1080p Gaming Not What it Seems?

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

There is no doubt that 1080p is the holy grail of high definition, which is exactly why Sony has pursued that benchmark with such enthusiasm. But exactly how hard is 1080p to render for video game consoles? Here are some telling stats straight from senior software design Bruce Dawson:

* 2.25x: that's how many more pixels there are in 1920x1080 compared to 1280x720
* 55.5%: that's how much less time you have to spend on each pixel when rendering 1920x1080 compared to 1280x720—the point being that at higher resolutions you have more pixels, but they necessarily can't look as good
* 1.0x: that's how much harder it is for a game engine to render a game in 1080p as compared to 1080i—the number of pixels is identical so the cost is identical
* 1280x720 with 4x AA will generally look better than 1920x1080 with no anti-aliasing (there are more total samples).


Resolution is no longer the sole indicator of image quality because of technological advancements that improve graphics at the pixel level, like shaders. If the PS3 is a stronger computing platform that can run 1080p well, I'd like to see them scale the resolution down, max the shaders and give me a mind-blowing image I'm actually capable of displaying on my 720p TV.

Clarifying Thoughts [ozymandias]

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This isn't rocket science.

If you have a limited number of resources, you can either put all those resources into making an amazing game at a lower resolution, or increate the resolution at the expense of resources that could be used for anti-aliasing, lighting effects, particle effects, geometry, AI, and more.

I'd take improved quality over improved resolution any day.

Here's something to think about. DVDs don't run in HD, but watching a video on DVD is much more believable than watching a video game.

When standard definition games look as good as DVDs, THEN they can up the resolution. Until then, game systems have a LONG way to go in standard definition.