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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.

Rendering 'God of War Ragnarok'

Stephen McAuley  (Lead Rendering Programmer, Santa Monica Studio)

Location: Room 303, South Hall

Date: Wednesday, March 22

Time: 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Production & Team Leadership, Programming

Format: Lecture

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Advanced

How do you approach rendering a cross-generation, first-party title? This session not only describes some of the major technical features of God of War Ragnarök, but also discusses the leadership and decision-making required along the way.

The talk begins with the features needed to realize the narrative of the game, before moving onto lighting and art workflow improvements, from automation to eliminating areas of high production cost. It then explains differentiating features for the PlayStation 5 hardware, including raytraced cubemaps and contact hardening shadows. It concludes with optimization strategy and techniques, from brainstorming session with the rendering team to art tools and novel GPU optimizations.


Attendees will learn advanced rendering techniques used on God of War Ragnarök, plus various leadership approaches to ensure a whole programming team delivers its project goals.

Intended Audience

This is for rendering programmers, technical artists and programming leads. The rendering techniques discussed will be advanced, but leadership and production topics will be accessible to anyone with a background in game development.