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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Advanced Graphics Summit: Boots on the Ground: The Terrain of 'Call of Duty'

JT Hooker  (Senior Graphics Lead Engineer, Treyarch)

Date: Monday, July 19

Time: 2:00pm - 3:00pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

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. Part of it is a uniquely powerful set of tools for editing this terrain and developing biomes procedurally for it, where editing features are implemented on the GPU for real-time iteration. The talk will also go into details on Black Ops Cold War graphical terrain features that take advantage of virtual texturing to implement seamless blending of artistic elements, and the unique implementation details that allowed us to push as much visual quality as possible in this system while staying in the memory and performance budgets of a 60 fps game.


Attendees will witness a practical case-study in applying modern terrain editing and rendering techniques. They will learn of the powerful and flexible terrain editing tools for Call of Duty. Tricks will be presented for how the terrain visuals can be improved while optimizing for both memory and performance.

Intended Audience

The talk will include technical details of both content editing tools and the graphics techniques behind them and the runtime. While experience with shaders and graphics engineering is recommended, information will also be useful for level-building tools developers.