Digital Foundry Talks Advanced Technologies, Hardware Myths & More | The Full Nerd ep. 280
Also. Alex I actually lived in Germany for a number of years when I was young. Yeah, my yeah, my dad was in the military and then later he he left the active duty because we were moving around too much. He worked for a defense contractor and ended up moving just as much so, if not more. no. no. Sorry.
Where did you live? In Germany. I live around his. His base was Vicksburg the first place. And then the second place was on SPARC, which is closer to Nurnberg. My sister also lived in Germany oftentimes for a couple of years.
nice. Because though she was a German, she majored in German. It was like fluent and everything. She's a she is usually works for the State Department now.
she she lived in Berlin quite a bit. And then she was in a couple of smaller towns, Greifswald then. Yeah. And of course. And Tubingen. Yeah. One of those, I think, is pretty close to the Polish border, if I'm not mistaken.
I forget which to bring them to base. Should be pretty close. And that was fun actually. And she loved to and in did not was first of all. if I if I recall well we we got a lot of German connections here and we are live. Hello. Welcome, everybody.
We have some very special guests here. This is going to be a fun one. I'm very excited. I've been I've been working on the notes on.
This was probably the most detailed notes I've made for her podcast, Just just to be honest. But we got we got some smart people here. We got Alex from Digital Foundry. We have Thank you for having me Bread from Nick's Lander, Wilson's control on the verticals and horizontals. Unfortunately Brad and Eleanor under the weather so they're not joining us. but hopefully everyone's gearing up for Thanksgiving.
Well I guess not you, Alex, but we, we got a number of Thanksgiving related questions in our discord about, like, favorite pie cranberry sauce. Yeah, I talk about things like that. Yeah. Yeah.
I was just talking to Alex earlier that, you know, like I went to Germany last month and, and that was around close to even before Halloween time. And they're already celebrating, preparing to celebrate Christmas. So the Germany thing on Christmas. Yeah. Yeah. Have you bought a lot of stuff. Yeah. I mean my but I keep telling everyone around me that I'm going to be getting a tree this year.
I didn't get one last year, but this year really a tree. I'm going to walk down the streets to pick it up, pull it on my back and bring it home. I think it's going to be about this. It's going to be about tall the network does. It was it was fun. Christmas, Christmas is coming. We have I mean I count I think we have like four episodes of the full nerd left.
Yeah. I think there might be one special edition one that we need to do. separate.
So maybe five. But yeah, the, the end of the year is upon us. I am deep in CES booking. Alex ever been to see us? No, I have not. Which has a bunch, though, but we've kind of gone away from physical ever since, you know. Corona Yeah.
Yeah. Well, guess what? You're not missing much, I would say. I mean, I love copy texts for for pieces especially. So. Yeah, that's. That's the one I'm more excited for. See, I like this.
There's a lot of good stuff that happens this CBS, but it's in Vegas and I've been to Vegas way too many times in my life, and I cannot stay in that place anymore, especially when you're trying to do work, you know, perhaps the best of us. yeah. You know, working in Vegas, it's another thing. Yeah. And I'm not rich enough to just be able to go to Vegas and have the real kind of fun, you know? yeah.
But that kind of fun is bad for you. That's true. You don't casually put in $20 on a slot machine and just kind of roll with it. 20. That's cheap. You're talking about $100 slots or whatever.
my God. What was Gordon saying about Vegas? If you don't gamble, you win. yeah, yeah, yeah. If you only work with the only the only way to win this type of gamble, it's gambling.
So fun stuff. Also, Brad, I like your your tested shirt throwback. I had one of those shirts back in the day with you. Yeah, I think. I think I like our design. Yeah, that's fun.
we got fun stuff. Anyway, any we got all the friends the show here and actually, Elaina is in the chat. Hello, Elena. She is joining us.
Davina, Maria, Sierra Paul My in New Tech. Tony All the cool kids. Hello? Jeff Yeah, all the cool kids. Sounds like everything's running smooth, smooth, smooth, smooth. 30 Running on 60. Well, yeah, smooth 30.
I say. Like what? You never heard that? Yeah. So Gordon. Gordon used to work at a maximum PC, and he had a coworker there that would always say, like, the goal is like a smooth 30, like making fun of console people. Yeah. Pcmark.
So I can't remember off time my head who, who that person was. Maybe Elena knows because she worked there as well. But yeah, so that's our joke is like, you know, if you want, if you want console quality or smooth 30 But actually, but actually Brad and I, we made a video hopefully will go up recently or soon about the 4040 the new 30 yeah record is great yeah the choice of 40 rich made a video about that a while back when Ratchet and Clank came out because that was the first time their insomniac, right? They put it like a 40 mode in one of their console games. And a lot of for a lot of people like they just didn't get it for the longest period time. Like y you can have like 40 SPF games and it's actually pretty great. I think 40 years is a really great middle point.
That's how I originally played The Witcher three on PC, actually, after, you know, I play through all the Spider-Man two that way and was just more aware that, yeah, that's the way on consoles I remember correctly some, some some website and YouTube channel did, did digital foundries or something like that. They would recommended you know about that. I can't remember. Anyway.
Yeah, cool. All right, let's, I think, I think we're ready. Everybody good to go? Yeah, you're good to go. Yeah. Yeah, Go ahead.
Hit the add re nulla. I got the intro ready. So there you go. No pressure.
No pressure. No pressure. Never. Yeah, right. Here we go. This episode of The Full Nerd is sponsored by ASUS. On December 3rd, the company will be hosting PC DIY Day, a celebration of all things PC building and modding.
