The Dark Sorcerer PS4 Tech Demo Used Only 4 GB of GDDR5 RAM, 1 Million Polygons Just for the Set

June 23, 2013

Remember “Old Man Face” from the reveal conference of the PS4 that a lot of people mocked as unimpressive or irrelevant? It has since become a full fledged tech demo that impressed everyone at E3, causing many of those that mocked Quantic Dream to simply eat crow.

Fact is, though, that we didn’t know very much about the technicalities behind the demo, until now.

A rather noisy shakycam video from E3 by Youtube user TheAireaidLord shows (between other things) Quantic Dream QA Manager Gavin Niebel as he explains quite a few behind-the-scenes details to the crowd watching the demo. What we learn from the explanation possibly makes it even more impressive, and gives us hopes to see even better in the future.

The demo, that has absolutely no pre-rendering, post production or video inserts, represents only the first iteration of Quantic Dream’s development cycle for the PS4, and while it runs between 30 and 90 fps (the frame rate wasn’t optimized yet), it does so at native 1080p resolution, textures included. The developer still didn’t have access to full PS4 development tools, so they had to make do with the same PS3 development pipeline used for Beyond: Two Souls “shoving in a bunch of high-fidelity assets”.

The set alone is made of a whopping one million triangles, and the volumetric lighting is completely dynamic between “movie” conditions and “studio” conditions. It can be switched at will within a single frame. The most impressive part? It only uses four of the eight gigabytes of GDRR5 RAM under the hood of the PS4.

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Maurice the Goblin is made by 70,000 triangles, 40 different shaders, 150 Megabytes of texture data, and can be defined a CG-quality model despite running in real time. He has 388 different bones in his “body”.

If you haven’t seen the tech demo yet, you can find it just below, alongside the shakycam video itself. If yous skip to 16:50 you can see Niebel switching between lighting conditions at will.

As I said in a previous piece, one thing is for sure: those that laughed and sneered at the “old man face” during the PS4′s unveiling presentation owe Quantic Dream a big apology.

Thanks Arai for the tip.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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