It's been in developer Wargaming's best interests to target the lowest common denominator when it comes to the graphical fidelity of its crazy-popular MMO World of Tanks. But since its release in 2010, the performance of the average PC has come up — a lot — and the argument for keeping things basic is not as compelling. So, Wargaming has pulled out the stops and is in the process of revamping pretty much every visual element in the game.
The video diary above steps through the visual improvements the game is undergoing, focusing mostly on the increased polygon count of its tank models and the introduction of normal mapping. It mentions that World of Tanks started out with models in the 8000-poly range, with more recent tanks receiving more artist love than older ones.
Now the developer has boosted model detail across the board, with poly counts ranging between 50,000-100,000.
In addition, tank quality has been upped with the use of normal mapping — something that's employed in most modern games but has, until now, been absent from Wargaming's MMO. Normal mapping allows a 3D model to look more geometrically complex than it actually is, through the use of a "normal map" (essentially height information coded via colours) in addition to the regular texture.
The video goes on to talk about the improved quality of fire and other special effects, as well as the implementation of realistic weather.