The Technology of GTA IV/RDR *Rage Engine*

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by babcat, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Tap In

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    nice thanks

     
  2. TheAlSpark

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    hum.... so deferred shading and lighting?
     
  3. almighty

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    Could be, or maybe a adaption of it.
     
  4. joker454

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    Personally, the dithering talk is totally overblown, I just don't notice it while playing. Unlike screenshots, the game camera never stands still so to me it's a non issue. Maybe different people are more sensitive to different things. I can't get passed the blurryness though of the PS3 version, it almost looks like an upscaled Xbox 1 game to me. But again, maybe I'm just really sensitive to that.

    If the PS3 version does indeed use fp16 as I've been reading here, then that would account for it. FP16 is somewhat slower and not typically used for opaque rendering passes as far as I know. Usually you'd use an 8/8/8/8 mode (maybe in RGBE), and perhaps use FP16 on the alpha passes. But if they are doing all of their rendering in fp16 then they are taking a performance hit.
     
  5. Laa-Yosh

    Laa-Yosh I can has custom title?
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    Well, before the game's release, and before it was known that the dithering is specific to the X360, most people assumed it's an artistic effect...

    Then again I'd like to see the game without it as well. But the shadow flickering really is the more annoying artifact.
     
  6. djskribbles

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    more comparison shots.

    i just really like the colors and what appears to be better lighting on the ps3 version. the shots clearly show that they were taken at the same time of day. there are some shots where i prefer the 360 version though, mainly because its slightly sharper, and some shots, you can clearly see the AA. i can see how it could go either way.
     
  7. joker454

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    The lighting, as always, seems similar on both to me. The PS3 version, again as always, has gobs of aliasing and it so fuzzy it makes me want to clean my glasses. Amazing how two people can see the same images and come to opposite conclusions :) I would attempt to setup a blind test to see if those that really claim to prefer the lighting on PS3 could replicate their opinion. But, it would be impossible in this case because the fuzzy PS3 images will always be easy to pick out.

    Anyways, not much point in me posting anymore on this. I guess I'll chalk this one up to "I just don't get it". I'd be interested to hear from other devs on which version they prefer as far as visuals go. I've a/b'd them both at work on LCD and at home on plasma and it's night and day to me, but maybe I'm insane :)
     
  8. djskribbles

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    i don't completely disagree with you... i obviously see the ps3 version is softer, and in most cases, looks more aliased. its just the things that bug you don't necessarily bug me as much. i just like the overall look of the ps3 version more. i can honestly see where you're coming from, though... i can see how some might prefer one over the other. what puzzles me is how you find it so hard to believe that some prefer the ps3 version.
     
  9. joker454

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    Apart from shadows, to us the 360 version is either at par or superior visually in every way. Many on this forum disagree. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal. But given that we make games for a living, and that some of us work specifically on video game graphics for a living, needless to say this whole thing is leaving us mighty confused. Some games like Devil May Cry are close, I can see this kind of discussion going on for that game. But for GTA4, it's about as cut and dry as it gets. We played both versions back to back, and the choice was clear. Or so we thought. Boy were we wrong! And me and some colleagues really don't get it.

    To be blunt, looking at peoples post histories seem to line up very well with which version they prefer, so I'm willing to chalk this one up to good old fashion fanboy preference. I'm generalizing of course, but seriously, take a look yourself. I could almost blindly pick which version some of the regular posters here will prefer just by past post history :) But as a sanity check, I'm asking other devs to chime in here. C'mon guys, post! Which version do you prefer visually? And I don't mean from looking at screenshots of course. Sit down and play both versions, is one better than the other?
     
    #169 joker454, May 5, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
  10. nAo

    nAo Nutella Nutellae
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    It's really hard to take a performance hit on a opaque pass on a FP16 render target unless you are rendering your pixels with some incredibly simple pixel shader, I really wouldn't be 'worried' about that.
     
  11. chachi

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    I don't think you're wrong, but you're looking at it differently than most of the people who post here. An owner's console of choice biases his preferences. I don't think you'll find many who only own a PS3 publicly preferring the 360 version and vice versa. For those with both consoles other factors may come into play - fear of RROD occurring during a highly anticipated game, noise of the 360, controller preference, being used to playing GTA series on Sony consoles, etc.

    One thing that might be getting overlooked is how masterful a job of spin that R* did with their "soft & warm" comments. Because they said they actually preferred it that way it blunted the arguments of the fanboys who might otherwise have started in about "lazy developers" again. I wouldn't be surprised if the slight yellowish cast was added to differentiate between them just for that reason. And maybe even not quite getting around to fixing that texturing bug on the 360. People are still going to buy the game if they think both are sort of equal but if they think one is better than another then you might lose sales on one that won't be picked up on the other. Sucks for MS or Sony and their respective consumers, but it's good business for R*.
     
  12. Mobius1aic

    Mobius1aic Quo vadis?
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    Well I've had a go with both versions, and the only real thing I've noticed is the smoother shadows on the PS3 version and the PS3 version seemed to hold up against "CPU slowdown" better when you were able to trigger large explosions involving alot of cars and objects. I noticed the 360 losing more frames at times during those kind of situations than the PS3. I'm just glad to see both games come out very well and of course add more fuel to the fanboy fire. It's fun to sit back and watch, though I do wonder if Rockstar might have been holding back somewhere, such as using SPUs for major graphical work.
     
