• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hey Guest. Check out the NeoGAF 2.2 Update Thread for details on our new Giphy integration and other new features.

DF: Tech Analysis: Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Loudninja

Member
Jul 30, 2007
53,089
1
0
31
Chicago
Some spoiler pics in the article btw,I would not watch the vids either.


Uncharted 4 Tech Analysis: A PS4 Masterpiece
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts2am8WRBXQ

Uncharted 4 Single-Player Gameplay Frame-Rate Stress Test
Naughty Dog targets a locked 30fps at 1080p for Uncharted 4's single-player campaign. And it actually delivers an excellent level of consistency for the most part. There are some minor drops - and we've collated them here for your viewing pleasure.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9UmD13aarg


What works

Image quality: Uncharted 4 delivers the best image quality we've seen in a console game to date. Even in the face of rare titles like Tearaway Unfolded, with its high quality MSAA settings, Uncharted 4 stands tall. Naughty Dog has developed a temporal anti-aliasing technique that delivers results that sometimes manage to approach the quality of a super-sampled image. Thin edges are remarkably clean, shader aliasing is almost non-existent, and shimmering is all but eliminated. Large, complex fields of detailed foliage remain razor sharp even at a distance while finer details on Nate's weapons remain clearly visible. We noted similarities to the hybrid-reconstruction anti-aliasing used in Far Cry 4 but we cannot say for sure how this was achieved. Perhaps Naughty Dog will share more information on this in the future, as the results are stunning and this technique could benefit console games as a whole.

Character rendering: This has become a very competitive field. Character rendering in many games including Halo 5, Quantum Break and Rise of the Tomb Raider has been remarkable, but Uncharted 4 pushes things even further. The quality of the characters is the result of excellent modelling, smart design and comprehensive engine features working in tandem. As a consequence of the physically-based approach used by the game, light properly reflects, refracts and penetrates the skin while micro-details help create that extra layer of realism. Skin and fat also bend and move realistically while details such as stubble, pupils and eyebrows are beautifully rendered in high fidelity. Beyond that, clothing is also taken into account as part of the simulation, such as the way Drake's shirt reacts to the wind simulation or how his tools bounce around as he runs. Even his chest hair is impacted by the wind. Speaking of hair, the quality across the game is exceptional with a complex assortment of textured cards giving the impression of real strands of hair. It's not simulated in as much detail as the impressive TressFX system featured in Rise of the Tomb Raider, but it's more consistent across all characters.

Character performance: Another key element in bringing Uncharted to life lies in its animation and character performance. The animation techniques used in the game have evolved greatly, offering enhanced layering alongside a greater number of available animations in general. Drake has a real weight previously lacking in the series - which actually has a positive impact on the controls. Facial animation has improved with more than 850 possible expressions now available compared to Uncharted 3's 120. Character faces use all of the muscles in the head and neck to great effect and Naughty Dog's mix of captured and hand-created animation work is convincing. During cut-scenes, the smallest nuances are captured in the character's performances, helping to deliver the story - which brings us to our next point.

Real-time cut-scenes: One of the most profound shifts in the series over previous entries is the move to real-time cut-scenes. Previously, the complexity of the cinematics necessitated the use of pre-rendered video files. This helps conceal loading at points but also lightens the load on the hardware. Moving to real-time creates a more cohesive presentation, with the game now able to transition seamlessly between gameplay and cinematics. It also makes for a convincing tech demo as the visuals on display here are some of the most impressive we've seen to date. More impressively, the final game comes very close to matching the quality of the original E3 2014 teaser trailer - something we'll be exploring this week.

What doesn't work
The E3 2014 60fps promise: Not so much something that doesn't work, as opposed to an initial promise that didn't work out. It's pretty clear that the visuals on display in Uncharted 4 would be impossible at a full 60fps - likely due in part to the limited CPU used in the PlayStation 4 - but some fans remain affected and disappointed by the original promises of a 60fps experience. Releasing that original E3 2014 teaser trailer at a full 60fps means that as impressive as the game is, there are still those that will be disappointed. Unfortunately, this is the reality of game development. After all, both Uncharted 4 and Halo 5 were initially targeting 1080p60. Naughty Dog opted to drop the frame-rate for the campaign while sticking with 1080p while 343 Industries sacrificed resolution for a rock solid 60fps at all times. At least the game's multiplayer mode delivers 60fps even if the resolution has been dropped to 900p. We'll be testing that soon - the servers were offline during production of this article.

Loading: While the game is a seamless experience during a normal playthrough, anyone attempting to replay the game or experiment with different sequences will quickly run into very lengthy loading screens. Selecting any encounter or chapter requires a solid minute of loading, which is frustrating enough, but manually resetting to a previous checkpoint requires just as much waiting. In attempting to capture footage for the game, this quickly became frustrating, but even for users looking to perfect their run, it could become a chore.

With all the recent talk about the PlayStation Neo, Uncharted 4 demonstrates just how much can still be achieved on less powerful hardware. It's clear that many developers lack the budget and staff necessary to pull this off, but it's always fascinating to see what can be achieved at the high-end. The question that remains is where we go from here. The original Uncharted represented Naughty Dog's first foray into the world of programmable pixel shaders and the team was able to iterate beautifully between each game. It's difficult to predict what kind of results we'll see in its next game but we're certainly excited about the future.

