GDC 2024 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, time, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view session and speaker details for Game Developers Conference 2024.

You will be able to build your schedule with the GDC Mobile App. The GDC 2024 app will be available for download in Apple Apps and Google Play late February 2024.

Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

Technical Artist Summit: H2O in H3LL: The Various Forms of Water in 'Diablo IV'

Aaron Aikman  (Lead Technical Artist, Graphics, Blizzard Entertainment)

Location: Room 3004, West Hall

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 10:50 am - 11:50 am

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

Topic: Visual Arts

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

From oceans, rivers and puddles, to ice, snow and fog, water in the open world of Diablo IV's Sanctuary takes many forms and has even more challenges to solve. In this talk, Aaron talks about the pixel and vertex shader techniques employed to create convincing shorelines, dynamically accumulating puddles, snow-topped rocks, ominous Helltide rivers, icy caves, and more. Maintaining performance across platforms is, as always, of paramount importance. Water requires many elements to work in concert, from lighting and rendering tech, to textures and material parameters, all the way to level art. Study the technical details and artistry behind how Diablo IV achieves believable water within performance constraints.


Discuss how water shaders overcome various obstacles in a game as action-packed and far-reaching as Diablo IV, from the pros and cons of deferred-rendered water, to avoiding distracting highlights based upon the fixed camera angle, to "sculpting the waves" via terrain shaping, and more.

Intended Audience

Anyone interested in shaders, math, or the world of Sanctuary could find this talk rewarding. Shaders are the primary focus, but visual examples will accompany any shader logic.

Connecting the Global Game Development Community

GDC Vault icon
Game Developers Choice Awards icon
Independent Games Festival (IGF) icon icon