Frame Analysis — Mortal Kombat 11

Alain Galvan
4 min readAug 8, 2020


Mortal Kombat 11 is one of the most impressive looking games to come out in 2019, with amazing facial animations, shadows, lighting, and postprocessing effects. That’s besides the fact that the game is really fun, with complex fight sequences and a thrilling storyline.

Because of Mortal Kombat 11’s impressive presentation, I just had to take a look at their renderer to see what’s powering those awesome graphics, and I’m eager to share what’s in it.

Note: This is not an official analysis of their renderer. Please support Mortal Kombat 11 by purchasing a copy of it to see this tech in action.

Shadow Pass

Each frame starts with the Shadow Pass.

Each shadow map is composed of a 4x super-sampled (SSAA) shadow depth stencil map, which is then converted to a 4 channel Moment Shadow Map (MSMs) [Peters et al. 2016], with each channel storing zz, z²z2, z³z3 and z⁴z4.

This map is later used in a shadow resolve pass prior to lighting. The result is some of the best shadow quality raster based shadow methods can offer.

This scene had 3 of these shadow casting lights encoded in a texture array.




Alain Galvan | Graphics Software Engineer @ AMD, Previously @ Guest lecturer talking about 🛆 Computer Graphics, ✍ tech author.