‘War Thunder Firestorm’ Illustrates How NVIDIA GameWorks Is a Game Changer

by Brian Burke

Great graphics is about more than just eye candy.

Great graphics can change how gamers play. The latest example: War Thunder, the World War II-themed free-to-play online game from Gaijin Entertainment.

The War Thunder Firestorm update, released today for PC and PlayStation 4, features a significant graphics engine upgrade, new maps, new vehicles and the first set of British tanks. It’s also getting NVIDIA GameWorks technologies for the realistic rendering of destruction and water.

War Thunder is the first game to get NVIDIA WaveWorks. The tool helps developers deliver realistic ocean simulation for their games — an enormously difficult technical challenge.

That means War Thunder’s coastlines get realistic crashing waves that generate foam. Rivers and ocean beds get more realistic lighting effects.

WaveWorks Helps War Thunder Look Better, Play Better

Beyond making games look better, WaveWorks makes games play better. Tanks driving through water create wakes. They can even wash onto the shore as they hydroplane on crashing waves. Planes react to waves when attempting a water-landing. And seaplanes bob on the ocean surface during takeoff.

Another change to gameplay comes from the addition of NVIDIA PhysX Destruction, which helps artists generate pervasive destruction effects. War Thunder’s developers used it to create destructible buildings and walls — so players can no longer safely hide behind buildings or walls lying in wait to ambush an unsuspecting enemy. You can now tear down those walls and buildings with the right firepower.

A Cross Platform Upgrade for All

Most notable is the way Gaijin made WaveWorks and Destruction in War Thunder work for players on different gaming platforms. To maintain a level battlefield on the cross-platform 16-versus-16 multiplayer game, Gaijin took NVIDIA’s middleware source code and tweaked it to meet War Thunder’s requirements. So, NVIDIA PhysX Destruction executes on the CPU only, while WaveWorks takes a customized CPU/GPU implementation. This way all players will enjoy the same game-changing special effects and well-balanced gameplay. The result is a cross-platform upgrade for gamers on PC and console alike.

The addition of NVIDIA Destruction and NVIDIA WaveWorks to War Thunder creates a more realistic and detailed warzone. And that creates exciting new gameplay possibilities. It’s the latest example of how NVIDIA GameWorks Studios help artists and developers extend the state of the art in real-time graphics. And make their games a cooler and better experience for all gamers.