Lucasarts’ Incredible Frame Rate Upscaler – Is this the Future of Console Games?

2 min read


At the recent SIGGRAPH 2010 – Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques – one of LucasArts’ coders, Dmitry Andreev, who’s currently working on the new Force Unleashed showcased an interesting technology he and his team devised.

They’ve come up with a software frame-rate upscaler – that makes games look and feel like they’re running at 60fps, and uses less resources than the current motion-blur method used in most games today.

The idea for the system came from a similar one employed by 100hz and 120hz TV’s – that interpolate two frames to produce and intermediate image, allowing for smoother visuals. Essentially, it allows developers to aim for creating visually stunning games at lower frame rates, and then use the system to upscale the frame-rate to 60fps, giving you that buttery smooth response you know and love.

This is exciting stuff, as it’ll allow for better looking, smoother running games on this generation of consoles – and may just extend their lifecycles for another five years just like Microsoft and Sony keep telling us.

While Andreev currently has his tech demo running on a 360, it’s not possible to run this magic for retail games on the 360 until Microsoft updates their TCRs – the technical rules which dictate what you developers can and can’t do with its hardware. There’s no current way to do this bit of wizardry using Microsoft’s DirectX, as it uses the hardware directly – ignoring the API’s. Frankly though, Microsoft would be stupid not to allow this on their consoles.

Unfortunately, the tech won’t be shipping with Force Unleashed 2, but I’m damned excited to see what effects it has on future games.

You can download the comparative videos in either HD or the more bandwidth friendly SD and see for yourself the potential this tech has.

Read more of the technical stuff over at Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry

Last Updated: August 30, 2010

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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