Games with the most impressive draw distance

In terms of landscape and landmark draw in (as opposed to AI, vehicles, LOD changes, etc.) whatever smoke and mirrors Ubisoft pulled with Ghost Recon: Wildlands makes for good looking vistas. I'm sure on PC it's more impressive.

Ghost Recon: Wildlands PS4 said:
 
So is the space station thing an actual object you can like travel to? Or is it something just stuck in the sky/skybox. Seems like you could fudge things pretty substantially if it's just for show.

I'm not even 100% sure what game that is though, so I acknowledge I could be way off base.
Star Citizen.

Yes, you can be walking around the station, go to ship fly down to the planet seamlessly. (And go to different planet or moon etc.)
If I remember correctly planets rotate around stars etc.

Quite impressive.
 
For the time, and for what it was trying to do, I thought Super Mario Sunshine had a really impressive draw distance. Still does, actually.

A few months ago, I replayed it for the first time in about ten years, and found myself impressed by how much you can see into the distance at any given time. Go to the highest point in Pinna Park, for instance, and you can still see the Noki below, and every polygonal object. The way the game looks - its soft depth of field and watercolour-style textures - also seems to hide any changes to LOD to the point where I can't notice whether the game uses it or not for background objects.

99.9% of the time you don't notice objects popping in or out at all when playing the game, even when you're up high looking down on the whole map. It's surprisingly great.
 
BotW is awesome with far away geographic features but at the same time objects very close to you tend to pop in.
This is why I don't think the game looks so hot in native 4K, or at least if you were playing with a huge screen or the image up in front of your face at that resolution.

The game's LOD and draw distance feels like it's sufficient for anything up to 900p or even 1080p, but if Nintendo were to release the game on a 4K-capable machine they'd definitely have to increase the draw distance of nearby, less important objects, like grass, some of the fauna, etc etc.

The core assets of the game at max detail level look good in 4k, but the LOD just makes distant, lower detail objects stick out badly when you wouldn't notice them so obviously in 720p or 900p.
 
A lot of people are confusing "Instanced low poly geometry with 2D sprites (that often can't be reached during gameplay)" with "good draw distance."

Crysis 3:


Well, Crysis does exactly what you described extensively, pretty sure 3 does it also. But is there a difference? You still need to create the sprites and then render them in realistic way.
 
Turok was one of the first games where you could actually walk to every object you could see.
I know the internet is filled with emulation screenshots but guys please, at least use one that shows the correct graphics.

Also, all fully 3D open world FPS games had either pop-up, fog or darkness in all 5th gen consoles. I don't know why Turok is singled out in most instances. Maybe it's because it uses bright fog? But anyway, you are not going to find any FPS game like this, on these consoles, without something to mask the pop-up.
 
BotW impressed me. Basically because you can see all the map, everything looks close even if it's really far, and by the "see this mountain ? You can climb it" gimmick. Sure, the LOD is one of the worst, but I don't know so many open world games in which you can totally shut down the mini map and make your path only with your eyes.
 

Blackthorn

"hello?" "this is vagina"
I'm sure it's been surpassed, but The Witcher 3 on PS4 was the most a game's draw distance has impressed me since probably Oblivion.

I remember heading north for the first time at night and seeing all these twinkling lights in the distance when I was on a hill. Being The Witcher, I was creeped out and thought it was gonna be some sinister shit so I meditated. In the morning, I could make out Novigrad way off in the distance in the fog. Turns out it was just the city lights.

Exploring was greatly improved thanks to its landmark placements too. I was playing without a minimap so being able to make out Bald Mountain, Oxenfurt, Novigrad and various other ruins and towers from miles away made navigating feel really natural.

BOTW may not technically be the best for draw distance, but it's the best (even better than The Witcher, but it's not going for a natural feeling world, so it has more artistic liberates) in terms of USING that draw distance for a gameplay purpose. It's the most painstakingly deliberately sculpted open world where the player's sight lines for miles in each direction are taken into account - it's not just open space, it's carefully crafted in terms of what you can and can't see from every spot on the map.

I think that's why people bring it up: the draw distance is more noticeable because the game actually asks the player to engage with the far distance with the scope, planning routes, noticing landmarks/oddities etc., instead of it being just background detail or shit you'll get to later.
 
A lot of people are confusing "Instanced low poly geometry with 2D sprites (that often can't be reached during gameplay)" with "good draw distance."
Because draw distance is a vague term. Is it the maximum distance for any geometry? Is it the maximum distance for LOD0? Maximum distance for actors? For static geometry? Games have different cutoffs for all kinds of things, which of those is the draw distance?
 
I think the thing about Breath Of The Wild isn't so much that the draw distance is impressive on a technical level, but that Nintendo gave a lot of consideration to sight lines and distinctive landmarks.

Like, I can't think of any other open world game where I am able to orient myself so quickly by simply looking around. You can almost always see Death Mountain or Hyrule Castle no matter where you are in BotW.

A lot of other open world games strive for more realistic looking terrain, and realistic looking mountains often end up looking very similar.

Whereas stylized mountains like Death Mountain or Dueling Peaks stand out.
 

BigTnaples

Todd Howard's Secret GAF Account
Wild Hunt.


You can stare out the window of a tavern at a landmark illuminated by lightning. Walk out of the tavern, down the streets to the docks, hop in a boat, sail a great distance, beach yourself on land, ride your horse for a time, get to that land mark, then turn around and see that Tavern and that window glowing in the night.


It's incredible and seamless.


Now the LoD can sometimes be aggressive, but other than that it's near perfect.

