This past week Horizon Zero Dawn developer Guerrilla Games and Hideo Kojima’s new studio partnered to show off their work on the Decima Engine, planned for use in Death Stranding. Principal Tech Programmer at Guerrilla Giliam de Carpentier and programmer Kohei Ishiyama of Kojima Productions provided a presentation at Siggraph 2017 titled “Decima Engine: Advances in Lighting and AA.” As part of the demonstration, the two shared how fog might look in Death Stranding using “precomputed atmospheric scattering.”
The video in question shows the recognizable overpass and tunnel from Death Stranding‘s Mads Mikkelson and Guillermo del Toro trailer. This time the environment is empty short of some basic daylight lighting effects and the non-moving environment itself. Through the 15 seconds, the scene goes from a sunny day to extremely foggy. Note that the tech isn’t mean to showcase the transition of the fog rolling in so much as what the scene looks like with the fog in place. That’s because the scene utilizes the exact same lighting throughout its entirety. It’s solely the fog changing the lighting within the scene.
Both Carpentier and Ishiyama go to great lengths to describe how they’re able to create the fog effects, sharing the math behind the process freely. But for casual viewers, the results should be self-evident. The difference between this scene with full fog and no fog changed just through turning on this technology is startling. Notably, the fog is positioned with intent, where the camera can see into the city as the fog is spread. The amount of control is impressive. Considering how traditionally levels in games are either with fog or without, but the Decima Engine can transition in real-time, it’s very impressive.
One of Kojima Productions’ first decisions as a studio was to use Guerrilla Games’ Decima Engine for what is now known as Death Stranding. But part of that decision resulted from an understanding that the Decima Engine needed to go further than where it currently stood in order to meet Kojima’s needs. It’s not clear how the two studios’ work on fog will play into Death Stranding, if at all, but it’s an exciting technical showcase nonetheless.
Death Stranding has no currently revealed release window and is so far announced exclusively for the PlayStation 4.