Shadows in video games may seem like simple things, but they’re actually pretty complex to render in a realistic fashion. Every game has its own strategy, some of which can consume a hefty amount of your computer’s or video card’s memory to implement. The more realistic the game, the more players want realistic-looking shadows; it doesn’t do much good to have perfect-looking characters and vehicles and buildings if their shadows look like indistinct blobs of grey.
Wargaming is a company that prides itself on its realistic models for its vintage war machines, and soon it will apply that same attention to detail to the shadows in World of Tanks. Thanks to some help from Intel, Wargaming will soon implement real-time ray tracing to help provide crisper and more realistic shadows in the game, so long as your video card supports DirectX 11 or higher. In its first implementation, the new effects will only apply to active (not destroyed) tanks, though it sounds like Wargaming has plans to extend them to all objects on the battlefield, and then some:
Recreating incredibly soft and natural shadows is just the beginning of the Ray Tracing Era in gaming graphics. Thanks to this technology, we can recreate realistic reflections, ambient occlusion, and global illumination in real time. But this is something for the more distant future.
For more on how these effects will work, and what they’ll look like in-game, check out the video below or the description on the World of Tanks site.