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Digital Foundry | Can Microsoft deliver next-gen experiences while still supporting Xbox One?

K.Jack

Rap Genius
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
2,935
Dark Space
There's Star Citizen but even that doesn't look far beyond what the best current gen has to offer visuals-wise, let alone next gen games.
One X or Ps4 could run the game. It’s not even questionable.
Okay we're approaching madness now.

Star Citizen is literally mindblowing at times.

Have you at least watched this? Please, watch the whole thing.


NOTHING is doing what SC is doing right now, on its scale, at this level of detail, with no loading screens.
 

alexbull_uk

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,193
UK
Because the concept is not sound.

You know those fantastic GPU benchmark fools that trash the highest of high end features? How come even top of the line cards and CPU’s can still struggle with them? Is it not optimized? Why don’t we see an example of a PC game that would be impossible to run on a console?

Because even the the tech has improved, ultimately the tools are very much the same.
That's pretty much the root of the problem here.

Nobody is out there making an engine that can only hope to run on i9-9900Ks and RTX2080Tis because the demand just isn't there for that and it would be a waste of money.

Lowest common denominator always wins. As such, if developers need to keep making games work on older hardware, then they cannot switch to new technology.
 

Ploid 6.0

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,585
“Can PC developers truly support a 2080TI and a 1080TI?”

It’s almost like scaling to specs doesn’t exist.
They aren't yet, 1080TI is a brute strength game playing them at over 100fps with the bells and whistles on. There aren't games that recommend or require a 1080TI yet. Consoles or time has to catch up to it.

PC's aren't like consoles, consoles upgrade around 7 or more years. They now get bumps with the introduction of this gen's mid gen consoles, but the real upgrade is about to happen.

New PC gaming hardware is released all throughout the year, every year. Sometimes it's 5 different Nvidia cards, 3 Radeon cards, and so many different CPUs, yes still per year. On PC developers can't lock people out of booting up a game like a console can (though it can happen if the OS isn't supported), so the minimum specs aren't like console generations either.

With PC minimum requirements are just the suggestion of hardware combination minimum that a developer feels they want the player to experience their game. Recommended is what the developer hopes people will experience or greater. Playing below minimum could cause a crash (SSE 4.1 not supported in Phenom CPUs causing certain games to crash for example), or just horrible framerate like Shadow of the Colossus PS2, or Control pre patch PS4/Xbox One. Also minimum and recommended differs from developer to developer. Path of Exile has SSD as a Recommended, and playing it without an SSD is ok, but I'm surprised it's not also there for minimum.
 

i-Lo

Avenger
Oct 31, 2017
13,449
Not America
Okay we're approaching madness now.

Star Citizen is literally mindblowing at times.

Have you at least watched this?

It is just easier to sit back, relax, laugh at the ludicrousness of it all and in your case presumably readyth the ban hammer. We've already had some deep-state-esque conspiracy theory chucked at us and compared them, these are just garden variety BS.
 

Flux

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,188
Okay we're approaching madness now.

Star Citizen is literally mindblowing at times.

Have you at least watched this? Please, watch the whole thing.


NOTHING is doing what SC is doing right now, on its scale, at this level of detail, with no loading screens.
It's technically the best looking game out there but is it really leaps and bounds above what RDR 2 is doing?
 

Ploid 6.0

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,585
Also games are going to start having SSD required on PC. I just noticed Path of Exile had SSD recommended. It's a start, of course including Star Citizen has it as required apparently.

Path of Exile system requirements.
 

Monster Zero

Member
Nov 5, 2017
4,792
Southern California
Even if there were "AAA" PC exclusives they still wouldn't target ultra high end specs because that would limit the market too much.



This is exactly what we don't want, that would just make the Series X like a 1X Pro. The difference in power and processing potential is much bigger than similar bumping up a game from 1440p to 4K.
I'm just being realistic. Its most likely what we are going to get. I would also take 4K on X and 4K with raytracing on Series X. Anyone who has used raytracing with Metro Exodus knows how drastic a change raytraced lighting can be. Imagine it in Halo Infinite on an alien world that doesn't have a yellow sun.
 

