Halo 5 Guardians – Xbox One E3 Frame-Rate Test

Archie Paras
Jul 4, 2015

DigitalFoundry has released a video testing the performance of Halo 5 Guardians from the E3 2015 gameplay demonstration.

It is titled as a ‘Work In Progress’ test and can be viewed below:

E3 work-in-progress footage. 343 Industries is aiming for 60fps gameplay, but it’s clear that there’s a lot of optimisation work to do – and we suspect that could well be down to CPU as well as GPU.

Already, 343 is looking to free up as much GPU time as possible – as well as lower resolution transparencies effects (explosions etc), there’s a dynamic horizontal resolution in play here, while vertical resolution is locked to 810 pixels right now. But 343 says that nothing from E3 resolution-wise is final – but we can definitely see the techniques it is currently using in an attempt to keep frame-rate high.

DigitalFoundry explains:

The current dynamic frame resolution system can actually be observed in more detail within the ‘Road to E3’ video published on the Halo Channel a few weeks back, and embedded below. It provides a closer look at the game in a debug state, complete with important performance statistics visible on-screen, as the camera is flown in and around the environment. We can see the horizontal resolution apparently shift dynamically between a full 1920 all the way down to 832 pixels. With 810 vertical lines in play we’re looking at a resolution ranging from 1920×810 to 832×810. However, in b-roll distributed during E3, minimum resolution observed comes in at 1152×810 – not exactly wonderful but presumably more indicative of where the system is right now during gameplay.

343 Industries Studio Head Josh Holmes, with online alias, Sal1ent, recently took to the Team Beyond forums to answer a few questions about Halo 5: Guardians.

A fan asked whether it would be possible to allow users to ‘maintain weapon (and grenade) control during sprint, but with no or extremely limited aim assist’, to which Holmes replied that the idea would take a lot of tweaking and balancing to implement into the game.

This idea is interesting but it would take a ton of tuning and balancing to make it work. It’s definitely not something that could be implemented for Halo 5 (even if we wanted to). One downside to this approach is that it softens the tradeoff for sprinting and makes the direct impact of that tradeoff (inability to shoot accurately) less clear. We would need to invest a lot of time in refining the player feedback (through the HUD, audio) to ensure that all players understand what is happening when their accuracy drops substantially. If done poorly, this would feel random to players who don’t have the benefit of understanding what is happening behind the scenes. In general we have found (through substantial testing and player feedback) that analog relationships between different game states are very challenging to communicate and often lead to player confusion (and therefore frustration).

Holmes continued regarding maintaining weapon and grenade control while operating thruster pack.

Similar feedback to the idea above. We’ve focused instead on tuning the window between initiation of the thrust and ability to shoot (for the thrusting player) so that there is enough “tell” without feeling sluggish. This has continued to be refined since beta and feels much snappier.

Some notable points were, firstly ‘the sub-optimal visibility when using the ability on the beta’s precision weapons, to which Holmes replied

This has been improved since beta. All weapons have gone through substantial tuning as a result of feedback and data.

And some balancing tweaks for the AR/Magnum and the Magnum, to which Holmes replied with

We are currently focused on AR/Magnum and the Magnum has been buffed considerably. IMO this is the best the Magnum has felt in Halo since at least CE (if not ever).

Halo 5: Guardians is being released on October 27 2015 for the Xbox One. We will bring you any new information as soon as it becomes available.