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Info [GDC] ps4 Spiderman technical postmortem (and the future of game rendering)

gorobei

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Jan 7, 2007
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(why cpu gpu and specifically storage/ssd is important for future games.)

01:56 Frame breakdown, threads and priority
08:00 threading for multi core (scalable)
10:00 procedural Manhattan
14:50 streaming
17:20 movement speed affects load time
19:16 tile stream size, texture deferred loading
22:50 size on disk, optimization techniques
29:00 speed vs space tradeoffs
30:20 rendering the city
35:11 reflections: cube map vs runtime map
36:40 facial morphs streamed vertices
39:30 bandwidth vs free cpu time
41:00 horror show
42:05 npc
45:40 selfies
50:00 q&a
57:50 puddlegate
59:00 cars

After seeing various tech commenters and journalist reiterate the same line about the ps5 ssd being there to reduce level load times as a quality of life improvement, I got fed up with the lack of awareness about storage bandwidth needed for streaming open world environments.
This presentation has been out for almost a year and no one seems to be talking about it or aware of the implications.
[i'm posting this here because it covers cpu core/thread resources, gpu render pipeline- asset delivery, and storage bandwidth. This will affect PS5 and PC games.]

TLDW: in the speed vs space segments the dev explains that the old optimizations for speed (baked textures, asset formats) aren't absolutely necessary with current (and future) hardware.

The size on disk for game assets is only going to climb as we move towards 4k/hdr/60+fps/hrtf/pathtracing. With the number of cores/threads functionally skyrocketing and the availability of pcie4 ssd's as baseline, the nature of realtime vs pre-rendered assets is changing. there will be plenty of benefits to more cores/threads as long as you can feed them with a fast drive.

[note he mentions Houdini a few times. It is a 3d animation/render package noted for its programmability and integration with other programming languages. I worked for a vfx studio that used it exclusively for its renderer]
 

Stuka87

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Dec 10, 2010
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This is super old. We did talk about it back then. And Sony has gone out to almost brag about how much performance they gain for the PS5 by having an SSD, which is not new, at all for us PC gamers.
 

senttoschool

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Jan 30, 2010
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This is super old. We did talk about it back then. And Sony has gone out to almost brag about how much performance they gain for the PS5 by having an SSD, which is not new, at all for us PC gamers.
It's new for PC gamers.

PC games still must support hard drives. That means everything about the game is designed for the slowest hard drive.

Now that consoles require SSDs, PC games will start to set minimum requirements to fast SSDs. That'll change the design of the game.
 

blckgrffn

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May 1, 2003
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www.teamjuchems.com
I am hoping (maybe naively) that some really big PS titles (Last of Us 1 & 2, like a package) Persona 5, Zero Dawn 1, and well... I think maybe that's all I'd have time for ;) ... get not necessarily a redesign but a PS5 "native" version that takes advantage of the load time issues in particular that make console gaming a bit of a chore coming from PC. I don't that a title that is just using a BC layer will enjoy the same benefits.

From what they were able to do with Spiderman with known-fast storage in terms of loading times along with PS4 Pro level visuals, that'd basically be enough for me to buy/re-buy those titles and a PS5.
 

Stuka87

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Dec 10, 2010
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It's new for PC gamers.

PC games still must support hard drives. That means everything about the game is designed for the slowest hard drive.

Now that consoles require SSDs, PC games will start to set minimum requirements to fast SSDs. That'll change the design of the game.
Most PC games are console ports, so they are setup for slow loading times. But that doesn't mean an SSD will run slow. I can't recall the last time I had a loading screen in a game on PC.

Sony was basically "look how fast SSD's are!" and anybody with a gaming PC build in the last decade should be using an SSD, and should basically be thinking "yeah... old news".

The only interesting bit regarding the PS5's storage is the custom built compression chip so they can fit more onto the drive. That bit is pretty impressive, but not applicable to a PC.
 

senttoschool

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Jan 30, 2010
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Most PC games are console ports, so they are setup for slow loading times. But that doesn't mean an SSD will run slow. I can't recall the last time I had a loading screen in a game on PC.

Sony was basically "look how fast SSD's are!" and anybody with a gaming PC build in the last decade should be using an SSD, and should basically be thinking "yeah... old news".

The only interesting bit regarding the PS5's storage is the custom built compression chip so they can fit more onto the drive. That bit is pretty impressive, but not applicable to a PC.
Sure, you will be able to buy a drive as fast as the PS5's in Q4 of this year when next-gen PCE 4.0 drives come out.

But that's not the point.

The point is that developers for the PS5 can solely optimize for a 5.5Gb/s SSD, instead of a SATA 500mb/s SSD or even worse, a 75mb/s HD.

That's a huge difference in how games can be designed.

PC games will benefit from consoles switching to SSDs.
 
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Headfoot

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SSDs that can saturate a 6Gbps SATA III link are old news. NVMe / low overhead / compressed in transit at 5.5 GB/s SSDs are absolutely NOT old news. We are only now seeing PCIe 4.0 SSDs that approach this speed. This is an SSD that is 8 times faster than an average off the shelf SATA III SSD. NVMe drives are not uncommon, but are not universal by any means. I'm glad to see this aspect of game architecture get attention and new capabilities
 

senttoschool

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Jan 30, 2010
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SSDs that can saturate a 6Gbps SATA III link are old news. NVMe / low overhead / compressed in transit at 5.5 GB/s SSDs are absolutely NOT old news. We are only now seeing PCIe 4.0 SSDs that approach this speed. This is an SSD that is 8 times faster than an average off the shelf SATA III SSD. NVMe drives are not uncommon, but are not universal by any means. I'm glad to see this aspect of game architecture get attention and new capabilities
Yes.

It's going to take years for the PC market to develop games around a 5.5GB/s SSD. Most PC gamers probably still run on 500mb/s SATA SSDs or 75mb/s hard drives. PS5 developers can do it from day 1.

This is where the PS5 games will have the upper hand for years.
 
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FaaR

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Dec 28, 2007
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NVMe drives are not uncommon, but are not universal by any means.
Most NVME drives sold are also relatively low capacity/middle of the road performance, meaning maybe 2GB/s at best transfer speed.

Plus, you need to pile on the queue depth to max out a flash SSD, if you treat it like a HDD, running at low queue depth I/O it will deliver a (perhaps only small) fraction of its top performance. And what PC games are smart enough to do high QD I/O when loading? I start Destiny 2 off of my Samsung M.2 drive (or my Optane U.2 drive), it takes a gruddamn minute plus to load a level... Jesus friggin christ! :p
 
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gorobei

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linus covers why pc bandwidth(even the new pcie4) doesnt actually beat or match the ps5 ssd. if you want to skip linus' mea culpa most of the info starts around the 5 min mark.

MS and game devs will need to come to an agreement on system scheduling and access priority in order to get pcs to match ps5 performance with the same/similar hardware. not sure if ms new gpu scheduler is the start of that. https://devblogs.microsoft.com/directx/hardware-accelerated-gpu-scheduling/
 

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