Ploid 6.0

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,585
Here is Star Citizen running without a dedicated graphics card, just using the integrated graphics of an i5 8500k CPU.

i5 8500k That must be eating a Jaguar cpu's lunch. GPU would be less stressed on low settings.

Oh what's that resolution? The video is 480p but that can't be what the uploader is running at can it? haha. I wonder if a SSD is still required though.

Also the uploader said "16 ram is needed", ooh.
 
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Trup1aya

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,308
Does Star Citizen even function properly without an SSD?
I was just watching some comparison videos on YouTube. It runs surprisingly well on an HDD, but takes forever to load, and there are some situations where it gets extremely choppy

I'd hate to see what it would do to a jaguar though.

Anyway I don't think we'll be seeing anything remotely close to Star Citizen in scope during the first year of next gen.
 

i-Lo

Avenger
Oct 31, 2017
13,449
Not America
So you agree even the most demanding games can be made to scale? For example by dropping effects, resolution and framerate.
If compromising playability and slowly taking away aspects of a game that contributes to its identity is your idea of "scalability", then every single game to have ever existed and will exist can be scaled down to the level of any hardware going all the way back to the days of first generation of consoles.
 

StudioTan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,936
If compromising playability and slowly taking away aspects of a game that contributes to its identity is your idea of "scalability", then every single game to have ever existed and will exist can be scaled down to the level of any hardware going all the way back to the days of first generation of consoles.
Yes, thank you, I agree.
 

K.Jack

Rap Genius
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
2,935
Dark Space
So you agree even the most demanding games can be made to scale?
I literally showed you one you said was targeted at the highest end of PC running with ultra-low settings without even a dedicated graphics card.
You are being extremely disingenuous here..

Running the game at 800x600 with the lowest possible settings at sub-20fps is not scaling. It's running a game in a near unplayable state.

And again, this game on the PC platform is not targeting a specific set of hardware so you have no point to make in relation to the Xbox Series X to Xbox One discussion.

If Xbox One cross-gen titles were released in this resolution/exact state, you would not puff your chest out to say "see, I told you they could scale." You would say, "why did they bother?"

Yes, thank you, I agree.
Oh so you're trolling.
 

spam musubi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,484
So you agree even the most demanding games can be made to scale? For example by dropping effects, resolution and framerate.
yes, theoretically you can run star citizen on an NES if you spend like a month rendering a single frame, and a gigantic cartridge to use as swap memory. does that mean it's an acceptable version of the product? no. so maybe simplifying an argument to an extreme point isn't sensible.
 

Flux

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,188
So you agree even the most demanding games can be made to scale? For example by dropping effects, resolution and framerate.
Anything within reasonable limits can be scaled. For example, a PS4 game can't be scaled to run on a PS2 but a PS4 game could possibly run on a PS3 with sufficient cutbacks. The concept of optimization is amazing and has only vastly improved with time.
 

StudioTan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,936
You are being extremely disingenuous here..

Running the game at 800x600 with the lowest possible settings at sub-20fps is not scaling. It's running a game in a near unplayable state.

And again, this game on the PC platform is not targeting a specific set of hardware so you have no point to make in relation to the Xbox Series X to Xbox One discussion.

If Xbox One cross-gen titles were released in this resolution/exact state, you would not puff your chest out to say "see, I told you they could scale." You would say, "why did they bother?"


Oh so you're trolling.
I'm not being ddisingenuous in the slightest. There is zero optimization happening in that Star Citizen video, it's just brute forcing the scaling. Modern engines have all kinds of tools to allow to devs to scale things until they get the game in a playable state for their target platform. Cross-gen games happen every single generation, this isn't a new development. The only thing new is MS saying their launch games are going to be cross-gen.

My point is with modern engines and hardware that basically uses the same technology this isn't as hard as it was in the past to accomplish and I'm not expecting dire results. I'm expecting launch games for XSX are still going to look amazing despite having versions of the games that run on older hardware.
 

DrScissorsMD

Member
Jan 19, 2019
450
You are being extremely disingenuous here..

Running the game at 800x600 with the lowest possible settings at sub-20fps is not scaling. It's running a game in a near unplayable state.

And again, this game on the PC platform is not targeting a specific set of hardware so you have no point to make in relation to the Xbox Series X to Xbox One discussion.