The festivities kick off at 11 a.m. Pacific Time at ASUS headquarters in Fremont, California, with guest appearances by GGF events. HipyoTech and even PCWorld's own Adam Patrick Murray, a click on the link in the description to pick up your tickets for this event or tune it into the livestream. In this episode of The Full Nerd, we talk PC gaming graphics technologies and hardware myths.
No mishaps. You know those awesome. Welcome everybody to episode 280 of the full Nerd PC World's premier podcast about PC hardware. I am your fill in host Adam Patrick Murray. And today I am joined by some very special guests. First up, you know him.
He's been on the show before. Brad Shoemaker from Nextlander fame. Hello, Brad. Hello. Hello. And we will get to at some point a he's he's running off a new PC, but we'll get to that later.
Yeah. Joining us for the first time is Alex Battaglia from Digital Foundry. Hello. Yes, thank you for having me on the show. First time here.
Hopefully one of many times. Yeah, one of many times. I hope so.
And thank you for tuning in late. I know you're coming to us live from Germany. So, yeah, a little later for you about 8pm here. So he's going to munch on some dinner, you know. Go ahead.
We're we're, we're just chill here in the control bath water. I've got my sparkling water. Yeah. Nice. Nice. Controlling the vertical and horizontal is Willis Lai. Hello, Willis.
Hello, everyone. Hello. Welcome. Welcome. Speaking of dinner, I might get some schnitzels later. Whoo hoo! Yeah. We should.
We actually do have a couple pretty decent German restaurants here in the bay. You know, Nothing like the. Nothing like in Germany, but, you know, pretty. Is it? Like it's like southern Bavarian food or... I think it's like it's a good, good old goose. Yes, it's a good soup.
And Tuka, who's probably the most popular one I know of. Yes. Yeah, that one in the city. That's in the city. I've never been to that one.
East Bay has a couple ones that I'm thinking of. And anyway, we're not here to talk about German food, but no, we can't. I mean, we were talking about World War II. We're just talk about German food. How many frames per topic here shot and then there.
But no, Alex, since this is your first time on the show, I do want to get a quick history lesson of who is Alex and what you do over a digital foundry. For those who might not know, you should know, you should know, but just in case you don't. that's okay.
Yeah. My name's Alex Battaglia, and I started working at Digital Foundry around has it been 2018? So that would be five years ago now. Before then, I didn't actually do anything with technical things in video games at all. I was just purely a hobbyist.
Like a lot of people here most likely started as two and I got a really nice DM back then. On what was Neo gaffe problems. Yeah, we've had to have a Neo definitely reset her from my colleague John Lindemann asking like, Hey, we're looking for someone to do PC work for us, would you want to get on? And so I got maybe a little test video very embarrassing. You can find it on the channel.
It was for Arma three and got hired up, met with Richard, got a bunch of hardware beforehand. Like I said, it just did it hobbyist wise. I actually studied political science and German language and all these other things.
So I am not at all what you would consider like a learned expert. I'm just a hobbyists like you. So I still think you're you're especially when it comes to this stuff. I'm like, who can I call up? Who's way smarter than I am? okay.
Alex is one of the first people that I thought was very kind, but like, like all the hobbyist stuff. Like, I just read the papers that developers put out there and watched the conference and, yeah, I'm just really interested in those things. And I've kind of ever been interested in it since. Probably, like I would say around the time of like Halo one and Doom three coming out like those games, like totally blew my mind away or what you could do, like in a game in terms of like visuals, in terms of just anything.
And ever since then and then crisis came out after that, I've always kind of wanted to know how things tick that do real time graphics. So as a hobbyist, I just looked it up and yeah, you can find information all out there on the interwebs. Yeah, I love it. And you know, I will say one of the things I love about Digital Foundry is that obviously your passion for the subject comes through, but everyone on the team has their own passions as well.
So it kind of like glommed together to be this holistic approach. I do really like that. So what do you what would you call your role in digital foundry compared to everybody else? Well, I would say I'm definitely the PC software person. Like other people look at PC like Will and Richard 100% look at PC mainly from the hardware review perspective. And for me, it's looking at where the hardware is actually interfacing with the software and it's in a game itself.
And it's then by actually playing the game, which is something that I think does differently than other people, Like I'm the PC specialist, but it's not like this is not a slight. It's just saying like, like what? Data is usually very particular because we play a game through as far as we can on a variety of hardware, and then we try and give out a certain synopsis of what you should expect when you're going to play that game. And that is something some of the outlets do it in a text based version, like computer based does a German website, though also another German website does it occasionally too. But like Guru 3DS, do it. Do it back in the day, which is an English speaking website. But basically, like I try and get you to understand like how will this game run on your PC? And I give out recommended settings and I also talk about the technology behind the game.
And so it's a lot of stuff altogether. I love it. And you also do it in an easy to digest way, especially for the layman like myself. So I dig it. I thank you.
And Brad and I were talking earlier to like, there's been plenty of times where I'm like, okay, well, this new games come out, I'm going to wait for Alex's recommended settings to land on YouTube at some point before I really dig into it. Yeah. Yeah. sorry. No, please go ahead. If I may. I also kind of think of you as a sort of an advocate for advanced rendering technologies, if that makes sense for you.
