Improved and smoother graphics for Project Cars with patch 1.04 – article

A month after the launch of Project Cars, update 1.04 brings a number of improvements to the PS4 and Xbox One versions that may come as a surprise. The 500MB download corrects some flaws, specifically on PS4, such as the temporal anti-aliasing technique that caused ghosting behind moving objects, a problem absent on Xbox One. In addition to this, however, the patch improves performance on both consoles by also adding graphics functions previously only present on PC.

Runs in rainy conditions with 20 cars or more still run below 60fps with tearing, but the situation has improved. According to the patch notes, from Slightly Mad Studios, the update contains optimizations for the CPU of both consoles and includes an extensively revised shader compiler. These changes allow us to recover a maximum of 5fps during our stress-tests on the circuits of Imola and Azure Coast in the PS4 and Xbox One versions. The update frequency does not always remain as high and sometimes turns out to be even lower than previous results, but overall it is a marked improvement.

In the comparison between the two versions, Sony’s platform is still ahead. The margin goes up to 12fps in favor of PS4, and the frame-rates of the two versions rarely match. If the PC version isn’t an option and you want to try Project Cars, the PS4 version remains the best console edition.

As for the graphics sector, Slightly Mad Studios has worked hard to improve a serious problem on PS4. The launch code used a temporal anti-aliasing filter aimed at reducing flickering to game in motion. The idea was to mix the current frame with the previous one to reduce jaggies, but the implementation proved too cumbersome and often produced a double image that during gameplay results in no ghosting issues on Xbox One.

Alternative analysis:

  • Project Cars Patch 1.04 – PlayStation 4 vs Xbox One
  • Project Cars – Xbox One Patch 1.04 vs Patch 1.01

The defect is practically corrected with patch 1.04. In the effects menu there is now a slider that allows you to adjust the intensity of the effect or remove it entirely. On the scale of 0 to 100, Slightly Mad Studios set the base value to 20. Leaving it unchanged, the results are much less intense than before, and in retrospect it appears that the game used the equivalent of the maximum value of 100, which would explain the exaggeration of the effect.

As you can see from the comparison video above, the lower the value, the less pronounced the double image is. We have slowed down the footage to give you a better idea of ​​how this changes the image, comparing the gameplay with the effect disabled, set to 20 and 100. Already at 20 things improve a lot, and in motion it is difficult to notice trails. at normal speed.

Lowering the value to zero produces an interesting side effect. Decreasing the temporal AA increases the intensity of speed-based motion blur. In practice, the slider affects two functions simultaneously: temporal AA and motion blur. Disabling the temporal AA eliminates the double image, but the motion blur is intensified to the maximum. The end result is closer to the image of Xbox One, which never enjoyed temporal AA while using motion blur to the max. Setting the slider to a value in the middle between the two extremes, such as base 20, results in a mixture of the two.

The reflections produced by the headlights and brakes have been added to the console versions. The effect works best in wet conditions, and brings the graphics slightly closer to that seen on PC.Patch 1.04 also fixes PS4’s excessive temporal AA, adding a slider to adjust its intensity. Even at baseline, 20 on a scale of 0 to 100, it’s a noticeable improvement over the day one patch results, and ghosting is almost entirely removed.Lowering the temporal AA on PS4 gives us similar results to those provided by Xbox One, and the intensity of the motion blur increases as the value of the AA on the slider decreases. As you can see from the streets, speed-based blur is much more aggressive with patch 1.04 already when the value on the slider is set to 20.Texture filtering remains virtually unchanged in replays, although the patch aims to improve it on PS4. There isn’t much that denotes changes in the path, or in the white lines in this image.Curiously, texture filtering is more blurry on PS4 in some tracks. This is most noticeable when you are stopped on the starting grid. You can see it on the texture directly to the left of the car in this image. However, during the race, the difference is impossible to notice.

However, it is not convenient to set the value to zero, as this causes a drop in frame-rate on PS4. Based on our analysis, the frame-rate is best if the time filter remains enabled at any value, be it 1, 20 or 100. In an Azure Coast test, with 20 cars on the track and clear skies and the time filter at 20, the frame-rate was 3-4fps higher than in a race with the effect disabled. It is not exactly clear how gameplay is affected, but keeping the value low gives slightly more performance and avoids ghosting produced by the filter at maximum level.

As a bonus we also see various graphic effects added, including brake reflections on the wet track. On PC, this effect only slightly affects performance even on budget GPUs, and we’re happy to see it added on PS4 and Xbox One. Unfortunately, texture filtering on PS4 remains nearly identical, and ground textures are even less sharp on the grid. While the race is in progress, this feature cannot be noticed to the point of invalidating the presentation, but its presence is surprising given the improvements made elsewhere.

It goes without saying that we are impressed with the progress the game has made since launch. As on day one, the experience doesn’t consistently hold at 60fps when the engine is under load, but a step forward has been taken in console optimization, and there is a sense of a genuine improvement on what it already was. a notable title.

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