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Xbox regains backward compatibility and tricks old games into running faster

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Running an old video game on a new console may seem like a simple idea. The new box is faster, so old and weak games should work, right? That will never work, especially if the architecture changes dramatically between console generations. That’s why Team Xbox has been fascinated by its focus on “backward compatibility.”

Microsoft’s engineering team already has hundreds of past generations of games running on the Xbox One family (and beyond). Engineers have now embarked on a completely different vision of backward compatibility. Rendering past games, especially the sissy-based Xbox One, more fluidly in the Series X / S. This new feature, called “FPS Boost”, is especially interesting because you don’t have to update your code to older games.

Not a remaster. Like ReShades

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s announcement on Wednesday’s features doesn’t explain exactly how it works. Instead, the obligation of storytelling is left to the frame analysts of the Digital Foundry. In a Wednesday video explaining how this feature works, John Linnemann confirms that the Xbox Series console can “send data back from Direct3D” while processing code from older games. [a longstanding API used in both Xbox consoles and Windows games] In the game faster than the original [consoles] did. “

As a result, all internal game logic continues to render at the original target frame rate, but from animation to camera movement, a key factor in 3D frame rate performance is frame rate without breaking the underlying game. You can raise it. Linneman reports that this doesn’t happen with game code changes or INI tweaks. After a popularity like ReShade, during the broadcast, Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter chimes and applies this to the mod’s PC gaming ecosystem, especially the PC version (cough, cough, NieR 🙂 that fans left behind. Compare with the processing injector Mod. Automata).

Digital Foundry’s video joins Ars Technica and is seriously frowning on how this feature is being rolled out. All in the form of five relatively unobtrusive games of the Xbox One generation. The boosts listed below apply to both Series X and Series S consoles.

Advertising UFC4 (Boost from 30fps to 60fps) New Super Lucky Story (60fps to 120fps) Far Cry 4 (30fps to 60fps) Watch Dogs 2 (30fps to 60fps) Sniper Elite 4 (30fps to 60fps)

Three of the games listed have never received an Xbox One X compatibility patch and FPS Boost does not affect resolution. Therefore, games such as Watch Dogs 2 and Far Cry 4 will continue to run at the Xbox One base resolution while increasing the frame rate. Still, the results are impressive in terms of set-it-and-forget-it patches to increase the liquidity of old games (and lock and stabilize those boosted frame rates) without breaking anything. ..

(UFC 4 is a bit confusing in terms of boost, so I’ll clarify immediately. Existing versions offered a low resolution 60fps mode on the Xbox One X and locked to 30fps on the base Xbox One. Currently, both Series X / S have access to 60fps mode, but Series X can get resolutions up to 1800p at that frame rate.)

Also, none of the above games have been officially released by Microsoft. This could be a power play that impresses fans that these patches could soon appear in older games, but Linneman says he’s testing what Microsoft does in the game. Confirming. -Game-specific criteria for glitches introduced by this injection process. Still, if the $ 299 Series S is ready to benefit from such boosts at lower rendering resolutions, the larger the FPS boost ecosystem, the less interested in pixels and the performance per dollar. For those who are interested, the value proposition is even greater.

According to Microsoft, these updates will be rolled out across the Xbox Series consoles today, but a new per-game visual toggle series will be rolled out “this spring.” This menu includes other options such as FPS Boost, Auto-HDR, and, according to Linneman, anisotropic filtering.

As Linneman and Leadbetter point out, Microsoft has updated the frame rate of existing software, especially Fallout 4, a game that Microsoft technically owns to publish thanks to the acquisition of Zenimax / Bethesda. I was already kidding my plan to do it. However, FO4 will not appear in today’s presentation, and it’s unclear if its frame rate planning will require a complete code rewrite, or if Microsoft will take advantage of this clever FPS Boost trick. Beyond the promise of “FPS Boost games coming soon”, the exact number of games that will see upgrades is unknown, and we haven’t heard of any pledges that FPS Boost might appear on Xbox 360 or OGXbox games.

But it’s hard to imagine Microsoft building system-level bullying for such an upgrade and then upgrading only a dozen older games, for example. Therefore, I am looking forward to further updates in the frame rate in the future.

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