If Xbox One cross-gen titles were released in this resolution/exact state, you would not puff your chest out to say "see, I told you they could scale." You would say, "why did they bother?"


Oh so you're trolling.
Not disagreeing but isn’t it also kind of disingenuous to be comparing as yet unconfirmed console specs to arguably the current high-performance pinnacle game on PC? If it’s doing all these amazing things that are currently unheard of on consoles then why base console scaling off it?
 

Yogi

Member
Nov 10, 2019
876
I literally showed you one you said was targeted at the highest end of PC running with ultra-low settings without even a dedicated graphics card.
Maybe Star Citizen, at that state at least, isn't that game. But even though the graphics card is somehow surviving there, the CPU on that system is no joke.
If it was, it'd be coming to current-gen consoles too:

“Star Citizen IS a PC game. It will NEVER be dumbed down for a lesser platform. We will NOT limit the input options or supported peripherals to the lowest common denominator. We will NOT pass on features and technology just because they will only run on some hardware configurations.”

Just think about it, if the game needed to have x feature to work, and x feature just can't run on a lower end system, then you either have to redesign the feature or cut it out. You're not going to work that out for everything you add to the game. You make sure it runs on the lower end system first, then you add extras on top.

Without that limitation, instead of little extras we could have had a gold star main course. Or mountains of extras.

At the end of the day they're going to be current-gen games with some effects added or turned up. It might not be so bad but we'll see if there is a difference between PS5 exclusives and XSX cross-gen games.
 
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Ploid 6.0

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,585
I do hope a majority of Xbox cross gen games are being downscaled with some touches to make it not totally crappy for the Xbox One users, but still that leaves physics, and loading from HDD. Halo is likely upscalled since it already started on current gen.

They still may need to design the game so the downscale is smooth and they don't have to go and add wall cracks to crawl through to mask loading, and new physics or fake physics for example. That would take redesigning levels and solving problems, the type of stuff a late Switch port would spend time to do.
 

K.Jack

Rap Genius
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
2,935
Dark Space
Not disagreeing but isn’t it also kind of disingenuous to be comparing as yet unconfirmed console specs to arguably the current high-performance pinnacle game on PC? If it’s doing all these amazing things that are currently unheard of on consoles then why base console scaling off it?
The problem is we weren't specifically discussing console scaling (we were discussing PC scaling actually) at that moment yet StudioTan jumped in with a Star Citizen video to prove console scaling.

I have made zero links between SC and console scaling, right?

edit: I only even posted an SC video because two people said it wasn't impressive and could easily run on the current consoles
 

Iwao

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,308
They cannot, and that was clear a while back. Progressive game design doesn’t scale, you either cut it or pay another studio to make a different version. I’m glad Digital Foundry has weighed in on this (and with great examples too) before folks try to muddy the criticism about it because they value the cross-gen strategy and want it not to be a problem.
 

Garrett 2U

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,510
They cannot, and that was clear a while back. Progressive game design doesn’t scale, you either cut it or pay another studio to make a different version. I’m glad Digital Foundry has weighed in on this (and with great examples too) before folks try to muddy the criticism about it because they value the cross-gen strategy and want it not to be a problem.
But Digital Foundry says it could be possible, and gives some potential solutions (cutting frame rate, reducing density of worlds).
 
Dec 31, 2017
483
You are being extremely disingenuous here..

Running the game at 800x600 with the lowest possible settings at sub-20fps is not scaling. It's running a game in a near unplayable state.

And again, this game on the PC platform is not targeting a specific set of hardware so you have no point to make in relation to the Xbox Series X to Xbox One discussion.

If Xbox One cross-gen titles were released in this resolution/exact state, you would not puff your chest out to say "see, I told you they could scale." You would say, "why did they bother?"


Oh so you're trolling.
Have you seen Ark Survival Evolved on Switch? Game is still hard to pplay for a lot of PC gamer, yet it can go down to 260p on switch. If people are playing that would't be surprised to see people enjoy Star Citizen at 800x600.
 

DrScissorsMD

Member
Jan 19, 2019
450
The problem is we weren't specifically discussing console scaling (we were discussing PC scaling actually) at that moment yet StudioTan jumped in with a Star Citizen video to prove console scaling.

