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Opinion Hardware What Xbox Series X 12 Teraflops Actually Means for Graphics, Gameplay.

IbizaPocholo

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As hardware gets more powerful, it mainly enables two things: better graphics and better performance. The performance side is easy to understand – games will load faster, have higher frame rates, and slow down less during demanding spurts of gameplay. “Better graphics,” though, is sometimes a bit harder to grok. Sure, you can just say things will “look better,” but there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than just rendering a more photorealistic image.

A critical part of making games more realistic is better and more powerful simulations. Common real-world things like water, cloth, and hair are notoriously difficult to realistically simulate, but a more powerful GPU means more capability to render those systems without bogging things down.

“Smoke, water, wind – things like that are great for GPU processing,” says Bruce Straley, former creative director at Naughty Dog. A great example of this is hair and fur; even as character faces have become more and more photorealistic in recent years, hair often still looks like clumped, plasticky strings. “It’s always been really difficult to make really good hair. And then hair responding to different environments – hair and water, hair and wind, hair and hair gel, are all reactions that can be processed,” Straley says.

Older hardware is certainly capable of rendering these systems we’re talking about, but if they were too complex – or you had too many of them running in parallel, such as strands of hair blowing in the wind or responding to getting wet – then your framerate would chug down to unplayable levels. Having more teraflops (which is short for trillions of floating point operations per second) means more capability to perform the operations needed to smoothly render these systems in real time.

“Essentially, more teraflops means more GPU to put to work across the game,” says Elijah Freeman, VP of games at Virtuos, a studio that specializes in porting and remastering games for new systems. “This means a game can do more impressive things at the same time, with fewer compromises. You’ll see much higher framerates, for example. While the current generation of consoles offers you 30 or 60 fps, the next generation will be offering you 4K visuals at 60 fps combined with 1080p at 120 fps. Games are going to look slick and buttery smooth at high resolutions.”

Power levels like the Series X’s 12 teraflops enable graphical techniques beyond just trying to achieve photorealism that escapes the uncanny valley. Several developers I spoke to pointed to the kind of stylized rendering that Pixar does as being more possible thanks to the hardware-accelerated ray tracing on the Series X.

“Ray tracing is probably the biggest gap between what game graphics can do and what high-end VFX and Pixar and movie graphics can do,” says Bryant Cannon, lead developer at Night School Studio, the developer of Oxenfree and Afterparty. “[With ray tracing], they're actually stimulating the lights bouncing from light to different surfaces.”

Ray tracing is used to accurately simulate light, reflections, and shadows, among other things – not just approximate or ‘fake’ them as most games currently do. This technology has been possible in PC games since late 2018, when Nvidia launched its RTX series of graphics cards, but is incredibly demanding on graphics hardware and has yet to be adopted by the gaming industry at large. The Xbox Series X (and potentially the PlayStation 5, which has not yet had all its features announced) will be the first time the technology is available to console developers and players.

“Something like a Pixar rendering system will rely heavily on subsurface scattering for flesh tones and skin,” Straley says. “If you wanted to make something rendered like The Incredibles, where you have light coming through the earlobes of your character – we faked it at Naughty Dog. We had all sorts of ways to simulate it, but it wasn’t real. If now I can write a shader that has subsurface scattering on it and hook into the ray tracing system, then more people are going to be able to do that.”

And that’s what’s really important: while the best developers in the business have always been able to make games look great, these graphical advancements mean you don’t have to be a wizard to pull off those illusions anymore. Small developer teams who currently have to prioritize processing resources for the rendering and simulation systems that are necessary for their game to work now have more resources to spend.

“All these things are going to be more accessible to smaller teams,” says a veteran developer with both a technical and creative background (who asked to remain anonymous). “Basically because the machine's handling so much of the workload. A lot of the stuff that we have to do on our side, for similar effect, is now just given to us.”

That includes things like collisions – on the scale of millions of collisions per frame – or voxel-based systems like Minecraft, but at a significantly higher resolution, that simply wouldn’t have been possible on older hardware. "So you can have vessels that are made out of voxels that have liquid voxels within,” the developer says, “and when exposed to air when they're busted open, can turn into fire voxels – all these sorts of things that we couldn't even dream of before."

“The reality is we never could get to the point where we could actually do that, and see what that really looks like,” the developer says, “and the results are pretty stunning. So I think what's going to be easier, for smaller teams in particular, is to experiment with things that we never thought we could experiment with because we just didn't have an engine for it. We didn't have the ability to do it. And now just the brute force of this hardware is going to give us that.”

Check the link for more.
 

Gavin Stevens

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Well if they have a lockhart shitty console at launch it's a possibility yeah.

 

Harry Tung

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Jun 1, 2018
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They say this every generation. "We can do stuff now that we couldn't do before." Well, no shit. And at the end of the gen everyone is gonna cry like usual, talking about how weak the consoles are and that they need more power. And the cycle keeps repeating itself.
 