Like, you know, I had a lot of your explainers about different types of raytracing techniques and stuff like that. I found incredibly instructive just because we are moving into kind of new paradigms in some ways, and you just see it very clearly illustrated like, here's the old way, here's the new way here. What matters, Like, I really appreciate that kind of work speak. Like speaking of advanced rendering technologies, let's get to our first topic. And the first question I have here is how much has in video paid you to push our team? I'm just kidding. Sorry, I'm not as much as they should.
Yeah, I mean, come on, Jensen. I don't have a sick leather jacket like, I just got, like, this kind of what I found on the street. You stuff can look good, too, but for real. I mean, obviously, Ray tracing path tracing these. These are the new things of the future.
You know, Nvidia has done a lot to try to educate and push, you know, and get people to understand why, you know, and you do those really nice breakdowns of like, okay, here's visually how it looks. And for me, like I'm able I mean, I'm a visual person because my background is in, in video and photography. So, so I do appreciate those kind of things and able to look at it and be like, okay.
That's interesting. I don't always remember like the name of it, but I'm like, okay, well, when an object is sitting on the floor and it's not, it doesn't look like it's connected to the floor. Ambient occlusion, I think, is that the right? Yeah, Yeah. Things like that. You know, being able to look and be like, well, that doesn't feel right. But then when it does feel right, it's just like, wow, this feels, it feels really cool.
I think the the, the first way I want to kind of kick this off is, is like I guess there's the couple of parts. But there there's always this pushback of people being like, you know what, I don't I don't really see it. I just like traditional rasterization.
But then there's there's people like me in and I would assume the you too, as well are like, wow, this is this is cool. This is something that, you know, a new frontier and we're kind of pushing like in I would imagine it's kind of hard for developers to be like, okay, well, you know, how do we push both? Do we do you feel like developers are actually kind of taking this serious and this is the future of game development? It is like real time retracing, path tracing things like that. Yeah, I would definitely say that's really I mean, it can depend on your developer. Obviously in the large triple-A space, I would say this is definitely 100% the future right now and they're going to do a lot to push it and they have doing a lot to push it. But if you look at like smaller to indie games, obviously the hardcore push for realism is less applicable there. Also.
I mean, there's other benefits to things like Raytracing, which are still applicable to the indie space, etc. too, but it's really in the triple-A space and definitely for there, I think. So there's just very large visual dividends that I try and talk about in my video for very specific things like one.
One reason why I think a lot of people are usually like, but graphics always look pretty good and I'm going to agree with them. I would say, yeah, they do. They like look at a game like The Last of US part two and there was like, Yeah, but your fancy raytracing game doesn't look like the last of US part two. And I think one thing that a lot of people tend to forget about games is that they're highly interactive and the techniques of the past did actually not allow for interactivity in our game world to the same extent because lighting was all very, very, very static. They wouldn't allow you to move the world around. They wouldn't allow you to break it apart and they wouldn't allow things like the time of day to change, which is all things you expect from real life and also maybe from for some fun simulation.
And Raytracing is one of those things that enables that. And I think developers for a long time after the previous console generation were really chomping at the bit to do that because they really like those last and castles were really slow and there's only so much they could do with them. So games after a certain time, like you go back to 2010 ish and then go back, you know, to games that came out right before Ps5 in terms of like what they're doing, it's not so, you know, it's not too different. They're not so much more interactive than they were ten years ago. And I think now with things like raytracing and better views and consoles, people are starting to see it more come along. And developers really, really want this because like it's been like ten years since they've been able to do anything really, really cool for a while now.
So yes, developers definitely want things like Raytracing. Okay, that was my next question because yeah, I feel like I hear a lot of conflicting things and obviously the the user base is kind of split between I just like Westernization and high frame rates and then the people who like the, the bells and whistles, which obviously is more computationally intensive. But for developers, I feel like I have heard that it does make their life easier, right? I mean, would you would you say that across the board or is that just a generalization? I mean, I can't speak for everyone, but the developers I've talked to that obviously there's there's like two parts of this where like getting it running and performant and in the first place is a challenge in itself. So that's a lot of development time and effort right there. Epic's going through it right now with Unreal Engine five, where they debuted Unreal Engine five, three years ago, and the first games that are coming out on Do It on It. I'm counsel specifically on PC.
It's okay. I mean, there's issues there that we can talk about later in the show. Maybe, but like they're still iterating on Unreal Engine five and they showed it off for the first time three years ago. It tells you how long these triple-A development times are. And then but basically I've heard from other developers that have spent the time optimizing get it running well for them. For example, I had a great interaction for eight games before they brought out our metrics Enhanced Edition, and they gave me a bunch of great behind the scenes information and material to show how much it simplified their life in their game.
Like they would manually set up a bunch of lights and artists tweak it over like hours of time, and then if they changed some of the level geometry, they would have to maybe redo some of those things. It's just like constant iteration with rape, trace global illumination, which they added in that is flick on a switch in the editor, which is on by default now of course, and it just rewrites the world for them. They don't have to do anything about it and I think that's the power of it. Obviously, there's a computational cost and an optimization cost of time. They have to invest there, but they really want it because it allows for rapid iteration times, which things of the past just did not happen like at all.
I've seen some pretty similar excitement from some developers, just just that potential to simplify some production pipelines and on top of the real time quality is also just working with one unified lighting model and sort of juggling, you know, eight different ways of doing static forces versus, you know, mobile lights and shadowing and reflections and everything. But for the time being, though, you're still going to have to do both, right? Like, you still have to obviously have a pasteurized renderer at the same time for X number of years. Like, that's actually I kind of came in here wanting to like self-indulgent ask Alex this question. It's kind of a thought experiment. I like to run occasionally. How many years away do you think we are from a game shipping with only a ray traced renderer? Like if that ever happens, like the decade 15 years.
