New Graphics Engine and Technologies – Overview

It’s been over seven years since we opened World of Tanks to you. The gameplay holds up well (which is largely thanks to your continued support and feedback) and there’s never a dull moment with hundreds of battles raging at any given second. But does it meet the graphic quality bar for this day and age? Hardly. It looks exactly how a game from 2010 would look. That’s the sad truth.

We’ve been working relentlessly for years to bring it to modern standards. The team pumped up the game’s looks several times over the years, from switching to a new graphical renderer with realistic shading/lighting models through to integrating the Audiokinetic Wwise sound engine.  However, technology was moving a lot faster than we possibly could, and the BigWorld engine simply couldn’t keep up with it. So we brought client engine development in-house and created a solution tailored to the game’s needs: the Core engine. It redefines the game’s looks using the latest technology for graphical content processing and rendering, and has enough capacity to let us advance graphics in tandem with technology.

Core took us three years to develop and optimize so that there’s no adverse effect on performance. Another year went into overhauling the game’s maps, recreating all in-game content from the ground-up. Now, we’re finally ready to give it all to you.

What stopped us from adding new maps the minute they were ready?

A few things. First of all, graphical advances naturally up the pressure on your rig, which wasn’t in our plans. We put in extra work to optimize stability and framerates on mid-range and older PCs, reduce the memory load even further and give you the headroom to enable extra effects.

Head here to check if your system’s ready for the reimagined World of Tanks:


Besides, it was technically impossible to add redesigned maps in batches, we had to switch to the new engine for it, and it doesn’t support old graphics. Now imagine having several maps in rotation and playing them over and over. You’d get sick of them quite soon, regardless how sleek they look. 

29 Redesigned Maps

Terrain textures, a water rendering system, skyboxes, a lighting system, shadows—we went over every single map element, redesigning them to add greater depth, beauty and realism to battlefields. Each map now has a distinguished flare and provides even deeper immersion thanks to a variety of new and improved technologies and effects.

  • Vast expanses: We designed miles upon miles of outland so you can see beyond a map’s borders like you would in the real world
  • Realistic terrain: The new graphics engine let us blend 16 textures so that terrain looks truly volumetric, detailed down to the smallest blades of grass
  • Soaking and responsive water: Tanks and any other environmental object that interacts with water get wet, just like in real life. When a vehicle crosses a river, it disrupts water as it moves, and firing a shell creates circularly spreading 3D waves over its surface
  • Rich volumetric flora: Foliage reflects the seasons, and trees no longer resemble flat images. We added a good amount of volume to them and designed over a hundred unique trees and several variations for each ecotype to add diversity
  • Photorealistic skies: We added moving clouds and created photorealistic skyboxes for every map to give them a unique and dynamic feel
  • Advanced lighting: The lighting system features realistic shading/lighting models, environments, improved dynamic shadows and global illumination technology that accurately follows the natural lighting laws of physics, adding harmony to the picture
  • Destructible objects: The reworked maps get long-awaited Havok® Destruction technology. So now you can gloriously crash environments, rolling over them as you rumble into battle
  • Post-effects: Bloom, god rays, chromatic aberration, and screen space reflection effects improve image quality and clarity of detail

Join us as we take a closer look at how these technologies will redefine World of Tanks looks over a series of articles