Release Notes

New Graphics Engine

 

The most significant part of Update 1.0 is the overhaul of the underlying client tech. World of Tanks was visibly constrained by the BigWorld engine that simply couldn’t keep up with advancements in graphics technology. So we replaced it with a new Core engine.

Developed by our in-house team, this solution is tailored to the game’s needs and provides a baseline mechanism for advancing the game’s visuals. Core uses the latest technology for graphical content processing and rendering, enabling photorealistic graphics, complete with highly requested Havok® Destruction Technology, Global Illumination, responsive water, volumetric terrain, and other effects. Effectively, it’s the backbone of the game’s modern looks and has enough capacity to let us advance graphics in tandem with technology, ensuring World of Tanks remains fresh and sleek further down the road.

What does this mean for the player? New technologies and effects add harmony, realism and diversity to the picture. They boost your immersion, injecting each map with a myriad of small details, regardless of the client type you use (HD or SD). From the simple moments, like watching seasons change as you switch from a summer to a winter locale or embracing how sunlight plays across lush foliage, to the full-on visual assault of crushing environments when you’re rolling over them.

Performance Optimization

With this healthy increase in detail and effects, you're probably wondering what kind of framerates your system will be able to produce. Worry not, we put in extra hours of work to optimize code for graphics and performance, tweaking graphics sub-systems and using streaming technology to reduce the graphics footprint on your rigs.

  • Virtual Texturing
  • Screen Space Reflections
  • Adaptive Shadows
  • UI Optimization
  • Revised Tank Track Calculation
  • Advanced Tree Model System
  • Level of Detail
  • Particle Multi-Resolution Rendering
Virtual Texturing

The Core engine uses Virtual Texturing for memory optimization. In basic terms, we pre-calculate all the heavy blending needed to produce a realistic surface, save it as a Virtual Texture, load it in advance and only show it if necessary. Also, we no longer need material blending in the tessellation stage. So we use tessellation without a significant performance drop.

Screen Space Reflections

We combine Screen Space Reflections with Parallax corrected reflection probes that store pre-computed reflection data. This new approach adds fidelity to the water as we now reflect exactly what we see instead of previously simplified reflections.

Adaptive Shadows

Most of the shadows are calculated when first loading the map and re-calculated only when the level changes. That gives a great boost in performance and enables correctly illuminated objects even on low-end hardware.

UI Optimization

3D scenery covered by the opaque UI elements (the minimap and damage panel) is no longer rendered, which saves on GPU performance.

Revised Tank Track Calculation

Now track movement is calculated per each track segment (~100 calculations per average tank tread). While increasing performance, this optimization does not affect visual quality. It reduces the GPU load, whilst the tracks display natural and realistic movement.

Advanced Tree Model System

Trees are baked into billboards with all the information including depth and lighting data. Thanks to it, we can switch trees to billboards much closer to the viewer (and you won’t notice a slightest difference!).

Level of Detail

Level of Detail (LOD) adjustment occurs as smoothly as possible over a short period of time so there’re no jarring transitions between different LODs. This seamless transition doesn’t require extra resources.

Particle Multi-Resolution Rendering

Now, high-resolution effects are only displayed along the edges, and the interior is rendered in lower resolution. This switch is practically unnoticeable but saves a lot of performance in critical moments.

Refreshed Maps

Once we had the technology to implement our ambitious ideas, we went on to recreate much of the content from the ground up. Terrain textures, the water rendering system, skyboxes, a lighting system, shadows—we took 29 maps and went over every single element, refining and redesigning them to add greater depth, beauty and realism to battlefields.

The team fussed over the smallest details to make every location shine and provide an enjoyable experience. In addition to purely visual improvements, we revisited certain maps with extra scrutiny, fixing imbalances you brought to us over the years.

Fisherman’s Bay: It now has a more balanced frontline and offers both teams equal chances at pushing key directions.

Erlenberg: The middle area received a solid makeover: it’s much easier to read now, with visible lowland, denser forests, and fewer environments that have little tactical value.

Steppes: Newly added hills and cover spots in the lowland area should make the right flank more playable for both teams.

Ruinberg: In addition to visual enhancements, we tried to fix imbalances that made the battle easier for the team that starts off in the northern section of the map.

