Digital Foundry Article Technical Discussion [2020]

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DF Written Article @ https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/...yrim-fallout-4-60fps-mods-for-xbox-series-x-s

Skyrim and Fallout 4 can be modded to run at 60fps on Xbox Series X
But what about PS5 and Series S?

Word emerged last week that with a simple mod, owners of the Xbox Series X console were able to revisit The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, and to play it at full 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. The evidence looked compelling and I wanted to try it out - and once confirmed, I had a whole bunch of further questions I wanted answers to. Would the mod work on Xbox Series S? What about PlayStation 5? And as Fallout 4 also supports mods on consoles, I had to wonder whether there was any way to run the game at 60fps there, ahead of Microsoft's official patch set to do the same thing?

The news of a working Skyrim 60fps mod first emerged on Reddit, courtesy of user annathetravelbanana, and looking into it, the story behind the mod doing what it does on Series X is intriguing. The original mod - known as Uncap FPS by Smudgey5000 - seems to be very old, and was actually designed for the original Xbox One. The way it works is to enable a higher frame-rate by disabling v-sync and removing the hard-set 30fps cap. On last-gen hardware, its effects and its overall usefulness are limited. On the intro cart ride, Xbox One X's locked 30fps becomes 33-43fps with a lot of judder and tearing. I imagine it's used in combination with other mods designed to improve frame-rate to push overall output higher. Regardless, on its own, it's not particularly impressive.

The outlook is transformed on Series X thanks to the console's backwards compatibility features. First of all, it's worth stressing that once installed, Skyrim needs to be shut down and rebooted for the mod to kick in - and the improvement is transformative. Most of the game plays out locked at 60fps and the tearing brought about by the mod is completely gone. In effect, the Uncap FPS mod removes the 30fps limit, while the back-compat features in Series X enforce v-sync, giving a mostly flawless presentation. Yes, Achievements are disabled because you're using a mod. However, this can be circumvented simply by disabling the mod and starting the game. Remember, the mod needs a reboot to engage - and it's the same when disabling it.

...

Who needs a remaster when fans of the game have already created a remaster that will run on XBS-X. :D

I wonder if we'll see mod authors releasing targeted XBS-X or even XBS-S mods? Sure you'd be able to install them on XBO-X/S, but you likely wouldn't want to.

Regards,
SB
 

PSman1700

Legend
Nice collection John! Good to see THPS on the list, plays wonderfully. Was no surprise seeing the new half life VR high on the list.
 
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DSoup

Series Soup
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Who needs a remaster when fans of the game have already created a remaster that will run on XBS-X. :D

If any PS4 modders can be arsed to 'borrow' this mod, it should work find in PS4 as well. PS4's Fallout/Skyrim limitations were related to mod size and the formats of graphics and audio assets (no MP3). People like to haze Bethesda's engine but it's quite impressive that you can change so much in an officially supported framework across multiple platforms.

I am really done with Skyrim though, now. a remaster/UI overhaul of Oblivion? Yes.. yes please! :yes:
 

Arwin

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Very good ... I’m not sure if For Honor deserves that credit though - didn’t Uncharted 3 already have a pretty advanced contextual animation system running on SPEs at the time? I thought what we are seeing in the Last of Us just is an evolution of that from Uncharted 3 through The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, Lost Legacy and then this.
 

Scott_Arm

Legend
Very good ... I’m not sure if For Honor deserves that credit though - didn’t Uncharted 3 already have a pretty advanced contextual animation system running on SPEs at the time? I thought what we are seeing in the Last of Us just is an evolution of that from Uncharted 3 through The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, Lost Legacy and then this.

yah, Naughty Dog deserves the credit for motion matching. They’re the only company that gamers recognize as creating any new tech so by default they must have invented motion matching even if Ubisoft is widely credited with having as being the pioneer.

https://www.vg247.com/2019/09/30/th...-fluid-animation-without-sacrificing-realism/

see naughty dog is calling it motion matching. Ubisoft definitely couldn’t have coined that term years earlier, even if their tech was described in much the same way.
 

Nesh

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yah, Naughty Dog deserves the credit for motion matching. They’re the only company that gamers recognize as creating any new tech so by default they must have invented motion matching even if Ubisoft is widely credited with having as being the pioneer.

https://www.vg247.com/2019/09/30/th...-fluid-animation-without-sacrificing-realism/

see naughty dog is calling it motion matching. Ubisoft definitely couldn’t have coined that term years earlier, even if their tech was described in much the same way.
I like better what I see in Naughty Dog's games than Ubisoft's :yes:
 

Arwin

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I just happen to remember the presentations from 2011. You can look them up at slideshare. They already layered up to 25 animations in Uncharted 3. This is a pretty natural evolution from that. At the time, as far as I remember Ubisoft still just brute forced everything with an absurd amount of animations (for the time). Which could still look great too mind you, but it wasn’t as dynamic or responsive.

