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Forza Motorsport: Is 4K 60fps with ray tracing really possible on Series X?

Almost 5 years after the final collection entry, we lastly have some concrete details about the brand new Forza Motorsport coming subsequent yr. Whereas the eighth recreation within the collection drops the quantity from its title, the presentation was all about numbers: 4K decision and 60fps with real-time ray tracing, double the frame-rate that was proven within the 2020 teaser. Operating video games at 4K 60fps with RT is a tall order even for high-end PCs, so how can this be potential on Xbox Collection X?

To seek out out, we took a take a look at the 2 teaser trailers launched to this point – which, in keeping with Microsoft’s weblog, had been shot on PC however ‘additionally examined on Xbox Collection X for a similar visible high quality output’ – curious.

Analysing the footage reveals a number of tell-tale indicators of optimisations designed to ship the GPU headroom to make RT potential in-game – beginning with decision and picture high quality. Prior Forza Motorsport titles have focused native resolutions with 4x MSAA, however the brand new trailers present aliased geometric edges that are not in step with multi-sampling. That means that we could also be taking a look at a less expensive anti-aliasing approach. Equally, the sport does not seem like focusing on a local 4K, with pixel counts resolving to 1080p in some scenes however 4K in others. There are additionally cases the place lately revealed objects on display have a telltale sample of pixels on them. These indicators might be defined by some degree of picture reconstruction, variable fee shading (VRS), or maybe TAA.

Are Flip 10’s Forza Motorsport efficiency claims viable? Alex Battaglia investigates.

These strategies make 4K 60fps with RT a extra reasonable goal, however maybe that 4K should have an asterisk subsequent to it. That is nothing new for the console house, however it’s undoubtedly a novel method for Flip 10 and Forza Motorsport.

The trailers additionally trace in the direction of among the settings that the builders might be utilizing to make real-time ray tracing extra inexpensive. I think that the Flip 10 group might have chosen a particular sort of RT reflection to maintain computational prices down – specifically, utilizing coherent mirror-like reflections slightly than extra refined and reasonable shiny reflections. This has an outsized influence on efficiency – in testing the sport Ghost Runner on PC, I discovered that utilizing mirror-like slightly than shiny reflections saves 10ms on an RDNA2 graphics card. That is 60 p.c of the frame-time of a 60fps recreation – an enormous quantity. There’s proof of this RT setting getting used within the five-minute trailer, the place supplies exhibit both shiny, mirror-like reflections or no reflections in any respect.

Curiously although, the opposite trailer – the one-minute sizzle reel – appears to be like fairly totally different. It boasts a variety of diffuse reflections, which Flip 10 lately confirmed is the results of ray-traced international illumination (and evidently better-quality RT reflections) in replays, the storage and picture mode. That is nice from a technological standpoint, however labelling it as ‘in-game 4K footage’ after we’re speaking about replay cameras feels a bit of off by way of transparency to the viewers, particularly when the opposite trailer which is primarily based on gameplay constancy reveals no RTGI and fewer spectacular reflections whereas being labelled in the identical manner. It additionally raises the query of the PC model – will these with sufficiently highly effective rigs be capable to allow RT GI and higher-quality RT reflections in correct gameplay as properly? Hopefully we do not see an arbitrary restriction right here, however that’s what we noticed in Forza Horizon 5, which disabled RT in-game – even in case you have the {hardware} to deal with the additional GPU load.

There is a huge development by way of track-side element between FM7 and FM 2023.

Past the methods to make 4K 60fps with RT potential, the demo additionally showcases adjustments to Forza that look to benefit from the newer {hardware} discovered on PC and Xbox Collection consoles. One huge change is a dynamic time of day system, which requires the sport to be re-lit in actual time – one thing that may have been an enormous efficiency sink on earlier consoles. Equally, there is a huge increase to trackside element, with extra spectators, objects and even correct 3D bushes with particular person branches and real-time self-shadows. Zooming in to a shot of a street with cones reveals upgrades to the shading mannequin, which reveals way more materials variation. Whereas street and cone had an identical texture in FM7, every is shaded in a different way now, and the cone’s plastic even features a simulation of subsurface scattering; the thinner areas of the plastic let mild via. Given element variations like this, I’m very inquisitive about how different features of the sport are detailed and shaded up-close, like crowds or pit crews.

It is clear that there are clear and significant upgrades to picture high quality right here that befit a 2023 tentpole launch, alongside intelligent optimisations that make 4K 60fps with RT reflections conceivable for PC and consoles.

Nevertheless, a number of questions stay concerning the Xbox Collection model of the sport – does it exhibit related picture high quality and efficiency to the PC model, or are larger compromises required? Equally, the Xbox Collection S model is particularly described as that includes real-time RT, so what does that appear to be and the way does it run? It will be fascinating to see these questions answered as we be taught extra concerning the recreation.

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