  13. Fafalada

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    While you may well be right about GTA perception (frankly I only have online media to go by, so I'm reserving my thoughts), this kind of commentary is unnecessary, and to be blunt, reeks of misguided elitism.
    From my experience, the worst fanboys I've met or heard about didn't come from the forums but from people that make games for a living. Knowing how something works does not make one immune from blatant personal bias (in fact, it can make it worse).

    Sorry for the OT rant btw.

    Oh I would never.
    Since you're here, how about some thoughts on the whole shadow dithering thing. I've been puzzling over it, but I'm wondering if I'm thinking in the right context at all.
     
  14. patsu

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    If they are truly bent on achieving this psychological effect to maximize sales, wouldn't it be even more convincing/effective to plan and implement both in 640p ? There wouldn't be shimmering and dithering, less warm looks, or extra pop-ins and frame rate talks for 360 version. Afterall, Halo 3 and some cross platform games were rendered as 640p. DMC4 also achieved parity on both platforms. There wouldn't be any question asked given the scope and scale of the game.

    At this moment, it seems that the teams implemented both versions as well as they could given the time and other constraints. The game is not exactly stable on some PS3 and 360s.
     
    #174 patsu, May 5, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2008
  15. joker454

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    Fair enough, although it definitely wasn't intended that way! Apologies to anyone if I came off sounding like an elitist chump :( I'm mostly just genuinely curious what others are seeing that I'm not.

    We noticed it on MLB. Initially we were using fp16 on PS3, and switching away from that gave us a nice gain. There's always a chance we were 'doing something wrong', but I double checked with fellow devs outside our studio as a sanity check and they seemed to confirm our results. Incidentally, I wouldn't mind hearing your thoughts on shadows, as well as which GTA you visually prefer :)
     
  16. -tkf-

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    Honest answer would be, seeing through their own eyes as the most important factor, with whatever the person looking perceives as good or bad.

    Different output devices with different setups, screen sizes, adjustments and even different setups in the game and on the consoles is a major part as well.

    As i mentioned i play this on a very large screen and the only thing i find very blurry is the background and that is obvisouly intended for either technical or artistic reasons. The game it self, cars buildings etc doesn´t look like 480p scaled up, more like 640p scaled up :) i would have liked AA but i think in general the graphics are pretty smooth and holds together nicely. The 360 version was never an option for me, i dont have a 360 and i dont have friends with a 360. Maybe i will try and get a hold of a 360 with HDMI one day just to see what i might have missed :)
     
  17. Pugger

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    What amazes me after playing both versions extensively is how some gamers say the PS3version is not blurry. Maybe this due to them not seeing the 360 version side by side but its the main reason I can't touch the PS3 version. It is blurry and very hard on the eyes, I have to keep refocusing my eyes to play it for longer periods. For IQ no doubts for me the 360 is much better.
     
  18. Shifty Geezer

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    In the screenshots, PS3 isn't what I'd call blurry. It's more soft. The radius of intensity doesn't extend beyond one pixel, in effect producing an image no worse than SDTV broadcasts. The jaggies are also muted in some cases due to the upscaling. Faces are blotched out at distance, but textures overall are clearer without the noise.

    I can understand people preferring the sharpness of the XB3560 version, but I don't understand these sorts of complaints of the PS3 version. If you can watch football or Wimbledon in SD without painful eyes, as people have done for years, I don't see why the PS3 game would be any different. If millions of people can play Halo 3 without eyestrain, which is scaling in the same way, or COD3, or the plenty of other upscaled games from this gen and last, why should GTA be any different?
     
  19. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    I'm starting to wonder how different the game looks in the various resolutions. On the PS3 I could imagine that there could be a significant difference in looks between the 1080p and 720p modes, because of the internal rendering. Maybe 1080i looks better than 720p in this case also. I've fixed my PS3 to 720p so far, but I'll give 1080i a go tonight. I don't have access to 1080p unfortunately though I could try my 22" screen and see how that pans out.

    My initial response to the PS3 640p image on my 768p screen by the way also was very strongly one of 'my god what a blurry mess', but you do get used to it rather quickly, and it's not so bad when it's moving. Also I had just about the same response to Gears of War on the 22" screen (got that game a few days ago) - I'll have to try that game on my living room TV but so far I can't believe how underwhelmed I was by the graphics of that game. The art is great, but the image quality not so much ... but I'll reserve my final judgment for when I've played it some more, when I've tried it on my livingroom TV, and in a different thread. ;)

    In general though, it does seem that the image on the PS3 has fewer distractions. Once you're over the upscaled image (which I did really notice immediately just like I did with Halo 3), there is little else that's distracting - I haven't found anything yet - and maybe that's one of the things that people like about the PS3 version.

    Also, I've found that there are still a lot of people playing this game on SD TVs. That keeps surprising me, even though it probably shouldn't.
     
  20. Fafalada

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    Bias stuff aside, one thing I try to keep in mind (not always successfully :p) is that by nature of our work we tend to look at things differently, sometimes overlooking/ignoring things that less informed observer would concentrate on over obvious details we keep in mind.

    Mind you, I had my share of disagreements with generally accepted opinions (both of gamers and the media) so I can relate to what you're saying. I do think in cases like this, platform preferences are unavoidable outside of doing blind tests before anyone saw any media.
     
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