Nvidia GameWorks has published a new video showcasing its HairWorks middleware. The tool is meant to enable developers to render more lifelike and realistic hair than has previously been possible in games. HairWorks fits into a familiar, fast and easy to implement workflow, we are told. 3D designers who use Maya or 3DS Max are catered for by the software. Hair and fur can be edited and checked in real-time within these applications.
The video above shows an example of the effect which can be achieved, showing a wolf from The Witcher 3 running. As the wolf runs, its fur moves realistically, flowing as you would expect in the wind and with the motion of the running animal. Artists can tweak hair and fur parameters such as waviness, clumping, density and more. We are also shown a horse movement simulation which uses "multiple collision volumes," to present a realistic movement of its mane and tail. We assume this is basically the horse upon which Geralt will travel through the world of The Witcher.
Nvidia reminds us that its HairWorks was most recently notable for providing 'Riley', the Alsatian from Call of Duty: Ghosts, his dynamic moving fur. The video highlights the difference in Riley's appearance with HairWorks simulation turned on and off. We are told Riley "featured up to a half million strands of hair". In the same game there is a scene with a pack of wolves, all of which feature a full dynamic coat of fur.
A DirectX 11 capable GPU will be required for HairWorks effects. EuroGamer spoke to one of the producers of The Witcher 3 recently at E3. They were told that the PC version of the game would feature HairWorks effects when played at 'Ultra' settings. As well as the better hair and fur this ultra high quality setting will bring "better tessellation, more physics and more post-processing". Meanwhile console gamers would enjoy graphics roughly equivalent to the PC's 'High' quality settings.