Gargus

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Well the xbox one s was more powerful than the ps4 but it still didnt have any good exclusive games on it.

So does this mean that all this power will automatically make it have fun and good games? Or is it just going to be a expensive paperweight?

All anyone seems to talk about the xbox is how powerful it will, but if it lacks good exclusive games then who cares? Good graphics do not equal good game.
 
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Ryu Kaiba

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Don’t forget: Xbox one will hold it back for the entire lifespan of the console and even beyond. For ALL games in existence.
I think you misread his comment in the first place. He was saying the shitty Xbox one is gonna bottleneck all their games he wasn't on your side.
 

diffusionx

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$500 for slightly better hair and smoke, sounds great.

I predict that the games we are playing in five years will be pretty much the same as the games we are playing now, in many cases literally the same games (Minecraft, GTAV, Siege, etc.). But they’ll have a bit more sparkle and be a bit sharper.
 

ZywyPL

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They say this every generation. "We can do stuff now that we couldn't do before." Well, no shit. And at the end of the gen everyone is gonna cry like usual, talking about how weak the consoles are and that they need more power. And the cycle keeps repeating itself.

Depends on various factors, with the most crucial one being how long the generation lasts. X360 for example was a really well designed console, but almost a decade long lifespan in the fastest growing sector that is IT is like 50-100 years elsewhere, no hardware can last well for so long. Or if your starting point is something that's already outdated/underperforms like current consoles do, then people will very quickly start to complain.

But this time around it looks like the consoles will be ahead of the curve, with tech that's either been released just recently or isn't even available yet. So the starting point of the next-generation will be stronger than ever, even greatly surpassing most PCs out there, so if they won't stretch the lifespan too much after the 5 years mark then the upcoming consoles have a chance to be remembered as something really great, like PS2 or PSX for example.
 
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May 23, 2019
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Well the xbox one s was more powerful than the ps4 but it still didnt have any good exclusive games on it.

So does this mean that all this power will automatically make it have fun and good games? Or is it just going to be a expensive paperweight?

All anyone seems to talk about the xbox is how powerful it will, but if it lacks good exclusive games then who cares? Good graphics do not equal good game.
Jesus.

We get it, MS screwed up with the exclusives this gen. This is known, its not a secret lol. They invested money into a multitude of studios in order to fix this issue. They are playing catchup with the first party Sony studios. They are also trying to get more Japanese studios willing to invest games into the MS ecosystem.

At the end of the day, you don't have to buy the system if you don't want to lol.
 

GymWolf

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I think you misread his comment in the first place. He was saying the shitty Xbox one is gonna bottleneck all their games he wasn't on your side.
No my first comment was more towards sony boys who don't need power in their ps5...
 

Gavon West

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Jan 12, 2018
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Well the xbox one s was more powerful than the ps4 but it still didnt have any good exclusive games on it.

So does this mean that all this power will automatically make it have fun and good games? Or is it just going to be a expensive paperweight?

All anyone seems to talk about the xbox is how powerful it will, but if it lacks good exclusive games then who cares? Good graphics do not equal good game.
Bleeding Christ! How many times... Smh. You guys repeat the same old shit as if we're back in 2013. Fuck sakes, get over some shit already...
 

CatLady

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Well the xbox one s was more powerful than the ps4 but it still didnt have any good exclusive games on it.

So does this mean that all this power will automatically make it have fun and good games? Or is it just going to be a expensive paperweight?

All anyone seems to talk about the xbox is how powerful it will, but if it lacks good exclusive games then who cares? Good graphics do not equal good game.

I'm pretty sure EVERYONE that ever read a positive Xbox thread or discussion on NeoGAF is aware you don't like Xbox games, especially since you reiterate it in every God damn Xbox thread.

Message received, we get it, you don't like Xbox games! No need to continue to educate the masses to fact you don't like Xbox games. How about you just don't buy one, get yourself a nice PS5 and completely forget about Xbox and it's games you don't like.
 

Heinrich

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I think you misread his comment in the first place. He was saying the shitty Xbox one is gonna bottleneck all their games he wasn't on your side.

i don’t give a Shit about „sides“ lol
It’s just hilarious that some armchair devs who know shit about programming and game development saying how this will work out.
We didn’t even see how exactly both consoles work, so let’s wait and see.

MS even said that ALL Xbox Games will look and run better on Series X without developer input at all, automatically.
you don’t know what MS has in their hands, they didn’t reveal everything yet.
so, let’s see and wait.
in the meantime maybe Slowny can reveal some stuff. Lol
But I’m sure that the DF threads will easily show which console has the best looking games.
 
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DryvBy

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The thing is, TFLOPS are the equivalent of when people thought their TV really was pumping out 1 billion and trillion to 1 contrast ratios. It's marketing. I know people in rl that argued with me that GDDR5 meant nothing now trying to talk to me about 12 TFLOPS. So?

