Nvidia makes Watch Dogs look magnificent on PC

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When Watch Dogs first debuted at E3 in 2012, the game looked good. Damn good, on a visual level. Fast forward to 2014, and the current build seems to have dropped a few notches on the graphical level. Unless you’re playing on PC that is.

If you’re rocking a new Nvidia card in your rig, chances are that you may be getting the bulk of the shiny visual improvements that the game sports. Here’s the latest video from Ubisoft, detailing the HBAO Plus technology that gives the game a staggering amount of detail.

One of the technologies that allowed us to achieve this level of quality is an Nvidia technique called HBAO Plus, which stands for Horizon Based Ambient Occlusion”,” lead PC engineer Paul Vlasie said in the video.

HBAO Plus improves on existing techniques to add richer, more detailed shadows around objects that occlude rays of light. HBAO Plus is faster, more efficient and significantly better when compared to previous techniques.

To address smaller details and increase the visual quality of Watch Dogs, we also used Nvidia’s TXAA technology. TXAA is a new, cinematic style anti-aliasing technique designed specifically to reduce temporal aliasing like curling and flickering that you may sometimes see in motion when you are playing a game.

While there is movement on the screen, TXC will reduce the visual noise of flickering across game elements, like fences, cables, grass or trees. These exclusive technologies are one of the many tools that allowed us to create an immersive and beautiful version of Watch Dogs.

Don’t expect consoles versions to sport these small details, even though PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions will still look like a leap above the current-gen releases. Ubisoft says that current videos of the game have used footage from console versions, while the original look at Watch Dogs at E3 2012 was pulled from PC. 

 Watch Dogs is (finally) out on May 27. Hopefully, I’ll be able to run the game with my Voodoo 3000 graphics accelerator card.

Last Updated: April 11, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

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