Digital Foundry Article Technical Discussion [2019]

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Shifty Geezer

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This is principally a technical discussion thread. It is allied to the other tech analysis threads and shares the same rules as those which you should familiarise yourself with. The purpose is to discuss the findings of the Digital Foundry articles on a technical level, including the techniques employed by game developers in their games, and the comparative design decisions off cross-platform titles. Digital Foundry is more closely allied with Beyond3D than other gaming sites which is why they get special mention here! :D

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BRiT

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First tidbits of DF Article that goes with the video: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/...-is-falling-behind-but-could-shape-the-future

How Xbox One S is falling behind - but also defining the future
X addresses the hardcore, while S tech is set to target new audiences.

What does the future hold for the Xbox One S? At Digital Foundry, we've noted something of a concerning trend for Microsoft's base console - while system exclusives continue to hold up well from a quality perspective, top-end third-party titles are pushing the system to its limits - with sometimes disappointing results. The question is this: if the S is losing pace with the competition, how well can it hold up in the years to come? After all, its successor is not likely to arrive until 2020.

Let's put all of this into context. The Xbox One has always had a less capable GPU than the PlayStation 4, so the generation has typically seen the PS4 deliver resolution or frame-rate advantages over its Microsoft counterpart - this is nothing new, and the 1080p/900p divide has been in place for much of the generation. By and large, 720p vs 1080p comparisons aside, the differences only really become evident if compared both consoles directly side - so what's changed?

There's a combination of factors in play here, but mostly, I suspect it's down to several factors - firstly, the fact is that the vanilla PlayStation 4 is effectively the base platform owing to its ginormous installed userbase. Secondly, developers are pushing that platform harder than they ever have before - so compromises in resolution in favour of features on a PS4 build have a more profound impact for the Xbox One S build. Then there's the arrival of Xbox One X - in terms of its basic nuts and bolts design, its architecture has a crucial commonality with PS4 and Pro, something the S doesn't have - a fully unified memory structure.
 

Shoujoboy

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I actually really liked that discussion.

I kinda wish Microsoft would get together an "Ice Team" of their own like Sony didmlast gen
and help developers deliver great experiences on their base console.

Because there are some games from the first party studios which definitely hold their own.
Games like Gears Of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 & 4, Forza Motorsport 5,6, & 7 and even Quantum
Break genuinely look fantastic.
 

iroboto

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I actually really liked that discussion.

I kinda wish Microsoft would get together an "Ice Team" of their own like Sony didmlast gen
and help developers deliver great experiences on their base console.

Because there are some games from the first party studios which definitely hold their own.
Games like Gears Of War 4, Forza Horizon 3 & 4, Forza Motorsport 5,6, & 7 and even Quantum
Break genuinely look fantastic.
I think as their first party grows in size and if profitable, you may see them make something like that. Though I imagine the directX teams already play some of that role.
 

DSoup

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I kinda wish Microsoft would get together an "Ice Team" of their own like Sony didmlast gen
and help developers deliver great experiences on their base console.

I think the mere existence of the ICE was a tacit admission by Sony that PS3's architecture was an absolute fucker to harness. If Microsoft is ever in the position that it needs an equivalent, that does not bode well! :nope:
 

metacore

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Some tools deficiency might be byproduct of corporate agenda. Lets not forget that ultimately Microsoft aims to make xbox a trojan horse for microsoft store and services and no so much dedicated platform. Easy portability between xbox and windows might be priority instead of best and most efficient solutions for given piece of hardware. Some rare quote that might touch the subject (of course it's old and there is constant development but still...)


Let's put it that way - we have seen scenarios where a single CPU core was fully loaded just by issuing draw-calls on Xbox One (and that's surely on the 'mono' driver with several fast-path calls utilised). Then, the same scenario on PS4, it was actually difficult to find those draw-calls in the profile graphs, because they are using almost no time and are barely visible as a result.
In general - I don't really get why they choose DX11 as a starting point for the console. It's a console! Why care about some legacy stuff at all? On PS4, most GPU commands are just a few DWORDs written into the command buffer, let's say just a few CPU clock cycles. On Xbox One it easily could be one million times slower because of all the bookkeeping the API does.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/...its-really-like-to-make-a-multi-platform-game
 

BRiT

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Some tools deficiency might be byproduct of corporate agenda. Lets not forget that ultimately Microsoft aims to make xbox a trojan horse for microsoft store and services and no so much dedicated platform.

