Latest Assassin's Creed 4 patch adds impressive smoke physics

New PhysX patch promises to introduce a "whole new level of realism" to action game.

A new patch available for the PC version of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag promises to introduce a "whole new level of realism" though new smoke physics, among features.

The patch adds PhysX Particles and Turbulence to improve the visual effects surrounding pistol and musket smoke, smoke bombs, and chimney smoke.

When the patch is applied, smoke will linger longer and be more voluminous. The smoke will also interact with characters and other game elements, including wind and rain.

Check out the video below for more on the new smoke effects and how they affect gameplay. For more on Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, check out GameSpot's review.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

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169 comments
Tangsta03
Tangsta03

The new PhysX effects are cool, but not very practical. It actually hinders your view even more, and for even longer. I suppose if you want a challenge, or to cripple your GPU, you can turn it on.

OhNoesItsDobby
OhNoesItsDobby

Great, pretty smoke.
Unfortunately this patch also introduces a bug into sequence 9 that crashes to desktop. Every single time. -__- Seriously Ubi, how the hell does a game-crashing, progression-blocking bug with 100% reproduction rate in the MAIN STORY get past QA? It's been all over the Ubi support forums for about a month, and I can't play the game now because it crashes after about 10 seconds. FFS.

WarGod667
WarGod667

buying physx was QUITE the move by nvidia. Unfortunately it all went up in smoke..

Creed02
Creed02

The Physx sucks... 

packman627
packman627

I don't mind the smoke from the smoke bomb but the amount of smoke from the pistols is overkill. I actually like it off.

gam3r80
gam3r80

Aww .. but I was waiting to purchase it in a 5$ micro transaction 

berzerk0912
berzerk0912

Did Michael Bay had something to do with this?

themc_7
themc_7

Nice smoke/particle effects, but it's overkill.

Rennik_Repotsir
Rennik_Repotsir

Look at the advancement of gaming and tech with realistic smoke. It's a shame providing better gameplay isn't part of the agenda.

mattman127
mattman127

Can't believe people are complaining about this,. shut up and let gaming and tech move forward, please? 

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

Another case of overdone "in your face" special effects.

If used subtly and also affecting the AI's behavior it adds to the overall immersion, but the amount of smoke displayed here is just plain annoying as you can't see shit after firing a gun.


Nice effect but it needs to be toned down a bit.

Also I bet that the view impairment doesn't affect the AI's ability to "see" but only the players. (same as in "Operation FlashPoint Dragon Rising" where the AI could still accurately headshot you across the map through thick smoke cover in tall grass)

Not talking about the smokebomb effect that makes enemies within a certain radius play their animation and "lose track" of the player but general view impairment of smoke.

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

i would rather play with smoke off. physx smoke looks ridiculous and clutters up the screen.

coaltango
coaltango

Isn't it a bit too much smoke??

isshiah
isshiah

It obscures half the screen! 

DAOWAce
DAOWAce

Were the freezes intentional or are they having another E3 performance?

I love how the game is dropping below 30FPS in their video; guess they haven't optimized it at all.

Joeguy00
Joeguy00

Dammit, I have this on PS4 & even if I didn't, Xfire AMD set-up. Proprietary Vendor stuff is just annoying when it affects the actual game. You have to pick between not killing your fps or using PhysX.

bouff
bouff

looks like to much smoke to me... it will just get in the way.

jhpeter
jhpeter

Sorry, not for console kids.

Talavaj
Talavaj

Almost as revolutionary as the advanced fish AI.

catsimboy
catsimboy

That actually just looks out of place and distracting. If it blended better with the rest of the game it'd be cool but it looks like big magic fart clouds.

malachi
malachi

PhysX......this non sense is still around!?!?!  Might try it on my second gaming PC.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

'New PhysX patch promises to introduce a "whole new level of realism" to action game.'

Uh huh.  I feel like the more realistic they try to make things, sometimes it works the complete opposite way and it looks more ridiculous.  It's like a graphic artist touching up someone's photograph.  They do one or two things, then more, then more, then more, they think they're making it look so awesome and when they're done it looks blatantly fake while the initial version with one or two things enhanced looks deceptively real.

ahpuck
ahpuck

Sometimes, less is more. I like the look of the original better.

Fred316
Fred316

Well, I call this witchcraft...


In this current generation of gaming, how DARE they not hold this back and release it as the "Definitive version" for 60 bucks?


Ubisoft, you disappoint me...

Megamandrew
Megamandrew

One of the things I can't stand about the Assassin's Creed games is how the core gameplay and the quality of the game design haven't evolved in years, but the devs put way more effort into making the game look pretty.  The environments feel as bland and empty as they did in AC 1, but the textures and foliage sure are nice.

fillup0
fillup0

Looks like Nvidia paid another dev again. The actual real world quality of their cards is shit so they have to make a "feature" like physx and pay devs to actually use it. Seriously, no dev wants physx in their game, and if they did they would use OpenCL to achieve the same results on all cards instead of just Nvidia cards.