I imagine a 4K 60fps remaster with improved lighting and LoD sometimes down the road. It will look like perfection.
 
I think the thing about Breath Of The Wild isn't so much that the draw distance is impressive on a technical level, but that Nintendo gave a lot of consideration to sight lines and distinctive landmarks.

Like, I can't think of any other open world game where I am able to orient myself so quickly by simply looking around. You can almost always see Death Mountain or Hyrule Castle no matter where you are in BotW.

A lot of other open world games strive for more realistic looking terrain, and realistic looking mountains often end up looking very similar.

Whereas stylized mountains like Death Mountain or Dueling Peaks stand out.
This nails it. It may not have the most technically impressive draw distance - of course it won't - but Nintendo prioritised the right things. I'm happy to play the game with the majority of the HUD switched off in Pro mode because of this, you can always find your bearings.
 
Well, Crysis does exactly what you described extensively, pretty sure 3 does it also. But is there a difference? You still need to create the sprites and then render them in realistic way.
I'm not surprised that a game from 2007 struggles with rendering things at a distance.

Crysis 3 lets you crank out the draw distance preeeeeeeeetty far before it starts using LOD tricks. Further than most, if not all, games today of comparable graphics quality.

Because draw distance is a vague term. Is it the maximum distance for any geometry? Is it the maximum distance for LOD0? Maximum distance for actors? For static geometry? Games have different cutoffs for all kinds of things, which of those is the draw distance?
The qualifier here is "impressive."

From a tech standpoint, I don't think that, say, a bunch of 2D panels with low-res building textures painted on is tremendously impressive.
 
GTAV is still very impressive: with the right weather the entire world is visible from any part of the map; small details are drawn in closer, but landmarks and general terrain structure are visible (and faithful) from anywhere on the map (or in the sky) and are subject to GI.

Haven't seen Ghost Recon Wildlands in person but from the screenshots in this thread i think that might take the cake

Just Cause 3 is probably also good at this (2 was) but again i haven't played it


Horizon Zero Dawn is great, but uses mountains and cliffs to hide stuff in the distance (eg. it is not possible to climb on a mountain and see Meridian from the other side of the map) and that haze in the woods, while adding to the atmosphere, hides tons of foliage draw in.
 

Dusk Golem

A 21st Century Rockefeller
It's ARMA 3.

You can literally stand on a mountain and see how far the eye can see in that game, snipe someone from literal miles away with a good shot, can see details of things miles away with a good eye, etc.

Like nothing else I've seen comes close to it, but it makes sense as ARMA 3 is basically a military simulator game.
 
It's ARMA 3.

You can literally stand on a mountain and see how far the eye can see in that game, snipe someone from literal miles away with a good shot, can see details of things miles away with a good eye, etc.

Like nothing else I've seen comes close to it, but it makes sense as ARMA 3 is basically a military simulator game.


Sad, this game is really not understood by many gamers.
 
Holy shit. No other game has nothing on this when it comes to draw distances. Jesus fuck you can see the godamn space station from the planet. Insane draw distance.
For the level of detail it is impressive, but it's not the only game where this is possible. Evochron Mercenary and No Man's Sky both let you do this, and fly to the stations in real time too (for all the stuff that is faked in NMS, that's one thing that isn't.)
 
How is Ghost Recon Wildlands?
Pretty good for terrain but absolutely awful for everything else. You basically cannot see enemies further away than 300m, up to 500m if a coop partner moves ahead and spots for you. Otherwise they do not exist (which explains the lack of real scopes in the game, the biggest sniper scope they have is a 6x)

Edit: And cars etc just disappear and are replaced with randomly generated moving lights on roads that are over 300-500m away.

BotW is actually handling it very nicely by keeping essential features at very long distances, especially the lights from shrines and the like.

Battlegrounds has also a pretty impressive draw distance...

The problem with battlegrounds is that essential features of the terrain is removed very quickly, such as grass, bushes and trees. Grass disappears at pretty short distances which makes people going prone sitting ducks when they should be all but invisible, at longer distances even bushes and sometimes even trees stop rendering while players are still visible so when sniping at extreme range you might have made a perfect shot but the bullet hit an invisible tree.

Basically in battlegrounds, NEVER go prone if you take fire from far away, run to cover by terrain/trees/buildings.
 
A lot of people are confusing "Instanced low poly geometry with 2D sprites (that often can't be reached during gameplay)" with "good draw distance."
You just described how 99% of the games posted on this thread draw distant trees (except the N64 and Dreamcast ones, there wasn't instancing back then), including all three Crysis games.
 
I'm sure it's been surpassed, but The Witcher 3 on PS4 was the most a game's draw distance has impressed me since probably Oblivion.
Did that screenshot yesterday [PS4], the moment I saw Novigrad I knew I had to take it:

And here's some more:

I'm still really surprised they managed to squeeze out that much juice out of ps4 in 2015 multiplatform release, I can't begin to imagine how this must look maxed out on PC in 4K, geezus.
 
Literally any game on PC. If console exclusives like LoZ:BOTW, HZD, etc., were also on PC they would have even better draw distances.

I'm not port begging, I'm just stating the obvious. With more processing power, you have the ability to show more of the world.
 
You just described how 99% of the games posted on this thread draw distant trees (except the N64 and Dreamcast ones, there wasn't instancing back then), including all three Crysis games.
The Crysis games give you the option of using LODs. I can disable it altogether in Crysis 3, and get ~60fps most of the time in a game that looks as good as even the best-looking modern games.

Do that in Horizon.