Fjords: Tweaks to the terrain across the map make it possible to choose various angles of attack. These routes are viable for all classes, allowing them to move more freely.

New Map: Glacier

This post-apocalyptic wasteland of Glacier with its blend of beautiful snow and ice has been in development for quite a while now. Initially, its release had been timed around the addition of Swedish tanks. However, the team agreed that BigWorld didn’t have the capacity to show the wintry landscapes in all their glory. Now that Core’s up and running, we can finally present this deserted and serene locale hot with hot springs, geysers, and elevated ridges.

The active zone for light tanks. Thanks to the landscape and terrain, you won’t be left out in the open. But be careful, those pesky tanks might be hiding up by the carrier.

Tank destroyer spots. Good viewpoints, often with concealment, and even with a thinly armored vehicle, you can still do some damage.

There’s a large number of small shelters that won’t protect you from enemy artillery fire here and bushes. It’s a perfect spot for the mediums and not a bad location for tank destroyers either.

Tank destroyer spots. Good viewpoints, often with concealment, and even with a thinly armored vehicle, you can still do some damage.

In the case of a successful enemy advance to the center, take position on top of the aircraft carrier. By controlling the aircraft carrier, your team can help your heavies break through. Even by locating yourself by the sides of the carrier, you can help support your team in the center.

Designated spot for heavies. The perfect place for the heavies to fight, covered from artillery fire, there’s a plenty of options to maneuver amongst the blocks of ice and frozen shipwrecks.

1. The active zone for light tanks. Thanks to the landscape and terrain, you won’t be left out in the open. But be careful, those pesky tanks might be hiding up by the carrier.

2. Tank destroyer spots. Good viewpoints, often with concealment, and even with a thinly armored vehicle, you can still do some damage.

3. There’s a large number of small shelters that won’t protect you from enemy artillery fire here and bushes. It’s a perfect spot for the mediums and not a bad location for tank destroyers either.

4. Tank destroyer spots. Good viewpoints, often with concealment, and even with a thinly armored vehicle, you can still do some damage.

5. In the case of a successful enemy advance to the center, take position on top of the aircraft carrier. By controlling the aircraft carrier, your team can help your heavies break through. Even by locating yourself by the sides of the carrier, you can help support your team in the center.

6. Designated spot for heavies. The perfect place for the heavies to fight, covered from artillery fire, there’s a plenty of options to maneuver amongst the blocks of ice and frozen shipwrecks.

Class-by-class strategy:

  • If playing a heavy tank, consider the north-west with destroyed ships and a large aircraft carrier stuck in the river of ice. It offers decent protection from arty shells and ample space for maneuvering.
  • Mobile light tanks will feel at home in the central area, where they can leverage multiple open spaces and use their view range to uncover enemy positions and hunt down enemy LTs.
  • Support vehicles can thrive in spawning areas to the south-west and north-east. Use concealed positions and the good viewpoints they offer to wear down enemies and support a push.
  • The northern area close to the aircraft carrier and the south-east part of the map are best suited for medium tanks. Secure the spot near the aircraft carrier to help friendly heavies break through or support your team in the center.

New Music Score

If dramatic graphical enhancement alone weren’t enough, Update 1.0 gives each map a signature sound with new soundtrack: over 60 unique pieces composed by Andrius Klimka and Andrey Kulik. Original loading screen tunes, rich in local musical aesthetics, reflect the atmosphere and mood of the map, amplifying your immersion in battle. Dynamic battle themes evolve and change as two teams fight for control, while closing themes for the battle results screen reflect the battle outcome.

 

New ambient sounds are there to further boost your immersion, creating a feeling that there’s a living, breathing world around you, disturbed by the sounds of conflict. Each shell type has its distinctive sound. Gunshots and explosions don’t sound the same in a forest, village, or urban area. Just like in real life, what you hear depends on where you are, where fire is coming from and which obstacles it encounters along the way.

What About Graphics Settings?

Graphic configurations get reset with the switch to the new engine, and we’ll help you hit that sweet spot between visuals and performance. Here are a few simple tips to help you with settings.

