And yes, it actually does run faster.
Sucker Punch went ahead and released the standalone expansion pack to inFamous: Second Son, inFamous: First Light, and it was pretty damn good, generally garnering appreciation from critics and players. But it was also amusing in how it highlighted an odd quirk- the expansion pack seemed to run faster than the actual game, a suspicion which was confirmed when Digital Foundry established that First Light has a higher frame rate.
Now, Sucker Punch has confirmed that this is indeed the case, and they’ve even been nice enough to go into the nitty-gritties for us.
“For First Light, we made some optimisations in our shaders that did accelerate things,” the developer told Digital Foundry. “The two most notable improvements were made in our water ripple compute shader, and the way we encode/decode normals in the g-buffer. In addition, the absence of the heavy DUP fortifications from Second Son has a measurable impact.”
So, what are the odds of these improvements making their way to Second Son proper, then?
“As for patching these into Second Son, that’s unlikely as the resulting patch would be about 60 per cent the size of the full game – many gigabytes,” Sucker Punch explains. “This is the result of us embedding shaders inside the city content they apply to – meaning we can’t simply patch the engine to pick up these changes.”
Damn it. Well, Second Son is a great game regardless of the slower speed, and at the very least, we can appreciate Sucker Punch giving us their new improvements in the expansion pack, rather than holding back for a sequel, like so many other companies wold have done.