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PS4 Blowout: GPGPU, DirectX 11; Sony London to “Set the Bar for the Industry”, Global Illumination, Instant Radiosity, More

December 5, 2012Written by Sebastian Moss

DirectX 11, Tessellation:

The Lead Systems Engineer job also mentions “experience with DirectX11 and compute shaders”, hinting at either DX11 support or aims to offer something equivalent. It’s far from conclusive, so we searched further. The now-closed Sony studio Zipper Interactive were working on a next gen title, something that has been reported and confirmed numerous times before. We’ve uncovered that developer Casey McDonnell worked at Zipper on “next-gen research”. Specifically, he “Researched and documented “next-gen” character art pipeline and tools, including shading, DX11 tessellation, target renders and look development.”

Tessellation is one of the big features of DirectX 11 (nb: DirectX is a set APIs created by Microsoft that massively affects game development and the quality of games). Nvidia sums up what tessellation is:

In its most basic form, tessellation is a method of breaking down polygons into finer pieces. For example, if you take a square and cut it across its diagonal, you’ve “tessellated” this square into two triangles. By itself, tessellation does little to improve realism. For example, in a game, it doesn’t really matter if a square is rendered as two triangles or two thousand triangles—tessellation only improves realism if the new triangles are put to use in depicting new information.

Buzzword benefits of tessellation include – perfect bump mapping, smoother characters, seamless level of detail, scalable artwork. In essence, it makes stuff look much better, with less jagged edges and more depth.

Unity’s CEO claimed that it was “potentially possible” for the Wii U to allow for DX11 equivalent functionality, but that is highly debatable. However, considering Microsoft used the X from DirectX to title the Xbox (the project name was DirectXbox), and both previous Xboxes have used DX, it’s almost guaranteed the 720 will use DX11. That’s why it’s important to hear that Sony are working on an equivalent API if they plan on competing graphically with whatever Microsoft brings out.

Previous Bethesda job ads also suggested that the next generation of consoles will feature architecture built around the latest DirectX 11 APIs.

Continue reading to learn about SCE London’s plans for the PS4 and why lighting is going to look so good…

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