Plus: when will next-gen deliver more than higher resolutions and frame-rates?
It’s the new Digital Foundry Direct Weekly – our regular talk show covering the latest in gaming and technology news. In this week’s episode, the team dig deep into Halo Infinite’s remarkably fun big team battle mode, reveal performance analysis of this most ambitious game variation on each and every Xbox, discuss concerns about the PC version and share thoughts on how the flighting process for the shooter has radically shifted perceptions about the game, for the better.
There’s also a fair bit of chat about the Switch OLED model and how Nintendo has essentially delivered a super-refined handheld with a beautiful screen that elevates the handheld experience considerably, but doesn’t address perennial issues with docked play. However, adding some spice to the mix is the reveal that the new dock features an HDMI 2.0 controller, meaning that – in theory at least – it can pass through an HDMI 2.0 signal at full 4K60. It’s an interesting revision for the dock, but not of much use to the existing Switch because its PCIe lanes are split between USB and display output and I’m pretty sure that a theoretical 4K30 is the limit. Which leads us onto the question of whether future Switch hardware would be able to use the same dock and deliver an actual 4K signal at 60Hz. It’s an interesting theory, but ultimately, this would limit Nintendo’s design choices for a future console. My money is still on the HDMI 2.0 controller simply being easier to source than a likely delisted HDMI 1.4 part.
Then it’s onto the first reveal of the Steam Deck internals, which is essentially all about Valve dissuading users from dismantling their machines. Yes, an SSD upgrade is possible but not recommended for various reasons and yes, you may need to open the machine to replace worn analogue sticks (and it’s certainly nice to have that option!) but beyond that, aside from a tantalising look at the cooling assembly and confirmation of soldered DRAM modules, we didn’t learn too much more about the make-up of the machine.
- 00:00:00 Introductions
- 00:00:31 Halo Infinite big team battles
- 00:14:08 Switch OLED dock’s updated HDMI controller
- 00:18:28 Steam Deck “teardown”
- 00:23:27 Facebook/Twitch troubles
- 00:31:52 Cotton 2 Saturn emulation on Switch has massive lag
- 00:36:21 DF Content Discussion: Switch OLED Model
- 00:47:51 DF Content Discussion: Far Cry 6
- 00:56:00 DF Supporter Q1: Why do you think so many games have frame-pacing/frame-rate cap issues?
- 01:00:52 DF Supporter Q2: What are the visual similarities and differences between frame-pacing issues and an unstable frame-rate?
- 01:03:13 DF Supporter Q3: Could you imagine Digital Foundry as a whole exist in other formats 15 years ago, prior to YouTube’s existence and reliability?
- 01:06:18 DF Supporter Q4: I’m wondering about how all of you feel about ‘Digital Foundry said it’ becoming an increasingly common meme in online discussions about video games?
- 01:13:08 DF Supporter Q5: Would it be possible, with FPS games or even TPS games to have your weapon or your character rendered in a second pass, so that they do not occlude anything for the SSR?
- 01:15:50 DF Supporter Q6: Can you use DLSS to upscale the image from 6K (or 4K) to 8K and than use SSAA to downscale it back to 4K (or lower to match the pixel grid)?
- 01:19:33 DF Supporter Q7: Why is Sony so reluctant to support 1440p resolutions?
- 01:23:01 DF Supporter Q8: Is next-gen just about higher resolutions and frame-rates?
Beyond that, John talks about the curious case of the Cotton collection for Switch, which appears to be wrapping actual Sega Saturn emulation within a Unity wrapper – which presents us with massive lag issues. We spend some time talking about Far Cry 6 and how it may well be the end of the line for the Dunia engine, before piling into a big bunch of DF Supporter Q+A. Frame-rate and frame-pacing dominate early questioning – how do you tell the difference between poor performance and irregular frame delivery… and why do so many games ship with poor 30fps frame-pacing? It’s an interesting question for sure, and we have some theories about that.
There’s also an interesting question on whether Digital Foundry in its current, more video-orientated form could have been possible 15 years ago in the era where YouTube had yet to find its feet in terms of video quality. Of course, Digital Foundry was very much a big presence back then, but it was very much text-orientated, with video used to embellish the articles. I’ve been thinking about this a bit more since filming, and we did do our level best to bring you the best quality video at the time, to the point where I actually ‘hand-encoded’ the videos, so lossless HDMI captures were transcoded into h.264 in the most computationally expensive, time-consuming manner to retain as much quality as possible. But ultimately, to create video the way we do today, we need a global platform to actually deliver some level of financial return and the Eurogamer internal player wasn’t the venue for that!
The questions continue with an entertaining use of DLSS to create super-sampled imagery, some insights into why Sony doesn’t – and probably won’t – support 1440p monitors for PlayStation 5 before we round off with some thoughts on what the next-gen consoles have actually delivered so far. Is it really just higher resolutions, frame-rates and a spot of ray tracing every now and again? There are some great discussion points this week and that’s all part and parcel of being part of the Digital Foundry community. Whether it’s on Patreon or (especially) Discord, we’re building something special there and if you like what we do, I’d urge you to get involved!