Crystal Dynamics has teamed up with AMD Gaming Evolved to introduce a new real-time hair rendering system called TressFX to video games starting with Tomb Raider.
TressFX makes main character Lara Croft’s signature ponytail come to life like never before in Tomb Raider. Realistic hair movements and lighting have long been desired in games but never fully achieved.
Creating life-like hair movements requires drawing tens of thousands of tiny individual strands, each casting a shadow and requiring anti-aliasing. To maintain realistic hair, calculations must be updated dozens of times per second.
DirectCompute is also used to perform real-time physics simulations for hair using the TressFX system. Each strand of hair is treated as a chain with dozens of links. This allows for forces such as gravity, wind and head movement to curl and move Lara Croft’s hair realistically. Additionally, collision detection ensures strands of hair will not go through each other or other solid surfaces. Hair styles are simulated by pulling strands back towards their original shape gradually.
Although high-powered graphics cards are not necessarily required to take advantage of the TressFX system, graphics cards featuring the Graphics Core Next architecture are well-equipped to handle the shared memory and processing power necessary for the TressFX system.
Tomb Raider is an action-adventure reboot scheduled to hit stores March 5. The game, developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, tells the unknown story of Lara Croft’s origins.