Lower resolution textures is not something that any player want to hear from a next generation console, but that’s exactly what a team from Xbox Game Studio is testing at the moment.
The goal behind the project is to use machine learning upscale texture resolution in a game, the are some advantages this might have to developers. What developers are trying to achieve is to release games with lower resolution textures. The direct benefit would be significantly smaller download sizes, this might prove to be very beneficial to a disc release as more information can be packed in a single disc. But the real advantage in the technology would be in its potential to make previous titles look as if it were designed for the Xbox Series X.
Microsoft’s Game Stack Chief James Gwertzman, recently talked with VentureBeat and revealed that the progress being made so far it’s “kinda scary ”
“One of the studios inside Microsoft has been experimenting with using [machine learning] models for asset generation,” Gwertzman said. “It’s working scarily well. To the point where we’re looking at shipping really low-res textures and having ML models uprez the textures in real time. You can’t tell the difference between the hand-authored high-res texture and the machine-scaled-up low-res texture, to the point that you may as well ship the low-res texture and let the machine do it.”
“The download is way smaller, but there’s no appreciable difference in game quality,” Gwertzman explained. “Think of it more like a magical compression technology. That’s really magical. It takes a huge R&D budget. I look at things like that and say – either this is the next hard thing to compete on, hiring data scientists for a game studio, or it’s a product opportunity. We could be providing technologies like this to everyone to level the playing field again.”
How will this “magical compression technology” would benefit you as a player? Are you most interested in seeing potentially larger games? How would this new tech benefit games that already lower texture on big maps like GTAV? Are you interested in the potential of running Xbox 360 games on glorious 8K? Let me know in the comment section below.