World of Tanks PC - The quest for realism

It might seem strange for a seven year old game to release a 1.0 patch, but that’s just a marker of how much World of Tanks is changing in its latest update. World of Tanks 1.0 isn’t an incremental update, it literally replaces the entire engine powering the hugely popular online shooter. After seven years, the venerable BigWorld client engine is being retired and replaced with a new in house engine developed specifically for the game.

New Graphics

This new engine, called Core, makes all sorts of things possible. Lighting has been completely overhauled and now interacts realistically with objects, casting proper shadows. Smoke, steam and dust, which any World of Tanks player knows can start to cover the battlefield as the fight goes on, casts realistic translucent shadows over when hit by sunlight. The skyboxes too have been overhauled, with the clouds now properly moving across the sky with the wind, and the colour of the sky even shifting with the light.

As on the sky, so on the ground. Map terrain has also been overhauled with more layers of detail on every surface, and thanks to some smart texture loading tricks there’s no hit to performance. One nice bonus of the new system is that terrain height is now far more visible, allowing skilled players to read the battlefield better. The new engine also allows players to see much further outside the map, with rolling steppes or towering mountains visible well outside the play area.

The new engine also allows for far more objects and flora on every map. Forests are thicker and more diverse and crashing through them, one of the great small pleasures of World of Tanks, feels amazing. The landscape even reacts to the war, with newly implemented Havok Destruction tech allowing tanks to plow through forests and towns like never before.

How a new tank is created

History Consultants
Identify new tanks for implementation

Game Designer
Approves new vehicle

History Consultants
Research into original designs and schematics.

Design 3D model

History Consultants
Approve and correct inaccuracies

Balance Team
Design combat capabilities and stats

Give feedback

Balance Team
Tweak balance

Give constant feedback to balance team

New Music

But it isn’t just the visuals that are getting an overhaul in 1.0, it’s also the music. Each map now has its own signature soundtrack, carefully chosen to represent the geography and culture of the region. For example North African maps like El Halluf boast compositions based on the native Berbers, while Mines and Karelia take inspiration from Balkan and Slavic folklore respectively. 

What’s fascinating is that these soundtracks are dynamic, changing and evolving over the course of the battle. So while you might recognise Ruinberg’s use of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, you’ll hear different parts of that classical composition as the battle evolves. A team close to victory might hear a spurring melody, while one nearing defeat will hear a sombre, funeral dirge.

New Era

1.0 will overhaul World of Tanks completely, making a game with seven years of content look like it was released yesterday, making it the perfect time for new players to jump in. But don’t take my word for it, instead take a look at the before and after screenshots we’ve included on these pages and decide your yourself.

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