Thank AMD For The Best Video Game Hair Ever

Video game hair, generally speaking, looks awful. It really does. But computer giant AMD is changing all that with some fancy new hair tech. Oh yes, hair tech.

As AMD points out, making realistic hair is really, really hard. You need a bunch of maths and calculations to make it happen in a natural and realistic way in real time. It's way easier to put characters in helmets or make them bald — hence all the bald space marines.

But AMD, working with Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics, are changing that with, and I quote, "the world's first real-time hair rendering technology in a playable game." The name of this tech? TressFX Hair.

The tech allow Lara's hair to respond to things like weather (getting wet and matted down in rain) as well as wind and light, causing thousands of hair strains to flutter or reflect light.

Be sure to read Kotaku's review of Tomb Raider.

TressFX [Official Site via Doope]


    So not only does Tomb Raider need to combat Palisides impaling her neck she needs to also worry about matty hair?

    Jokes aside, I'm very excited for this game =)

    Looks interesting. Will be nice if it runs on non AMD cards, given it's a Direct Compute function, though I probably shouldn't hold my breath.

      I wonder also if we can expect this to be on the next gen consoles as well, since both are using AMD hardware.

    That's actually really cool. Though I'm curious, does that mean some versions of the game have the 'standard hair,' or is the standard hair just before they applied this to every version of the game? I can't find anything in the link provided anything other than,

    "Through painstaking collaboration between software developers at AMD and Crystal Dynamics, Tomb Raider proudly features the world’s first real-time hair rendering technology in a playable game."

    Either way, I often find myself contemplating hair in games, and how tough it would be to make it look better, so colour me impressed.

      nVidia had Physx, AMD has... Tech Hair... Think ill stick with Physx

        I've owned far more NVIDIA graphics cards than AMD graphics cards, and I currently own a GTX670 ... but I'm not fooled into believing that Physx is no less gimmicky than 3D, whose performance compromise does not justify having fake, jelly looking blood, or water that looks like T-1000 trying to reassemble itself after being blown to pieces. The technology is not cracked up to what it's made to be. It actually kinda sucks if you ask me.

          I've also owned far more Nvidia cards than AMD alternatives and also own a GTX670, but I very much disagree with you and prefer my games with PhysX and whenever I can bothered: I hook up my PC to my TV for 3D gaming.

          It's great tech, but people just tend not to use it due to the inconsistency of availability in media or refusal to let go consumption habits.

        Both brands have hardware accelerated physics. Nvidia has their own proprietary brand of it. and they spell it wrong [Physx], so people, such as yourself fall for it. Havok Physics is the more open standard and runs on both AMD and Nvidia.
        Surprising amount of people do not know this fact, because nVidia Physx, physics gets advertised by nVidia a lot.

        Last edited 27/02/13 2:44 pm

          Actually, Havok is done by the CPU, and the CPU can't generated as high fidelity physics as what a GPU can. Something to do with how the processing is done in a GPU compared to a CPU.

            Yep. Havok is a solid engine but it doesn't have the hardware power behind it that PhysX has - at least not yet. And PhysX is an excellent engine; just because some companies make dodgy fluid dynamics with it doesn't mean it's bad.

            "Actually, Havok is done by the CPU". This is wrong, please research. Havok uses libraries that are witten in openCL.

            All modern multicore CPUs and GPUs support OpenCL. When you are coding you can either call on a CPU element or a GPU element to get your work done. You can also not specify, and the compiler will make those descisions for you.

            PhysX and Havok are pre-made middleware libraries that are coded in openCL for parallel processing that you call upon (to do someone's hair, make an exciting bubble bath etc), instead of writing the whole thing yourself.

            "Yep. Havok is a solid engine but it doesn't have the hardware power behind it that PhysX has - at least not yet"

            Misconception again,

            They are competing each other neck in neck,

            PhysX also falls back on CPU if an nVidia card is not detected, although an AMD card is fully capable of running parallel programming it is prevented from doing so due to licencing issues. Of course the compiler can be further optimised.

            Case and point PS4 physX support.

            Last edited 01/05/13 3:30 pm

    This is the one thing that has made me most excited to play the new Tomb Raider...

    What next? Digital Eyelash Rendering.

    Next gen GPUs will come with a new chip - Digital Eyelash Render Producer™ or DERP™ for short.

    I really thought the Witcher 2 nailed it. Playing Deadspace, they all look like they have helmet hair.

      The Witcher 2 basically nailed everything graphically.

        A lot more things than graphics were nailed in that game though.

        "The Witcher basically nails everything"

          Except in being a game that's actually good.

            How dare you!

      It's funny how so often a game gets something right but a game comes out a year and a half later and goes backwards.

    What about Alice: Madness Returns? For all the game did wrong, it got this quite right.

    This is great, I remember always seeing that screenshot of Lara hanging upside down in the opening, and only her pony tail fell downwards, all the other strands of her just defied gravity.

    From what I've heard it will also work on Nvidia cards, but is optimised/runs faster on AMD because of better direct compute implementation... or something, fingers crossed.

    Based on the type of game though, it is completely out of place... Sure Lara can be covered in dirt and blood, but she manage to salvage a pallet of Sunsilk so her hair is silky smooth and doesn't get any split ends.

    Guild Wars 2 hair was pretty awesome. Hang on...Why are we talking about hair!?

      Well the coming generation being more about the immersion and realism (as apposed to general graphics jumps) probably has something to do with it. :)

    AMD exclusive I assume? Personally I would prefer stuff like the PhysX elements in Mirror's Edge over realistic hair... But that's just me. :P

    Not that either is a game maker/breaker though.

    There are reason why most military-types don't have hair.
    - Grooming standards
    - So their hair doesn't get caught in helmets/machinery
    - If they are wounded, it makes it easier to treat a wound rather than have the medic need to pull nice big chunks of hair out of the way.

    That and easier rendering I guess.

    i'm a sucker for well animated hair. so pretty

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