Black Ops Cold War engine gets revamp to give modern take on 1980s
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War brings the franchise to the next-generation of consoles when it launches in November.
Raven Software’s technical team discussed during our virtual briefing what the team is doing to make the game look and play incredibly well.
First off, Treyarch’s Dan Bunting says that they are not fully using Modern Warfare’s engine for Black Ops Cold War. Infinity Ward debuted a brand new engine with Modern Warfare that was in the works for years, which dramatically transformed Call of Duty’s graphics.
Treyarch says that while the teams share the ‘underlying technology,’ the engine and technology being used in Black Ops Cold War was created back in 2015. Bunting says that the team worked hard to revamp and re-build a lot of their tools starting with Black Ops 3, and Black Ops Cold War showcases the power of what they were able to do. It’s important to focus on making tools and specific functionality versus a whole engine, and that’s where they focused.
The tool set built with this game was intended to be scalable and broad to work on future platforms, including PS5 and Xbox Series X. The teams are sharing tools, but there is new stuff in Black Ops Cold War.
Black Ops Cold War tool set
Raven’s Lighting Director Alberto Noti spoke during the briefing as to how the team worked to bring the 1980s to life in Black Ops Cold War. Noti says that the team pushed to make the game ‘visually stunning’ and ‘push Call of Duty visual boundaries.’
The team was able to create photorealistic visual experience with the next-generation tools to bring this game to life. They wanted to make sure they could capture the essence of the 1980s. And, the teams did that through building vintage aesthetics through modern tools.
The game features the latest display and next-gen technology, supporting 4K and HDR across the board. Black Ops Cold War was designed to be a ‘modern’ looking game that was ‘visually sharp’ but also ‘era appropriate environment.’
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In designing the lighting, the teams had to target. Showcase and use photorealism to bring the 1980s style to life, and use real time lighting technology.
Raven and Treyarch identified color pallets for the different places players will travel through in the game. Examples shown to use included a teal color look for Berlin location, and a pink, purple, and red combination for the 1980s vibes. They added in 1980s props to highlight through the lighting technology.
The teams also built Real Time Lighting technology to be able to adjust the lighting in locations in real time during development. This unlocked the team to showcase precise shadows in each area that realistically matched the location. In a clip shown, they showcased how the lighting team is able to go in and update the look and feel of locations in real time and in render.
Raven’s Lighting Director says the teams pushed the ‘limits of the engine’ to make the ‘most realistic adventure’ in the Black Ops saga. Engine was ‘vastly improved’ over the last few years to build on the next-generation. It’s a next-gen experience and ‘lives and breathes’ the 1980s feel.
The last piece Raven Software shared on this was the volumetric and how the fogs/effects are displayed in game. With this game, light rays are no longer invisible. Fog will be able to showcase and be more immersive throughout the entire game’s journey.
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