Microsoft Made It as Easy as Possible for Developers To Showcase Scorpio’s Power; Resolution Targets Confirmed

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Apr 15, 2017
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Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry Scorpio coverage continues today with a more detailed look at the console’s hardware. Microsoft’s Technical Fellow Andrew Goossen pointed out how, at the very core of Scorpio’s design, there was the idea to minimize the work needed from the developers’ side to showcase the console’s power in games.

This is reflected in everything. You’ll see it in the developer kit we give to developers. You’ll see it in terms of the performance goals – we want to make it easy as possible for developers to show that ultimate true 4K quality. The other guiding principle was to minimise the work in terms of features. We didn’t want developers to go and take advantage of some quirky new console-specific hardware feature to get that performance. Our guiding principles were around making it easy as possible for developers to showcase and exhibit the performance and power of Scorpio.

Goossen then said that at least some of the Xbox One games that currently run at 900P (1600×900) should run fine at 2160P, or 4K, on Scorpio with a day one port; others will need more work to get there.

We wanted [native 1080p Xbox One games] to run at full native 4K with a rock-solid frame-rate with a whole bunch of performance left over to showcase and actually improve the visual experience in many other ways beyond render resolution. And then our other goal was that we wanted to get 900p games up to full native 4K. That’s a little bit harder. Some of 900p games – day one port – they should be running fine, solid at 2160p. For other games it’s going to be more work than you’ll traditionally do in terms of console optimisation but we wanted to get those 900p games at 2160p.

For the very small handful of titles that run at 720p today, our expectation is that they can checkerboard up to native 4K if they want to do that. I also expect variations of titles that are perhaps running at 900p at 30fps on Xbox One today that they can leverage the 31 per cent boost to CPU clock along with a bunch of other optimisations in conjunction with our D3D12 offload to potentially offer 1080p60 rather than 900p30. It’s totally up to developers.

In terms of the panoply of implementations we’re going to see for Scorpio native games, I expect quite a range. I wouldn’t be surprised to see games running at 1080p on Xbox One… they might use checkerboard and then they use the remaining GPU to really impact visual quality.

Additionally, Scorpio can deliver a “full fidelity, incredibly high bitrate GameDVR 4K@60 recording” that also includes HDR. Similarly to PS4 Pro, the upcoming and yet-to-be-named Xbox console will feature hardware techniques to make checkerboard rendering very efficient, though some developers apparently prefer to use Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA) combined with upscaling.

Scorpio games will also have to ask users whether they prefer the performance or quality mode. The high-performance Xbox console is set for release in late 2017.

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