Digital Foundry: Performance analysis: inFamous: Second Son

ElTorro

I wanted to dominate the living room. Then I took an ESRAM in the knee.
May 15, 2013
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#1
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-infamous-second-son-performance-analysis

This is an absolutely beautiful game - and a strong performer. Across a general run of play, inFamous: Second Son spends most of its time north of 30fps.
There's been some discussion about the performance of the game, particularly in terms of a fluctuating frame-rate, and what quickly becomes evident is that Sucker Punch has opted to continue the strategy it used on its PlayStation 3 titles: a solid v-sync working in combination with a completely unlocked frame-rate. The difference here is that while the previous titles in the series would frequently drop beneath the 30fps threshold, it takes a mass of action and GPU-intensive post-processing effects to truly impact inFamous: Second Son's performance. Bearing in mind the high levels of detail, and the overall complexity of the rendering pipeline, that's a stunning achievement.
However, the disadvantages of the unlocked frame-rate are pretty clear when looking at the frame-time graph. Here, we study the amount of time each individual frame is on-screen. A locked 30fps or 60fps gives a level of consistency that is considerably easier on the eye, and helps to ensure a level response in terms of controller input lag. inFamous: Second Son spends much of its time between 30-40fps during gameplay - those additional frames over 30fps manifesting more as judder as opposed to a significantly smoother experience. It's hardly a massive issue, but a Killzone-style frame-rate limiting option would be welcome.
Also worthy of note is the implementation of state-of-the-art anti-aliasing, believed to be a variant of SMAA T2X, as found in Crysis 3. This is one of the best post-process anti-aliasing techniques we've seen, combining a new take on MLAA with a temporal element. Edge-smoothing is phenomenal, and while there is some ghosting, it is not any kind of real distraction during gameplay.
We've only just scratched the surface of inFamous: Second Son right now. Indeed, the video above constitutes the entire amount of time we've spent with the game thus far - but what's clear is that as a technological statement, this is exceptionally strong stuff, especially bearing in mind that this is a first-gen PlayStation 4 title.
 
May 28, 2013
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#2
Interesting tidbit on lighting too:
Certainly, the game is a visual feast. Similar to Guerrilla Games' latest work, inFamous operates with a materials-based deferred renderer, which not only allows for a multitude of dynamic light-sources, but also lights the scene according to the physical properties of the objects present - for example, reflectivity and the roughness. An energy-conserving model like the one used here treats light as energy, calculating how light spreads across the surface over the material according to its physical properties. The results can be absolutely beautiful to behold - reflections in particular (what looks like an expert blend of pre-baked and full real-time) can look sublime.
Edit2: Ok, apologies people, can't say the initial comment was intended to be taken seriously...
 
Jun 7, 2004
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#4
I wonder if this game will be like the Gamecube's Rogue Leader: basically a tech showcase that no game could ever touch again during the life of the system.
 

Kai Dracon

Writing a dinosaur space opera symphony
Jun 7, 2004
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#6
While I usually dislike unlocked framerates south of 60fps, I have to admit the effect isn't nearly as bad as usual in Second Son - it seem largely due to the engine having excellent consistency in frame latency. The variances are really smooth and don't give the impression of massive, harsh stuttering that you often seen in a game that fluxes between 30 and 60fps.
 
Oct 31, 2011
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#8
Is it possible for console games to have a locked framerate option? I've noticed some games allow to turn Vsync on/off (Alan Wake), so that would be pretty cool but don't know the technical complexity if that can be pulled off.
 
Dec 9, 2006
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#13
Game looks and preforms really awesome, I cant believe PS4 is giving us game with this visuals so early in the new console cycle.

Kudos to Sucker Punch.
 
Oct 30, 2013
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#17
Sounds good. Hopefully they add a patch to lock it at 30 fps like Killzone did. I personally only experienced jutter about two times in my 6 or so hours and it was very brief. Still, the option to lock it would be nice. Man, what a gorgeous game.
 
Jul 28, 2007
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#21
While I usually dislike unlocked framerates south of 60fps, I have to admit the effect isn't nearly as bad as usual in Second Son - it seem largely due to the engine having excellent consistency in frame latency. The variances are really smooth and don't give the impression of massive, harsh stuttering that you often seen in a game that fluxes between 30 and 60fps.
Yeah the judder effect isn't really that bad in Second Son and it actually happens quite rarely. Didn't mind it.
 
