Bethesda shows off Fallout 4 graphics tech and eye candy

Fallout 4 will arrive on November 10, but Bethesda is giving us a sneak peek at the eye candy afforded by the game's improved Creation Engine and its physically-based deferred renderer. If your PC is up to the challenge, a romp in the Wasteland looks like it has the potential to be gorgeous.

This iteration of the Creation Engine is based on the one used in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Bethesda says it wanted to use more realistic materials and more dynamic lighting to make Fallout 4 look as realistic as possible, though. As a result, Fallout 4's engine gets a materials system, and each material reacts differently to lighting and the environment. For example, when a storm rolls in, the developer says surfaces will get wet. The game's cloth simulation purportedly lets flexible materials like clothing, hair, and vegetation interact realistically with the wind and the environment, too.   

Bethesda says it worked with Nvidia to improve Fallout 4's volumetric lighting. This technique uses the GPU's hardware tessellation capabilities to produce effects like "god rays" and other atmosphere-enhancing lighting effects. From what we can see, the lighting looks way better than it does in previous Fallout games, to be sure. Bethesda says the new lighting system (and the other effects it's demonstrating) will run well on both GeForces and Radeons, despite Nvidia's collaboration.

The company didn't want to give away all of its secrets in advance, but the blog post's laundry list of features hints at many changes under the hood. Here's a full accounting of the features and improvements Bethesda publicly disclosed today:

  • Tiled Deferred Lighting
  • Temporal Anti-Aliasing
  • Screen Space Reflections
  • Bokeh Depth of Field
  • Screen Space Ambient Occlusion
  • Height Fog
  • Motion Blur
  • Filmic Tonemapping
  • Custom Skin and Hair Shading
  • Dynamic Dismemberment using Hardware Tessellation
  • Volumetric Lighting
  • Gamma Correct Physically Based Shading

We're definitely ready to see these effects and techniques in action.

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