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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, 2012 Written by Sebastian Moss

SCE London Creating a PS4 Graphics Library:

Sony’s London studio is a key studio for PlayStation – their largest in Europe. Having led the development of PS Home and the PS Eye, SCE London is best known for games with ‘broader’ appeals like SingStar, EyePet and, recently, Wonderbook. But core gamers still love them for The Getaway series, and shed manly tears at the cancellation of The Getaway 3 and Eight Days. There’s hope that they could be developing a core game, however, as we previously uncovered that they’re working on an AAA character action game.

One thing is for sure – they’re developing a graphics library for the PlayStation 4. In a job listing (mirror 1, 2) for a Graphics Programmer, they offer “an opportunity to work on the shaping of a newly developed set of graphics libraries which will become the core graphics technology for the prestigious London studio for many years to come“. Continuing: “there is the opportunity to work on cutting edge effects for our new concepts, building on the very latest graphics research“.

Join us in applying cutting edge graphics research in numerous areas to differentiate the visual presentation of our games, and set the bar for the industry:

  • Real-time Global Illumination of fully dynamic scenes using Instant Radiosity
  • High fidelity materials and physically based shaders
  • Fluid simulation and rendering
  • Volumetric lighting and shadows
  • Procedural geometry: fur, hair, grass
  • Advanced post-processing techniques
  • Next generation particles and volumetric effects
  • Maintain an up-to-date knowledge of emerging graphical techniques within Sony Worldwide Studios and the wider graphics community
  • Opportunity to drive forward the direction and quality of the visual effects based on this knowledge
  • Create viable technical solutions to effects requirements

The job listing also says that “GPGPU experience [is] an advantage”.

It’s clear that they are developing the tools for the next generation of PlayStation consoles, so let’s take a closer look at some of the jargon and what it can tell us anything about the PS4.

Global Illumination, Instant Radiosity

Lighting is vitally important to realism in games, and something that has taken great strides this gen. Having the lighting being dynamic – that is, changing with what you do and what happens, rather than being fixed – is all the more important. Currently, most games handle light and shadows like this – here’s a light source, and here’s the shadow it makes. What they don’t take into account is the reflections and shadows of everything else in the world – think how mirrors in games rarely affect the light levels in the room.

Martin Kinkelin and Christian Liensberger show the outcome of Global Illumination in their overview of Instant Radiosity:

To do this realtime in a “fully dynamic scene” will require a powerful console to be able to pull it off, and will lead to incredible realism with lighting.

In Conclusion:

None of this is of course confirmed and so should be treated as a rumor, however the sheer number of job listings across two continents and an ex-Sony employee’s LinkedIn account adds credence to the findings.

Feel free to discuss your thoughts on what you’ve read, as well as your general hopes for the PS4.

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