I mean, is that are we ever going to we're like the hardware is installed base is such that that's the only way of doing things. So I think for if we're talking about hardware ray tracing, it's going to be probably in 1 to 2 years actually, because there's there's just a lot of developers that are going to be making games for next gen, these current gen consoles and they'll have only developed something with those in mind and they're going to say we already kind of saw that with an MC two where they just out of the blue there was just like a random post by Leah on Twitter, one of their engineers saying like, actually we really only support mesh shading. And there was like a big freak out online like, my God, I brought an R, I bought an rx5 5000 series card not too long ago, my x 1080 and there was, you know, some ring of hands about that. And that's already kind of happened a little bit. So for hardware, Artie, I do think it's like 1 to 2 years from now, we saw the first titles, but like it's going to still be a long time. Like even when the X nine came out, there was like a period and like, Takes Nine is like 2002.
I want to say. And then you could still see games that supported like DC eight up until like 2005. So like it was faster back then, but it's still, there's still this like time period where people don't need it. But if you're not using hardware r t technically every single unreal engine five games that comes out in the foreseeable future is requiring ray tracing, but it's just going to maybe do it in software depending upon the hardware you have. So I don't know, it's like it's sort of not the best answer to your question. But yes, I mean, there are different levels of raytracing like, you know, I've seen like, you know, console people being like, I've got ray tracing in my console, but I'm good like, you know, it's not quite the same as what you can get on PC, but I mean, technically, yes.
So, you know, like, you know, and they'll actually yeah, I mean, I think Spider-Man two is actually a pretty good example of what Alex is talking about, because if I'm not mistaken, there isn't. There is no visual mode in Spider-Man two that does not utilize at least basic ray trace reflections. So like you assume it's if yes and when it comes to PC, it'll that'll probably still be the case there. That's what I would assume too. And I think that's just like I remember John did an interview with one of Mike Fitzgerald, who's their technical director, and if I recall an interview, he said they cut out the the path that didn't use R.T., like one year before they shipped the game, like and like you were just saying.
Brad, Like, the reason why is because they didn't have to consider like, how many like is does a scene look good without Ray tracing on? And they have to like maybe budge a a cue map into a different location or place more of them and have the artist spend the time doing that or flick a switch and have the reflections look way better than they ever could have looked before. So yeah, I think I think as more of those games come around and especially console parts to PC, which kind of forced the issue, they forced the issue always. Then I think we're going to see more and more of it in the next one or two years. And I think that's the hard part, right? Is that with console generations, it's kind of easy to be like, well, you know, you don't got the new console with the new features. So either you're not going to get the game on your old console or you're going to get it at a some sort of diminished result for for computer hardware.
I mean, it's coming out, it's iterating faster. You know, it's kind of moving around. And so you have people who are like, well, I've been fine playing on my 1080 for four years, but all of a sudden now I have something that is just kind of not usable.
Regardless if you want to use Raytracing or not like it, there's no clear delineation between, well, you know, you got the old thing and you're like, Well, my old thing still works and almost everything else except this. So it's kind of harder to to gauge, right? Yeah, it is. But I also think that's generational. I mean, you are you all are a little bit older like I am now. And in like the late nineties and in the early 2000, even in the mid 2000s, like you could get a GPU back then and like three years later you would be having a really hard time to run some games and or they wouldn't even boot like Alex. Alex The internet does not remember back in the day it really did not.
I mean, like D3 is the classic example, right? It's like you don't have give you that those pixel shaders you're not playing Doom three, right? Yeah, you really are. It's like the entire purpose of the game is fix the shading, right? So yeah, it's awesome. I love that stuff. That's the stuff that super excited me. Back then I was fine.
If by the first time I played Crysis one of my favorite games, like first time I played, it was on a car that barely supported it. It was like 15 amps at 800 by 600 with none of the cool graphics. Yes. my God. Think I might even play that? I mean, you just took the sacrifice back then. You just do it, you know? It feels like, Yeah, today people are not willing to take that sacrifice as much. I'm exactly why it seems like it's just going to take a kind of process of recalibrating expectations coming out of like the PS4, Xbox One generation was just kind of this anomaly of it went way longer than normal.
my gosh. And there's a three like three year overlap period into the new console where they were still making cross-gen games. Right. And right. You see, PC gamers benefited from that or for the moment in the short term.
But now that we're finally making that transition, like it's kind of a harsh wake up call that like, hey, this, this hardware got you through a lot more years than it would have in the past. But that's that's over now. That's changing as we transition. I agree. I mean, either either way, I'm excited about it. You know, like, I think these these technologies are super fun to look at.
I think it's just a matter of like, okay, well, what kind of hardware do you have? You know, how do you get to the right balance of settings to, you know, obviously that's something that you do on the channel. What is to to look at the settings show, you know, like, okay, you know what, You can bump this down to medium and it's still actually pretty good. But you're you're getting a big performance impact. A lot of that is just new to people, right? You know, it's like, you go in there, you know, in a traditional accessorize game and you bump down the shadow quality, you're probably going to get some good, you know, performance uptick, things like that.
