The announcement of the PS4 Pro was all about 4K and HDR. Unfortunately, only a minority of gamers currently own TVs that support these technologies, and even when they do, the PS4 Pro still will have trouble pushing those types of visuals for the biggest games. This left a lot of people wondering, what would the PS4 Pro do for those who still use a 1080p TV. Speculation ran wild, but now we have confirmation from the developer of Horizon: Zero Dawn that the PS4 Pro will have a number of tricks that will improve the 1080p TV experience. Of course, this is still up to the developer to implement, so it won’t happen in every game.
The biggest of these is supersampling, a technique where the image for the game is rendered at a higher resolution, usually at or near 4K, and is then shrunk down. This might seem pointless, but it is actually an extremely effective method of delivering higher quality visuals. As Michiel van der Leeuw, Technical Director for Guerrilla explained.
“This is a very high-quality anti-aliasing technique, which basically means we internally render at a higher resolution (close to 4K) before shrinking it down to the final 1080p resolution. As our internal calculations are done at a resolution much higher than 1080p, more detail survives before we shrink it down to 1080p, resulting in smoother edges — virtually no jaggies — and a more stable image.”
The PS4 Pro is brand new, launching in just over a week, and it seems that developers are still working out exactly what they can do with the increased horsepower. Michiel continued “we’re also looking at enhancing the quality of our shadow maps and increasing the quality of our anisotropic filtering. This is a technique which increases the quality of texture sampling, resulting in more detailed environment textures. We still have to tweak these elements of the 1080p output quality for the final game, but we have quite a bit of power yet to play with.”
Either way, it’s good to have some hard facts on how the PS4 Pro will improve the 1080p experience, as that is the one that most gamers are stuck with at the moment. Personally, I’ve pushed for improvements to the game’s framerate, but I’ll take whatever I can get.
Horizon: Zero Dawn hits PS4 on February 28th, 2017. PS4 Pro arrives on November 10th, 2016.