The devs behind the upcoming cross-platform racing game Project CARS share some of the limitations and challenges they’ve faced while developing the game onto the PlayStation 4.
In the last few months, the gaming sphere has been buzzing with news on the PlayStation 4. Sony’s next-gen console has been praised by noteworthy studios, and many indie developers have added their voices to the console’s raw power and flexibility.
The team at Slightly Mad Studios has something different to say about the PS4; their revelations add an interesting perspective on the other side of the spectrum by discussing some of the console’s limitations, and the methods in which the studio circumvents a few “bottlenecks”.
The studio is currently building the framework for their highly-polished (and, if I might add, supremely beautiful) racing game Project CARS, which is poised to rank up with some of the AAA next-gen greats of the genre like Forza Motorsport 5 and Drive Club in terms of sheer visuals.
In a recent interview with Gaming Bolt Andy Tudor, the Creative Director of Slightly Mad Studios, briefly discusses some of the challenges the team is facing when developing Project CARS on the PS4.
The initial query is focused on the PS4’s varied GPU and CPU elements–specifically the variations in the console’s CPU threads and GPU compute units. Tudor’s response is understandable considering the consoles–even next-gen consoles–pale in comparison to the power and other advantages of the PC realm.
“It’s been challenging splitting the renderer further across threads in an even more fine-grained manner – even splitting already-small tasks into 2-3ms chunks. The single-core speed is quite slow compared to a high-end PC though so splitting across cores is essential.”
The studio’s Creative Director continues by touching upon some of the bottlenecks that the team has had to hurdle over while developing Project CARS, and more specifically how they’ve tackled solutions:
“The bottlenecks are mainly in command list building – we now have this split-up of up to four cores in parallel. There are still some bottlenecks to work out with memory flushing to garlic, even after changing to LCUE, the memory copying is still significant.”
Tudor also reveals that the studio is targeting the “best possible gameplay experience” for Project CARS, and they won’t compromise those awesome moments in gameplay for graphical performance. Slightly Mad does want to deliver 1080p at 60fps, of course, but not at the cost of having to wave goodbye to gameplay sequences that define the game:
“Our aim is always for the best gameplay experience possible and if that means 1080p/60fps is achievable without compromising ‘awesome stuff happening whilst racing’ then fantastic. So it’s the target yes, but it’s something every developer has to balance nearer to launch and it’ll be no different for ourselves.”
It’s interesting to see developers talk about some of the debacles they’ve faced while working with the PlayStation 4, especially when its specific areas–ie the console’s renderer limitations. Indie devs like Sanatana Mishra from Witch Beam Games have said things like “the PS4’s GPU makes it the most powerful console in the world“, and while that may be true in many cases, with power often comes tribulation.
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In any case, as developers have more time to fully integrate themselves with the console, the process will no-doubt become easier and more streamlined. Due to the flexibility of the PS4’s architecture, devs save a lot of time and can tap a variety of sources to beef up their games–but as Tudor puts it, you’ll likely find bottlenecks along the way.
The game itself is already so pristine and graphically appealing that any improvements will be welcome additions, and Slightly Mad Studios has many months to prepare and apply the finishing touches on Project CARS before it debuts across multiple platforms next year.
We might also here other devs shed more light on the other side of the PS4 spectrum in the next coming months–but the overall consensus is that it’s powerful and flexible but if course it won’t stand up to a full-fledged gaming PC.
Project CARS is slated for a release in Q3/Q4 2014 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam OS, Wii U and PC. For more information be sure to take a gander at the game’s official website or follow Slightly Mad Studios on Twitter.
Via Gaming Bolt