Apr 18, 2011
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#22
I wonder if this game will be like the Gamecube's Rogue Leader: basically a tech showcase that no game could ever touch again during the life of the system.
Yeah, because Resident Evil 4 isn't just as amazing as Rogue Leader. More than likely we'll be amazed that we thought I:SS looked so good in a few years.
 
Jul 6, 2012
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#23
It's an amazing looking game - and with good image quality to go along with it - the only very slight disappointment is the framerate. You see some judder every now and again but it is so so far from being the worst offender.

I adore the on-character effects so much, and the city looks great.
 

RoboPlato

I'd be in the dick
Oct 29, 2006
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#25
Ryse is 900p linear game. But SMAA is better than MSAA I assume?
I know, just saying that this type of AA will be seen on both consoles.

SMAA isn't better than MSAA but it's probably the best post process solution there is. It's a more accurate version of MLAA and the T2x variations have a temporal component as well.

I really just want an option for a 30fps cap for games with unlocked framerates to be standard. Everything else sounds great.
I hope so too. Would be nice if unlocked games had that option.
 
Nov 15, 2008
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#26
The visual of Second Son is simply amazing.
This game deliver one of the best visual I've ever seen and this is a pretty awesome achievement for an early gen game on a 399 (449cnd) console.
 
Jul 28, 2013
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#27
Yep, the game is extremely impressive to see in action.

Sucker Punch have done an amazing job... and on a first wave title on a new console no less.

Is it possible for console games to have a locked framerate option? I've noticed some games allow to turn Vsync on/off (Alan Wake), so that would be pretty cool but don't know the technical complexity if that can be pulled off.
Shadow Fall has the option to lock at 30fps, so it's certainly possible.

I wonder if this game will be like the Gamecube's Rogue Leader: basically a tech showcase that no game could ever touch again during the life of the system.
What a truly bizarre thought to pull from nowhere... especially given that there were several more technically impressive Gamecube titles after Rogue Leader, including it's own sequel, Rebel Strike.
 
#28
It's an amazing looking game - and with good image quality to go along with it - the only very slight disappointment is the framerate. You see some judder every now and again but it is so so far from being the worst offender.

I adore the on-character effects so much, and the city looks great.
Maybe they'll lock it to 30fps like Guerilla did with KZSF.
 
Nov 2, 2013
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#33
Running around with the neon going full blast has been remarkable. Maybe I'm just less sensitive to frame rates than some, but I don't think I've noticed any judder at all in the 7 or so hours I put in yesterday. Game is stunning. First time I've had a genuine holy Shit moment with the graphics on my ps4 (other than some of killzone's sweeping vistas, but that's not open world)
 
#35
Also worthy of note is the implementation of state-of-the-art anti-aliasing, believed to be a variant of SMAA T2X, as found in Crysis 3. This is one of the best post-process anti-aliasing techniques we've seen, combining a new take on MLAA with a temporal element. Edge-smoothing is phenomenal, and while there is some ghosting, it is not any kind of real distraction during gameplay.
Bet MS is itching for dat secret sauce.
except Ryse

EDIT: Beaten to death.

EDIT2: MS is not itching for that secret sauce since ryse used that implementation.
 
Feb 7, 2005
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#43
Is it possible for console games to have a locked framerate option? I've noticed some games allow to turn Vsync on/off (Alan Wake), so that would be pretty cool but don't know the technical complexity if that can be pulled off.
It's actually happened before. Bioshock has an option to unlock the framerate, and some of the older LEGO games have an option to lock the framerate, since they run without V-sync otherwise.
 
Mar 19, 2013
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#46
Ryse used T1x SMAA which is actually higher quality than T2x.
SMAA T2x = SMAA T1x plus temporal supersampling... why it is better?

My comment about Ryse's AA wasn't putting this game down in the slightest. Just clarifying that it's a viable option on XBO as well.
Post-processing AA is not GPU demanding at all... it is viable even on Wii U or previous consoles.
 
Sep 2, 2013
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#49
Game looks amazing. I've played for probably 5 hours and only noticed slowdown once, when I used the neon special attack in a crowded market which blew up a ton of objects all at once.

I do think it would be better locked at 30fps though. Theres a few moments where it starts running at 60 fps (usually in cutscenes) and looks a bit funny after the majority of time in the game its at 30.