Unreal Engine 5 presentation made a lot of the touch of the side of the entrance to the cave by the character but that was already a typical context blended animation in Uncharted 3 in 2011 as well.

I particularly was a junky for anything that used the SPEs in Cell back in the day as I was mesmerized by that technology, even if it was hard to use, so anything that had to do with that back in the day I tend to remember. ;)

One of the presentations is here https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/naughty_dog/uncharted-animation-workflow

By the way from watching another presentation on physics in animation in Uncharted 4 you can also see the need for a unification of the motion blending and physics calculations as a driving force to this newer system.
 
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Scott_Arm

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@Arwin

“In all our previous games there’s been this really distinct state machine where we say, ‘Play a run animation. Then play a turn left animation. Then play a turn right animation,'” co-director Anthony Newman explained to Gamespot.

“The way motion matching works is it takes this massive bucket of animation, just hundreds and hundreds of animations, and chops them into little tiny bits.

“When you define the path that a player or an enemy wants to take, rather than saying, ‘Play this and then play that and then play that,’ the system actually looks at the bucket of animations, finds the ones that matches the path that you’re already taking, and blends them together frame-by-frame.”

https://www.vg247.com/2019/09/30/th...-fluid-animation-without-sacrificing-realism/

Sounds shockingly like Naughty Dog was able to come up with the idea for motion matching for the Last of Us 2, but also before Ubisoft starting talking about it in 2016. It's crazy how they can do that.


upload_2020-12-25_10-43-16.png

Look at this guy taking credit for Naughty Dog's technology years before they released it in an actual game. Despicable.
 

cwjs

Regular
Animation blending has been around as long as skeletal animations, but Motion Matching describes a specific technique, not just "blending animations" -- ubisoft are the pioneers of motion matching (although the research that underpins it is also rather old). Revising history like this just makes the layer of gamer technical buzzword confusion we're all smothered under even deeper.

Reading the slides linked on uncharted 3, there is nothing state of the art as of the time that game came out here, and absolutely nothing that resembles motion matching in any way.
 

chris1515

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I just happen to remember the presentations from 2011. You can look them up at slideshare. They already layered up to 25 animations in Uncharted 3. This is a pretty natural evolution from that. At the time, as far as I remember Ubisoft still just brute forced everything with an absurd amount of animations (for the time). Which could still look great too mind you, but it wasn’t as dynamic or responsive.

Unreal Engine 5 presentation made a lot of the touch of the side of the entrance to the cave by the character but that was already a typical context blended animation in Uncharted 3 in 2011 as well.

I particularly was a junky for anything that used the SPEs in Cell back in the day as I was mesmerized by that technology, even if it was hard to use, so anything that had to do with that back in the day I tend to remember. ;)

One of the presentations is here https://www.slideshare.net/mobile/naughty_dog/uncharted-animation-workflow

By the way from watching another presentation on physics in animation in Uncharted 4 you can also see the need for a unification of the motion blending and physics calculations as a driving force to this newer system.

Naughty Dog animator themselve said they used Ubi soft motion matching technology. They just push it further.
 

Arwin

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Animation blending has been around as long as skeletal animations, but Motion Matching describes a specific technique, not just "blending animations" -- ubisoft are the pioneers of motion matching (although the research that underpins it is also rather old). Revising history like this just makes the layer of gamer technical buzzword confusion we're all smothered under even deeper.

Reading the slides linked on uncharted 3, there is nothing state of the art as of the time that game came out here, and absolutely nothing that resembles motion matching in any way.


Ok so we are talking about motion matching as it is described here?

https://www.gameanim.com/2016/05/03/motion-matching-ubisofts-honor/

Because in that context the impact of motion matching in the total of what needs to happen also seems a little exaggerated. The pressure point animation system is still the same as defining that some action needs to be blended into the current active set at a specific point in time in reaction to a specific event (control input to aim and shoot a gun while running, flinching when a bullet passes nearby, picking a different animation when an interactive object or a wall is nearby, using randomization in various alternative animations available, and the physics based interactions on top, all of which where available in Uncharted 3 and especially the physics parts extended in Uncharted 4.

I have trouble seeing how motion matching is a huge step onwards from that, other than that it adds some automation to the animation selection process when multiple are possible, or am I missing something?