Still, in many ways, the future is now and there is no better showcase for what can be achieved on console than Uncharted 4. This is a must-play experience that delivers the rare mix of pitch perfect gameplay and high-end visuals. If you've been keeping up with Digital Foundry over the years and have an interest in graphics technology, you owe it to yourself to give Uncharted 4 a try. In fact, it's such a remarkable achievement that even users that prefer to stick with other platforms should find a way to at least sample the game, just to appreciate the extreme artistry and expertise on display here.
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2016-uncharted-4-thiefs-end-tech-analysis
 

chadskin

Member
May 27, 2013
13,088
3
0
Simply put, Uncharted 4 is the technical powerhouse we've been waiting for. That fleeting sensation of being truly wowed by what's on-screen doesn't come quite as often as we like, but it's a feeling that never left us with this title - even as the final credits rolled. The set-pieces are more impressive, the maps larger, the characters and environments more detailed and the gameplay mechanics are richer than ever before. This is the real deal.

It's a game built on the most recent iteration of Naughty Dog's in-house engine technology, offering an almost obscene wealth of new rendering features, all while making life easier for its creators. Front-facing features include physically-based rendering, pre-computed global illumination, comprehensive physics simulation, superior artificial intelligence and more. The lineage from The Last of Us is certainly evident, but the more powerful PlayStation 4 hardware enables the team to push the scale of its ambition much further than any of its previous titles.

With such a complete package, it's difficult to fully appreciate everything being brought to the table by this game, but we've tried to break down the game into the key components that make it work so well, in addition to highlighting elements that don't quite match the overall sheen of the whole package.
More: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2016-uncharted-4-thiefs-end-tech-analysis

SP framerate stress test: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9UmD13aarg
 

KainXVIII

Member
Jan 16, 2014
4,902
2
510
Salty
The E3 2014 60fps promise: Not so much something that doesn't work, as opposed to an initial promise that didn't work out. It's pretty clear that the visuals on display in Uncharted 4 would be impossible at a full 60fps - likely due in part to the limited CPU used in the PlayStation 4 - but some fans remain affected and disappointed by the original promises of a 60fps experience. Releasing that original E3 2014 teaser trailer at a full 60fps means that as impressive as the game is, there are still those that will be disappointed. Unfortunately, this is the reality of game development. After all, both Uncharted 4 and Halo 5 were initially targeting 1080p60. Naughty Dog opted to drop the frame-rate for the campaign while sticking with 1080p while 343 Industries sacrificed resolution for a rock solid 60fps at all times. At least the game's multiplayer mode delivers 60fps even if the resolution has been dropped to 900p. We'll be testing that soon - the servers were offline during production of this article.
 

JamesAR15

Member
Apr 11, 2014
412
0
0
Naughty God's did it again.

 

benzy

Member
Sep 18, 2010
9,190
218
875
The AA is pretty fantastic coming from the screenshots thread. Wish we knew more about how it works, it seems FFXV is also trying to implement a similar TAA but results haven't been as great so far.

BTW, thanks for the write-up and vid Dark.
 

Insane Metal

Member
Mar 11, 2006
26,176
20,015
2,180
Br
Holy crap... they aren't even sure what AA solution was used. Most impressive visuals, best AA solution, best IQ on consoles... Naughty Gods are magicians confirmed.
 

amstradcpc

Member
May 26, 2009
2,502
372
960
Do you think we can get 60 fps on Neo?

Depends on CPU occupation in U4 with respect to TLOU remaster. There they had to do marvels to fit CPU time in 16ms. If now CPU time is 40% longer the CPU boost to 2,1 Ghz in Neo could be enough.
However if now the CPU time of a frame is fully 33 ms (30 fps) then it won´t be possible.
 

Skele7on

Banned
May 22, 2014
6,520
0
350
twitter.com
Not going to lie, but as I played through it was often too beautiful,

Photo mode became a nasty addiction that I had to fight whilst playing through.
 

Roussow

Member
Dec 14, 2014
2,255
0
0
25
Photo mode locks to the player, honestly for me this is the biggest negative going into the game.
 

ZeroX03

Member
Oct 23, 2009
27,340
0
620
Australia/New Zealand
For people worried about spoilers, read the text version. Nothing story related there and they don't get into location specifics. There's only a few pictures accompanying with it, and you can turn off images in your browsers if that worries you.
 

amstradcpc

Member
May 26, 2009
2,502
372
960
Don't see why not given this is a pretty solid 30FPS. I think it's also time to accept the PS4 was never going to do 1080/60 on this given the detail present.

Is a solid 30fps. But there are cycles left in the CPU in a 33ms frame time?.
 

Salz01

Member
Jan 21, 2010
2,516
149
935
I'd like to also know the analysis on MP, and if it's improved from Beta. The Beta looked good, but felt it could look a tad bit better.
 

AmyS

Member
Aug 22, 2012
14,320
31
455
One more time

Yeah.

Man that's really impressive work, Naughty Dog. I'd purchase a PS4K to play UC4 SP @ 60fps "Neo mode". Thinking beyond PS4K / Neo, when there's a true next generation PlayStation 5 with a respectable-for-time-time CPU and all new GPU with 1TB+/sec HBM2 I can't wait to see what new experiences ND will create, pushing the metal.
 

benzy

Member
Sep 18, 2010
9,190
218
875
Photo mode locks to the player, honestly for me this is the biggest negative going into the game.

Yeah, that's disappointing. I thought someone from gaf said it was more free-form and not like Last of Us...
 

Ricky Ricardo

Member
Apr 20, 2014
5,200
0
320
ATL, GA (USA)

How is that salty?

Both companies big-talked 60fps after putting out the Master Chief Collection and The Last of Us Remastered. One backed down for reasons, the other made the sacrifices to attain it on a complete level.

Whether you think those sacrifices were worth it is beside the point, the fact is, talk is cheap. You put your money where your mouth is when you act.