Just Cause 3’s WaveWorks Detailed; NVIDIA: No Other Solution Can Achieve This Realism

Alessio Palumbo
Posted 11 months ago

Last week, a leak of the back cover of Just Cause 3 revealed that the game would feature NVIDIA GameWorks in some fashion.

It turns out that Avalanche Studios has chosen to implement NVIDIA WaveWorks. After all, Just Cause 2 was the first game to use CUDA Water and for Just Cause 3 they renewed the partnership with NVIDIA. According to NVIDIA, this solution is the most advanced ever seen in games:

…a next-generation water simulation with capabilities far beyond those seen in Just Cause 2, and far beyond those found in other games.

Running on the CPU on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, WaveWorks is a full multi-resolution spectral simulation solution, capable of simulating any sea state from Beaufort 1 to Beaufort 12, with a high level of surface detail, right down to centimeter-scale micro-ripples.

It is these unique capabilities that have enabled Avalanche to realize their vision of a rich and ever-changing ocean surface that’s also capable of affecting the physics of water-borne objects, such as swimmers, jet-skis, other vessels, and the planes and cars you’ll inevitably crash into the ocean during your in-game antics.

No other solution can achieve this level of realism or scalability, either on a GPU or CPU, making WaveWorks the go-to choice for Avalanche, and for Gaijin Entertainment, who recently added WaveWorks to War Thunder, their popular World War II free-to-play action game.

In Just Cause 3, WaveWorks’ capabilities enable boats to skip across waves, water to crash on shores, and every body of water to be enhanced and improved immeasurably.

While all the versions of Just Cause 3 enjoy the CPU simulation, only PC users can enable the GPU powered Water Detail setting. This tweaks things like the fidelity of waves and the visibility of certain effects, such as underwater God Rays as seen in the screenshot below.


According to NVIDIA, enhancing WaveWorks can cost up to 16 FPS on the Very High setting. If you need to get some performance back you can go down to High; any further and the foam effects are disabled.

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There’s another setting that you can tweak in Just Cause 3 PC, and that’s Water Tessellation. When enabled, this adds tessellated detail to waves, ripples and wakes for a cost of about 4 frames on GTX 900 cards and 7 frames on GTX 700 cards.

To wrap things up, here’s some footage of NVIDIA WaveWorks in Just Cause 3. Look forward to our review and performance analysis soon.

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