But the the tracing settings for me at least, you know, sometimes have been like, I don't necessarily know what this does, but that's a bit of a communication issue, I think. Not for me, but a little bit in the menus themselves. And this is something I was trying to I had to begin the year I made a video called like the 13 Not Commandments, but it was originally like it was really supposed to be like a really reality in Haiti video. But in the middle of the process, I like toned it down a bit and it was it's like 13 Things to Make Your PC port better. And one of those things was like informing the user when they get into the menu with pictures, video and descriptions, and maybe even more about what the settings even do. Because if you come, especially in the newer games, they're talking with Raytracing like you may not even know what the word global illumination means.
Like, like, I don't know, like, I don't think it's just a word. Anyone should understand that. Do it really. So you need to have like a picture or a video or just have the the game menu fade out and you can see the world rendering in the background and you can see what it does like physically before you when you flip it on and off or change the quality, etc.. So those are things that I think I also talk a lot about on the channel because I think good setting menu are they make the your life easier on PC and they can also be a little bit of a fun game in their own right.
For people who like graphics and they want to figure out how things work. It's like a PC is just like this, like this huge sandbox and giving people access to that sandbox even in game itself through the menu is just like another plus. And it's great to have a corollary to what you're talking about is that I feel like the GPU makers could be doing more to put out stuff that like interactive stuff that educates people, you know, like I'm dating myself here again, but going all the way back to like the like, you know, when Warburton first happened and the video was coming out, like the fairy lights in the forest tech demos, you know, they used to put out they put out new interactive tech demos with like every generation of GPU back then. And you could get in there and tweak sliders and like turn things on and off and see what, you know, see what the new hardware features actually did. And it feels like they've really gotten away from that like they did that Marble's demo for It was a vampire, I think was, but I don't think they ever actually put marbles out for people to play with, you know, like more for I'd love for these advanced graphical demos to start being things people could get their hands on again.
I guess the newest iteration, maybe that matrix demo or. Yeah, yeah, that's kind of like the latest thing I could think of, but that wasn't a chipmaker. That was the right, wasn't it? Was epic. Yes. And it was on console and like if you wanted to try it on PC, it came like a year later and you have to like compile and release it for yourself to do. It's like not very intuitive at all.
I would love that. But I think it's just like the marketing has changed so much over the last couple of years. Like the way used to market, like a new GPU was like, sure enough, this awesome Nvidia 80 made graphics demo and nowadays it's more like you show it running.
For a long time it was showing that one console port running at 250 Mbps on PC or something like that. So maybe they have to get into that rhythm again of making tech exciting, I don't know. Well, so one of the things to kind of move the conversation along to the next thing, the one of the things that I think a lot of the people like in video, you know, the marketing team does is like, hey, check it out. This GPU can now play at, you know, four times the performance with deal with this.
So, you know, like they're pushing the deal in this aspect of it to kind of be like ADD you know yeah sure you know with our deal says it it still doesn't run great but look you got deal sets and that's not as exciting to be like okay well you're just you know but but at the same token, I mean, upscaling technologies like Deal says FSR access like things like that, those are those are exciting in their in their own way. And I think it depends on the implementation right like why I think each one each each three of the technology will I guess it doesn't unreal have a built in technology as well. What's the DSR. Yeah yeah. Another acronym. Yeah. Yeah. So like, I just feel like each, each company has like a different philosophy of how they're doing it some or, you know, need hard specialized hardware, do like Nvidia or you know some of it is is spatial versus not like why why is upscaling like having such a hard growth period right now like are still I'd say like it's having a discourse discursive hard growth period of period like if you go online, if you read Reddit, if you read a comments under a game and of course there's a lot of controversy there. But I think in terms of actual usage results, I think people are turning it on and actually really enjoying it.
It's just a very loud, probably minority on the Web making a big deal about it because there are a lot of people out there who don't like it and that's fine. They're not like things. And I think though in general, it's only if people have to be using it because a lot of modern games, if you're used to playing at ultra high frame rates, like during the PS4 and Xbox One generation, you're probably not going to turn on the or FSR two or something like that. So I think I think yeah, I think that's basically it. People are probably turning it on in big numbers, but you just don't always read it on the web.
Always since they're happy and they're playing their game and not talking about online. Right. And I mean there are extreme examples of it like in the marketing that Nvidia does, and I understand why that turns people off. yeah. But you know, like, I like I definitely do think at least for me, I'm like, okay, well, if I have the option for any of these upscale, I usually just set it to the, to the highest one. Whatever quality, you know, setting is, it'd be like, okay, I'm just going to consider that like a good balance until I watch Alex's video about a recommended setting, you know, a good balance to be like, okay, you know what? Like, sure, I'm going to lose a little bit of visual clarity, but at the same time, what I get in performance and probably savings on, on thermals, things like that is worth it.
So anytime it's on it. He's like, if it's there, might as well turn it on at least, you know, just, just to have so like, yeah, I, I get what you mean. Yeah. I'm just curious what, what resolution do you guys game out all of you like so I, I'm to be at the desk in here and then 4k on T on the television. And you so.
Well I do, I do gaming in two places, either on my TV or on a handheld. So you know, like the, the TV is 4K and then the handheld, you know, depends or Yeah, yeah. Ten to be is roughly is it Rog Ally it's an ATP that's my go to right now but I tests all of them so I just playing this the Legion go and obviously the steam deck. Yeah I play with them all so all right so like one thing I think that maybe does sometimes skew the internet conversation about this is the resolution. People's people play it. And so like when episode one came out, a lot of the reviews were I was not positive about it in my review, but that was for a very different reason.