Citation needed.
 

metacore

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Citation needed.

Well that wording might be a little hot takey but is't it obvious?:D Broad HW compatibility is enemy of coding to metal( oh boi) and quote above is alluding to exactly that. Clearly microsoft is going beyond xbox with gaming. Just take a look at wording of any interview with sites not directly living on console war, ecosytem, value, any devices, services and other keywords, and by the way there is that xbox if jimmy de santa still cant plug hdmi to their laptop, even vp twitter handles changed from xbox to gaming quite fast. There is only so much time corporation like microsoft can grow some division standing kinda in oposition to rest of divisions without creating any synergy ( xb, xb360). Now in Nandela era everyting is going according to long term plan as in interviwes in Dean Takahashi xbox books, first we are creating a few consoles which will be a springboard for later "brand" of services and eventual xbox/pc hybrid if that is still needed. So yeah broad xbox brand but some to the metal performance sacrifices on closed box will be necessary in order to achive that.
 

BRiT

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Well that wording might be a little hot takey but is't it obvious?

Every successful company aims to expand their influence and profitablity. Only the companies run by fools don't. So I dont see how those original statements are pertinent to a technology based discussion.
 

metacore

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I don't know whats so hard to understand here (aside blunt language) especially on this board. Is this somehow concerning that fashionable narratives "ms listened and thay will do not wrong from now" or what? :).
DF says they heard about performance problems with some tools on xb(look around end of video), so I quoted a very experienced programmer who was suggesting that some problems came from MS choosing suboptimal solution to fixed spec xb api and that solution is used for rendering on pc side, dx11 helps with broad compatibility but with performance loss. Why would they do this ? To finally please other sides of company and for easy portability of code and future services and what not, even with sacrificing some performence on console. Second post was short colorfull synopsis of their corporate motivation for that decision.

Im glad DF had the gut to bring this topic. It really almost feels like base xbox is fading, even marketing to this day is concentrating on scorpio engine closeups, base xbs? ohh thats just minecraft bundle for kids. Maybe insted of dedicated platform better supported with every passing year they would only want some temporary halo effect pc with windows store box to build xbox "brand" where it suits, with legacy box kinda becoming "undedicated" and maybe thats precisely what lies beetween lines of "future without generations etc". From consumer perspective not a fan of that flavour of "console" strategy if thats the way going forward, seems more like scorched earth strategy and is especially interesting with rumors of lockhart and anaconda positioning.

Every successful company aims to expand their influence and profitablity. Only the companies run by fools don't. So I dont see how those original statements are pertinent to a technology based discussion.

Agree obviously. Again Original technology discussion had question about tools, so I bring quote with one possible technology related answer and the rest is in my opinion motivation behind it which should be fairly obvious to anyone here.
 

turkey

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I always assumed the dx11 API was half baked as dx12 was unfinished and something needed to be included when they shipped. They claimed some CPU tweaks to aid dx12 so that was planned to some extent I assume.
 

Tkumpathenurpahl

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Which effects and techniques are generally diminished on the base XBoxOne compared to the base PS4, and which are likely to be in future?

Or is resolution the only difference?
 

turkey

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Which effects and techniques are generally diminished on the base XBoxOne compared to the base PS4, and which are likely to be in future?

Or is resolution the only difference?

Onrush runs at half the framerate, 30fps instead of 60.
Many games have slightly worse framerate on the S even with lower dynamic resolutions in play.
 

Globalisateur

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Tomb Raider 2013 also runs at half the framerate on XB1, like The Witness (at an increased resolution though). Sniper Elite 3 has the same resolution but much worse framerate and lower Anisotropic filtering.

But in many games there is just the 720p / 900p, 900p / 1080p, or the very occasional 720p or 800p / 1080p difference.
 
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