Upgrading the Gaming PC

Upgrading the Gaming PC

Back on launch-day in August 2016 I began playing No Man’s Sky on the PS4. I fell so wildly in love with the game that a few weeks later I ordered parts and put together a gaming PC so that I could play No Man’s Sky at 60+ FPS with higher resolution options and also have the ability to adjust the player’s field of view (which one could not, on console back then). I detailed the system build in a post from way-back-when, but in a nutshell, the system consisted of:

  • Intel i7-6700K (4 core, 8 thread) @ 4GHz (4.2GHz boost)
  • Gigabyte Nvidia GTX-1080 Xtreme Gaming
  • 16GB Corsair DDR4 RAM-3200
  • 32-inch Samsung CF391 curved 60Hz 1920×1080 (16:9) LCD

As I’d hoped, this setup ran the game incredibly well. I started using it back in “the early days” and I played on this PC a little over six years, for what’s now 3,800 hours in the game, all settings on “Ultra.” In that time, I doubled the system RAM and in order to move up from 1080p to 1440p, the GPU and display were upgraded to:

  • EVGA FTW3 GTX-1080Ti (11GB, factory overclocked)
  • Samsung C32HG70 curved 32-inch 144Hz 2560×1440 (16:9) LCD

This worked out very well for quite a while but…those pesky (frequent and free) updates Hello Games keeps releasing began to take a toll on performance. (At the time of this post, HG has released 161 updates, 30 of them major.) As certain updates brought richer worlds with more details — Origins and Next Generation in particular — I noticed that framerates started to dip here and there. And, whereas a few years ago on my Freesync-linked GPU and display I had been mostly in the 80-95 fps range with very rarely a dip below 60 fps, recently when walking on worlds with particularly dense ground features, I began to see brief dips into the low 40s and occasional stuttering, even when framerates were up in the 70s and 80s. I have a little 7-inch secondary display constantly running on the PC, displaying system monitoring information from the app HWiNFO64, and I noted that the GPU was often not fully loaded, which showed me that I was CPU limited in terms of performance; the Skylake CPU was not able to keep the GPU fully fed. And so, I decided to finally upgrade the PC.

After bringing myself up to speed on the PC CPU landscape out there, and acknowledging that I don’t use this Windows PC for anything but gaming (the performance / efficiency cores proposition offered by Intel therefore not being of interest to me), I decided to upgrade the CPU to a Ryzen 7 7700X, which also meant upgrading the motherboard and system RAM to the DDR5 required by the Zen 4 architecture. I would also stay with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit. (Incidentally, this is the third AMD-based system I have built. The first was a 5×86 160MHz system from 1996, which I rebuilt not all that long ago, and the second was a K6 225MHz system from 1997.)

I posted on the Ars Technica forums asking for advice on making this upgrade and was given much helpful advice and told that if there were a MicroCenter near me (there was) I could get a number of in-store discounts, including a free 32GB DDR5 RAM kit, among others. And, so, I headed to the Fairfax, VA MicroCenter and purchased the aforementioned CPU along with an ASUS B650-A motherboard, a heatsink/fan combo, and a few other odds and ends. All of that in hand (including the free 32GB of DDR5 RAM), I headed home and opened up the gaming PC, swapping in the new parts for the old, reusing the GTX-1080Ti, the Fractal Design R5 case, the EVGA PSU, the optical drive, and my SATA SSDs. I took advantage of a $60 MicroCenter discount and purchased a WD_BLACK NVMe 2TB SSD for just $20 over the price of the 1TB unit to further increase loading speeds in the game. The core component build-out of this upgraded PC presently looks like:

  • Ryzen 7 7700X (8 core, 16 thread) @ 4.5GHz (5.4GHz boost)
  • ASUS B650-A ROG Strix motherboard (with WiFi, Bluetooth)
  • EVGA FTW3 GTX-1080Ti (11GB, factory overclocked)
  • 32GB G.SKILL DDR5-6000 RAM
  • WD_BLACK SN850X 2TB NVMe SSD
  • Noctua NH-D15 CPU cooler

If you have a local MicroCenter — by all means use it.

Here, I will note that the GTX-1080Ti is a GPU that was “too good.” Nvidia released it to the market — only shortly — based on AMD’s performance claims about their upcoming Vega architecture … that ended up being exaggerated. Real-time raytracing hardware aside, the GTX-1080Ti with its 11GB of RAM is approximately equal in performance to the RTX-2070 Super and the RTX-3060 (but with more RAM), especially with older games — I would not trade it for either. The RTX-2080 is only ~10% faster in most cases. It seemed a foolish idea to consider upgrading the GPU at this time, not to mention — I didn’t have the budget for it.

