As interest ramps up for the semi-sequel, semi-revamp to Overwatch, there’s a lot of curiosity regarding what Overwatch 2 is going to bring to the table. One of the new tricks that Blizzard has up its sleeve for the future is an improvement to the engine that allows for “environment states.”
Software Engineer Marco Alamia penned a blog post about this piece of tech, saying, “For Overwatch 2, we wanted to create interesting new moods that would entirely change the feeling of a location. This is exactly what the environment states were designed to do. With this new system, we have managed to split all the major components of lighting, sound, and effects into self-contained assets that can be combined like building blocks to create what we call Environment Scenarios. We can share them across maps, and we can also have multiple scenarios on each map.”
Basically, this allows for the team to create versions of maps at all times of the day or in different weather situations. One example given was how a sandstorm could whip up over the course of a match, gradually occluding players’ vision. Other tools mentioned were image filters, fog, rain, and snow.
The long and the short? Players are going to be seeing a wider variety of environments and improved image quality all around.