Killzone Shadow Fall’s Fancy Reflections Tech Shown Off

At this year’s Digital Dragons event in Poland, Michael Drobot of Guerilla Games gave this presentation to show off Killzone Shadow Fall. The talk was given to show off Killzone Shadow Fall’s lighting system, which is obviously looking rather nice.

As part of the demonstration, it was disclosed that the real time reflections are achieved with ray tracing, something which has historically been used only in TV and movie CGI. Ray tracing is a technique that allows developers to trace the path of light through a pixel layer and accurately plot out its reflections in order to better simulate a variety of types of reflection. Crysis 3 used a similar technique, although with a healthy dose of trickery to get it working.

The technique is very process-intensive so it has generally not been a popular choice for videogames. Although it produces much more realistic results that traditional scanline rendering, it was always too slow to be used in games where speed is of the utmost importance. Killzone Shadow Fall and the PlayStation 4 seem to finally have delivered enough power to developers that ray tracing can be a practical solution.

So, basically for those of us who are perhaps less technically minded, Killzone Shadow Fall is going to be bloody gorgeous and the PlayStation 4 is powerful enough to allow big advancements in how great our games look.

Source: DSOG



  1. Wait.. there’s KIllzone FOUR as well as Killzone Shadow Fall? OMG!

    *pedantic grin*

    • heh, yeah, I guess that’s a distinction worth making though, I’ll fix that up :)

    • When you learn to spell surprise properly, you can have a go at Peter and not a moment sooner! Cheeky mongrel. ;-)

  2. Truly scary depth to computer graphics in gaming although fascinating to see that they are running a ray trace pass on games now. I remember the differences on some 3D modelling software and it was many factors slower to ray trace as oppose to a simple render. Even if it’s not used in all games next gen it means that the gen after that will see it everywhere. That’s quite the notch up on graphics and believability.

  3. I remember the 90s when my Amiga 500 used to take hours to render a ray traced image of a single object in 480×352 and 4096 colours. Now they can do this!

    • That’s pretty much what I was thinking about. My brother’s A2000 (with a whopping 5MB of RAM) was brought to its knees for eight hours as it rendered a few glass spheres with ray tracing switched on. Eight hours per single frame!

      • I ray traced the Enterprise once. Took me three days!

      • Sweet Mary Jane! No wait… so, seven cylinders and a hemisphere. Yeah, that actually makes sense. :-)

      • It was.. er.. whatever mode the AMiga had where it could do super duper hi res and loads of coulours

      • TC, have you still got the render? Three days, the Amiga did well to survive that, my first laptop from ten years ago used to render for about 12 hours then give up and shut down. No staying power, it deserved being thrown into the road and smashed into a thousand pieces… My dads fault, not mine.

      • HAM – Hold And Modify. :-)

    • I miss my Amiga, seems like i used to do way more with it than i’ve ever done with any computer since. :/
      I’m sure movies still render all their CGI scenes at a slow speed so real-time ray-tracing seems like a pretty big deal for gaming and i can’t wait to see the results, in real time.

  4. This is awesome, it seems to me like lighting and shadows are the biggest improvement-areas moving into the next generation. Oh, and textures. Finally, compressed low res textures with crap filtering is a thing of the past. 8x AF will be the minimum.

  5. thats weird I was recently just reading an article claiming that we wont see ray tracing on consoles or all except the most expensive gaming PCs for a very long time. It seems whatever tech magic they managed on the ps4 is actually working really well

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