Dev diary discusses how upcoming pirate game renders different bodies of water

Rare’s Sea of Thieves started with photorealistic water

A new video by Rare sheds light on the studio’s design process from a fairly crucial element in Sea of Thieves: the sea itself.

The UK developer says it spent time researching not only how other studios handled water generation but even Hollywood films before deciding on their own solution.

While the game has heavily stylised visuals, the team was determined to ensure water behaved as realistically as possible. Different behaviours were established for various forms of water, such as the calm ripples by a beach or the rolling waves of the high seas.

“With the way we’re generating the water, we’re starting from a photorealistic base and that allows the artists to work on top of that and add stylisation wherever they want,” said Mark Lucas, senior software engineer.

“Because they’re working on top of something that works correctly, it’s easy for them to get something that looks stylised but still behaves like water.”

Rare also had to ensure water behaviour was synchronised for each player so everyone sees the same level of waves, particularly during naval battles. It even established a lighting system that helps players tell the time of day simply by looking at the reflections on the water.

You can check out the full video below:

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