inFamous Second Son’s Particle Effects Compile Directly On PS4’s GPU, Does Not Involve CPU At All

“All these amazing particles and effects that the hero can do and that is a whole new sub system.”

Infamous: Second Son

Before we jump into inFamous Second Son, let us go a few months back. Back in June we reported that PlayStation 4’s GPU features significant customization and will be able to handle complex asynchronous compute operations some of which were originally meant for the CPU.

“Physics simulation, collision detection, ray casting for audio, decompression and the like. And these operations are fine grained meaning that there will be many small world simulation tasks running on the GPU simultaneously alongside rendering of the game scenes. So the concept is that as game developers learn to use these techniques later on in the console life cycle, we will see richer and even more interactive worlds,” Mark Cerny said at the time.

It seems that Sucker Punch’s inFamous Second will be using the above mentioned feature of the PlayStation 4. Brian Fleming, one of the founders of Sucker Punch studios revealed that the inFamous Second Son’s particle effects is being directly compiled on the graphics chip and uses no CPU processing at all.

The effects you see above are being directly handled by the GPU without CPU’s intervention.

“Some of it has been straight forward improvements across the board in terms of the way that lighting and specularity works on surfaces, but there is other areas like particle effects and this is really a big part of Second Son, all these amazing particles and effects that the hero can do and that is a whole new sub system. We wrote that [code] from the ground up to be targeted at the PlayStation 4 hardware and the whole system takes the work that our effects artists do and compiles it to actually run directly on the graphics chip so it does not even run on the main computer [cpu]. It runs entirely on the graphics system. It lets us have incredible scale, huge number of particles, spectacular effects that we could not have done in any other way," he said in an interview with GamerHub.

inFamous Second is due on March 21st, 2014 exclusively for the PlayStation 4.


  • cozomel

    I dont get why people think that have a underpowered cpu that needs the gpu to pick up its slack is considered impressive by anyone. More impressive would have been if it had a beefy cpu that combined with the gpu could produce even more impressive effects.

    • Jake Bashore

      A six core i7 could not have done this, I work with 3d rendering EVERY DAY, I use a gtx 690 to render ray-traced scenes in realtime. I make many physics simulations, some involving similar particle effects, unfortunately, the program is compiled by a pre 2.8x bullet physics library, meaning NO GPU computation using open CL for particles (at the time), my 8 core processor has to work for a few minutes to do what I’ve seen beta builds with the GPU processing do in SECONDS. You have absolutely no idea, when it comes down to computer hardware and what it is capable of. If they performed this on the cpu, there would be less particles and it would drag down some of the other operations that the cpu is utilized for. Check out the difference in performance between 8 cores and a GPU in this video I made a ways back. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4-PHaU7wxs

    • Krepler

      That’s pretty awesome! There will always be someone who will have an opinion on something they know nothing about. I’ve been that person a few(hundred) times myself..oops :)

    • Jason Brody

      Dude your a beast, and that looks so cool.

    • LupineMP3j

      Once you have a GPU that can do what Jake Bashore showed, what’s the purpose of needlessly raising the price of the system with a flashy CPU?

  • BIGBOY181

    i call bullshit on that. that sound pretty stupid really. any body with a little hardware
    know that is just wrong. stupid sony they think everybody is a dumbass
    pace

  • David Todd

    The CPU just couldnt do the level of physics and particle effects displayed here without a huge hit on performance. This is down to the parallel nature of modern GPU designs. I’m glad Cerny designed the PS4 with a lot of compute headroom because then we might see more of it coming across to the pc. We’ve only really seen this in the form of PhysX and I cant wait to see how developers push this in the coming years.

    • kyle

      Infamous SS looks absolutely stunning on PS4, can’t wait to get it early next year.

  • Eagles83

    Why is this news? Particle effects like this have been executed on gpu cores for years now. I guess because it is new to a console game? Not sure why anyone should care.

    • billdo73

      “heterogeneous Uniform Memory Access”

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    That is fucking cool how they were able to get it all on GPU without CPU intervention. Rather impressive given that this is all in the first year of PS4’s launch. Now let’s imagine how much more they will do for the sequel when they use CPU next time around to enhance everything. One question: does ray casting audio work similar to the way ray casting light is simulated in the game so that there’s more ambiance in the environment?

    • ScionicSpectre

      I know- considering what’s just around the corner in 2014, it’s incredible to think what we might be looking at in a few years time.

      That’s a really good question about the emission of sound, in comparison to ray-cast lighting. I do remember reading about some impressive ideas from the sound engineers on this game, but I couldn’t say anything about that specifically. Of course, that’s one of the things we can focus on a bit more this generation.

    • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

      Yeah Sucker Punch said they would be enhancing audio so much that you need good speakers on your TV to hear all the minute sounds they blended into the environment such as hearing birds flying at night and how that makes the experience more organic, etc. Pretty sure they said to attach external speakers as TV speakers aren’t powerful enough alone to hear everything in the game going on around you to get the best immersion. If you Google it there should be an interview with them about the audio. I think Mark Cerny also mentioned it once or twice how they are enhancing audio capabilities. Let’s hope they go more in depth with that at GDC 14 or something.

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