The Making of Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition

It kind of came to be when we were briefed in on the Gen 9 consoles supporting ray tracing. We knew that was going to be a cool opportunity to bring our RTGI tech to consoles, and in the process overhaul the systems further. And if we were doing that for console, we also had to take advantage of newer GPUs and expanded RT support in the PC space.

As far as DXR was concerned we went all-in with unfettered enthusiasm as soon as we realized we could. It really is the future, and with the introduction of support to Gen 9 consoles, it has proven that the industry is ready to commit. It takes people adopting new tech like this for the wider community to buy in, and as made apparent by a handful of our colleagues at other studios, we’re not alone in this one.

Tech wise, we do focus on PC while still also trying to take advantage of the power and features of consoles. Even with the advantages that our PC releases have over consoles, believe it or not there are some things that we can also only do on consoles, but not on PCs. That being said, if you want to do cutting edge, you do it on PC first. PC tech moves fast, where consoles stick around for a few years. That’s good for stability and understanding what you are working towards with known technology or with smaller advances.

This is for my favourite kind of PC gamers: those that confuse tech advance with tech establishment and adoption. And all with quotes from a team that lives and breathes PC. The existence of tech doesn’t drive its own adoption. And adoption is key. Consoles always drive adoption. As for the comment that consoles can do some things that aren’t possible on a PC, that’s only common sense. Consoles are specifically designed for gaming. PCs are not. Having the most powerful CPU and GPU can’t change that.

Chrome’s RSS-powered “Follow” button is like a rebooted Google Reader

“We’re exploring how to simplify the experience of getting the latest and greatest from your favorite sites directly in Chrome, building on the open RSS web standard,” Google’s post says. “Our vision is to help people build a direct connection with their favorite publishers and creators on the web.” A “follow” button will appear in the Chrome for Android menu when the feature is enabled.

Imagine that. A personally-curated news stream being an advantage over an algorithmic one. Who could have thought? Certainly not the company that killed Google Reader, the once most popular RSS reader in existence. And yet Google now touts the advantages and openness or RSS. But if their vision is to help people make direct connections, how does that work with every other algorithmic they make? Ah, the joys of marketing communications and whatnot.

Semiconductor shortages continue to worsen, causing record order delays

Making matters even worse, the 17-week lead times being discussed are averages; the wait time for certain components is even worse, with power-management chips taking nearly 24 weeks and headphones taking more than a year. Rolland states that lead times have expanded for roughly 70 percent of the companies that Susquehanna Financial Group tracks.

I think it’s important to remember how long a process chip making is. Most people don’t realise it can take this long and any speeding up needs months to translate to tangibly better supply.

Introducing Open Saves: Open-source cloud-native storage for games

A couple of years ago I was preparing a long-form article on tech and features I’d like to see in future consoles and in gaming as a whole. One of my proposals was an industry standard for cross-platform save files. I believe it’s been proven time and again that double-dipping and triple-dipping isn’t something gamers despise so such a standard would at least let them carry over their progress from version to version. I mean, if they’re OK with paying for the same game time and again, having to start from scratch ends up feeling like some kind of slight.

Google certainly has the expertise for something like this, even if it lacks the gaming acumen it pretended to be shooting for with Stadia. Take Two might sound like a strange bedfellow here but it’s really not. The company has been pushing ahead with stand-alone online components for their biggest titles (Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online) and keeping people there as they move between systems certainly sounds easier with such a save file format.

For this to really pay dividends in gaming as a whole though, platform holders have to commit to it. And that’s always a pickle.

Returnal gets a patch today – but its studio warns against auto-downloading it

Returnal runs can last multiple hours, and with no ability to save mid-run the game advises players to keep their PS5 in Rest Mode when they aren’t playing. This turns off the console but keeps their current play state suspended, meaning players can resume their run when they next turn on the system.

If an automatic update is downloaded, however, the game will close so the update can be applied, meaning any current run the player is on will be ended.

Players should therefore turn off auto-updates on their console, finish their run and then manually update the game so no progress is lost.

Now this just bad design. This should have been flagged as a serious issue at testing and both Housemarque and Sony should have taken it seriously from the off. From Housemarque’s point of view, there’s nothing wrong with the game. It works exactly as intended and that’s certainly true. But Housemarque deserves part of the blame as they absolutely knew which system they where designing for. Maybe they didn’t occur to them how many would be suspending the game mid-run and thus underestimated the issue. Maybe they didn’t even have relevant historical stats at hand from Sony.

Sony is to blame the most though. It’s their system and it allows for a situation like this, while it’s clear that a game is running. It’s been like this on Xbox for years of course. Nintendo is the one that has been doing this the right way the longest if I’m not mistaken. But now Xbox has Quick Resume to ameliorate this (when it decides to work as advertised that is) so that casts Sony as the slacker.

It’s a reminder that software design differs immensely from game UI/UX design, despite the simple fact that games are software. If an app allowed itself to lose progress and data because of prioritising its own update ahead of the user’s content, most people would be livid.

People in Japan can now earn 10,000-yen bounties for scamming scammers

On May 1, the Minami Precinct of the Aichi Prefectural Police, which serves and protects the city of Nagoya’s Minami Ward, launched a new aspect of Operation Pretend to Be Fooled. This new crime-fighting program asks people who’ve been contacted by someone claiming to be a loved one in need of cash to notify the police, then work with them to draw the scammer out. For each case in which their cooperation leads to the identification of scammers, the original target of the scam will be paid 10,000 yen (US$97).

I love it.