Is the Halo Infinite graphics really outdated now?

After several years of waiting, we were finally able to watch the next episode of Halo in the form of a video showing the gameplay, but the scenes presented were finally, to put it mildly, mixed.

Recently, Microsoft has unveiled some games at the Xbox Games Showcase that will launch the next generation of the Xbox, and of course Halo couldn’t be left out, after all, this franchise was one that launched the Xbox brand to world fame at the time. on the road leading. We’ve heard about the sequel called Halo Infinite several times before, but now we can finally watch it on the go; the game received a very divisive reception instead of uniform recognition.

The purpose of the Xbox Games Showcase was not only to give a taste of the expected line-up, but also to convincingly show the power of the console to the audience, but seeing the introduction of Halo Infinite gameplay, some of the audience left disappointed, as many they saw the game’s graphics as “flat” and outdated.

Microsoft’s marketing department responded to the criticism, but they said the problem was simply because an older version of the game had been shown, or that the high-definition footage was played over a less high-quality live stream. These are legitimate suggestions anyway and have certainly played a role in the audience’s reaction – but maybe that’s not all?

Camera, lights, tap

Of course, Digital Foundry, which specializes in technical analysis, also jumped on the topic and gathered what factors might be undermining the overall picture. According to Alex Battaglia, a key aspect of the game’s visuals is that 343 Industries has switched to a new engine called Slipspace, which uses fully dynamic lighting instead of the previous pre-burned lights, unlike Halo 5, which used the former technique more. for most of the game.

The biggest advantage of dynamic lights is that since the engine calculates all the light on the fly, it can mimic all kinds of lighting situations in a lifelike way (including different times of the day), but the big downside is that a lot of extra computing puts a much heavier load on the GPU. The other problem with dynamic lighting is that while really well-lit spaces will look super, shady spaces will always be harder to make spectacular, and Battaglia says the Infinite demo also stumbled upon choosing an unfavorably lit scene for the show:

“Looking at the terrain and time of day, you can see that the Sun is very close to the horizon and plenty of hills and trees stand in the way of sunlight, which means that a significant part of the playing field is not directly lit by the Sun, plus the action is great part of it takes place in a valley where there is even less natural light. In summary, much of the video takes place in the shadows, which is a problem because it is a general rule of thumb that games are not as good at authentic representation of shady spaces. “

You can also watch the full analysis on video, here it is:

Fortunately, the case is not lost, after all, as Battaglia explains, there is a solution to this problem that is nothing more than global illumination driven by ray tracing. Every recently widespread engine has some solution to this topic, which means it’s not an uncharted problem at all; of course it’s important to note that it’s not free either:

“If some kind of tracing technique could solve the problem of indirect light illuminating the shaded parts, the visuals of the Halo Infinite could change dramatically compared to now. This would of course be a trade-off, as these methods are very costly in terms of computational requirements.”

One of the big promises of the next console generation is that it will allow real-time ray tracing in console games as well, but let’s not forget that Halo Infinite will be released for the current generation as well, and it will be very difficult to squeeze out any kind of Xbox One and its bigger brother. ray tracing, so the look you see in the video won’t necessarily change radically if you’re not playing on the Series X.

Is the devil in the details?

Another important finding of the analysis is that, in addition to the lighting, the detail also left something to be desired:

“Textures have noticeably jumped in on rocks, plants, and even distant objects. The 4K resolution and 60 fps mean you have to draw 8.3 million pixels in 16.7 milliseconds, and plenty of plants or tiny polygons. you can ruin the framerate. Even for a GPU like the one in the Series X, it’s a serious challenge. Maybe the resolution is too high and dynamic scaling will solve it in the final game. “

In addition to the larger points, many other minor shortcomings could be listed, but the lesson of the analysis is not really that there are problems with the visuals of the game, but that all of them can be remedied. No matter how old the version presented by 343 is, we must not forget that this game will not be released much recently and it is not at all fair to bury the work of the developers because an admittedly semi-finished game doesn’t look overwhelming yet.

Not to mention that among the plethora of nonsensical CGI trailers, it was so refreshing that the guys showed us a real gameplay despite the risk, even though they could easily have figured out the issue with a spectacular preview. We hope that this criticism will not discourage other developers from showing their creations to the world more boldly in the future.

  • Developer: 343 Industries
  • Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
  • Platform: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
  • Style:
  • Appearance: 12/31/2020

It is the first piece in the epoch-making FPS series for Xbox Series X consoles, which in several ways seeks to restore the Halo franchise’s reputation.