Death Stranding's Fog Is Beautiful, And Kojima Productions Explains Why
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Death Stranding is one of the most mysterious projects in the video game industry. Hideo Kojima has been pretty tight-lipped about it, apart from a few descriptions that might as well be riddles. Today, Kojima Productions revealed a new glimpse of the game which, albeit small, nonetheless shows off some impressive-looking fog.
In a presentation at the Siggraph 2017 conference, Kohei Ishiyama of Kojima Productions and Guerrilla Games' Giliam de Carpentier discussed the capabilities of the Decima Engine. This is the engine that currently powers Horizon: Zero Dawn, but it's also being used by Kojima Productions for Death Stranding.
Ishiyama and Carpentier revealed that the developers had created a new fog system in the Decima Engine designed to allow for more artistic flexibility over the appearance of atmosphere in-game. Currently, engines generally use what's called "precomputed atmospheric scattering" to create photorealistic fog, but this limits the ability to change color or density of fog.
What Guerrilla Games and Kojima Productions did was to combine the precomputed atmospheric scattering model and an "analytic height fog" model to allow for both photorealism and artistic flexibility with a singe model. In a scene from Death Stranding that they showed off, the result is some really good-looking atmospheric effects. Check it out (courtesy of DualShockers):
There's a lot more that Ishiyama and Carpentier talk about in their presentation about Horizon and the engine in general, and you can read their whole slide deck here. It is extremely technical and there's a lot of math involved, but there are a few cool facts about the development of Horizon: Zero Dawn and what the Decima Engine can do.
As for Death Stranding, there's no official word yet on when it will come out, but Kojima himself hinted that it might launch in 2018. It stars Mads Mikkelson (Hannibal), director Guillermo Del Toro, and Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead). In April, Kojima spoke a little about the game, explaining why he wanted Norman Reedus to be naked in the game's first trailer.