Run auto-detect test: There’s no need to customize the client manually by disabling some settings to improve performance. The auto-tuning system, updated ahead of the 1.0 launch, will do it for you, finding the right balance of performance and appearance for your rig. Run the test to get the preset option that best suits your PC or laptop.

Use advanced settings (if you’d really like to): Choose the preset option offered by auto-detect and work from there to adjust the game’s visuals manually in Advanced Graphics Settings: pick Standard or Improved graphics render and tailor the settings to your needs.

Some graphics settings are more important than others. Reducing the right settings may get you to comfortable FPS rates without severely reducing the image quality. You should start with special effects—antialiasing, texture and object quality, draw distance, lighting and post-processing. These are taxing, and toning them down can help you boost frame rate.

If you want more in-depth explanations on each advanced settings option, check out the complete guide HERE.

Looking Ahead

This is by no means everything that’s been done so far. With this foundational refresh complete, the team will continue with other big improvements including general bug fixing, enriching the roster with new maps, national lines, modes, and more. We are keenly focused on what’s in front of us—an exciting, brand-new opportunity to deliver the ultimate experience for World of Tanks fans past, present and future.

For now, check back with Info Hub for a deeper look at each feature jammed into Update 1.0 and hit the battlefield to see the remastered game with your own eyes!

Click/tap the images below to see in-depth detail on each feature.

Full List of Changes

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Main Changes

The Core graphics engine includes the following features:

  • Total improvement of the image quality at any graphics settings.
  • Complete rework and optimization of the lighting.
  • Added the system of Global Illumination.
  • All structures have been reworked to the new graphics quality.
  • Terrain, water, and foliage have been reworked into the new graphics quality.
  • High-resolution textures have been applied to all objects.
  • Object destruction has been reworked using the Havok® Destruction technology (displayed only at the following graphics settings: High, Maximum, and Ultra).
  • Added the vehicle wetting effects when driving in water (and the drying effect), as well as dirtying and dusting effects.
  • Improved display of the vehicle suspension when driving over various obstacles.
  • Reworked the map outland (area beyond the map border): now game locations visually feel vast and unlimited. At the same time, the map borders remain unchanged.
  • Enabled the terrain tessellation function (partially at the maximum graphics settings and to the full extent at the Ultra graphics settings).
  • Reworked the track effects on various surfaces. Added realistic effects of drifting.
  • Added the procedural generation of grass and bushes, which decreases the load on the PC.
  • Now all foliage reacts to the actions of the player's vehicle: grass and foliage are shaken by shots and made flat by vehicle tracks, etc. This feature will not affect vehicle concealment, since the animation is displayed only on your computer.
  • Implemented a new water processing system with geometrical waves (tessellation) and SSR (Screen Space Reflection) for modeling reflections on water.
  • Implemented a realistic model of water behavior: when passing water obstacles, the vehicle pushes water forward thus creating a wave; when a shell hits water surface, it creates realistic circles on the water, etc.
  • Each map has received a completely reworked skybox with cloud animation.
  • Full support of the DirectX® 11 functionality (tessellation, etc.).
  • Significant optimization of performance and memory consumption.
  • Improved display of the hit decals.
  • Smokes and various effects now cast shadows.

Maps

List of maps that have been reworked to HD after transferring to the Core graphics engine:

  • Abbey
  • Paris
  • Mines
  • Cliff
  • Murovanka
  • Malinovka
  • Prokhorovka
  • Steppes
  • Sand River
  • Himmelsdorf
  • Lakeville
  • Ruinberg
  • Ensk
  • Live Oaks
  • Siegfried Line
  • Mannerheim Line (former Arctic Region)
  • El Halluf
  • Airfield
  • Mountain Pass
  • Karelia
  • Redshire
  • Fjords
  • Tundra
  • Overlord
  • Serene Coast
  • Erlenberg
  • Westfield
  • Fisherman's Bay
  • Nebelburg
  • Added the new winter map, "Glacier".

