Hemispherical Lighting Insights

This tech report discusses optimal encoding methods for AHD and IrradZ lightmaps, introduces two new IrradZ-compatible and runtime-blendable hemispherical lighting models, and shows how to efficiently apply hemispherical or cone occlusion to volumetric spherical harmonic lighting at runtime to improve the appearance of AO and prevent light leaking.

May 20, 2024
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ZH3: QUADRATIC ZONAL HARMONICS

This presentation introduces the ZH3 lighting model, which sits in between linear and quadratic SH in quality but requires only one extra coefficient over linear SH. It describes how to solve for the ZH3 coefficient, how using a luminance axis can mitigate color shifting, and how RGB ZH3 can be encoded in only 16 bytes. Additionally, it shows how ZH3 coefficients can be hallucinated from the ratio of the bands in linear SH, improving on linear SH in quality with no extra storage.

May 10, 2024
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Call of Duty Matchmaking Intel

The design of Call of Duty matchmaking is driven by our goal to create the best experiences for our player community.

April 04, 2024
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Challenges in Moderating Disruptive Player Behavior in Online Competitive Action Games

In a collaboration between Caltech and ABK, we identified six challenges related to handling disruptive behaviors in competitive action games through analysis of Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® II data and stakeholder feedback. We discovered challenges omitted by prior work, such as handling high-volume imbalanced data and ensuring the comfort of human moderators. We also offered a discussion of possible technical, design, and policy approaches to mitigating these challenges.

February 23, 2024
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Task Graph Renderer at Activision

Originally presented at the Rendering Engine Architecture Conference 2023, this presentation explores the render graph technology we use at Activision.

June 05, 2023
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Remote Administration Payload Malware Analysis

Journey into the malware analysis and reverse engineering process of a multi-staged remote administration payload.

May 04, 2023
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Scaling Databases at Activision

Originally presented at KubeCon 2023 Amsterdam, this talk explores how Demonware adopted Vitess/Kubernetes to run MySQL databases at a significant scale. The talk describes MySQL operational and scalability difficulties we had and how Vitess helped to solve them.

April 21, 2023
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Reversing Anti-Cheat's Detection-Generation Cycle With Configurable Hallucinations

Anti-cheat and cheat developers are locked in a cat-and-mouse cycle of detection and generation. Anti-cheat developers struggle to detect cheating players' behavior. Cheat developers easily evade the detections by generating different behavior. This paper examines how anti-cheat developers may reverse the cycle with configurable hallucinations.

March 27, 2023
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Shadows of Cold War: A Scalable Approach to Shadowing

Originally presented in GDC’s Advanced Graphics Summit, this presentation explains the system Treyarch developed for Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War to automatically scale shadow quality.

October 11, 2021
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The Road to Direct Lookups is Paved with Good Intentions

A MySQL Performance Case Study

October 01, 2021
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Geometry Rendering Pipeline Architecture

This talk covers the general architecture of our render pipeline with focus on certain novel approaches and provides comparative performance analysis dependent on specific render scenarios ranging from closed indoor spaces and open world outdoor spaces to more specific heavy triangle and alpha test overdraw scenes. Current work in progress and future extensions are discussed.

September 17, 2021
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The Rust Programming Language for Game Tooling

The Rust programming language has been quietly taking the tech world by storm, but adoption has been slower among game studios. Treyarch has been gradually integrating Rust into our tools and pipeline since 2018. This session leverages that experience to explore both the opportunities and challenges that Rust can give to the game tools programmer and examine the ways in which Rust can be a powerful addition to the tools arsenal.

September 16, 2021
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Rendering Engine Architecture at Activision

Learn the “how” and the “why” of Activision’s rendering submission process. A walk through of how we prepare and submit work, with special attention paid to the underlying philosophical basis for our decision-making. We examine decoupled simulation and rendering, memory orthogonality, parallelism in worker command systems, latency minimization, and hierarchy of work amortization.

September 16, 2021
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Large-Scale Global Illumination in Call of Duty

A presentation describing the key techniques behind the large-scale global illumination system in Call of Duty. Explained is a new precomputed lighting compression technique that enables high-performance and seamless reconstruction directly from the compressed lighting data. Visibility-based sampling of precomputed volumetric lighting, and a practical method for computing constrained spherical harmonics representations, are also discussed.

September 15, 2021
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Moving Basis Decomposition for Precomputed Light Transport

We study the problem of efficient representation of potentially high-dimensional, spatially coherent signals in the context of precomputed light transport. This paper won the EGSR 2021 Best Paper Award.

September 15, 2021
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Boots on the Ground: The Terrain of Call of Duty

Over the last couple projects Treyarch developed a new terrain system that's been seen in Black Ops 4, Warzone, and Black Ops Cold War.

September 14, 2021
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Model Collision: Balancing Speed and Size in Black Ops Cold War

This presentation is a technical deep dive into the process of optimizing the high-accuracy model collision in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War.

September 13, 2021
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Cheating Cheaters: Malware Delivered as Call of Duty Cheats

This report examines a hacking tool being promoted for use against gamers by masquerading as a cheat for Call of Duty: Warzone.

March 31, 2021
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Controller to Display Latency in Call of Duty

Reasoning about controller to display latency can be non-intuitive in modern game engines where multiple independent timelines are running in parallel. In this presentation, we analyze the path that data flows through each of these timelines, from the input sample out to the video scan-out hardware. By identifying and measuring segments on this path, a dynamic throttle can be implemented to squeeze the input sample as close to the end of the frame as possible without dropping frames. Special attention is placed on how latency is introduced in the interaction between the GPU and display scan-out timelines when Vsync is enabled.

