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Nvidia launches several new GameWorks libraries

High Fidelity Shadows (aka HFTS)

HFTS works to improve shadows, only this time it's focused on improving shadow mapping rather than AO. HFTS ends up being an evolution of the existing PCSS (Percentage Closer Soft Shadows), as we discussed in The Division Optimization Guide. Frustrum traced shadows do an excellent job at creating hard shadows, but hard shadows aren't very realistic (unless you're in a vacuum). The solution is to combine the hard frustrum traced shadows with PCSS, which will soften edges as appropriate.

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While many of us are quite happy with the shadow quality many games offer—I still remember when Doom 3 first introduced real-time shadow mapping and blew me away—the realism isn't quite there. What we noticed in The Division is that there's not much difference between the Low and High shadow quality settings, while PCSS vs. High gets us about 95% of the way there. Much like Low vs. High, the difference between HFTS and PCSS is far more difficult to detect, though our testing revealed a pretty substantial drop in performance. Considering PCSS works on non-Nvidia hardware (now), the incremental gains of HFTS may not be worth the performance hit until we have substantially faster GPUs.

Jarred Walton
Jarred doesn't play games, he runs benchmarks. If you want to know about the inner workings of CPUs, GPUs, or SSDs, he's your man. He subsists off a steady diet of crunchy silicon chips and may actually be a robot.