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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.

Samurai Landscapes: Building and Rendering Tsushima Island on PS4

Matthew Pohlmann  (Programmer, Sucker Punch Productions)

Date: Friday, July 23

Time: 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core 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

Sucker Punch Productions' Ghost of Tsushima is by far the largest game world the studio has ever built. Vegetation density and draw distance requirements meant authoring millions of object instances and efficiently processing them at runtime, far more than the engine used for inFAMOUS: Second Son could handle. This presentation will discuss the in-engine world-building tools that the team created to populate the game's natural environment, including a functional programming language interpreted as bytecode on the GPU that artists use to describe texture and placement rules for generated data. Additionally, the talk will present some of the foundational rendering runtime systems responsible for managing this much data within budget on the PS4.


Attendees will gain a concrete understanding of Sucker Punch's approach to authoring and rendering large, open-world landscapes, including techniques for generating and editing terrain features and vegetation using the GPU with real-time preview and a selection of runtime techniques used to render the game's open world.

Intended Audience

This talk is geared towards tools and engine programmers wanting to learn about the techniques used by Sucker Punch to build and render the world of Ghost of Tsushima. A basic understanding of programming and GPU compute are recommended, but not required.