Watch Dogs PC Features Revealed

Ubisoft released a video today detailing the exclusive enhancements Watch Dogs will receive on PC, courtesy of a collaboration with Nvidia. Apart from the expected ability to play in higher resolutions, the two main features discussed are HBAO+ and TXAA.

HBAO+ (horizon based ambient occlusion) is a newer ambient occlusion method developed by Nvidia. It is twice as fast and twice as accurate as standard SSAO (screen space ambient occlusion). This provide a far more realistic occlusion, resulting in a noticeably prettier image.

TXAA is a hardware antialiasing solution designed to reduce temporal flickering, that is, aliasing caused by motion. It’s effectively MSAA combined with a temporal filter. Some PC gamers, myself included, find TXAA to blur the image a bit too much, especially since this solution must be coded on a per game basis. Hopefully, the implementation in Watch Dogs is acceptable.

Some other things I noticed that looked to be a significant upgrade from last month’s PS4 trailer were the volumetric lighting as well as some truly stunning shaders. The shaders are most noticeable in the scenes where rain is puddled on the ground in the trailer above.

All in all, Watch Dogs looks to be every bit the game we saw in that E3 demo. I take that back. It actually looks better than the E3 trailer (HBAO+ didn’t exist in 2012). I am thoroughly excited for this title.

Watch Dogs releases on May 27 for PC and console.

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