Changes to the Graphics and Effects

  • The new water has been added to all maps; now it varies: calm lakes, swift rivers, sea surf, etc.
  • Added new effects on all maps: fires, waterfalls, burning grass, sand blown by wind, artillery strike, bees, butterflies, etc.
  • Added realistic shell tracers.
  • Reworked all vehicle effects: moving, exhaust gas, vehicles set on fire, ammo rack detonation.
  • Completely reworked the effect of shells hitting various terrain types: added more details, scattered sparkles, and shards.
  • The track effects became more realistic; added realistic effects of drifting.
  • Reworked and added realistic decals (on vehicles) of shell hits. Now, the decals look more realistic with the Physically Based Shading (PBS) technology. Thus, the metal material and pattern look properly.
  • Added the "effect of hot air" to all exhaust gases, explosions, shots, and fires. The effect will also be displayed on the hot desert maps along the horizon.
  • Now, vehicles realistically interact with water: all water effects (driving across water, hits, etc.) now have water deformation, foam, and shock waves.
  • Deformation of grass and bushes: vehicle tracks flatten the grass, and the shock wave of shots and explosions realistically interact with grass and bushes.
  • The smoke and dust cast shadows.
  • Reworked all shards of the destruction effects: they look more realistic and detailed thanks to proper lighting and normal maps.

New Garage

  • The new Garage features the new graphics technologies of Core.
  • Added animated characters to the Garage.
  • New camera in the Garage:
    • The distance of zooming in and out depends on the selected vehicle.
    • Changed the distance the camera passes when zooming in/out (when scrolling).
    • Added the parallax effect upon camera rotation. The effect can be disabled in the General tab of the Game Settings.
    • If the player performs no actions in the Garage, the camera starts rotating around the selected vehicle. The option can be configured or disabled in the General tab of the Game Settings.
  • A promotion vehicle (displayed on the background behind the selected vehicle) will be displayed in the Garage. Players can hover the mouse over the vehicle and click it to move the camera to this vehicle. The vehicle technical characteristics and crew members are displayed in the vehicle preview window. Besides, players will be able to click the Purchase button to go to the vehicle purchase page in the Premium Shop.

Optimizations

  • Optimized game performance, memory consumption, GPU and CPU load.
  • Performed a considerable amount of work to eliminate freezing in battle.

Color Adjustment

  • Added the Color Adjustment option (Graphics -> Color Adjustment section).
    The option allows setting saturation, brightness, and contrast, or you can use the preset filters. Color Adjustment can be performed both in the Garage and in battle. All changes will be applied immediately. For convenience, the Color Adjustment hint will be displayed to players in several first battles.

Music

Each map will receive its own soundtrack that will include the following:

  • main theme for the loading screen that is played while loading a battle and during countdown
  • 2 interactive battle-related tracks based on the main theme that can be played almost infinitely without repeating
  • 3 ending themes for the battle results: victories, draws, and defeats.
  • These soundtrack sets are unique for each map in the game.
  • The new Garage sounds including the music theme played on the battle queue screen have been added.
  • The music and visuals of the login screen have been reworked.

Ambient Sounds

  • Completely reworked the ambient sounds of each map. The ambient sounds are rich and natural depending on the map region. Sounds of the player's vehicle (shots, explosions, sound of tracks, etc.) now change and depend on the sub-location of the combat action. The same sound will sound differently in mountains, forest, village, urban area, open field, etc.
  • The entire sound environment has also been designed for the 5.1 and 7.1 multichannel systems.
  • Reworked almost all sounds of destructible objects after the release of the new destruction physics.
  • Reworked the shell sounds. Each of the four shell types will differ both visually and in sound, which will provide more information to players.

Proving Ground and Bootcamp

  • The Proving Ground mode will be disabled. Bootcamp remains available to players.
  • Bootcamp mission 2 and 5 have been made easier.
  • Bootcamp has been completely reworked into HD.
  • The previous Bootcamp Garage has been replaced with a new one.
  • Battle loading screens have been reworked.
  • Made minor changes to the Bootcamp difficulty.
  • Improved behavior of AI-driven vehicles. Added new notifications displayed when shooting at enemy vehicles. They include:
    • notifications about causing damage to an enemy vehicle
    • notifications about ricochets and damage blocked by armor
    • notifications about critical hits 

Changes to the technical characteristics of the following vehicles

  • Object 257 (U.S.S.R): added the following equipment: Enhanced Torsion Bars 5+ t Class.
  • Added the attributes of the new nation (Italy).
  • Added the following vehicle for testing by Supertest players: Progetto M35 mod 46
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