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“No Man’s Sky” Featured in Apple’s January M2 Silicon Event

“No Man’s Sky” Featured in Apple’s January M2 Silicon Event

During Apple’s WWDC 2022 keynote back in June, Apple announced that No Man’s Sky would be coming to the Mac, featuring the game as an example of one of the first apps to utilize Apple’s new Metal 3 graphics API along with one of the new features it brings, MetalFX upscaling. During the demo, Apple’s Senior Director of GPU Software, Jeremy Sandmel, said that the game would be “coming to the Mac later this year.” And in early October, Hello Games’ front man Sean Murray tweeted,

2022 has already been a busy year for No Man’s Sky – Sentinel, Outlaws, Leviathan, Endurance, SteamDeck, MacOS, PSVR2, Switch and several expeditions… and we aren’t done yet!

But as we saw, the year drew to a close without a Mac No Man’s Sky release. (Several other games slated for Mac release by year’s end were also delayed, for what that’s worth.) And, with 2023 underway, posts across various web forums from anxious would-be Mac Travellers have started to appear, asking about any updates on the status of the coming Mac release.

Those waiting anxiously may be pleased to hear that Apple held a press event today announcing new MacBook Pro laptops and Mac mini desktop models featuring new iterations of Apple’s M2 processor, and in that event, No Man’s Sky was again showcased, this time by Senior Engineering Program Manager, Mac, Erin Turullols, as can be seen in the bookmarked video clip below.

And the new Mac mini is also great for games, running demanding titles like No Man’s Sky at even faster framerates. With this supercharged performance, the new mini with M2 runs laps around the competition.

The No Man’s Sky section of the event showed the game running on an Apple Studio Display, with a Mac mini and a Sony PS5 DualSense wireless controller by its side. There is little reason to assume that the demo footage shown in the video was actual footage of the game running on Apple hardware. More than likely, It was a PR clip from Hello Games, generated on a PC.

Unfortunately, no release timeframe was mentioned during the event, however, a bit of fine print shown at the conclusion of the video states that “No Man’s Sky will be available later this year.”

So, for anyone doubting that the game was still on the way — and there’s really no reason to have though that — the game is still on the way. Likely, No Man’s Sky will launch not only sometime in 2023, but soon. Some speculate that Hello Games is waiting for Sony’s Playstation VR2 launch for PS5 on February 22nd to release an update that takes advantage of the new headset while also using that opportunity to release the Mac version. That may be the case, or there may have simply been some setbacks in the development process that forced a delay in the Mac version’s release.

Whatever the reality, No Man’s Sky for the Mac will surely be here soon. (And for the iPad, too, if you believe what Apple stated in their web press release following the WWDC 2022 keynote, though as far as we’ve seen, Hello Games has made no mention of such a version anywhere else…)

The Clock Winds Down on 2022…

The Clock Winds Down on 2022…

From Apple’s press release released immediately following their World Wide Developer Conference 2022 back in June,

Immersive Gaming Experiences

The power of Apple silicon enables every new Mac to run AAA games with ease, including upcoming titles such as EA’s GRID Legends and Capcom’s Resident Evil Village. And since Apple silicon also powers iPad, game developers can bring their AAA games to even more users, like No Man’s Sky from Hello Games, which is coming to both Mac and iPad later this year.

Metal 3, the latest version of the software that powers the gaming experience across Apple platforms, introduces new features that take the gaming experience on Mac to new heights and unleash the full potential of Apple silicon for years to come. MetalFX Upscaling enables developers to quickly render complex scenes by using less compute-intensive frames, and then apply resolution scaling and temporal anti-aliasing. The result is accelerated performance that provides gamers with a more responsive feel and graphics that look stunning. Game developers also benefit from a new Fast Resource Loading API that minimizes wait time by providing a more direct path from storage to the GPU, so games can easily access high-quality textures and geometry needed to create expansive worlds for realistic and immersive gameplay.

Will Apple users wake to find 18 quintillion planets under the tree this year?

