Splinter Cell Blacklist Tessellation & TXAA
In this section we take a look at how DirectX 11 Tessellation effects and NVIDIA TXAA help take a crude finished product and turn it into a refined representation of a realistic object. These technologies elevate Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist from Quake III texture quality levels to something much more modern. Each of the images below is taken from the scene from the previous section, and feature different quality setting levels.
In the image of Sam Fisher’s head show below, graphics quality is set to “Low”. The texturing for hair is very coarse with no definition, making it resemble a paint flat surface. Sam’s ear, nose, and chin shows flat discernible angles instead of smooth curves, due to the lack of tessellation.
With graphics quality set to “Medium” for the image below, textures sharpen allowing hair to look slightly more realistic and defined. His facial hair appears more distinct, and less flat. Tessellation is still not employed, causing unrealistic round edges around the ear and chin.
Adjusted to “High” quality for the image below, textures are much sharper overall. Sam’s hair is well defined, and individual colored strands can be observed. Round objects still generate sharp or flat angles instead of smooth curves, as tessellation is not employed at this quality level.
With graphics quality set to “Ultra” in the image below, tessellation is enabled and Sam Fisher finally gets round ears and chin thanks to DirectX 11 tessellation. Textures are their sharpest yet and offer more detail, but still remain flat and without realistic volume or movement.
With “Ultra” graphics quality and 4x NVIDIA TXAA enabled, the overall detail is softened for all objects in Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist. While this could make a texture appear more fluid and less sharply distinct, it might also remove some of the realistic details that pop out. Tessellation softens the edges to create smoother curves, and TXAA further dulls these edges to make all angles appear slightly less conspicuous.
For gamer’s wanting realism from Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist, DirectX 11 technologies such as tessellation are absolutely essential to rounding sharp corners and curves. NVIDIA’s TXAA helps to further soften the harsh edges and color blends with very little performance penalty, making it ideal for solo/single-player campaigns where you can spend time to take in all the game’s artistic details.