The change culminates in a more serious application of Variable Rate Shading, this time with an acceleration without visible quality loss.
The Coalition, responsible for game development for Gears Tactics and Gears 5, has announced that a PC version of both applications has been ported to the DirectX 12 Ultimate API, which is now available in the latest application updates. In addition to minor optimizations, the main advantage of this is the well-thought-out use of the Variable Rate Shading function. Although this procedure was already part of Gears Tactics, the original implementation still used the Tier_1 level of the VRS API, which provides limited implementation, resulting in a visible loss of image quality upon activation.
In addition to the deployment of DirectX 12 Ultimate, these games have been given a completely new VRS implementation that already uses the API’s Tier_2 level. This gives developers much more scope for optimization, making it possible to apply the innovation without visible quality loss, which will result in a simple speed increase for players.
It is important to emphasize that the newly developed VRS implementation has three quality levels: quality, balanced and performance. The quality setting is the same as that used on the Xbox Series S and X consoles, and it’s best to activate this because it results in significant acceleration while not noticing a loss of image quality. The balanced and performance options mean a bit more acceleration, but with these settings, especially the latter, you can already notice a deterioration in image quality. The visualized operation of the available parameters is presented in the figure below.
The Coalition has also measured the expected benefits on an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT VGA, which are quite significant at the “Insane” quality level with an activated Screen Space Global Illumination effect. Said hardware calculated the specified 4K frame 14% faster than the VRS-free mode with the VRS quality setting, while with the balanced and performance options, the progress was 15 and 20 percent, respectively. Here you can see that the advantage of balanced tempo compared to the quality mode is not significant, but in the picture above you can see that its operation is similar, but the performance mode brings a lot to the kitchen, but at the same time it really has a visible price.
The Coalition noted that the VRS was retrofitted. Although implemented for the essential mapping phases, it still has more efficient uses, but this actually requires the system to be integrated into the graphics engine. Obviously this will be the next step.
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