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

wow...who complained about the smoke? does anyone care?

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

The smoke effects look nice, but they've gone a tad overboard with how much there is.  Also the music in that video is FAR too epic for what they are showing off.

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

@jhpeterthat's cool, you click away on your mouse at your desk like an office fairy with your ridiculous exaggerated smoke haha.

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@Fred316 Not sure why you're bitching about the cost of Tomb Raider, it's totally worth full price if you haven't yet played it and more to the matter the next gen consoles desperately need more games and ubisoft is going to provide anyone interested with a good one at normal price, whaa whaa.

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@Megamandrew I think that's a rather broad stroke. The basic elements have no changed much. You still run, jump, stab and shoot but that hasn't changed a lot in games in 20 years with the exception of some more impressive verticality in the last generation (Mirror's Edge, AC, Prototype/Infamous etc.). AC has certainly been the most significant change in parkour like movements since probably Tomb Raider.


And while you might not have liked the changes, AC has made more changes than most games franchises. Pick a big name franchise that's added more game after game than AC. Entire 3D Tower Defense games? An entire Naval Combat meta-game? What game has built up such a popular gaming system (Parkour and assassination) and then makes it the side act to an entire different game system?


And that's before you mention all the work they put into their history and environments. They've created four almost entirely different environments over the span of six games filled with historically accurate events, characters, and locations.


I used to lump it in with Call of Duty simply because it got released every year but the truth is, we couldn't complain about AC3 doing poorly or AC4 coming out particularly well if it was the same game every year.

zzzronin
zzzronin

@fillup0 Physx is a really cool feature in games I'm playing.  I admit in somes it's taking power from the card and can result in a drop of a few frames.

jhpeter
jhpeter

@fillup0 At the last Nvidia´s cards doesnt overheats and burn like the other one. LOL

eyehategod420
eyehategod420

@fillup0 What's so bad about nvidia cards? When I used to really pc game a lot, my first two builds had a 6800GT and then a 7950GTX. My most recent build uses the GTX 660. Works plenty well for me, was priced right next to the AMD equivalent and came with ACIV, Batman and Splinter Cell Blacklist. 

MXVIII
MXVIII

@fillup0 Physx was bought by Nvidia. They used to be their own company, and required an entirely seperate card, called a Physx card.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@XNEXUS666X@jhpeterit's actually not exaggerated at all, pistols back then used black powder which caused a lot of smoke to come out, even after black powder was phased out guns made a lot of smoke leaving battlefields with little visibility, it's very authentic, and the smoke dissipates and moves with the wind very naturally, get a clue before you post nonsense.

Fred316
Fred316

@nl_skipper Yeah, so just because the next-gens need some good games, us gamers who buy a game and expect it to be fully fleshed out shouldn't whine about this crap?

They should've held out and waited then for the next gens to release, instead of giving us the EXACT ('cause that's what it's gonna be) same game with improved visuals for 60 bucks again.



Megamandrew
Megamandrew

@ExtremePhobia@Megamandrew Those are good points, but all of those changes just boil down to window dressing.  The core of the games has always been the parkour (which they have barely refined year-after-year) and the stealth (which they have also barely refined.)  The core gameplay is extremely clumsy and aside from AC II, aside from window dressing, not much has changed.  The main addition to the stealth in this game seems to be an increase in strategically-placed shrubbery.  Getting Edward to do exactly what you want is rigid and awkward because of the way the parkour works.  The combat feels less like combat than an endless cycle of waiting to counter and stab your opponent.  Regardless of how much time and energy they put into making Kingston look realistic, running around it still feels the same as running around in AC I did.  These are all things that Ubisoft Montreal could fix, but they just refuse to.  Compare moving around and fighting in Far Cry 3 to doing so in this game.  It could simply play a whole lot better.

Don't get me wrong, Assassin's Creed IV is a game that's packed to the gills with stuff to do and some great ideas, but that doesn't matter as much when everything feels so arbitrary.  I think a good example of most of the side stuff in these games are the brawls you get into before unlocking a Tavern.  Edward simply walks near a building before he bumps into a guy, and all of a sudden, he's being attacked by a group of dudes.  It doesn't feel like you're actually in an environment, but instead that you're simply walking around a space where things just happen to you.  For the level of immersion in this game, everything might as well just be made out of legos and the game wouldn't lose any of its emptiness.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@berzerk0912 Smoke come after explosions. But Explosion is not the ONLY method of making a smoke in case you didn't notice. If you're trying to make a joke by referencing to a characteristic of another person, do it right.