But like a lot of the reviews were positive by episode one because they like, they showed it off at like 4K in like the ultra quality mode, and that was already like kind of like a privileged place for views. Like not everyone would have had to give you that be playing towards 4K anyway. And so I'm a little bit guilty of myself in my review sometimes where I show off the game in 4K, I do show it off on a mid-spec PC always too, usually charging 1440p but sometimes like I do leave ten deep users in the dust because it's kind of I don't know. I, I don't know. I do. It actually probably should cover more tending to be content.
But if you do cover things at ten HP sometimes just like the lower pixel density, they're like things can always look uglier at lower resolutions. And that's maybe one thing that inflects allowed the discourse online about upscaling, actually. Yeah, Well, I mean, it hits me in the handheld space.
I'm a big, handheld person, so it's like like you can definitely feel it. You know, I only there on my TV, I turn it on because I'm like, yeah, okay, sure, whatever. I'll get the savings on the handheld.
That's usually a calculated decision because it's more apparent the visual degradation versus the performance impact. So that one like is definitely kind of a different scenario. But so I want to get your take on the difference between things like Deal says that needs hardware, you know, specialized hardware to run as good as it does versus something like FSR, which is hardware agnostic and can run a lot of things which, which is awesome. I mean even even in there's some games isn't it. Breath of the Wild that actually uses FSR like on the switch or that one uses FSR wonders. I think there's one of to game on the switch and it's nobody has sky Yeah yeah so I mean it's that is the cool thing FSR can be anywhere but obviously if you have deals as power, you know who deals typically is better than FSR So how do you balance that that way? I'd say the industry needs both just because you need, you need lightweight, highly portable solutions and you also need someone pushing the boundaries of what current technology can do, and that is the assets and access from Intel are kind of all about that.
So you definitely need both. I would say, to cover all bases and that's really great that you have access to these things as a developer and as a user. You can run them if you want, if against support. And I like that a lot. I mean, that is the thing, right, is that you don't have to run it, you know, are there any games that that.
Well, I guess like a like, like a switch right. You can't just turn off certain games. Yeah, I like I'm a console.
You don't have any choices. Yeah. So like most of the time it's like performance or quality switch games rarely have any quality much to my knowledge. But I, you know, like and Xbox Series X or PlayStation five, you got like two three modes, sometimes four modes that most end up, but most of them are usually always using upscaling. And one thing that I want to say about FSR two versus deal assassins, I think that they're coming at the problem from two different ways. And one of them is just I don't say one is more forward looking just because AI is just like such a big talking point and it's got a lot of really bad actors in it.
But like the interesting thing about the SAS is that since it has machine learning like, like its upward trajectory of how much like how much more it can prove over time is actually a lot higher, Like the bound is a little bit higher because there's like twice more computing time that can be put into it, whereas something like FSR to its limited by human scales, like how much coding time it has, how much imagination do we have? And that's very different. So that's one of the really cool things about AI when it's piled to visuals, is that this the scale of how high it can scale is much higher and it's like much more rapid. So that's one thing I like about accessibility.
That's yeah, that's an interesting divide with the AI conversation. Like obviously generative AI is its own other conversation. There's a lot of totally different stuff, free and stuff like that. But like I like to think of deals as a sort of like a signal processing application of AI, you know, where it's not you're not taking someone else's work and, you know, stealing it away or building off of it or whatever you would call it. You're just taking an image that the game already rendered and with better technology, making it that much better, right? So like that, that to me like stuff like deal with those is a much more like ethical use of machine learning and AI Yes, by far. Yeah. That's a good thing. You're using it.
Yeah. You're not like using it to identify like pedestrians on the street or something like that. That's way different. That's still, that's the closest I all my skills is. Look at actually did you see that there was a who some videos chief researcher or one of them.
I forget which one it was was he the one he was talking about. Like he can envision the day when the entire renderer is, is age written? I mean, I mean at the end degree goal, that does make a lot of sense. It would probably be the way I always manage it is like right like the rendering of most pixels is still done via like some sort of compute that isn't like the A.I., but, but like in the future, I imagine it could be like fed data on like where the geometry is and, but like the actual shading model itself could be driven by a and that sounds like, but it's like so far off. But yeah, I thought that was actually awesome. When Brian said that, I probably, I'm probably speaking way out of my depth here, but are things like night and you have like a kind of a very broadly a similar thing of abstractly like taking data structure and abstracting them into something different and kind of working off of that and sort of I don't know if that's like this. That's not.
The thing is I think it's not to off base it isn't the same. But like I think the idea that is about that that is interesting is that like now night, it's always going to show you as much detail, detail as it can in like the amount of given pixels and there's like there is a higher structure of information behind it. There's like a super high res model that's fed into the game engine. But the thing that's like procedural about it, it is it's based upon how many pixels are on screen.
So it is always only showing you how much detail you really arguably need to see. And that's something that I also could do really well in the future. Like, yeah, like for example, like there could be like a model and this is actually there's already research on this like with nerfs which are now they're slightly being replaced by another thing.
But the whole idea is that like, like right now there's like, there's, they have this issue also in the games like flight simulator where the world is huge. We've got these big maps of data to cover the entire world, but we can't just stream all that data or have it on your hard disk. That's there's no computer big enough in the world to do that. So they procedurally generated things in front of you in real time that are seeded. I, I could actually be used to do that. On your local game client for things like, for example, you like look up at a leaf.
Maybe there's only like the geometry of the leaf in resident memory, but the is like going to imagine the texture and maybe that there's a bug on the leaf crawling along it know, I mean, like, so there's a lot of things that it could do to expand the experience while still being based based on real data. So I don't know that stuff about that I'm interested in, but it has nothing to do with the. Well, yeah, Coming back to Deal says the one of the other things that's obviously kind of newer and has its own argument around it is things like frame generation. Obviously it just came to to FSR three and I mean it's very limited. I mean the same thing on the Nvidia side as well.
