Ryse: Son of Rome has been developed by Crytek as a visual showcase of what the Xbox One can do, and in order to achieve that, they had to work very intensively on the small details that make the difference.
This was showcased at the Game Developers Conference during a panel titled Moving to the Next Generation – The Rendering Technology of Ryse. What’s interesting is that the slides included quite a few pictures showing the game’s models with and without a few of the advanced visual effects used in the game.
In the comparisons below you’ll see the picture without the effect above, one with the effect below it and an animated GIF showing the difference at the bottom. You can click on each to zoom and start the animation.
Ryse used physically based shading, which is very prone to specular aliasing. It was fixed by applying a normal variance filter for the GBuffer.
The lighting model is quite complex, even for something normally simple as ambient lights. To avoid a flight lighting Crytek added multiplicative light sources on top of the usual light probes.
This is one of the most publicized effects used in the facial rendering of the game. It helps making the skin look naturally translucent.
Ryse Hair Depth Fixup for Thin Hair
Ryse uses a new technology called “Thin Hair” to render hair, but it comes with an alpha (transparency) problem with the environment and with depth of field effects. This was solved with a special fix that makes it look definitely better.
looking at the picture above, we can definitely say that in Ryse: Son of Rome the devil is in the details. The difference may seem small at first sight, but this kind of effect is crucial when a PC developer has to work on hardware less powerful than its usual target, and we can definitely say that they succeeded in their goal of creating a great visual showcase for the Xbox One.