A Look Back at Some Early Features Now Absent from “No Man’s Sky”

A Look Back at Some Early Features Now Absent from “No Man’s Sky”

Being a fan of all-things-No Man’s Sky, I keep up with several NMS-related channels on YouTube. The most recent YouTuber that I’ve started watching regularly is Kanaju. In his videos, he covers quite a few aspects of No Man’s Sky that I find to be of particular interest.

A couple of Kanaju’s recent videos cover features present in early version of the game that have been removed or evolved into something new and that current players may not be aware of. As someone particularly fond of the early versions of No Man’s Sky — to the point that I’ve become something of a Time Traveller, occasionally going back to enjoy those rather more rough-hewn worlds — I wanted to share these videos with readers who might just be surprised at the way things were.

The first video is entitled “5 Killed Features Worth Bringing Back.” I well recall all of these now-absent features, and it certainly is a walk down memory lane for this day-one player. I may not fully share the author’s desire for a return of all of these features, but it’s interesting to look back and to see where some of the current features and mechanics in the game got their start.

The second video, entitled “5 Lost Interiors You Can’t Explore Today,” takes a look at early iterations of player bases, space stations, The Anomaly, and the like. Pieces of the past can certainly be seen in the in-game present, and this one really shows the degree to which much of No Man’s Sky has vastly increased in scale.

As Kanaju acknowledges in several of his videos, 2018’s massive update NEXT (v1.5) marks a sort of before-and-after point for many aspects of No Man’s Sky. Hello Games chief Sean Murray, in a video interview about 2020’s Origins (v3.0) update, made mention of the notable changes that took place earlier.

The fundamental thing is that we have this universe that we built, like, four years ago and we released it and we said that thing of, “even we don’t know what’s out there.” But it was true to an extent, right? We didn’t know the kind of planets people were going to start up on and — and then actually that hasn’t been true for the last four years for us. We have a ever evolving game but that universe has been reasonably static, right? The same terrains and biomes and worlds out there to explore. We’ve kind-of calmed them down, actually. We’ve removed some of the craziness [in Atlas Rises and, to a much larger extent, NEXT]

While there is certainly more going on now in No Man’s Sky than ever before, thanks to the over 20 major (and free) updates Hello Games has given us, it’s interesting to look back — even for those who were not entranced by that feeling of simple solitude and limitless possibilities that many of us (well, some of us) so cherished.

WWDC Surprise: “No Man’s Sky” Is Coming to the Mac and iPad

WWDC Surprise: “No Man’s Sky” Is Coming to the Mac and iPad

Today, Apple live-streamed the keynote that kicked off its annual World Wide Developers Conference. Occurring every spring, WWDC serves as an opportunity for Apple to announce product updates to consumers, show off new software and OS features that are on the way, and put its latest development tools in the hands of the dev community.

During today’s keynote, Apple announced the new M2 processor, successor to the extremely performant / low power Apple M1 that kicked off the Mac’s transition from Intel-based processors to Apple Silicon. Apple showcased the M2’s performance in the first machines that will be receiving the chip, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops. The coming, yearly update to the Mac’s operating system, called macOS Ventura, was also demonstrated. As is always the case, the new OS brings with it a variety of new technologies that were detailed during the keynote. One of those technologies is Metal 3.

Metal is a low-level, low-overhead hardware-accelerated 3D graphic and compute shader API created by Apple. It debuted in iOS 8 during WWDC 2014 and combines functions similar to OpenGL and OpenCL in a single API. Apple moved away from OpenGL as its core 3D API and created Metal in order to improve performance by allowing low-level access to the system GPU. It is comparable to other APIs such as Vulcan and DirectX 12 and is currently utilized by Apple’s macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS. WWDC 2017 saw the release of Metal 2 which brought various enhancements and optimizations. Today’s announcement of Metal 3 brings more features and improvements still, and Apple Senior Director of GPU Software Jeremy Sandmel took the stage today to demonstrate some of these new features.

And that’s when things got interesting. (The keynote video presented herein is cued up to the moment in question.)

The first first new feature of Metal 3 that Jeremy pointed to is MetalFX Upscaling which, it was revealed, is as a scaling technology akin to Nvidia’s DLSS and AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (both of which are supported by the PC version of No Man’s Sky). While he began to speak, saying the following (quote below) about this feature, the keynote stream highlighted a MacBook Pro laptop running a game that looked so familiar to me that, in this completely unexpected context, I had trouble recognizing it.

We continue to improve Metal. It’s the software that powers hardware accelerated graphics on all our platforms, and now Metal 3 brings new features that will unleash the full potential of Apple Silicon for years to come.

