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Applying AAA Techniques on Mobile Games: Understanding Flow Maps and Its Applications


Shaoyong "Abel" Zhang (Lead VFX Artist, NetEase Games)

Location: Room 2005, West Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 21

Time: 12:00pm - 12:30pm

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

Topic: Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

This session will provide a mathematical analysis of a 14 node flow map shader from the perspective of a visual effects artist working in mobile games. The speaker will use graphs to illustrate each major expression and node within the shader such as, Frac, Time, and Lerp. The audience will see how core flow map principles are reasonably straightforward and that shaders can be relatively easy to use in different contexts. This presentation will show how flow maps have been used to create visual effects, characters, and backgrounds for ‘Galactic Frontline’, a sci-fi strategy game by NetEase Games.


VFX, UI, character and environment artists will learn how flow maps can be used in a wide variety of ways. With flow map shaders, artists are able to simulate the motion of lava, water, smoke, hair, a nuclear explosion, a black hole or even the Milky Way, all through the manipulation of flow map textures.

Intended Audience

This presentation will be useful to VFX, UI, technique, character and environment artists by showing that flow map shaders can be used to create various types of visuals without any coding knowledge or previous experience with node based material editors.