I have made zero links between SC and console scaling, right?

edit: I only even posted an SC video because two people said it wasn't impressive and could easily run on the current consoles
Ah fair enough
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,171
Anything within reasonable limits can be scaled. For example, a PS4 game can't be scaled to run on a PS2 but a PS4 game could possibly run on a PS3 with sufficient cutbacks. The concept of optimization is amazing and has only vastly improved with time.
the point here is that if this is going to be practical at all, the xbox one will need to be able to run the same binary as the series x with scaling applied, rather than having miraculous porting jobs for every single game. that will inevitably affect the upper ceiling of the series x's performance.
 

Flux

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,188
I'm not being ddisingenuous in the slightest. There is zero optimization happening in that Star Citizen video, it's just brute forcing the scaling. Modern engines have all kinds of tools to allow to devs to scale things until they get the game in a playable state for their target platform. Cross-gen games happen every single generation, this isn't a new development. The only thing new is MS saying their launch games are going to be cross-gen.

My point is with modern engines and hardware that basically uses the same technology this isn't as hard as it was in the past to accomplish and I'm not expecting dire results. I'm expecting launch games for XSX are still going to look amazing despite having versions of the games that run on older hardware.
The argument will soon jump from crossgen games are holding back tech advancements to these last gen versions are at too low of a resolution and are missing too many effects even if those compromises are made to prevent old gen from holding back the new gen. Sadly hypocritical in a sense. And it's not like people who aren't smack dab on the PS5 or XBSX at launch care that much about visuals anyway.
 

K.Jack

Rap Genius
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
2,935
Dark Space
But Digital Foundry says it could be possible, and gives some potential solutions (cutting frame rate, reducing density of worlds).
On the other hand, John spends a large portion of their DF Direct talking about how the game design and new experiences will be affected. He specifically says "I'm not talking about graphic fidelity, I'm talking about, you know developing core concepts and ideas that could take advantage of this additional hardware."

My read is that people are far more concerned about that aspect.

The argument will soon jump from crossgen games are holding back tech advancements to these last gen versions are at too low of a resolution and are missing too many effects even if those compromises are made to prevent old gen from holding back the new gen. Sadly hypocritical in a sense. And it's not like people who aren't smack dab on the PS5 or XBSX at launch care that much about visuals anyway.
The game still has to be designed in a way that makes sure it runs on a last-gen CPU.

It's like you aren't even paying attention to the rational parts of the conversation and just post randomly in blind defense.
 
Feb 10, 2018
16,233
Its a bit of a premature conversation to be had when we don't know how well games will scale.
What if for example hellblade 2 looks more like hb1 on x1s+1x and it looks more like the hellblade 2 trailer on xsx.
 

Crayon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
11,004
We know what cross-gen games will be like. It's the early next-gen only games that have something to prove.
 

leng jai

Member
Nov 2, 2017
10,780
Since when is a Jaguar CPU and 5400rpm HDD basically the same technology? Why are people still talking about resolution and effects when it's been made clear that's not what the issue is going to be?
 

Yogi

Member
Nov 10, 2019
876
Its a bit of a premature conversation to be had when we don't know how well games will scale.
What if for example hellblade 2 looks more like hb1 on x1s+1x and it looks more like the hellblade 2 trailer on xsx.
For some games I'm sure it will be okay but what if one has something like flying as a major aspect of the gameplay and the last-gen version doesn't have it at all because it wouldn't run on it remotely decently.

It's not going to happen. Either they both get it or it gets cut out. Things like that are why this is sucky and holds us back. They wouldn't have even finished the feature if it couldn't run on the lower spec machine first.
 
Feb 10, 2018
16,233
For some games I'm sure it will be okay but what if one has something like flying as a major aspect of the gameplay and the last-gen version doesn't have it at all because it wouldn't run on it remotely decently.

It's not going to happen. Either they both get it or it gets cut out. Things like that are why this is sucky and holds us back. They wouldn't even have finished the feature if it couldn't run on the lower spec machine first.
Well for MS's case there games are X1 games anyway. So they can't be "held back".

