Rise of the Tomb Raider uses async compute to render breathtaking volumetric lighting on Xbox One

Rise of the Tomb Raider gets more details during E3 2015 Square Enix Conference

During its presentation at SIGGRAPH 2015, Eidos Montreal revealed some interesting technical details regarding its forthcoming action adventure game, Rise of the Tomb Raider. The developer gave an overview of the advanced rendering techniques that are being used in Lara Croft’s latest outing.


Of all the rendering techniques used in the game, the most fascinating is its use of asynchronous compute for the generation of advanced volumetric lights. For this purpose, the developer has employed a resolution-agnostic voxel method, which allows volumetric lights to be rendered using asynchronous compute after the rendering of shadows, with correctly handled transparency composition.

The developer has also used its own in-house SSAO technique dubbed ‘Broad Temporal Ambient Obscurance’ (BTAO). The technique is inspired by SAO (Scalable Ambient Obscurance), and is claimed to be vastly superior to the industry leading ambient occlusion technique i.e. HBAO, in terms of both quality and performance. According to the developer, this new ambient occlusion technique is temporally stable and provides both near and far occlusion.tombraider

Like The Order: 1886 on the PS4, Rise of the Tomb Raider will also make use of the Sample Distribution Shadow Maps (SDSM) algorithm in order to allow efficient shadow map rendering. By adjusting itself to scene and camera position, the technique will enhance the overall shadow quality in the game.

Lastly, the game features procedural snow deformation that leverages compute shaders and hardware tessellation for fast and detailed results. Due to the agnostic nature of this approach, the developer believes that this technique will have many other applications in the future.


In addition to discussing these advanced rendering techniques, the developer also talked about the challenges it has faced during development, as well as the successful and failed approaches it took.

For a more in-depth overview, follow the link here to go through the course publication. Stay tuned for further updates on Rise of the Tomb Raider as they become available.

Muhammad Ali Bari

Reviews Editor at GearNuke

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