Sony fans are anxiously awaiting the next-generation of gaming consoles, and while we continue to speculate on just what the PlayStation 4 will be bringing to the table, PlayStation Lifestyle has recently uncovered a wealth of information.
According to the PlayStation-focused site, several of Sony’s recent job listings have given insight in what to expect from the next-gen console. The company is looking for a “Lead Systems Engineer,” specifically to “act as an industry expert and a leader in systems level development on PlayStation platforms” The listing also mentions that “experience on GPGPU programming” is required, which has also been mentioned in several other Sony job listings. So what is GPGPU?
Simply put: General Purpose Computing on Graphics Processing Units. While this may sound like brand new technology, it has actually been around for quite some time – in super computers. Nvidia, known for their exceptional work with graphics processing units has begun using the technology on a more personal level, and using such a processor in a console would boost the power significantly. GPGPU’s essentially process graphics and data in a parallel manner, rather than in a serial manner like a traditional CPU. Rather than multiple cores processing data in order, GPGPU’s will have thousands of cores working to process multiple streams of data simultaneously. This will dramatically increase the speed at which graphics can be rendered, and will have great effect on physics engines. In the past, rendering a thousand enemies on screen in HD without slowdown was unthinkable. Now, it’s a cakewalk.
Several of Sony’s job listings also mention a required knowledge of DirectX 11, which features Tessellation. Nvidia has described exactly what this means for graphics rendering.
In its most basic form, tessellation is a method of breaking down polygons into finer pieces. For example, if you take a square and cut it across its diagonal, you’ve “tessellated” this square into two triangles. By itself, tessellation does little to improve realism. For example, in a game, it doesn’t really matter if a square is rendered as two triangles or two thousand triangles—tessellation only improves realism if the new triangles are put to use in depicting new information.
All of this is, of course, speculation, though it is based on readily available information. However, is Sony does end up using this technology, it could mean great things for the future of video games as far as graphics alone are concerned. This may be the answer for the constant push toward more realistic visuals in games. Of course, graphics don’t define video games, it always boils down to gameplay, and we still have yet to see what the PlayStation 4 will offer in terms of new gameplay mechanics.
For more information on GPGPU’s, check out this explanation of the technology, and make sure to check ScienceFiction.com for more updates.