Gaming at maximum resolution and quality looks awesome. And, to help game developers increase the performance of realistic and immersive graphics, we’re introducing MetalFX Upscaling which enables developers to render rich, visually complex scenes even faster. It works by rendering smaller, less compute intensive frames and then applies high quality spacial upscaling and temporal antialiasing — and it’s so cool.

No Man’s Sky, coming to Mac later this year, will be one of the first games to use MetalFX Upscaling. The framerate increases give you that responsive feel — and it looks beautiful.

There was … a Traveller … jetpacking up the hill of … a paradise planet… It took a few moments for my mind to take in what I was seeing, and it was at about that time that he stated that No Man’s Sky would be coming to the Mac later this year and that it will be one of the first games to utilize Apple’s new upscaling technology.

This is amazing news of which no one had heard even a hint. Hello Games’ front man Sean Murray didn’t even tweet a teasing emoji leading up to it. This came as a complete surprise to the entire No Man’s Sky community.

MetalFX Upscaling demo clip from the Apple keynote

And, what comes as a further surprise to those who watched the keynote is Apple’s announcement, in their own press release, that No Man’s Sky will also be coming to the iPad later this year. Nowhere during the keynote video was an iPadOS port of the game mentioned, which is a little surprising considering that in 2021, the iPad generated over 90% the revenue of the Mac.

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“’No Man’s Sky’ Is a Joy to Play On Steam Deck,” Says TouchArcade

“’No Man’s Sky’ Is a Joy to Play On Steam Deck,” Says TouchArcade

As we have detailed in several posts on this blog, No Man’s Sky runs quite well on Valve’s new mobile console, the Steam Deck, which started making its way into the hands of early adopters a few months ago. As more people are getting their hands on the new console, reviews of the system and reports of how well popular Steam games run on it are popping up with increasing frequency. And, some from game publications who have not traditionally covered PC gaming…such as TouchArcade.

In their recent roundup, Best Games to Play on Steam Deck – From ‘Elden Ring’ to ‘No Man’s Sky’ and ‘Risk of Rain 2’, TouchArcade had this to say about our favorite procedural space exploration game:

Open world exploration adventure game No Man’s Sky is one I’ve hoped would come to iOS and iPadOS for a very long time. It felt like a perfect fit for Apple Arcade as well with how it gets major updates and supports playing with friends on everything. No Man’s Sky is coming to Switch, but the Steam Deck version has impressed me more than when I played the game on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. It obviously isn’t as nice as playing it on a high-spec PC or PS5, but No Man’s Sky on a portable at 60fps is a sight to behold. My only hope for No Man’s Sky is cross progression between PC and consoles in the future. Until then, No Man’s Sky is a joy to play on Steam Deck.

Their thoughts on No Man’s Sky and inclusion of it in their “best games” roundup post is high praise that didn’t escape the notice of Hello Games’ chief Sean Murray. Sean recently tweeted a link to the post, with a brief quote from the write-up.

It’s fairly likely that PC gamers and traditional console players (Playstation, Xbox) haven’t spent a lot of time at TouchArcade, whose primary focus is iOS (iPhone, iPad) gaming. Why, then, am I writing a post specifically about their assessment of No Man’s Sky?

Well, when I saw that tweet from Sean, my heart skipped a beat.

And that is because, way back in early 2008, I co-founded TouchArcade with Arnold Kim of MacRumors. I joined the MacRumors team in San Francisco to cover MacWorld Expo 2007 and was in the keynote audience at the Moscone Center when Steve Jobs took the stage and showed the world the iPhone for the first time. It was an amazing event. When we learned, a year later, that Apple would be releasing an iOS (née iPhoneOS) SDK, we knew that games would be coming — and lots of them. So, in April of 2008 we launched TouchArcade (snapshot from Wayback Machine), which quickly became the largest website dedicated to iOS gaming, a distinction that it still maintains nearly 15 years later.

The site grew fast and it wasn’t long before we were staffing up, contributing to print game magazines, and running an iOS gaming podcast. In recent years TouchArcade has branched out to include Nintendo Switch gaming news and, as can be clearly seen here, Steam Deck-related news. I personally worked the site for six years — three part-time and three full-time. I have not been significantly involved in its operation since 2015, and a few years later I stepped down as co-owner of TouchArcade to follow other pursuits.

