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Massive graphical improvements!

You haven't seen Enlisted like this before. For the next major update, we've prepared a whole range of significant improvements to our game's visuals, and we debated for a long time whether we could fit them all into one devblog. We couldn't, so in this devblog, we'll talk about the graphical changes that will be noticeable to every player.

We present to you a huge improvement to the Global Illumination.

What is a Global Illumination?

In short, Enlisted uses Realtime Global Illumination to calculate light scattering from surfaces. This technology does not require an ultra-modern video card with ray tracing support, yet it creates a realistic look, softly illuminating even areas that are not directly exposed to light. The reflected light changes its characteristics depending on the texture and shade of the surface it is reflected from. This works both indoors and outdoors.

GI in Enlisted works even on the low quality graphics preset, since it does not consume a lot of resources, but it dramatically transforms the visuals for the better. It is easier to appreciate the contribution of this technology by watching a video from an early version of the game.

Enlisted was among the first games to use Global illumination! And it has proven to work well, even with the limitations of older consoles (Xbox One/PlayStation 4) for which it was designed (because the game must run at 30/60 FPS on these platforms).

For example, the early version of Global Illumination did not support detailed reflected light (specular lighting), only diffuse lighting was calculated. Its display distance was significantly limited (GI was calculated in detail up to about 60m, and a simplified calculation was used beyond that). Its resolution did not allow for lighting details smaller than about 50cm, which in some cases caused light to leak through walls. Hardware ray tracing (RTX/DXR) was not supported, and so on.

Updated Global Illumination

In the upcoming major update, the technology that is visible on your screen all the time will impress you even more. We have improved all aspects of the GI - the propagation of light has become even more realistic, and the game is visually richer: we have added specular lighting, increased its display distance, and also added detailed reflections.

Before changes on the left | After changes on the right

We have almost completely eliminated the issues related to light propagation (light and dark leaking), like in this example of light leaking through the ceiling.

Before changes on the left | After changes on the right

The display distance and calculation of Global Illumination has also improved. You will notice this, for example, in the corridors of the Reich Chancellery or inside Lehrter Bahnhof.

Before changes on the left | After changes on the right

Improved reflections to better represent the properties of surfaces and the distribution of reflected light. In other words, in rooms where at least some light enters, more details will be visible and navigation will be easier.

Before changes on the left | After changes on the right

Additionally, smooth surfaces now also reflect objects that are not on the screen (f.e., where Screen Space Reflection does not work).

Before changes on the left | After changes on the right

Performance will remain the same!

We managed to keep the updated Global Illumination within the current performance parameters (depending on the settings). You will be able to appreciate the updated visuals of Enlisted without any performance loss on most settings, except for the highest GI quality setting. There, the impact of the changes may be noticeable, but the visuals will also please the most avid graphics enthusiasts.

Local tone mapping

These additional changes are related to other aspects of Enlisted's graphics. They do not affect the performance, and are made based on your "improve visibility in the dark" feedback. So we do! Now, exposure is not calculated globally, for the entire frame, but locally, allowing both bright and dark areas to retain details. This is somewhat similar to HDR, without the need for such technology in your monitor, or the work of a photographer.

Check the difference:

Before changes on the left | After changes on the right

We have also improved the "bloom" effect – the glow from bright light sources, making it softer and more diffused.

Before changes on the left | After changes on the right

Do you like the changes? These are the most noticeable graphical improvements of the upcoming update, which will also introduce new features and improve old ones. Stay tuned for more devblogs, leave feedback, and share the news with your friends.

We continue improving the game!

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