So yeah perhaps motion matching has become the name for that automated selection process and that is something naughty dog took and used? But it seems a relatively small contribution. But perhaps you or someone else can explain the significance and how it improves the animation so much versus what we already saw in previous Uncharted games (where after all Uncharted 4 was 2016).

If I am overlooking something significant here then I apologize for my amateurism!
 

Scott_Arm

Legend
@Arwin

Here is the presentation that basically lead to the industry term "motion matching." They were calling it motion fields but an attendee suggested motion matching as an alternative and they found it was more descriptive.


This is a very nitty gritty presentation that explains traditional animation graphs/blend trees vs motion matching. I'm going to assume that Naughty Dog is like everyone else in the industry and they keep up on these kinds of technical talks and they don't reinvent the wheel every time they make a game and coincidentally come up with the same names for things.

From your own link by Jonathan Cooper who worked on Uncharted 4 and even the Last of Us 2 (I think):

For Honor looks set to be the first commercial production to use this new and exciting animation technology so the final proof will be in the near future.

Funny enough, his summary of the idea is written as if he and Naughty Dog did not come up with the idea themselves. Ubisoft introduced the industry to this technology with technical talks starting in 2015 and released the first commercially available game. Since then EA and others have used the concept to introduce motion matching to their own game engines and released commercially available games.

From this Naughty Dog interview with Gamespot, they are very much describing the same concept that Ubisoft introduced in this talk in 2015.

https://www.gamespot.com/articles/the-last-of-us-2-has-an-awesome-improvement-you-mi/1100-6470118/

In all our previous games there's been this really distinct state machine where we say, 'Play a run animation. Then play a turn left animation. Then play a turn right animation.' The way motion matching works is it takes this massive bucket of animation, just hundreds and hundreds of animations, and chops them into little tiny bits. When you define the path that a player or an enemy wants to take, rather than saying, 'Play this and then play that and then play that,' the system actually looks at the bucket of animations, finds the ones that matches the path that you're already taking, and blends them together frame-by-frame."

The effect of this is, as Naughty Dog says, much smoother, more natural movement to characters. "It's this totally new way of doing traversal," Newman continued. "I think, as you play the game, you must have noticed just how fluid the player feels. With every foot plant, every turn, there's as little blending as possible.

Anthony Newman is the co-director of the Last of Us 2. Motion matching is not what they were doing in their previous games. It is a new engine feature for them that they developed for the Last of Us 2. That description is very much the same as what Ubisoft described five years ago.

Should Naught Dog get the credit for the idea of motion matching? No. Should they get credit for doing an absolutely incredible application of the idea? Yes.

It's really annoying whenever a good idea is discussed and somebody comes popping out of nowhere saying, "Actually the Cell Processor! ... Actually Naught Dog ...!" Naughty Dog and the Cell processor aren't responsible for everything. Maybe give the guys at Digital Foundry some credit of their own in knowing what they're talking about. Spend a few minutes researching a topic before you start trying to assign credit to Naughty Dog for other people's work.
 

cwjs

Regular
If I am overlooking something significant here then I apologize for my amateurism!
Scott's post directly above here captured everything, but I wanted to reply since you asked me specifically! Like the quote in scott's post said, the thing about motion matching is that the system is creating a new animation from the bottom up based on the situation -- rather than the additive "ok, you're playing running animation, now also play reload animation and stumble animation over the top so it looks dynamic" approach in conventional animation blends, motion matching says "player is moving based on these metrics, sample the relevant parts of 50 animation clips and create a new motion that captures all of the goals animators laid out"... when you drill all th eway down, there's a fundamental similarity in terms of like, what the code is doing at the end (playing multiple animations at once + various code driven modifications to bone position) but that doesn't make it the same any more than you'd say two renderers are the same because they both use fragment shaders to fill buffers.

I'm not an animator by trade and only dabble the tiniest bit in rigging, so I unfortunately can't offer any more insight than the quotes and videos linked abov, but I know enough to know it's a big change in the way both the art team and the game's code approach putting animations on screen, and the results speak for themselves in games where it's used.
 

PSman1700

Legend
. They’re the only company that gamers recognize as creating any new tech

It's really annoying whenever a good idea is discussed and somebody comes popping out of nowhere saying, "Actually the Cell Processor! ... Actually Naught Dog ...!"

This phenomen can be observed across internet forums, even YT comments. By doing so, they set the bar unknowingly higher, resulting in 'aha is that it' when any game releases on the platform.
PR is just the most effective part of games success.
 
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