At any rate, I appreciate the patience exhibited by readers who made it this far; I couldn’t let a shout out from Captain Sean to the gaming site that I helped bring to life go without a little bit of rumination spoken aloud.

Godspeed, Traveller.

“No Man’s Sky Outlaws” and the Wonderful New Solar Ships

“No Man’s Sky Outlaws” and the Wonderful New Solar Ships

Last week, Hello Games released No Man’s Sky Outlaws, a major update to the game that might just have you singing “Yo-ho, yo-ho, a pirate’s life for me!” Outlaws v3.85, Hello Games’ twenty-first major (and free) update to No Man’s Sky, greatly expands gameplay and mission mechanics for would-be pirates, including a new class of starships called Solar Ships, improved space battles, in-atmosphere ship combat, wingmen, pirate-controlled systems and space stations, visual enhancements, the sixth Expedition: The Blight, and much more, all detailed on Hello Games’ Outlaws release page.

Hello Games has a habit of releasing major updates when I am on an extended vacation with my family — and that was the case with Outlaws. As such, I was a bit late to the party in giving it a go (if only the upcoming Switch release were here already!). Having now spent a number of hours exploring the update, I am much impressed, and most so with the new Solar Ships. I can’t get over the look and feel of them, dramatically transforming as they take off, leave and reenter atmosphere, and land. Their solar sails, procedurally-generated variation, and “feel” — both on screen and VR is amazing to me.

I have been so impressed with these new ships that I put together a short video to share with readers, showing my first-acquired Solar Ship doing its thing, as well as a bit of the craziness involving both these new ships and ships of olde in a pirate attack on a planetary Trading Post.

While I am still feeling out the various new pirate mechanics and am only early-on in Expedition Six, the No Man’s Sky Outlaws update has added a whole new dimension to gameplay that I can already feel and much appreciate.

How are you liking it?

A Lengthy Session of “No Man’s Sky” Running on the Steam Deck

A Lengthy Session of “No Man’s Sky” Running on the Steam Deck

Last month I made a post featuring a short video by YouTuber PC-Gaming.it that contains a clip of No Man’s Sky running on the Steam Deck. It was our first glimpse of the performance of our favorite infinite universe, procedurally generated space survival / exploration game running on Valve’s new mobile console.

A much more lengthy look at No Man’s Sky on the Steam Deck was recently posted by YouTuber Gaming On Linux. The nearly 40 minute video shows gameplay across various biomes and gives a much better feel for the NMS Steam Deck experience. The on-screen performance meter shows that the game, capped at 60fps, plays fluidly and rarely drops below the capped rate. Also notable is the fact that it is running with AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) turned off, which raises the question of just how much higher a framerate could be achieved on the Steam Deck with the FPS cap off and FSR enabled.

Regarding the game’s performance on the Steam Deck, at the beginning of the video the reviewer states,

I’ve had a lot of people ask to do No Man’s Sky on the Steam Deck, so here we are. Truly I have to say though, I’m somewhat impressed by how far it’s come along. Before the release, while I was reviewing the Steam Deck itself, the game did not perform well — but now it’s perfectly playable. My save is quite early on but I’ve covered a number of different areas that you’ll find in the game in the video. Hopefully it gives you a reasonable idea of what some of the performance will be like.

The performance improvements spoken of by the reviewer are certainly due to the frequent and numerous updates to the Steam Deck software that have come, surrounding its launch. The Proton compatibility layer / translation software under which No Man’s Sky runs on the Steam Deck, in particular, may have seen ongoing optimizations for the console’s custom Zen 2 + RDNA 2-based APU.

Have a look and share what you think in the comments. Are you about to take exploration on the go with a shiny new Steam Deck?

First Video of “No Man’s Sky” on the Steam Deck Surfaces

First Video of “No Man’s Sky” on the Steam Deck Surfaces

[ Update – April 11: A longer gameplay video than that shown here has since surfaced and is featured in a more recent post elsewhere on this blog. ]

Last Friday Valve’s Steam Deck embargo ended and those with Steam Deck units in their hands have begun sharing thoughts, experiences, and gameplay videos. One such individual is Italian YouTuber PC-Gaming.it. On Friday, they shared a short video showing a person playing three games on the Steam Deck: Nier Replicant, Persona 4, and No Man’s Sky.

Within, about two and a half minutes of No Man’s Sky gameplay is shown towards the end of the video, starting at about the 5 minute, 47 second mark. An on-screen system monitor shows some interesting system performance metrics during gameplay.