I wouldn't worry, next gen games are coming, but this time around ms are not unnaturally shifting current gen projects over to next gen.

We know what cross-gen games will be like. It's the early next-gen only games that have something to prove.
If Godfall is anything to go by, then cross gen games will compare very well.
 

KernelC

Member
Aug 28, 2019
1,310
I see the Xbox One X being held back already in games like Outer Worlds, can't imagine how Xbox Sex will do
 

darthkarki

Member
Feb 28, 2019
62
Anything within reasonable limits can be scaled. For example, a PS4 game can't be scaled to run on a PS2 but a PS4 game could possibly run on a PS3 with sufficient cutbacks. The concept of optimization is amazing and has only vastly improved with time.
The reason for that though is that the PS4 and One were mostly a jump in GPU power, which is comparatively easy to scale (i.e., lower resolution). Also memory, of course, but similarly you can super compress audio and lower the quality of textures, etc.

The CPUs, on the other hand, were reeeally low powered even before launch. I believe I even heard that IPC or single thread performance might have even been faster last gen; the improvement was only for workloads that benefited well from multi-threading with the additional cores. So cutting that down to work on last gen definitely would be easier.

With this next transition it's very different. The new boxes will have top of the line CPUs that are many, many times faster than last gen, while the SSDs aren't even comparable, it's a whole new level. AI, physics, loading, etc taking advantage of those can't just be nipped and tucked to run on something orders of magnitude slower. They would just have to be taken out. And if your game is built around utilizing those, that means it won't work on the older consoles, and if it has to work on the older consoles, that means your game doesn't get made.
 

Flux

Member
Oct 28, 2017
3,188
On the other hand, John spends a large portion of their DF Direct talking about how the game design and new experiences will be affected. He specifically says "I'm not talking about graphic fidelity, I'm talking about, you know developing core concepts and ideas that could take advantage of this additional hardware."

My read is that people are far more concerned about that aspect.


The game still has to be designed in a way that makes sure it runs on a last-gen CPU.

It's like you aren't even paying attention to the rational parts of the conversation and just post randomly in blind defense.
And then they would make necessary cuts to CPU related tasks, just like say Forza Horizon 2, ROTTR and a plethora of historically crossgen games did. No? I guess at this point we can only wait for Halo Infinite and compare it to PS5's then AAA exclusives in terms of scope, visuals and ambition.
Since when is a Jaguar CPU and 5400rpm HDD basically the same technology? Why are people still talking about resolution and effects when it's been made clear that's not what the issue is going to be?
Effects can be CPU related. :)
 

headspawn

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,316
What kind of stuff is Star Citizen doing under the hood that it's a stuttering mess even on all the absolute lowest settings with lowest texture detail and everything, yet only an SSD can tame it? Is it the lack of optimization for HDD that is the problem or what? Because it seems like you can be doing pretty much nothing and still have that stutter.
 

ResoRai

Member
Nov 4, 2017
163
If Xbox One cross-gen titles were released in this resolution/exact state, you would not puff your chest out to say "see, I told you they could scale." You would say, "why did they bother?"
I feel like your reply is kind of disconnected. They'd have bothered because theres a lot of casual gamers who do exactly what was showed in the video because that's the hardware they have. And if theres a game they want to play they'll try to run it even if it looks like that.

Back when I had a laptop with an integrated gpu, one of the HD radeon mobility gpus I think, I was struggling, but I was trying to play all the high end games people were running comfortably with their 970s, r9 380s and shit. Played the Tomb Raider reboot on low settings, 720p at ~30 fps and it was tolerable because I was used to that type of performance. Shit, I even played Star Citizen exactly like the video for a bit during a free trial they had. Said fuck it and didnt buy because of my laptop specs at the time tho lol.

I dont think that comment was a troll at all. I have a 2080 now, but most people arent like us on this forum who'll spend that much on a gpu or $500 on a next gen console at launch. Exclusives, while imo are fine, make it so they have no other choice but to. Most play on base consoles and are fine (up to a point) as long as they can experience the game.

People talk about how incredible Star Citizen looks, but the majority of people running the game probably arent doing it at the fidelity people always praise the game for, and probably not with the performance most here would deem acceptable, but do so because they want to play it.