Nitrous Engine Dev Explains Why PS4 And Xbox One Have Struggled To Deliver 1080p/60fps Experience

Oxide Games’ development team says it comes down to simple math.

Posted By | On 14th, Dec. 2015 Under News

Xbox One PS4

GamingBolt recently had a long technical chat with Dan Baker, Tim Kipp and Brian Wade from the Nitrous Engine. Though both consoles have been better about it since launching, there are still a large number of games on both the Xbox One and PS4 that are yet to achieve 1080p resolution and 60 FPS. According to Oxide Games, who have created the Nitrous Engine and Ashes of the Singularity (one of the few games out there built for DirectX 12), it’s really just simple math at the end of the day.

Speaking to GamingBolt, the development team said that, “It’s simple math. Last generation consoles and this generation, I think the number I heard quoted was it was 6 times more powerful. That’s great, right? Then you do the math. You realize that if you’re running at 720p and going to 1080p you’ve doubled the number of pixels.

“If you were running 30 frames a second at 720 and you doubled your pixels and wanted to double your frame rate, you just used 4 more per and you have no more perf. Then you additionally want to increase the fidelity. You’ll see the same thing on 4K. It has 4 times the pixels as 1080. You need a GPU 4 times as powerful just to do the same thing you did before just at a higher resolution level with most engines. With Nitrous you actually don’t. That’s probably why you haven’t seen the big jump that some people were expecting.

“It also takes increased bandwidth, etc. etc. When you try to get a game down into the 16 milliseconds consistently, category, it’s amazing how those milliseconds add up. Going to 30 frames per second is like gaining those extra milliseconds really is huge in terms of flexibility you’ve got there. It’s very difficult. Every game generation you want to do something a little more ambitious.

“And to pack additional graphics plus additional AI, plus additional gameplay and everything else into 16 milliseconds can be really, really challenging. Especially when trying to do that consistently. The last thing you want to do is stutter between 60 frames per second and 30. You don’t want to jump back and forth there a whole lot. There’s a lot of people that will argue the development cost and the discipline it takes to make a game run consistently at 16 milliseconds is just very difficult to achieve.

“There are other things you can say too. As resolution increases the computational cost increases. I think we’re one of the only engines out there that have been re-investigating how you render a frame. To some extent, as the resolution increases, not only is there a cost of more pixels but those pixels are being faded in a very simple manner. As we scale up in resolution how can we change our rendering so it’s less expensive? Because were doing the object space lighting we actually would scale better as the resolution increases. If you run our games at 4k, a lot of engines are 3 or 4 times slower – we’re like less than half speed.”

What are your thoughts on this especially since we’re still in the early years of the Xbox One and PS4? Will it ultimately matter if both consoles are still capable of delivering amazing visual fidelity with their games? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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  • Cyshox

    Both consoles are underpowered. Damn, even my smartphone is as powerful as my PS4. I expect next gen between 2018 & 2020

    Imho Microsoft is the winner this gen. Worst about PS4 is its lack of backward compability (for me PS2 games you have to buy again dont count). The could emulate PS3 but they dont want to. Moreover im sick of the PS Store prices…often they raise them before making a “good offer”. XBox One has better exclusives and you can plug in any usb stick or external hard drive you want. Sony obviously thought it would be nice if their console doesnt support that.

    The only three reasons while Sony sold more are
    1. Hop on the hype train
    2. There are lots of bloody Sony Fanboys who would buy a PS5 for $600 – even if its just a PS4 with new Design
    3. People believe to see a difference between 900p & 1080p…but they wont

    • J.j. Barrington

      Do you usually completely fabricate your comments, or is this just a one-off?

    • Cyshox

      Do you feel a need to reply on every comment, or is it just boredom because you dont know anything better to do?
      Sorry for the typos but I mostly hurry and english is not my native language…

    • J.j. Barrington

      Every comment? Did I respond to a bunch of comments in my sleep or something?

      Also, that wasn’t an answer to the question.

  • ephoenix6

    “you just used 4 more per and you have no more perf.” second paragraph

  • PixelOmen

    You’re delusional if you think you can get more performance out of a $400 machine that includes an APU/controller/PSU/HDD/Bluray drive etc. (I’m directing this at some the comments below, not the dev in the article).

  • Jason Mounce

    Struggled? It’s simply about balance. MGS5 worked fine at 1080p and 60FPS on PS4 – Why? The engine is optimized ‘and’ Kojima and staff aimed for both 1080p and 60FPS without any compromises to that goal. You could make a current-gen game that looks better and is at 30FPS locked like Driveclub or you could have what PS VR is going for and that’s 90FPS Minimum which will of course also reduce the visual quality.

    There is no struggling. It’s about competent development and ideas on what is desired and why. Extra visual flare, extra smooth FPS or a Balance in the middle?

    Don’t see why this is so hard for people to comprehend. lmao. It’s a Choice rather than a Struggle. STRUGGLE would’ve been a fine word to use Last-gen because so many wanted to do 1080p but couldn’t and had to stick with 720p but the hardware couldn’t do 720p and 60FPS thus they made it so it was increased visuals at the cost of ‘Brown palette’ or via whatever they could cram and what techniques they could use while staying at the standard of 720p/30fps such as say, Uncharted 2 which showed some of the best visuals, alongside The Last of Us, or even God of War 3 on PS3 looked GREAT for a PS3 title with the resolution and frame rate it was at.

  • Gabriel Massa

    In reality I think it is a big step from previous to the current. But is fixes on details only with the lat gen still being capable of doing current games losing these details while they should upgrade the visual of the main characters first. the worst part is that the consoles didn’t overpower PCs this time and already seems old. I don’t think current gen will last as long as previous. Probably the innovation with devices such VR will save then.


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