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Interactive Wind and Vegetation in 'God of War'

Sean Feeley  (Sr. Staff Technical Artist, Sony Santa Monica Studio)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference - Get your pass now!

Topic: Visual Arts, Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

The new 'God of War' has a robust, interactive wind and vegetation system to support the players' feeling of controlling a powerful character. In this session, Sony Santa Monica Studio will share how they developed its features: dynamic and spatially-varying 3D wind simulation, interactive, boneless tree and leaf sway, ground vegetation character interaction with swaying settle (kickin' grass!), and card cluster LOD and shadows proxies (billboard clouds). To support this tech, this lecture will cover various developments such as fast, accurate, texture flood-filling using mip chains (for uv seams and matting issues), procedural and sparse 3D flow that supports spatially-varying flow rates, and fractal noise that doesn't shift when scaled.

Senior Staff Technical Artist Sean Feeley will take a deep dive into the process of creating these systems, and how they operate under the hood. He will examine and share the team's wind content authoring workflow, which was designed to minimize cross-departmental impact. Lastly, he will review failed features and approaches, and describe potential next steps for future iterations.


You will learn how the Sony Santa Monica Studio team developed full-stack wind effects within a AAA game engine. Even if you aren't building a wind system, the techniques and processes discussed in this session will have broader applications to interactive environment art, such as LODs, vertex animation, texture gap-filling, signal smoothing, and more.

Intended Audience

This presentation is intended for technical environment artists and graphics programmers. Familiarity with linear algebra and trigonometry is encouraged for full benefit.