I've had my own kind of like weird experiences with it where yeah, in some cases I'm like, this just doesn't feel good. Like I to have that latency not match the frame rate is weird is in one place where I actually felt that it was completely fine. Was Allen weak? Because it is a slower moving game, you know like as long as the visual quality holds, which sometimes it didn't, but like movement wise input, like why is it it wasn't that big of a problem? How how were they going to get around that whole frame generation Okay, so now we've upscaled the pixels, now we're making new pixels, but it has the detriment of the input lag.
And of course they have the technology to try to to to counteract that. But you're still it's not the same input response. So like how could they get around that? Do you know, you. Yeah, I think, I think there's always going to be inherent latency with frame generation. There's no way around it as long as it is doing interpolation, as in holding onto a frame and comparing it with the the previous frame and then generating the in-between image there. There are other techniques to generate frames.
One of them is called extrapolation, where you're kind of like predicting the future frame parts of it and that could have is some point in the future be something that is advanced in real time rendering, but I don't think anytime soon. But I think the thing in the in the meantime, to make it more viable over time is just have faster hardware and have much better screens that you know, like because right now we're kind of like limited I don't to say limited, it's still stupidly fast, but like 120, 320 or screens. If you're on a 4040 piece screen, maybe it's 240 hertz or something like that. The higher you go and more frames are generating like I think the subjective like aspect becomes more interesting because if you're only doing one frame in that base frames only like 8 milliseconds long, most people, unless you're a pro CSS two player or League of Legends player, are not going to notice the difference between, you know, 40 milliseconds of input latency and 48 milliseconds of input latency.
So I think it gets more interesting as time goes on. This is just like 2018 when RC launched like very basic and it's starting now. That's the where we are with frame tech, I think right now.
Okay more more to come on that. Yeah. The last kind of major topic I want to hit here for the graphical technology part is is engines. Obviously one of the things recently heard not recently but over the number of years, the number of custom engines out there, the developers using are going down, down. And, you know, most of the time it seems like everybody just moving to unreal.
Yeah, you know, I mean, there are there are some some companies that that kind of, you know, continue their own trend like obviously Alan Wake developers I can name the engine off top my head but north like north like yeah thank you. so do you see this as a good thing or a bad thing? Or explain maybe how can it be both someone in the epic OD like works at Epic and the audience just, like, waiting for me to say something, and I. I actually think it's a very bad thing, but not like I say, very bad. Just because we've kind of seen what happens when when it's not completely baked and like super awesome. The last like 4 to 5 years of Unreal Engine titles on PC, from my perspective as a technical reviewer has been just super headache inducing because instead of talking about like what I love about the game or what I think that developers did graphically, that was interesting.
I'm spending the time like doing raw Q&A work in my videos about like why it's stuttering and I can't do anything about it. But that's like the detriment, like when the engine has an issue and it goes into a lot of titles as a result. Right? But I think if the engine has a lot of really powerful user creation stuff like Unreal Engine five now currently has, and if it gets over its performance problems, then it is actually a very positive thing that a lot of developers don't have to spend a bunch of time doing tech development because not everyone can do it anymore. It's like so many man and working hours. Excuse me to do that and I don't think everyone can. And that's why you see a lot of the people dropping their own engines.
I mean, it's kind of like not a great positive thing in the end because it if you're if you're only wholly reliant on like one provider of technology, there can be issues that pop up and they start popping up everywhere all of a sudden in every game because everyone has this thing, well, not not even issues, but also, you know, sometimes it feels like, okay, well, you can you can just tell visually, this just looks like an unreal game. You know, like the visual quality is like, okay, you know, it's shades of gray of essentially the same kind of thing, which can not necessarily be a bad thing, but, you know, Yeah. So yeah, I pick it. I mean, Brad, you'll remember this like in the Xbox 363 generation every single time an Unreal Engine three game came out and like it was almost like you could spot it from a mile away And nowadays it's a little bit better for whatever reason. But even now, with some of the early five games coming out, I can always be like, I see you Unreal line behind that veneer. Yeah, I see you.
That specific over the shoulder angle is always just. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. All right. So yeah the yeah, I think, I think we should move on to a PC gaming hardware. Ms.. Or is there any other technology that you're excited about that you're like, we haven't really talked about it. You know, this is, this is the way for like, what's after pass tracing.
Alex What is the after path training? I actually was asked question not too long ago, earlier this year during a do you have direct and I was so obviously we're talking about like just completely opaque hard surfaces those look fine and they look probably almost my last generation of games. But things that like move, move and interact with each other. Some of my favorite games have like really cool simulation in them. For physics, I think physical interactivity in the world is something games could really improve incredibly from their current place.
