A new light has been shined on the Playstation 4′s architecture thanks to Naughty Dog during their lecture at SINFO. This lecture is pretty damn technical, and several viewers / readers requested that I do a technical breakdown of this. So here I sit, a pack of lockets, hot drinks and a stack of white papers and technical reference documents.
I feel that a little technical information on the Playstation 4 is required before we begin with a breakdown of Naughty Dog’s SINFO documentation. It’s a prerequisite to understand how this works, and while many of you may know the info, it’s good to go over a slight refresh, isn’t it?
PS4′s Multi Core Hardware
Games consoles have been multi-cored for some time now, and developers being required to think in parallel isn’t anything new. To get the most out of the PS2 developers were required to learn to push code across all available processors, and this was taken much further with the PS3. With the PS3 there was the main PPU (Power Processing Unit), 6 SPU’s (Synergistic Processing Unit) and of course the GPU available to games developers. The PS4, as we’ve mentioned above features eight cores organized into two clusters, with the GPU able to assist in General Purpose tasks (GPGPU). The Jaguar is fairly slow compared to modern high performance PC hardware, so taking advantage of all the cores, and making sure they are always loaded up with tasks is crucial. This is particularly true when you consider that two of the eight cores are reserved by system, leaving you with six cores, which translates into six worker threads.
Ubisoft detailed with a new video the exclusive content Watch_Dogs will get on PS3 and PS4. PlayStation gamers will be able to enjoy four exclusive missions, a hacking boost perk and The White hacker suit skin. Watch_Dogs will be released globally on May 27 for Windows PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Meanwhile, Naughty Dog has gone into an insane amount of depth describing the horsepower of the PS4. Of course they have a lot of positive comments for Sony’s console and they shed some insight into how they develop games.
Naughty Dog does take advantage of development kits, which in many cases come with far more RAM than the retail units. This is for bug testing and to help create the game without worrying about memory constraints. In other words, they can quickly mock something up to see if it works and then worry about optimization at a later date. By carefully naming and defining their RAM heaps they’re not risking running into a nasty surprise late into the games development.