Middle-Earth Shadow of War Dev on Xbox One X – “It Shares A Lot of DNA With Windows 10”

“From a content standpoint, it didn’t take long to get it working.”

Posted By | On 29th, Aug. 2017 Under News

The Xbox One X is a very thorough and extensive upgrade over the existing Xbox One hardware, not just supercharging and boosting the original console’s specs, but in many cases eschewing its hardware choices and going for something entirely new- such as the culling of the ESRAM for a unified 12GB of GDDR5 RAM.

So the question here is, how much extra effort does it require developers to tap into the Xbox One X’s power, and utilize all the extra hardware power and resources it has to offer? It is a pertinent question, especially because developers will not bother leveraging the Xbox One X if it is too hard to work with.

Thankfully, we have heard from many developers that it is actually extremely easy to tap into its power- and now, in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Monolith’s technical art director Matt Allen discussed the specifics of just how easy it was to get the game up and running on the Xbox One X.

“From a content standpoint, it didn’t take long to get it working. From an engineering standpoint, because it shares a lot of DNA with Windows 10 – and we are already running on Windows 10 – it took our engineering director about a day to get it running on the original Scorpio kits. It wasn’t perfect; there were edge cases, so it involved a bit of tinkering, but it was not a lot of extra work,” Allen sad.

Most of that ‘tinkering’ came down to tapping the extra functionality offered by the console, such as HDR, and balancing the game around that. “The extra work comes in with the extra stuff you can do, like HDR. HDR is a colour space that is sort-of new to games, and a lot of games are using physically-based rendering. We developed PBR in a standard colour range, but when you get into HDR the colour range gets all wonky, because there is so much more… so there was about a month of iteration trying to get the lighting correct,” he said.

This sounds encouraging- it seems as though it doesn’t take much to get your game up and running on the One X, but also that developers need to be careful they don’t just dump their game on the hardware and call it a day- special considerations need to be kept in mind regarding HDR and 4K. Which is sensible.

Hopefully this means widespread support for the Xbox One X by developers going forward.

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