Remember the days when TressFX used to be an ultra-demanding feature which crushed graphics cards across the land? I don’t anyone can forget Lara Croft’s haunted ponytail flapping through the air. TressFX is absolutely still a widespread feature though, used for both hair/fur rendering and simulation technology.
It’s a hot topic once again now AMD has announced the TressFX 4.1 framework. This latest version has full Unreal Engine 4.22 integration and includes additional optimisation for the physics simulation shaders, new rendering features, improved tutorials and an updated TressFX Exporter for Autodesk Maya.
In a nutshell, this should mean TressFX is easier for developers to use than ever before. The UE4 integration will offer additional components as well as simulation material support, DirectX 12 and Vulkan compatibility, additional features such as StrandUV and Hair Parameter Blending, as well as more fine-tuned control of Level of Detail (LOD), which alters the distance at which high quality hair/fur is rendered in.
For gamers, this means more complex and therefore more realistic hair and fur simulation in games. Far Cry’s honey badgers will look that bit furrier, for example, or characters’ hair movement will be more realistically simulated.
Sadly, the number of games which actually support TressFX is still punishingly small. The Tomb Raider games are the big ones, of course, as well as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. All in all, however, TressFX hasn’t been utilised to the degree AMD was hoping. Perhaps this renewed and enhanced implementation of TressFX 4.1 could encourage more developers to give it a shot.