GDC is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view GDC 2023 session details and speakers, and share your favorites via social media. You will be able to build your schedule and access it during the show via export or Mobile App, once live. Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend.

Advanced Graphics Summit: Open-World Water Rendering and Real-Time Simulation

Zhenyu Mao  (Principal Software Engineer, LIGHTSPEED STUDIOS)

Kui Wu  (Senior Research Scientist, LIGHTSPEED STUDIOS)

Location: Room 301, South Hall

Date: Monday, March 20

Time: 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Programming

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

Water is an essential element in video games, particularly in open-world games. In the past, most solutions relied on pre-generated meshes for rendering and flow maps from offline fluid simulators. In contrast, real-time fluid simulation is rarely used and requires a top-of-the-line GPU to achieve the task.

In this session, Zhenyu Mao and Kui Wu from LIGHTSPEED STUDIOS will present Photon Water System, an in-house unified solution for rendering and simulating large water bodies in open-world games. Their solution enables both pre-computing and simultaneous updating of water data (height, velocity, and foams) based on physical equations. This data is converted into an adaptive water mesh on the fly for real-time rendering. Several advanced water rendering techniques, such as CDLOD, are also used for acceleration. An in-depth discussion of the solution's application will be provided.


Attendees will be presented with a unified solution for the creation of large water bodies in open-world games, a set of beneficial tools for artists to produce high-fidelity water scenes, and a demonstration of their application.

Intended Audience

This is intended for game designers and artists seeking guidance and solutions related to the rendering and real-time simulation of water in video games.