So that's another thing that's like modeling the materials and how they react to each other or even break apart. Split apart? Yeah. Like I also I mean, just purely on the fidelity front, like when you see what's after paraphrasing something, I feel like better path racing red lights but more performant past racing. yeah. You know like I don't like recasting algorithms are going to get better and, you know, like, yeah, like cyberpunk, like moving objects. Like when people walk, you know, the shadows of people walking still have the slippery, you know, it takes time to build up the up samples and stuff like, like there's still a lot of room for improvement there.
yeah. It's Sky's are scaling in terms of like how like Pixar like it would great if we could get Pixar quality in real time and we're just not there yet you know Well something the check calls pass tracing to when is Pathak tracing to coming out we need to go and wait for the white paper on whether you just set up a poll earlier on what resolution do you know people on the good and you know the results coming in at almost 150 votes. We got 31% now. People gave me a 4K for 48% at 14, 40 V, 19% at 1080, and then 2% at 720.
yeah, keep it some real 362 So yeah, nice. I'm like, All right, let's let's move over to some PC gaming hardware. Ms. Because, you know, I feel like there's a lot of myths that build up over time, and sometimes we need to kind of dispel those rumors. The first one I kind of want to talk about is Reram, so that every CPU that releases right now needs at least 16 gigs.
Is that true? No, no, no. Just no. Because games have settings and that you should you should be willing to turn them down if that is with what your budget is about. But I will say developers nowadays, you can't rely on them to always have good settings. It's just well do these things are.
So if you have any gigabyte card and you're going to buy one right now or a 12 gigabyte card, be aware that some games will not always be perfect the way you'd want them to be. That's about it. Brad, do you think What do you think? Well, actually, I was going to follow up and ask Alex, do you think there's a little bit of a psychological problem here? Well, I mean, I think I know there is like I don't even need to ask the question if turn your path through and below. Like people there's like a pride issue of like my card is not a low card. You know what I mean? Like, is there is there a better way to communicate like reduced settings to people where they don't feel like they're compromising or that their hardware was a bad choice or something? You know what I mean? I paid $400 and I only got eight gigs and I can turn down savings or I paid $400 and I can only do medium or something like that, you know, it's like, yeah, it looks very good these days, you know. But yeah, there's still that, that feeling of inadequacy or something that goes along with that.
Yeah, I Think I don't like giving in to the ego about it. It just because it makes me feel sad, it's just like, we can be more rational about this. That's what I always feel about it. But realistically, renaming something like a low to normal or standard, it will go a long way to making people use it.
Then like a medium becomes high or something like that, or. Or they can use words that are less tiered and more, I don't know, friendly. I don't know what the word is. Yeah, but I always think about the times it's been done historically.
I talked about it in video once for Crysis two, renamed IT settings to like, what was it? I forgot it basically. Well, crazy. You did it in a different way. But Crysis warhead renamed their settings to like gamer enthusiast and something else. And they did it. They did it because they were they realized that people were, you know, putting up Crysis to ultra or very high and not you know and it did work, oddly enough. It had like a super crazy psychological effect, but it was also like double edged sword because like, I don't know, it just kind of like sets expectations.
I agree with you, Brad. Like, man, like, I think it could be communicated better, but a lot of people just need to realize, like the setting name means nothing. It's about what's on screen that matters the most.
And then yeah, yeah, I mean, all right, I like that one. Let's move on to developers are using upscaling as a crutch, Right? Is that is that true? Are developers, you know, they're just being like, you know what? We can't render this, you know, at playable frame rate. So you know what we need upscale to to do the rest of the work. No, they're not using it as a crutch, as Jacobi Canopic recently said in an interview with did art director Cyberpunk. That is another optimization technique that they are using to make games look better.
And games historically have always done tons of optimizations behind the screen. I like if you look at any one game, especially a console game, most likely the only thing that's like Native resolution is maybe the HUD. That's about it. Like almost everything else is somehow sub native and it's been that way forever.
Even in PC games, it's been that way forever. Like there's no reason to do everything at 4 hours because you don't notice it all the time. Or even like you, when you watch a movie like Most Like or your television, it's maybe set to 4 to 2. You don't know that. Like you're you're all your reds are a quarter reds bad Like what What are you talking about. Yeah like there's there's a lot of things that about this that are kind of funny but I don't think so I don't think it's a crutch.
But there's probably been examples of a game that was rushed towards end because publisher wanted it out really quickly and they had to push your show in some way because they couldn't get an optimization passed on in time. That would also not surprise me for some titles, but say a much more rare. So it almost seems like I'm sorry, it's almost seems like yet another psychological problem of it's like, hey, they're not using it as a crutch. It's that their visual aspirations outstrips the ability of the hardware to.
Yeah, right. It's like you're getting a better looking game than you would be if this thing had to render natively. Like, what does it matter? Yeah, there's this John talks about this. That's awesome Brad that you've mentioned that because John talks about this all the time too, is that nowadays Native Rise is such a big deal for most people because their screens are fixed pixel displays, they're no longer CRT. I've got a CRT right here. I love it. I don't use it for as much modern gaming, but I use it for retro gaming.
But one thing that the CRT has an advantage of is you can change the resolution to whatever sub native it could be like and it still looks really great. Like it still looks really good. I like play a game at like 640 by 480 on it and I think it looks really great. But if I do that on like my 4K old, it doesn't look great and that's because it's like a lot of scaling is going on there and it's blurring the pixels and this like whole huge obsession with native resolution rendering kind of is a weird by product with ego and also the fact that our screens can't show things sub native in a good way anymore. Sucks.
Yeah, that's very, very true though it was a weird phenomenon you saw with the backlash to the Alan Wake stuff because you know the specs were kind of ballpark here. I think it was like, you know, 37 that you can do to the DP balanced think the ballot balances the 50% right performance or performance but but the but the the effect of that was a bunch of people on Twitter running around screaming like, so my card can only do five $0.40 you know, And it's like, well, since when do people care so much about internal rendering resolution versus what ends up on the screen? You know, like it's just a bizarre talking point for people to fixate on w