November 06, 2020
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Contoller to Display Latency in Call of Duty

November 06, 2020
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Raytraced Shadows in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

This presentation describes how ray tracing can be integrated into a modern, forward+ engine with minimal-to-no content changes. Also discussed: how to approach the ray tracing of multiple local area lights, and how to efficiently clean up any resulting noise.

October 16, 2020
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Precomputed Lighting Advances in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

This talk covers extensions and improvements in the precomputed lighting pipeline used in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

September 21, 2020
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Lima Oscar Delta! Scaling Content in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty is well known for its 60fps frenetic gameplay. To achieve a high level of graphical fidelity at this frame rate across all target platforms, a suite of finely tuned content scaling techniques must be employed.

September 21, 2020
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Software-based Variable Rate Shading in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

This lecture covers a novel rendering pipeline used in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2020).

September 21, 2020
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The Design and Evolution of the UberBake Light Baking System

We describe the design and evolution of UberBake, a global illumination system we have used in multiple AAA games, which supports dynamic lighting changes in response to certain player interactions.

September 21, 2020
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Deringing Spherical Harmonics

Spherical Harmonics (SH) are a convenient basis for representing various signals in computer graphics, with lighting and visibility being the most common.

March 12, 2020
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ATVI-TR-19-02: Separable Subsurface Scattering: Expanded Technical Report

This technical report extends the content of [JZJ∗ 15], by adding some additional explanations and details, and including new tests with more complex multilayered materials.

March 09, 2020
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ATVI-TR-19-01: Practical Real-Time Strategies for Accurate Indirect Occlusion

In this work we introduce a set of techniques for real-time ambient occlusion targeted to very tight budgets. We propose GTAO, a new formulation of screen-space ambient occlusion that allows the composited occluded illumination to match the ground truth reference in half a millisecond on current console hardware.

March 09, 2020
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Dynamic Temporal Antialiasing and Upsampling in Call of Duty

This talk covers the temporal supersampling techniques created during the development of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare.

March 06, 2020
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Happy New Year From Activision Research

We had fun making this animation over the holidays. Hope you enjoy it!

January 23, 2020
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Ray Guiding for Production Lightmap Baking

In this paper we present a ray guiding technique for improving the computation times in the context of production lightmap baking. Compared to state-of-the-art, our method has better scalability and lower variance.

January 11, 2020
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Impulse Responses for Precomputing Light from Volumetric Media

Volumetric participating media can significantly impact the realism of virtual scenes, due to both the subtle interplay between surface and volume-transport effects and the presence of entities like smoke and clouds.

July 08, 2019
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Material Advances in Call of Duty: WWII

A number of improvements were made to our lit surface shaders in Call of Duty: WWII, a few of which are described in this presentation.

August 24, 2018
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Automated Testing in Call of Duty

How huge games like 'Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare' monitor the progression of code and assets in terms of functionality and performance.

June 26, 2018
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HDR in Call of Duty

This talk covers a basic introduction to color science, color terminology, and display standards.

June 04, 2018
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Real-World Measurements for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Our goal for the rendering in COD: AW was to take a small step towards photorealism.

May 14, 2018
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Emotion Challenge: Building a New Photoreal Facial Performance Pipeline for Games

In recent years the expected standard for facial animation and character performance in AAA video games has dramatically increased.

August 21, 2017
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Precomputed lighting in Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Indirect lighting is an important factor in creating a believable look of game worlds.

August 08, 2017
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Improved Culling for Tiled and Clustered Rendering in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

This lecture covers two novel rendering algorithms used in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. The first, z-binning, significantly improves the quality and performance of volumetric entity-vs-geometry culling as compared to classic tiled and clustered techniques.

August 01, 2017
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Practical Multilayered Materials in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

This talk presents a practical approach to multilayer, physically based surface rendering, specifically optimized for Forward+ rendering pipelines.

July 31, 2017
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Rendering of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

This lecture presents a technical deep dive into COD:IW renderer and the architectural design process behind it.

July 07, 2017
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Ambient Dice

We present a family of basis functions designed to accurately and efficiently represent illumination signals on the unit sphere.

June 14, 2017
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Fast Filtering of Reflection Probes

Game and movie studios are switching to physically based rendering en masse, but physically accurate filter convolution is difficult to do quickly enough to update reflection probes in real-time.

October 18, 2016
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Filmic SMAA: Sharp Morphological and Temporal Antialiasing

From Siggraph 2016, our antialiasing technique for games.

September 07, 2016
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ATVI-TR-16-02: Practical Order Independent Transparency

Transparencies have always been a tricky problem for games, to render them correctly you have to draw them in front-to-back order from the view of the camera, traditionally this means to sort them when you do this you have to break apart material batches and sometimes even meshes, which affects performance.

September 01, 2016
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Efficient GPU Rendering of Subdivision Surfaces

We present a novel method for real-time rendering of subdivision surfaces whose goal is to make subdivision faces as easy to render as triangles, points, or lines.

August 26, 2016
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Volumetric Global Illumination at Treyarch

We present a solution for indirect diffuse lighting as an alternative to traditional lightmaps.

August 25, 2016
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Sparse Shadow Trees

Lighting large outdoor scenes continues to present a challenge for realtime rendering.

August 24, 2016
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Practical Real-Time Strategies for Accurate Indirect Occlusion

We present new systems for occlusion of indirect lighting.

August 24, 2016
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ATVI-TR-16-01: Practical Realtime Strategies for Accurate Indirect Occlusion

Ambient occlusion is ubiquitous in games and other real-time applications to approximate global illumination effects.

July 23, 2016
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