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The Full Nerd special edition: Inside Alan Wake 2's stunning graphics

TFN alan wake 2Image: Adam Patrick Murray / IDG

In this episode of The Full Nerd, Brad Chacos and Adam Patrick Murray are joined by not one, not two, but three special guests to dive deep into Alan Wake 2’s cutting-edge visuals.

Alan Wake 2 is already being hailed as a modern horror masterpiece in reviews and is well worth the long 13 year wait since the original Alan Wake launched. But it’s not just a great game. Alan Wake 2 is an absolute technical powerhouse as well, armed with virtually every cutting-edge graphics technology you can think of to bring Bright Falls and the Dark Place to life.

Remedy lead graphics programmer Tatu Aalto and communications director Thomas Puha joined us hours before Alan Wake 2’s release, along with Nvidia GeForce evangelist Jacob Freeman, to answer our nerdiest questions about this technical tour de force.

Full-blown path-tracing, DLSS Frame Generation, Ray Reconstruction, mesh shaders, mandatory SSD speed, Alan Wake 2 has it all. Our guests explain the perks and considerations behind each decision: why Remedy needed to make Alan Wake 2 the first game to lean heavily on DirectX 12’s mesh shaders, the studio’s philosophy behind melding gameplay and graphics, why path tracing is the future (but AI upscaling isn’t yet), whether the game’s hardware requirements aren’t as steep as they seem at first blush, whether you’ve needed to play Remedy’s other games to enjoy this one, and a whole, whole lot more.

Graphics geeks won’t want to miss this one. You can witness it all in the video embedded above. You can also watch this Full Nerd special edition on YouTube (subscribe to the channel while you’re there).

Speaking of audio, you can subscribe to The Full Nerd in iTunes (please leave a review if you enjoy the show). We’re also on Pocket Casts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or you can point your favorite podcast-savvy RSS reader to: https://feeds.megaphone.fm/IDG8935300959

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Have a PC- or gaming-related question? Email [email protected] and we’ll try to answer it in the next episode. You can also join the PC-related discussions and ask us questions on The Full Nerd’s Discord server. Finally, be sure to follow PCWorld on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch to watch future episodes live and pick our brains in real time! 

Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.

Recent stories by Brad Chacos:

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Super review: The 4K graphics card you wantNew Arc drivers provide huge DX11 performance boost for Intel GPUsAudio Radar gives hearing impaired gamers a fair shot

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