It's a weird way to flex without knowing the true specs. The formula for this is: cores x mHz clock speed x fp / 1 trillion

Or X x Y x Z / 1 trillion

So you could calculate that in many different ways and come up with 12 TFLOPS. If you have a crazy amount of cores but a slow clock speed that equals 12 TFLOPS, you'd be out performed by less cores with faster clock speeds equaling 12 TFLOPS.

Just tell me the specs and quit with the techy marketing crap, please.
 
Apr 20, 2015
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No, I am thinking about Heinrich Himmler, which was his close buddy, who did no get killed by us.

Well current research on that topic seems to suggest a rivalry between them, so I would'nt call them buddies. Anyways, I don't want to derail the thread.

On topic:

I think 10-12 TF means a huge jump in performance, but CPU power and NVMe are even more important for developers this time around. Can't wait to see what Sony and MS have cooked up for us.
 
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Jason28

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Can't wait for another video: what 4 tf actually means for graphics / gameplay.
 
Sep 26, 2019
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Well the xbox one s was more powerful than the ps4 but it still didnt have any good exclusive games on it.

So does this mean that all this power will automatically make it have fun and good games? Or is it just going to be a expensive paperweight?

All anyone seems to talk about the xbox is how powerful it will, but if it lacks good exclusive games then who cares? Good graphics do not equal good game.
Dont think the One s was more powerful. I think this wrong.
 

M1chl

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Well current research on that topic seems to suggest a rivalry between them, so I would'nt call them buddies. Anyways, I don't want to derail the thread.

On topic:

I think 10-12 TF means a huge jump in performance, but CPU power and NVMe are even more important for developers this time around. Can't wait to see what Sony and MS have cooked up for us.
Sure, they were rivals, we got the worse one and we killed him (Heydrich), but any prominent Nazi name who is responsible for some atrocity in my country get my attention. Especialy if someone has nick as their names.
 

Malcolm9

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MS can all that power but it means nothing until they have the creativity and variety of the OG Xbox.
 

Armorian

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Wrong. The GPU will never limit gameplay. Only graphics and graphics are scaleable.

Yep, Xbox Series S (if it exist) won't hold developers next gen. Xbox one S (or non S original) will for the amount of time MS wants to support it with first party games.

Most of the power of next gen consoles will be used to render near 4K resolutions. Cerny said you need 8TF to render all PS4 games in native 4K (all 1080p native games to be precise and you actually would need ~7,36TF) so that rumored PS5 specs (~9TF) are not looking that hot, even if we assume that that RDNA is over 30% more efficient than GCN (Polaris).
 
Jan 21, 2019
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Yep, Xbox Series S (if it exist) won't hold developers next gen. Xbox one S (or non S original) will for the amount of time MS wants to support it with first party games.

Most of the power of next gen consoles will be used to render near 4K resolutions. Cerny said you need 8TF to render all PS4 games in native 4K (all 1080p native games to be precise and you actually would need ~7,36TF) so that rumored PS5 specs (~9TF) are not looking that hot, even if we assume that that RDNA is over 30% more efficient than GCN (Polaris).
Eh it depends on how much parity there will be with cross gen games. Personally I think there will be tweaks to next-gen titles considering that most features in a game engine are compartmentalized. Consider that even some PC games have things like PhysX and Hair Rendering that can be turned on and off, draw distance, RT, so on and so forth. Even the Spider-Man demo with an SSD showed that simply changing your drive improved asset streaming significantly with no slow down with little to no modifications to the game itself.

But, let’s face it AI will not see much of an improvement, if at all, for many new games. I expect that not to change this gen.
 
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Armorian

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Eh it depends on how much parity there will be with cross gen games. Personally I think there will be tweaks to next-gen titles considering that most features in a game engine are compartmentalized. Consider that even some PC games have things like PhysX and Hair Rendering that can be turned on and off, draw distance, RT, so on and so forth. Even the Spider-Man demo with an SSD showed that simply changing your drive improved asset streaming significantly with no slow down with little to no modifications to the game itself.

But, let’s face it AI will not see much of an improvement, if at all, for many new games. I expect that not to change this gen.

Things like object physics remained on the same level as in previus generation or you can even argue that there is less usage of it now than in 200x (for example EVERYTHING in Wolfenstein games is attached to ground/walls/cellings etc.) I'm playing Bioshock 2 Remaster right now and seeing game with quite a lot of object physics is so refreshing and this title is 10 years old... I expect this to improve with Ryzen CPUs but reality is it will depend on will of developers, same as Ai you mentioned, it could always be better than it is but devs simply don't care that much.

I think CPU power won't make much difference for games like Uncharted for example (or more accurately Gears of War on MS side) but in open world titles number of NPCs, AIs on the screen and physics is highly dependant on CPU speed. We will see the difference once Ubisoft drops cross gen titles and makes first next gen Assassin's Creed game (just like with AC4 and Unity).
 
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cyber69

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This is what 6 Tera Flops brought the Xbox:



I can't wait what 12 Tera Flops brings. More Terry Crews I hope.
 
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