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Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora tech video talks ray tracing and NPC AI

The graphics card to run it is unobtainium, though

Avatar is a more interesting world than it is a story, and so in some ways feels better designed for a Ubisoft open world game than a movie. Also, by "interesting world" I mostly mean it's visually interesting, with floating sky islands, colourful dinosaurs and bioluminescent plants. Ubisoft have released a new trailer to talk about the graphical wizardry being employed in creating that world for Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora, including ray tracing and some chat about NPC AI.

Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora is being developed by Massive Entertainment, and they're building it on their Snowdrop engine, which was first created for use in Tom Clancy's The Division. The video above talks about how the engine has changed with lots of marketing-speak, but it was enough to remind me of the things from Avatar that would be fun to explore in a videogame.

Perhaps the fanciest of the additions is real-time ray tracing, which makes the world's lighting theoretically more realistic. I've yet to be bowled over by any game with ray tracing. I'm sure technical artists are correct when they say it looks better, but give me two images side by side and I'd be hard pressed to tell you which one features Ray Tracing, PI.

Other features discussed included volumetric clouds and the volume of objects on screen at once, but I was more interested in the chat about NPCs which will supposedly understand more than normal about the game state, including time of day and player progression. Including that in a tech showcase hopefully means it's fancier than an NPC saying, "Ugh, I hate the dark." whenever it's nighttime.

Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora is due for release next year. Nate's already looking forward to it, too.

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Graham Smith


Graham used to be to blame for all this.

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