what exactly is being “improved” when we see games graphically improving with time?

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I understand that in a game world, we have different graphical features that come together to produce the visuals we see in a game, like lighting, textures, anti aliasing, etc. What I’m wondering is, when we see a company that comes out with the latest, visually mind blowing game in a series (lets take Uncharted as an example) what is involved in making the graphics nicer? What is setting, say Uncharted 4, apart from Uncharted 3? What’s happening under the hood that produces these improved graphics? Are the engineers at the company actually writing new equations or code to model reflections, water, shadows, and things differently? Is this just because hardware is becoming more powerful?

Sorry if the question is vaguely worded, it is tricky for me to nail given I am not of a technical background myself.

In: Technology

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Generally speaking

– increases in texture resolution, Instead of using a 100×100 pixel texture you use one thats 500×500 now your model is less blurry, has more detail
– Increases in polygon count, more polygons allows more detailed features. go back to N64/PS1 and most characters didn’t have distinct fingers due to keeping poly count lower. now you might have a few dozen polys just for a buckle on their uniform.
– New lighting techniques, dynamic shadows, HDR bloom effects etc
– New shaders and rendering techniques, from Depth of field to bump mapping, reflections etc.

Sometimes it’s new tech that’s more effective at rendering more realistic effects other times it’s old tech it just takes more processing power to run. with improvements on the same platform it might be the latter but there’s optimization other places to make up for it.

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