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Update 18.5: Download size heads up + graphical improvements explained!

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If you haven't heard, Sands of Inaros is coming soon! Check out the Hub here: https://warframe.com/18-5-hub

In order to best prepare you for the Update, we wanted to give a quick heads up on it's approximate download size: 4+ GB.

Why so big?

The short answer: Warframe has received months of technical graphics improvements, putting an extra layer of detail on every single graphical element of the game. When released, players on all platforms should notice a substantial increase in detail across all of Warframe’s game modes, weapons, characters and tilesets.

The long answer (that also makes up the past 2 months of my life):

With Inaros, the sands of old have been swept away from U18 Warframe leaving behind a newer, more vibrant U18.5 Warframe. In many respects, 18.5 is a remastered, more HD version of Warframe with months of technical graphical improvements and artistic relighting of many parts of the game (and more to come in subsequent updates). These changes sweep across lighting, materials, collision, so the 18.5 update is expected to be a larger-than-usual download – again, we're talking 4+ GB. On top of these changes are across the board rendering performance improvements we hope you'll enjoy, keep in mind that your particular hardware may benefit more and benefit less depending on your GPU, resolution and preferred graphics settings. All of these upgrades in 18.5 are cross-platform - yes! PC, PS4, and Xbox One Tenno will see these improvements as they are released.  Here's some results you may notice as a result of these sweeping graphical changes:


  • Lighting textures have been reengineered to reduce square compression artifacts and ugly color banding. You may have seen me point this out on past Devstreams.
  • All PBR materials have been recompressed with a more accurate format, new and subtle details are visible on your PBR'd Warframes, gear and in the environment.
  • Reflection Probes have been built through many areas of the game, grounding PBR materials with more accurate lighting.
  • Character and weapon lighting includes more accurate 'dual specular' lighting which means metallic surfaces are more realistic and fancy looking.
  • HDR rendering has been switched to a compact 32bit format which has improved HDR rendering performance for a wide range of GPUs.
  • Tonemapping has been adjusted to use more of the range of lighting content in the game, images have more detail, particularly richer in the darks.
  • Motion Blur and Depth of Field have been re-engineered to run faster and look better, fast moving and defocused objects no longer appear 'cut out' on their silhouettes.
  • Draw order optimizations have been applied to every object in the game, which improves overall performance, particularly in worst-case scenarios.
  • Atmospheric fog effects are now rendering in a separate lighting pass, allowing richer particle effects at distance without being 'erased' by atmosphere.
  • Particle lighting has been improved to more accurately represent the local lighting environment.
  • Wind force modelling on many particle systems increase realism as various environmental particles now respond to explosive forces and Warframe powers – you've also probably seen us showcase this in our most recent Devstream.
  • Bloom system has been softened and made more seated in the scene. The burnt-out look is replaced with a more subtle and gentle sci-fi glow.
  • Physics collision, performance and stability have all been improved, as a long-awaited upgrade of Warframe PhysX libraries has been completed.

PC Minimum spec remains unchanged. Combined with the optimizations mentioned, our tests are showing 18.5 as a better looking Warframe with 18.0 or better performance on an array of toasters and beastly GPUs!

So there you have it, Tenno. 4+ GB of content explained, and now it's time for me to go back to the team and bring this Update across the finish line to come out on PC soon.




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Just now, sugarwall said:

How does this affect the minimum PC requirements?

If what we've been given is true, then not at all. Performance will not be affected whatsoever (although I'm still expecting insubstantial frame drops in more complex environments).

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Thanks, Steve. You guys ought to deserve an extra large cup of coffee/tea (or a large beer, depending on preferences) once this is all done.

It'll be a whole day downloading this bugger, but damn worth it. I can't contain the anticipation for an even more stellar-looking Warframe :D

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HD version of Warframe? I always thought we had an HD version of this game!


On a more serious note, thanks for taking the to detail the improvements before the Update is out. I look forward to hours of frustration as the servers get hit by incredibly large download requests and I watch in pain how my Download goes down to a couple 100s of kb/s, because at least this is going to be worth it.

I'm not sure if you'll take any questions here, but anyways I must try with the following couple:

-On performance, I take it that the Update should be, at its worst (unless something went horribly wrong), performing at the same rate that now, right?

-On tilesets for all this incredible work: Only Grineer Galleon, Orokin Void and Orokin Moon, correct? Or did you guys manage to add the Corpus ships as well in the end?


Thanks for taking the time again, and for all the work the team has put for making this update. Can't wait to play the new Sabotage and enjoy my precious Prime gold at its peak! :D

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3 minutes ago, God_is_a_Cat_Girl said:

No pre downloading ever again? I liked when it was done so I got the bulk before the update, as my connection is rather slow. Guess I will be waiting for hours to be able to play this one, but hey, improvements and new stuff!

Again? When was it ever available? I think you're confusing Warframe with another game.

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