How can graphics change on one console? (Topic)

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How can graphics change on one console?


In 2020, we will see the beginning of a new period in the gaming industry, namely the release of a new generation of consoles, the PS5 and Xbox Next. As it usually happens, at the start of the chart on the consoles it looks like what their hardware allows it to be. However, a few years after the start, new games are released, and the picture on the consoles becomes much better and it is not clear how this comes out. Today we decided to analyze how the graphics are getting better every year on the same console.

Unchanging Iron

What do we have to enter under the word "iron" when we pronounce it? In the gaming industry, we put there the concept of the physical parts that make up a computer. These parts themselves are produced in factories, among them: video cards, sound cards, motherboards, memory cards, power supplies - all this is the basis for running the game.

In consoles, as a rule, these parts are branded or patented and you do not have the right to change them for others. They are unchanged throughout her life. As a result: hardware cannot be broken, overridden or replaced in principle.


Internet and firmware are to blame

An important fact is that today any console always needs a constant connection to the Internet. So, for example, you always have access to download any game, patches or system update for it. One such update is firmware. Who doesn't know - it's like updating the BIOS (the most basic and first program on a computer thanks to which all other programs get access to the hardware).

Each firmware can fix certain bugs and shortcomings, which will then affect the quality of the game - they change the way in which commands are sent to the hardware, which affects the picture.

For example, when the PS3 OS was updated in 2014, the new firmware helped to reduce the load on the console's RAM and free it up a little. Gamers do not notice this, but the developers use and take into account such things when creating new games or for patching old ones. This is how the first improvement in console graphics happens


The changes we are seeing

Despite the fact that the impact of the firmware on the console is mostly invisible to us, we see them in new games. For example, the more RAM is available, the better textures or lighting the console can play and use top-end playback options. If on a PC you can set the graphics level yourself, on consoles the system does it for you and for you.

Because of this, we can see the best picture.

Code Libraries

However, the console may not be flashed or may not receive the firmware at all, and the picture will still stop better. Then how do you improve the graphics on the console? It's all about the code libraries.

When a studio develops more than one game, it forms its own library of codes, which are constantly rewritten and refined with the release of a new game. The same happens when new code libraries for engines are released. These third-party libraries are licensed by developers and publishers, which you can then use in your future projects and customize for yourself.


So, when the first games appeared during the launch of the new generation consoles, such libraries did not yet exist, since they took a long time to create. As a rule, during the start of the console, developers are chasing more to be the first to release their game on a new console at its start. The game may not be better, but it will be remembered as the first game to be released on a new generation console. But in the future, it will be possible to release a patch for it that will fix everything.

Over time, developers license and add new software codes that allow the game to require fewer resources in order to function, taking up free space to make the picture larger.

For you to understand - when shadow lighting appeared in Uncharted 4, it was not perfect, but then a technological race began to find out who would make this technology better, so that then everyone would use it.



At its core, the average gamer cannot notice these small changes, but if there are more of them, then they appear. Developing new code for a video game is a way to find a balance between existing code and how you can extend it. Thanks to this balance - it can work better. This is especially true for consoles where developers have limitations.

How does all this happen?

At the end of the console lifecycle, we have new code libraries that allow us to make a game, which will require less resources to launch, but more for a better picture. Also, patches of the console itself help in this, which optimizes its unchanged hardware. Its OS is being finalized. This gives developers more options.


In addition, if the developers still apply a certain style of drawing, this also affects the quality. Putting it all together, the result is that the graphics on the console are getting better every year.

See also: Evolution of artificial intelligence in games - from Pac-Man to Metal Gear Solid V.

The Topic of Article: How can graphics change on one console?.
Author: Jake Pinkman