Games are taking a breathtaking leap forward. We have watched game reality and imagery get better and better over the years. We?ve seen many cut-scenes that were breathtaking; and then watched as our games resumed and the pixelated characters ? even in 1080p ? attempt to convince us that the action is reality. I have long waited for games to evolve to a point where the cut-scenes were no more realistic than the gameplay.
I am still being patient because I understand what goes into realism in digitally animated films, and as such, similar challenges face game makers. When the films hit the projectors they are often 1080 lines of resolution, or with ?Imax?, anywhere from 2000 lines to 4000 lines. The rub is that making reality come to life on the screen requires much more resolution during the work-in-progress, and when the images are ready, the film segments are reduced down to whatever resolution is going to be released.
What I am referring to is tricky to conceptualize, but it is the reason a real photograph, still looks real on a computer screen; and real recorded film, still looks real on the big screen. When DVD was first released, there were some that believed that the human eye really wouldn?t notice any difference in any resolution higher than 480 horizontal lines; just as it was said that 150dpi on a photograph was the finest detail recognizable to the human eye. Printers didn?t need to print any higher ? say 300dpi ? because it was a waste of processing power, we wouldn?t be able to tell the difference ? nonsense. We know differently now; just as we know how much more immersive Imax films are, even in with 2K projectors on less than 3 story screens.
Star Wars Battlefront 2015 is simply awesome ? and I haven?t even gotten to play it yet!
There has been some criticism about the resolution ? 900p on the PS4 and 720p on Xbox One. What? This can?t be possible; are we back tracking? The answer is NO. First of all the developers are using a very high frame rate for the final products which lends itself to realistic and smooth gameplay ? but it is much more than that.
To explain this unusual quandary I will use the best example I can think of ? ?Sulley? from Monsters Inc. The studio could have gone with John Goodman in a hairy suit and laid him into the? No, that?s ridiculous. When you see Sulley ? anytime in the digital animation ? but most especially when he is trapped in what I assume is the arctic, you can see the best scenes of his hair blowing in the wind.
It is not possible to create realistic hair with only 4K resolution; much less 1080p. So how is it that we see realistic hair when we watch Monsters Inc. on Blu-ray, and even on 480p DVD? The answer is in the production process ? and the same is true with Star Wars Battlefront.
To show examples, the simplest thing I could think of was a font. There is a process called anti-aliasing that smooth the edges of what would be pixelated lines ? smooth or hard surface images need it the most. This is the same principle that makes highly detailed images that were created with much more resolution, appear as they should in much lower resolution once they are ?down-converted? for release.
The first ?K? printed in a smaller font, and zoomed in using Photoshop. The image reveals what the ?K? really looks like, but is not greatly apparent to the eye.
The second ?K? is printed in a very large front (as a section of an image might be created for a digitally animated film), It is then zoomed out using Photoshop to closely match the zoomed-in ?K? in the previous example. By using more pixels to create the letter and then down-converting it to the output size, the software is able to ?interpolate? or ?anti-alias? the ?K? into a much smoother image.
When you run Battlefront on your game systems you are not seeing a game created with 900 lines or 720 lines; the game is merely running at that resolution. Processors will have to far exceed current speeds and bitrate before we will ever release a game or a movie in the same rate it was developed.
The 60fps frame-rate is going to make the action seem as though it was real. And the down-converted resolution chosen to achieve the frame-rate and still be within the limits of the processor is a worthy sacrifice, and will not be noticed.
Star Wars Battlefront is focused on ?MMOG? and has no single player campaign. It does have stand-alone missions that can be completed offline. The most impressive aspect of this new title is that the engine was created from scratch, and should therefore have some surprises even beyond the 60fps frame-rate!
Electronic Arts is one of the leaders in the game development industry with a very distinctive identity ? sports and more sports, The Sims, motion picture titles, and many others. I am excited to join the fight in Battlefront, and I am hoping for an even better immersive experience than even ?Destiny? but we shall see. Electronic Arts is releasing another battle fantasy that is free for game owners on December 8th ? ?The Battle of Jakku.?