How The Crew was ported to PlayStation 4 Quote:
In general, from a performance perspective, it seems that Sony's SDK is just about where it needs to be right now, in contrast to the Microsoft equivalent, where techs are still working on very significant improvements that will drive improved GPU throughput. We asked the Reflections team if they expect their optimisation efforts to be aided by revised, improved versions of the Sony development environment. In essence, is the GPU "driver" still being optimised?
With the basic porting complete, the Ubisoft Reflections team is now ramping up its staff in order to complete the PS4 game ready for the Q1 2014 release, but the core engineering effort in moving The Crew across to PlayStation 4 was accomplished in six months with a team of just two to three people working on it. Overall, Reflections felt that the process of porting over the PC codebase was fairly simple and straightforward.
What we didn't find out is how the Xbox One version is faring, or who is producing it. Our bet is on the Ivory Tower studio producing it in tandem with the PC version, owing to the use of the DirectX 11 API on two platforms. But Xbox One and PS4 both have much in common from an architectural standpoint, and questions we have about collaboration between the console teams resulting in optimisations common to both console versions remain unanswered for now.
Simon O'Connor did point out that Reflections considers its work on The Crew to end up being much more than a simple, feature-complete port. This is an opportunity to explore what the new hardware is available of, and there's a sense that the PlayStation 4's graphics hardware is not being fully exploited.
"The PS4's GPU is very programmable. There's a lot of power in there that we're just not using yet. So what we want to do are some PS4-specific things for our rendering but within reason - it's a cross-platform game so we can't do too much that's PS4-specific," he reveals.
"There are two things we want to look into: asynchronous compute where we can actually run compute jobs in parallel... We [also] have low-level access to the fragment-processing hardware which allows us to do some quite interesting things with anti-aliasing and a few other effects."
The standard porting process at the beginning of the Xbox 360/PS3 era seemed to be a case of targeting a lead platform and then removing features for subsequent ports, or alternatively taking a hit to performance. While multi-platform next-gen titles see the consoles take on target rather than lead platform status, there's clearly the realisation that the new machines are capable of more, and that much is to be gained by exploring platform-specific features. If Reflections can indeed achieve feature parity with the PC version, and then tailor the codebase to suit the strengths of Mark Cerny's "super-charged PC architecture", The Crew should be one to watch out for.
I want to say it's a good read but the article is tech heavy so be warned. Had to go over certain bits so many times and gave up on others but I got some good quotes
The quotes above and the general vibe of the article make the PS4 sound powerful, efficient and with lots of potential for more. We heard all this before but it's good to see more devs actually say it.
It took only 2-3 people to port the game in 6 months and they're not even scratching the surface of the tools that the PS4 has. I honestly think we're in for a treat next gen.