The Coalition's studio technical director Mike Rayner recently spoke about the capabilities of the Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) and what it will mean for game development going forward.
In an interview with Windows Central (opens in new tab), Rayner spoke about the greatly improved Xbox Series X loading times (opens in new tab) in comparison to the Xbox One, as well as how The Coalition will look to explore how it can use the hardware’s improvements and features to "increase the texture detail in our game beyond what we can fit into memory."
Rayner begins by talking about the expectations of each generational leap when it comes to the improvements of the CPU, GPU, and memory performance of the hardware, and says the "Xbox Series more than delivers against these expectations."
"As a game developer, one of the most exciting improvements that far exceeds expectations is the massive I/O improvements on Xbox Series," Rayner explains. "In the current generation, as the fidelity and size of our worlds increased, we have seen download times and install sizes grow and increasing runtime I/O demands, which have made it challenging to maintain load-times expectations and meet world streaming demands without detail loss. The Xbox Series X has been holistically designed to address this challenge."
The I/O improvements Rayner refers to is the speed at which the Xbox Series X's new SSD can process input from you and display the results when you're playing a game, which will greatly improve loading times. "With the Xbox Series X, out of the gate, we reduced our load-times by more than 4x without any code changes."
The Series X also boasts the Xbox Velocity Architecture, which is made up of four components to "unlock new capabilities never-before seen in console development." Rayner also talks about Series X's Sampler Feedback for Streaming (SFS), which is one of the components of the Architecture. The SFS feature of the hardware, as Xbox Wire explains (opens in new tab), allows games to load into memory "with fine granularity". That means it only loads the portions of the textures that the GPU needs for a scene and only as it needs it.
Rayner went on to discuss the SFS feature with Windows Central: "The Xbox Series X's Sampler Feedback for Steaming is a game-changer for how we think about world streaming and visual level of detail. We will be exploring how we can use it in the future to both increase the texture detail in our game beyond what we can fit into memory, as well as reduce load times further by increasing on-demand loading to just before we need it."
Want to know more? Here's our breakdown of the Xbox Series X specs (opens in new tab).