PS4: Mark Cerny Reveals The Future Of PS4's Graphics

Adam Barnes


The creator of the PS4 talks about how it's built to be future-proof in terms of visual fidelity.

Published on Jul 22, 2013

If you've paid any attention to the latest PS4 news - and you know who Mark Cerny is - then chances are you'll have heard Cerny, the creator of the PS4, refer to the next-gen console's "rich feature set".

But what does that actually mean?

The PS4 is designed in such a way that it'll be easy for developers to develop on - something we've heard numerous times from PS4 developers - but will provide enough depth to unlock greater power later in the PS4's life.

In an interview with IGN, Cerny discussed this rich feature set and what that means for the evolution of the PS4's graphics. Warning, it does get a bit technical.

Early on Cerny suggests that "most of the titles aren't going to use that rich feature set. They will be great titles, but they will be leveraging very straightforward aspects of the system, such as graphics, you can get from the very high bandwidth that we have.

"By year 3 or 4," continues Cerny, "I think we'll see a lot of GPGPU [General-Purpose computing on Graphics Processing Units], which is to say that the GPU will be used for a lot of things not directly tied to graphics.

"So physics, simulation, collision detecting or ray casting for audio or the like."

While this will mean some of the power of the GPU will be used up to process aspects of a game other than the graphics, Cerny explains why it won't.

"Usually when I talk about this," said Cerny, "people say, 'but wait, won't that make the graphics worse?'

"Well, if you look at a frame and everything that's being done in that frame, a lot of phases within that frame – it's like 1/30 of a second – some of these phases don't really use all of the various modules within the GPU.

"Shadow map generation tends not to use ALU [Arithmetic Logic Units] very much, so it's a really optimal time to be doing all of those other tasks."

Cerny adds that this means - by the third or fourth year of the PS4's life, once developers are familiar with its architecture - it'll be possible to "improve the quality of your world’s simulation without decreasing the quality of your graphics."

This is part of the same interview where Cerny suggested criticism over cloud computing, a feature the Xbox One is designed for, suggesting that it's not suitable to improve visuals.



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