Compared to next-gen showcases such as Konami’s Fox Engine, the tech driving Call Of Duty’s future is more modest. Infinity Ward admits that Call Of Duty: Ghosts will run on the old engine, but overhauled to such an extent that it’s calling it a new one.“It’s a fine line when you define a new engine and augmentations to an engine,” says animation lead Zach Volker. “As we develop and we add features, at what point does it become a new engine? Because it’s impossible to develop a new engine from the ground up in a two-year cycle. You would need an army of 200 engineers. So we say, ‘OK, what are the things that are significant… Are those being upgraded in a significant way? All right, then, we’ve got a new engine on our hands.’”The results are pretty, even if new COD looks a lot like old COD on a high-end PC. Ghosts might not have the visual impact of games using the new engines shown off by Square Enix and Konami, but it looks like something you could play in your living room today, rather than several years from now.New features include displacement mapping, which banishes flat textures by creating 3D geometry from images. The results are striking: images of rocks become 3D at the press of a button. That it’s rendered in-engine and on the fly will help those yearly iterations. Then there’s ‘sub-D’, a rendering technique that raises poly counts to maintain visual integrity in close-ups.The new lighting engine packs in high-dynamic-range rendering and subsurface scattering, the latter giving your avatar’s skin a subtle translucency; veins appear to show through rather than looking as if they’ve been painted on. Ghost’s assets won’t be the limiting factor for its visual fidelity either, having been made at “cinema quality”. Rather it will be the extent to which they must be scaled down to suit this revamped engine.