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Control dev gives insight into porting games and developing for new consoles

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mod edit: https://www.neogaf.com/threads/why-ps5-series-x-games-have-yet-to-blow-us-away.1597001/unread

Talks about Activity cards on PS5: Really liked them, tied to the help system. Took a bit of thought on how to best use them for Control which wasn't originally built around them. References Astro's playroom about using them in future and the feature being forward thinking. Spoke about how to justify/balance the dev time for one platform only though. Thinks the big use case is player help and achievement hunting, also navigation so players see all the content/environment

Porting challenges/opportunities
  • "Challenge in cross generation sucks", still pretty limited with what you can bring that's new from an older game. Also porting takes away resources from engine improvement and their future titles.
  • Teases their new titles which will be PS5/XSX only will look amazing. They didn't really do anything to fix load times, a lot of native benefit from raw power, hardware improvement and streaming tech.
  • In 2019 they shipped Control, and then had to upgrade the engine to run on the new consoles. Lots of things broken at first like lighting etc. Took months to get all the bells and whistles (models/decals) back and looking like the original etc.
  • After this, they looked at what next gen stuff to implement. Ray Tracing was the big driving feature, but they work on multiple projects. They could have spent months more polishing and redoing Control but they have other projects to deliver and are finance bound by any delays. Ultimately, there is a line between what it is possible to improve balanced against timescales and effort.
  • Sony were ahead of Microsoft with their software and tools so it was easier to get the PS5 version running and looking optimal with less effort. Does indicate the effort was made on the Xbox version though to get parity.
  • Finishes with comparison on the differences between developing for Xbox/PlayStation. Both machines are great, really good build quality. It's still early days so both have bugs and software issues that cause crashes/glitches etc.
  • Sony stuck with what worked and mature tools going into this generation whereas Microsoft opted to change a lot of things - which are all good but put a lot of pressure on devs to immediately be ready and figure them out. That's not a negative, it's just what software development is like. This maybe explains the current situations. The entire framework matters, it's not just as simple as saying you have raw high end components.
  • The Series S was discussed lastly and seeprately - the lowest end system does dictate how far you can reach out with ambitions. It's easy to say 'just lower res and texture quality', but it's nowhere near that simple and every engine is different to make such generalisations. Some are GPU bound, some are CPU bound. Makes a huge difference on series S - lot more difficult to engineer an old game (Gen 8) to make it work on everything new. But going forward it's a known quantity and they have had full sight of it for a long time. They appreciate there is a lower tech entry point for next gen, but all the devs, techs and engineers are happy with them ultimately. Still only scratching the surface so not overly concerned at the moment.
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