Frostbite Tech Director: “PS4 C++ Toolchain Is Superb;” SMAA T2X Attempted On PS4 BF4 but Was too Costly

Frostbite Technical Director Johan Andersson had words of praise to share recently for the toolchain available to PS4 developers to compile their code and more, defining it “superb” in a conversation wit SN Systems Optimizer Team Leader Greg Bedwell, that is working on it on behalf of Sony.

Great to contribute back, the PS4 C++ toolchain is superb!

Bedwell himself mentioned that tomorrow there will be a conference on the topic titled “PlayStation 4 CPU Toolchain: Launch Post-mortem” at the 2014 European LLVM Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Andersson also shared an interesting tidbit of detail on the development of the PS4 version of Battlefield 4,  mentioning that the team attempted to implement SMAA T2X (Enhanced Subpixel Morphological Anti-aliasing), but the feature was found too costly for the game on the system.

We tried SMAA T2X and looks nice but cost was too high for BF4.

To give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, SMAA T2X is the same anti-aliasing technique used with excellent results by Sucker Punch on InFAMOUS: Second Son. It’s unsurprising that it looked nice on Battlefield 4 as well, but unfortunately game development on console is a game of trade-off, so DICE had to make do with the less performing FXAA. 

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  • dranzer1

    0% comprehension

    • Jecht_Sin

      The PS4 toolchain is the SW that allows to compile PS4 programs on a PC. More or less you can say it’s the PS4 development environment on PC.

    • desponent

      PS4 is amazeball
      but not amazeball enough for TXAA even though other game have proven otherwise and by all metric it should be possible

  • Blackmaile

    a triple-A top selling game each year is talking about they find things too costly?

    • Jhora Zakaryan

      They weren’t talking about financial costs.

    • MedBottle

      Do you even read articles or just the headlines and then post a ridiculously stupid comment?

  • Nicholas Perry

    SMAA T2x too costly? That’s like saying FXAA is too costly. SMAA T2x on a GTX 470 (For example)by the creator’s own estimates should only cost 1.32ms a frame (Where as FXAA on the same GPU at it’s Highest quality setting costs ~0.89ms a frame). Which is very little. Considering the PS4 has a stronger GPU.. And the advantage of the console itself, i’d have to imagine there shouldn’t be a huge difference in performance given implementation is done without issue.

    Wish they should’ve toned down something else instead. Frostbite is one of those engines with extremely bad aliasing issues. Even on PC, their MSAA is completely subpar, and the built in SSAA isn’t very good either. (Because the core problems exist within the engine)

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      And you know better than Frostbite’s tech director. Rite 😀

      We’re talking about 50% more performance cost. That’s not small.

      • desponent

        Given the quality of the game he developed for 5 platform is like *that* even months after release, I’m kinda skeptical with his claim. Probably more to do with the team not having enough time to even have their game not crashing than worry about anything else.

        • Michael Norris

          If BF4 was running at 30fps SMAA T2x would be used.

      • Clate

        SMAA would not add 50% to performance costs but it would absolutely add more than FXAA. FXAA is almost loseless (if you ran at 45 FPS without FXAA you would run at 42-41 with FXAA)

    • Rickowned

      FXAA is extremely cheap in resources and works while SMAA T2X can be far more demanding when particles and debris starts flying through the air.
      Also we’re talking about a single player game where it can go to 30fps vs a 64 player game where 60fps is wanted more.

    • Gamez Rule

      SMAA doesn’t have the drawbacks of FXAA (softening, blurring, color distortion, increased aliasing), whilst still working well and even decreasing aliasing more so on average! Its performance is very similar to FXAA or at most a tiny bit worse.This is a well known fact, so I agree with what you stated.

      I’m shocked to hear form Frostbite Technical Director Johan Andersson that SMAA T2x “cost was too high for BF4” on PS4. Like other people I’m also kinda skeptical about his claim.

