The Witcher 3 won't overload your video card

2 min read

The Witcher games are visually stunning. In fact, in my household they’re the markers for when it’s time for a gaming PC upgrade. I was upset that Witcher 3 was delayed, but at least it gives me another year to save up for top of the range components. But CD Projekt RED is also using tech to optimize the load.

During GDC, CD Projekt RED Engine Programmer Przemys?aw Czatrowski hosted a panel called “Solving Visibility and Streaming in the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt with Umbra 3”. Those presentation slides have been made available, or you could watch the actual presentation. Dualshockers also gives a detailed explanation of the technology.

What it comes down to is an explanation of the ambient occlusion technology that uses the camera to determine what is actually visible on the screen, only rendering those chunks that are necessary. This reduces the load on the video card. The process doesn’t just affect static meshes (backgrounds and environments), but also particles, skinned meshes and simulated meshes – blood, burns, etc. Models also have differentiation in detail – depending on distance, it will use more or less detailed models, taking further strain off the video processing.

Here you can see two pictures that show these differentiated chunks – the green areas are what the camera deems visible and needing to be rendered. Upon moving, the yellow area becomes visible.

Witcher 3 video 1
Withcer 3 video 2

All in all, it means that The Witcher 3 will be lighter on your PC’s resources, despite being an absolutely enormous game. I love hearing about these kinds of technology – it shows the attention to detail on so many levels, and makes me even more excited to see it all in action. It will be particularly interesting to compare the latest Witcher game on PC vs new generation consoles. Just how close (or far) are the new consoles to current gaming PCs? Either way, this game promises to be breathtakingly beautiful.

Witcher 3 landscape

Last Updated: April 11, 2014

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