We’ve all heard the news; Microsoft’s Xbox Scorpio is a beast of a machine. Eurogamer had the scoop last week and it detailed the architecture of the new console. While many argued that no modern day console would be able to output 4K 60fps imagery, the opposite was actually the reality. Showcasing ForzaTech, a performance simulations tech demo, Turn 10 Studios was able to show the Eurogamer staff that the 4K dream was real. What many don’t realize is that Turn 10 wasn’t just trying to showcase the performance of the Scorpio; it was shaping the way the console was and is being made.
Forza Motorsport. 4K, 60fps, Xbox One quality settings with 4K assets. GPU utilisation is at 66.19 per cent meaning there’s a huge amount of overhead left over for improving visuals further. Click on the thumbnail for a higher resolution image. -Eurogamer
Before any console prototype was ever created the Xbox Hardware team was busy testing cases for what could be possible for a 4K machine. Using existing Xbox One game engines and putting them through the PIX(Performance Investigator for Xbox) the team was able to determine exactly how powerful the console would need to be in order to deliver a true 4K experience. Turn 10 was able to go above and beyond in providing data for the Xbox Hardware team thanks to ForzaTech.
As stated before, ForzaTech is a tech demo the studio uses in order to stress their engine and test their limitations for achieving 60fps. With it Turn10 was able to provide different sets of data with configurations at 720p, 1080p, and 4K. ForzaTech could push the engine to the bleeding edge in order to demonstrate what the Scorpio team needed to build in order to achieve 4K with not just racing games but other highly demanding game engines. Chris Tector, the Studio Software Architect for Turn 10 Studios, had the following to say about ForzaTech and providing data for Scorpio’s development, “We provided a ton of data with ForzaTech, where we actually rendered different stress scenes at different resolutions – 720p, 1080p, 4K – and then stressed different points in the engine: anisotropic filtering, multi-sampling, pushing heavy LODs through, just to try to get a feel for where the different bottlenecks where…”
The results from other developers were in, and the numbers were looking promising. Using data provided by a multitude of titles, the Xbox hardware team were able to use PIX in order to prove that 4K was indeed possible with their planned system. Tector claims that “All the PIX captures and analysis and simulation they did proved it out for everyone, not just the people who were going to target 4K 60, starting from a point at 1080p60 [like Turn 10] but even the people who haven’t gotten to that point yet,” basically the machine would be able to out 4K not just for games being built with 4K in mind or even just Forza games, the Scorpio would help future games that ran at 900p on the base Xbox One reach 4K.
While Turn 10 was offering alot of important points in Scorpio’s development, the other first party studios were also along for the ride. According to Kevin Gammil 343 Industries and the Coalition offered there own insights on how the console should function. Not only that, Rare had some interesting ideas on their own. “Rare – they’re pushing us a ton around Beam and some of the stuff that we may want to do there, so it’s just great because we a super-strong relationship across the board with first party and it really benefits the platform, which ends up benefiting the customer.” The Beam integration is something to look forward to. Perhaps Sea of Thieves could hold some sort of interactive element with live stream viewers.
With the final hardware configurations set Microsoft looks to E3 for the official unveil of the console. Developers are pouring in their results and all looks well according Gammil. The Scorpio is coming and quicker than Microsoft ever anticipated. Lead Marketer for Xbox Albert Penello is shocked at how quick the console is shaping up and shares that ” …this is the earliest in terms of time to ship. As Chris was alluding to, it’s usually right down to the wire,” For the first time in console history, a product was near fully complete before the actual release date.
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