    • Clate

      SMAA is waaaay more costly than FXAA. FXAA drops you a couple FPS max where SMAA can have a massive difference on Frame Rate

    • brianc6234

      It depends on what else they’re doing in the game. Sometimes a game will be doing a lot of things and one feature just slows it down too much. The Xbox One can do 1080p games if the developers want. Just get rid of other features. They have to decide what’s important in their game. Will it make it better or hurt it?


    Nah. Ea just coded like their asses.

  • Preston queener

    Honestly. I think bf4 ps4 looks good already. I just hope they can fix the major issues like rubberband lag, no audio and texture pop. Other than that I’m fine with bf4.

    • Wargreymon559 .

      The rubberbanding is due to the shitty servers they’re using.They will be updating them soon.Meanwhile if you wanna see how BF4 really should work.

      Server search>type testserver>enjoy 😀

  • Delsin Row

    it’s funny how Xkeletons talks about direct x 12 and this bunch of craps. they think a software , can do the hardware job 🙂 of course they have right to believe this bunch of stuff, because microsoft is a good liar 🙂

    • Pudgey San

      Yeah, The understanding is that it will enhance the hardware but really it’s just that the launch software is fully optimized to full potential and won’t be at least for another 3 to 4 years and same goes with PlayStation.. But sony never brings it up cause there system has quite a bit more power. Microsoft keeps saying it will double the performance but DX is an api so it might help developers but in no way are you getting a double increase.

      • Failz

        That’s not what AMD, NVidia and Intel say about the next DX12. WHo do we believe. Do we believe you or the 3 companies that design our console hardware? hmmmmm sorry Pudgey San ill pick the 3 major hardware companies.

        • You are flat out wrong

          You gonna keep copy and pasting that when you don’t have an argument?

          On PCs, it’ll be important, they’ll have the low-level APIs consoles have been enjoying for years. On Xbone? Enjoy your faster porting in two years.

          • JustGaming

            People yet again confusing power and efficiencey I see. I suppose you could say efficiencey leads to a bit more power, but same could be said about OGL’s capabilities, Wii U’s optimisation etc…..

            Hardware is not software, software is not hardware. It will NEVER surpass the capabilities of what is already in the box, so people can keep wishing all they like.

            I just wish people would enjoy what they have as opposed to bitching, whining and making shit up. Failz will be quoting the ‘hidden GPU/CPU/whatever’ conspiracy next.

          • Pudgey San

            Either that or the power of the cloud.

        • Pudgey San

          Well Amd supports mantle so I know that’s BS and Nvidia and Intel both got the shaft in this console cycle so.. to be expected. For pc gaming I think you’ll notice a slight performance boost.. but it’s more based on efficiently of levelling out payload per core which just lessens lag on cycle response time. I don’t think you understand what an api is and how hardware works. Hardware has a max limitation always. Theoretical spec point that cannot be passed. Software can enable hardware to reach this potential of course but you can’t go past it, So if you think DX12 is going to boost the Xbox One’s limitations to knew levels and the power of the cloud..and what not, You are going to be very disappointed with you maybe 10 to 15 percent increase. On the pc gaming side it will be more as the hardware gets more powerful but consoles are locked in. PS4 is pretty much always going to have that edge.

    • slumdog hundredaire

      …And Sony cocoons me in a blanket of positive human emotion….? Why are you so threatened? Enjoy your PS4, it is a fine machine. Let X1 owners enjoy their machines…. But understand that neither the PS4 or X1 are graphics powerhouses.

  • Kumomeme

    sucker punch did manage pull the AA(medium)….even infamous is openworld game
    well~what Frostbite Technical Director Johan Andersson mean might be involves lot of factors…he expert by the way….his rank is ‘technical director’..dont quickly bash him
    we are just gamers

  • Corey

    why would the better SMAA T2X cost be higher? Just implementing it takes more time and thus more money?

    • plcn

      not financial cost. rendering/computing/memory resource cost. using smaa t2x probably would’ve pulled the fps in bf4 down below the 60ish range they were shooting for.

      • Corey

        oh right. Ok. Now I get it. 😀

  • Failz

    So in other words, the PS4 couldn’t do this effect without major consequences. This is why you buy into PC if you want the very best.