Nvidia issued a new patch for Dying Light: The Following, enabling an Nvidia Gameworks technology known as percentage-closer soft shadows (PCSS).
Nvidia PCSS is an algorithm that mimics the behavior of shadows in nature, progressively softening shadows as the distance from the casting object increases and reducing aliasing on the edges of the rendered shadow.
You can see exactly how PCSS affects the appearance of shadows from the side-by-side picture above. The shadows cast on the car and the sidewalk below it blend into the scene naturally with PCSS enabled, whereas the shadows are jagged and stick out without the Nvidia Gameworks technology. (Check out Nvidia’s interactive demo of PCSS to see the difference yourself.)
Dying Light: The Following and the original release of the game both received the Nvidia PCSS update, joining the ranks of other games featuring the realistic shadow rendering technology including Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate and Far Cry 4. In addition, the beta of Tom Clancy’s The Division featured Nvidia PCSS, and the full release is expected to sport the Gameworks graphics option.
When we benchmarked the original release of Dying Light, we concluded that the game was rather graphically demanding, with many mid-range GPUs falling below 30 fps at 1080p with max settings. However, enthusiast-level hardware hung tough, with an Nvidia GTX 960 and an AMD R9 290X keeping the average framerate above a quite-playable 45 fps. A GTX 980 provided well above 60 fps.
At the time, Dying Light featured only Nvidia HBAO+ and Nvidia Depth of Field, two other Gameworks technologies. Because the Gameworks features favor Nvidia GPUs and the game’s demanding graphics engine, the addition of PCSS to Dying Light may not be a plausible setting for some users. However, enthusiasts wielding enough graphics horsepower looking to get the most visual fidelity from a 1080p display (or higher, if you’re a real baller) can feel free to turn on PCSS in Dying Light: The Following.