water then bodies will float downriver and possibly be discovered. Bodies and/or blood floating downriver are sure to be discovered and cause some gameplay consequences which seems to be what they are suggesting here:
Let's kill all the things and dump the bodies in the water!

Yeah, about that… killing people underwater is less subtle than you may think, because the blood shows up in the water. We run actual fluid simulation and make the blood flow downstream.
At least that is what I'm hoping.
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August 11th, 2017, 13:42
While that sounds awesome it would be overkill (!) for a single quest.
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August 11th, 2017, 15:50
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Nice, but where is the gameplay and fun in these features? Rather would have simple water and awesome fun features near/in water..
Seconded. This is starting to look like PoE 2 updates.
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August 11th, 2017, 22:32
I like what they're doing. Water effects are a tricky business, and it's hard to get it right. The default ones in Cryengine are pretty good, but far from perfect. Unreal comes with nothing helpful in creating convincing bodies of water. The Nvidia gameworks tools come with something called Waveworks, which produce some good effects, but they're quite demanding on performance.
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