The Xbox One X points towards the future of backward compatibility –

The Xbox One X points towards the future of backward compatibility


Mirror & # 39; s Edge took people by surprise when it was launched in 2008. The first-person parkour game was a transporter, making you feel the air race through you as you crossed the rooftops. It is also one of the games that can be expanded to 4K in Xbox One X . Almost a decade later, not only Mirror & # 39; s Edge in a current console, you can experience a better version of it.

The Xbox One X not only has improvements for the Xbox One games. A lot of Xbox 360 games compatible with previous versions also see improvements in the new console. While the Xbox One X is an impressive console, if not particularly essential, the way it gives a digital appearance to the games that appeared a decade ago is one of its most attractive features. In the last video from Digital Foundry, Richard Leadbetter explains why the console goes beyond the normal emulation type that we expected with the previous compatibility features with previous versions.

"Microsoft has a full emulation layer for Xbox One that makes it believe it's an Xbox 360," says Leadbetter in the video. But with the Xbox One X, games compatible with previous versions get an additional set of steps during that emulation. While the actual code for games like Mirror & # 39; s Edge and Assbadin & # 39; s Creed remains unchanged, things like the rendering targets and the surfaces are swapped during the emulation with higher resolution versions of those badets. "Each game fits the level of the emulator," says Leadbetter, making the game experience feel "hand-made" despite being automated. The Xbox One X GPU not only adds more pixels, but also adds more details in general. I recommend watching the video to get a more technical breakdown of what is happening, but the extended comparisons are impressive.

Some Xbox 360 games, although they can be played on Xbox One, do not work as well as you would expect. When it was available for the first time through the backward availability program, Halo Reach was a frequent example of a game that could see its frame rate dropping by half as it played in the newer system. But as Digital Foundry points out, Microsoft has worked on refining its testing processes to solve these problems and prevent other games from performing in a similar suboptimal state. Even while some speculate that most people do not care about compatibility with previous versions, those arguments have not stopped Microsoft from continuing to invest a lot to make it better.

This is an example of Assbadin's Creed as the first rendering on Xbox 360 and then on Xbox One X. The textures are sharper, the shadows are better defined even at long distances, and the total amount of fog and blur that you are likely to experience when you return to those games on the previous platform is simply erased. PC players are used to this type of optimization after the fact, especially as people launch mods and other third-party additions. But with consoles it is not conventionally an option. If you want a visually enhanced version of a previous game, you must wait for the editor to enter and modify it and then transfer it. The way in which the HD and 4K versions of the old Star Ocean games have appeared on the PS4 is a good example of this.

You can watch Digital Foundry test several Xbox 360 games that have improved compatibility with previous versions of Xbox One X and judge for yourself. The results are not always amazing, but they are still remarkable. In addition to Mirror & # 39; s Edge the current list includes Gears of War 3 Fallout 3 Assbadin & # 39; s Creed Skate 3 Oblivion ] and Halo 3 . As time pbades, Microsoft tells Digital Foundry that it is working with publishers to try to unlock better visual performance in ways that do not harm the frame rate or the artistic vision of the creators (not all games look better simply climbing). In addition, the process is a great loss for console resources, so if it is not coordinated for each specific game, players may see awkward performance declines as they did originally with Halo Reach .

More importantly, it is encouraging to see that at least one console manufacturer not only adopts traditional backward compatibility, but actually tries to improve the technology behind it.

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