Sony’s lead system architect, Mark Cerny, has revealed that nine of the thirteen titles due to support PlayStation 4 Pro will use checkerboard rendering technique, which increases texture details and specular effects. Watch Dogs 2, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Infamous: First Light, Killing Floor 2, Uncharted 4, Days Gone, Call of Duty Infinite Warfare, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Horizon Zero Dawn will all utilize checkerboarding.
Here’s how it all works, in Cerny’s own words:
First, we can do the same ID-based color propagation that we did for geometry rendering, so we can get some excellent spatial anti-aliasing before we even get into temporal, even without paying attention to the previous frame, we can create images of a higher quality than if our 4m colour samples were arranged in a rectangular grid… In other words, image quality is immediately better than 1530p.
Second, we can use the colours and the IDs from the previous frame, which is to say that we can do some pretty darn good temporal anti-aliasing. Clearly if the camera isn’t moving we can insert the previous frame’s colours and essentially get perfect 4K imagery. But even if the camera is moving or parts of the scene are moving, we can use the IDs – both object ID and triangle ID to hunt for an appropriate part of the previous frame and use that. So the IDs give us some certainty about how to use the previous frame.
[With] checkerboard rendering, the first two pluses are the same: crisp edges, detailed foliage, storm fences, but also, increased detail in textures, increased detail in specular effects. But we’re doubling pixel shader workload, there are other overheads as well and it may not be possible to from 1080p native all the way up to 2160p checkerboard.
Cerny revealed tons of other technical details about the PS4 Pro over the past couple of days. In case you’ve missed any, you can find them here.