The video shows the Italian version of the game being played at the Steam Deck‘s native 1280×800 pixel screen resolution. Framerate stays locked at 60fps for nearly the entire video and, while the GPU remains pegged at near 100% utilization, the CPU load rarely rises above 50% and stays at around mid-40% most of the time. Halfway through the NMS demonstration, the player jumps to the in-game graphics options screen and changes the settings from the Standard preset (with no anti-aliasing) to the Enhanced preset (with TAA enabled) — and this has no measurable effect on either CPU or GPU load, interestingly. With the CPU utilization so apparently low, there is likely room to edge up the settings further before seeing a performance hit.

And, here we should remember that SteamOS on the Steam Deck is Linux-based, and that the system is running the Windows version through Valve’s Proton compatibility layer / translation software (this has been verified) which necessarily impacts game performance to some degree.

The NMS graphics settings as well as the screen overlay also reveal that AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) scaling is not enabled during the demonstration video.

Traveller’s out there debating the purchase of a Steam Deck to play No Man’s Sky on the go should have a look at our recent post, “No Man’s Sky” on Nintendo Switch – So, How Will They Do It?, which looks at some likely approaches Hello Games is taking with their recently announced Switch version.

[ Proton performance is discussed in the comments ↓ ]

“No Man’s Sky” on Nintendo Switch – So, How Will They Do It? [Updated]

“No Man’s Sky” on Nintendo Switch – So, How Will They Do It? [Updated]

Many of us had wondered over the past few years if it would ever happen, and last week Hello Games announced that — yes — No Man’s Sky will be landing on the Nintendo Switch game console sometime this summer. [ Since this post was first published, a tweet from HG’s Sean Murray has announced October 7 as the launch date of the Switch version. More info can be found at the bottom of this post. ]

The news comes to the surprise of many who had assumed the Switch wasn’t up to the task of conjuring the limitless, procedurally generated universe of No Man’s Sky. And, indeed, Hello Games is certain to have had to make some compromises to get the game running on the Switch in a manner that maintains a solid framerate while remaining a real looker. But, as the No Man’s Sky Switch announcement trailer demonstrates, they seem to be having success in the effort. (And, yes, based on a number of small details in the trailer video, most notably the discernibly low resolution, I feel confident we have been handed in-game video of the Switch port of the game in that trailer.)

No Man’s Sky looks the best and plays the smoothest on high power gaming PCs, the Xbox Series X, and the Playstation 5. As the chart below shows, the older Playstation 4 — the game’s original target platform — is a considerably more powerful system than the Switch for playing a game like No Man’s Sky, which is particularly intensive as far as both GPU and CPU demands. So, how will they do it?

Nintendo SwitchPlaystation 4
CPUTegra X1 (4x ARM Cortex-A57 cores) @ 1.02GHzJaguar (8x AMD x86-64 cores) @ 1.6GHz
GPUNvidia Maxwell w/ 256 stream processorsAMD GCN Radeon w/ 1152 stream processors
GPU Perf393 GigaFLOPs1.84 TeraFLOPs
System RAM4GB LPDDR4 @ 1.6GHz8GB GDDR5 @ 2.75GHz
Memory Bandwidth26GB/s176GB/s
Max Display Res1920×1080 docked, 1280×720 mobile1920×1080

One approach is the use of adaptive screen resolutions. Many console games vary their screen resolution depending on the complexity of the scene being rendered, even on today’s most powerful consoles. I have analyzed a still shot grabbed from the Switch announcement trailer at different source resolutions with several graphics editors and, counting the individual pixels for a section of the screen and calculating across the full screen width, I have determined that it is being rendered with a horizontal resolution of 640 pixels. It’s hard to estimate what the high and low marks will be for rendering in No Man’s Sky on the Switch, but the indicated scene appears to be rendering at half of the Switch’s mobile resolution of 1280 pixels wide. Such variable rendering would certainly assist in keeping the game’s framerate fluid.

Screengrab from NMS Switch trailer

Another performance enhancing approach that will certainly be employed on the Switch port is the use of AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution, a set of open source high quality upscaling algorithms that allows a game to be rendered at a lower resolution and scaled up by the GPU to a more desirable target resolution for significantly improved framerates with almost no reduction in image quality. And, the GPU of the Nvidia Tegra X1 in the Switch supports this technology.

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