Chorus Dev: TFLOPs Alone Aren’t of Much Use; Pop-In Should Definitely Be Reduced in Next-Gen Games
One of the new games announced during yesterday's Inside Xbox episode was Chorus, a 'dark space-combat shooter' coming to next-gen and current-gen consoles, PC and Google Stadia in 2021.
Johannes Kuhlmann, Head of Core Technologies at developer Deep Silver FISHLABS, was also interviewed by Eurogamer in the context of next-gen hardware and its impact on game development. According to Kuhlmann, the TFLOPs advantage (which is squarely in Microsoft's pocket as the PlayStation 5 has roughly 2 less TFLOPs than the Xbox Series X) alone wouldn't account for much on its own if it couldn't be exploited due to software limitations of any kind.
There's definitely more to the debate than that. I can't really speak on any number differences, but what I know is we do have the game running and it looks very promising already. But what we always see with any console generation is we first have to learn how to handle the hardware, how to handle the software, and how to make the best use of it.
If you have a difference in teraflops, but then have an operating system or firmware that doesn't allow you to take advantage of this, then it's not going to be of much use. So there's definitely more to the debate. It definitely depends on how you can make use of hardware and software.
That is not to say this will be the case with Xbox Series X, as Kuhlmann noted that the development of Chorus on Microsoft's next-gen console has been very smooth. He also added that Deep Silver FISHLABS has mostly been focusing on the Xbox Series X, so he wouldn't be drawn into direct comparisons with the PS5 hardware.
That said, Kuhlmann did say he expects pop-in issues to be drastically reduced in next-gen games due to both the SSD technology and larger, faster RAM available on the PS5 and Xbox Series X hardware.
One part of that is performance of the GPU - if you can actually render all the trees that are far in the back. But yeah, popping in should definitely be reduced, because we can stream in whatever is in the distance faster, and it's just going to be ready earlier, so that it's not popping in while you can already see it. And on the other hand, we do have more RAM available now so we can just keep more stuff in memory as well in case we might need it. So we can start streaming in the trees in the distance - not in our case, not trees - but start streaming in parts of the space station earlier when you're getting closer, than compared to if we were limited in RAM, because you would have to manage what we are using more.
Good news indeed, as pop-in is certainly one of the more noticeable graphics shortcomings that console gamers have had to deal with over the course of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One generation.
You can take a look at the announce trailer for CHORUS below.