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Did Digital Foundry just set PS4 output to 720p in the infamous botched BF4 Face-off preview?

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One month ago, one Digital Foundry article showed us an anormal "soft blur" on the PS4 version of BF4. As I am really sensitive (allergic) to blur in games, I spend a lot of time during this last month into elucidating this interesting mystery.

After the new definitive DF face-off article in which things were kinda inversed. Now the PS4 look is normal (there is not anymore any anomaly) and even slightly sharper than the X1 version because the sharpen filter on X1 has been removed. We now have 2 perfectly corresponding versions of BF4 upscaled from 720p to 900p into 1080p.

Indeed on the new Face-off we can see, even if it is very hard to notice, that the PS4 version if finally a tad sharper than the X1. Well perfectly normal because of the different upscaled from resolutions. Because those 2 screenshots are really similar, you'll see a very more slightly sharper textures if you look at the left (the building wall and the near rock "wall") or the crane center-right. My point is not to critizise the X1. Those images are almost similar (because of same assets). you'll need to look very closely with a native screen but the textures and assets on the PS4 are a tad sharper. It is normal, the (again, very slight) blur on the X1 is created by the stronger upscaling.

http://cfa.gamer-network.net/2013/articles//a/1/6/3/6/8/9/1/BF4_XO_004.bmp.jpg/EG11/quality/80/format/jpg

http://cfa.gamer-network.net/2013/articles//a/1/6/3/6/8/9/1/BF4_PS4_004.bmp.jpg/EG11/quality/80/format/jpg

 

But where did this "soft blur" comes from in the Digital Foundry preview article? here the PS4 "soft blurred" screenshot of the preview DF article:

http://cfa.gamer-network.net/2013/articles//a/1/6/2/7/9/6/6/BF4_PS4_005.bmp.jpg/EG11/quality/80/format/jpg

 

At first you'll think that the brightness is different, it is, and it has maybe caused the anomaly. But now compare the 3 screenshots during long minutes if necessary. If you mainly compare the left close textures of the walls (or the crane at the center-right too) you notice that, in fact, the textures of the old PS4 from the botched preview appears to have exactly the same relative "soft blur" of the X1 compared to the new PS4 capture.

Again. For an untrained eye. Those 3 images, except for the brightness, will look the same. But for sensitive to blur eyes like mine. It is obvious.

The capture of the PS4 version in the preview has the perfect same upscaled blurriness of the 720p X1 new face-off screenshot.

As I read in some interviews that if you set your PS4 output to 720p it will downsample any existing resolution produced by the game to 720p but let the game produce its higher resolution internally, the mystery is maybe solved.

Richard Leadbetter has (unintentionally?) captured 720p downsampled image of BF4 (then upsampled to 1080p) from the 900p PS4 version.

 

Remember that's it is just a theory. But this theory just explains everything we saw in the infamous botched DF preview.

If the theory is true it doesn't explain how it could have been possible. Maybe it was done internally in the game. I don't know. But this 900p to 720p to 1080p upscaling madness explains perfectly the "soft blur" noticed in the Digital Foundry preview article.



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What I can tell from the screen shots. Ps4 has higher anti aliasing (look at the rope on the crane, looks about doubled), decently higher textures (look at the small rock that is slightly off center to the bottom left of the screen), Higher resolution (look at the city in the background, the skyscrapers aren't blended together on the ps4 screen), and it looks like the ps4 version may have richer shadows, but it's hard to tell because I'm not sure if they are more washed out because of kicked up dust, but it also appear that there is a fuller shadow on the bricks to the right of camera. Unfortunately, this screenshot doesn't show us how good the lighting on each system because the entire scene is pretty bathed in light.



That preview face-off was such a joke.



Digital foundry is a joke now.



daredevil.shark said:
Digital foundry is a joke now.


But it is not obligatory their fault.

After that AC4 and COD being gimped to 720p for the early reviews, maybe Dice did do something similar for the preview build of the game. I don't know. It can't be a coincidence that already 2 games being set to similar X1 resolution just for the first reviews (that we are sure of now whatever the bullshit excuses they gave us). Why not doing a similar thing (900p internally downscaled to 720p or even pure gaussian blur to make the game look like 720p) for the third most important launch game? Doing that, on screenshots the aliasing would be 900p typical but the visual aspect would be similar to X1, visual parity would be respected at least for the first impressions of the game by reviewers.

And it worked! For the early reviews lots of reviewers could not tell if one version was superior to the other. Some even wrote that X1 was sharper, even DF...

And it explains why this first version of BF4 had exactly the same blurriness of the 700p-ish PS3 version, and the PS3 versions having MLAA instead of the naughty FXAA, in some cases, the PS3 version (on still screenshots) looked even sharper. That is not anymore the case thankfully now.

Whatever the build was for early reviews, 720p downcaling or even evil gaussian blur, they removed it for the retail final version. They even removed the bad sharpen effect on X1.



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globalisateur said:
daredevil.shark said:
Digital foundry is a joke now.


But it is not obligatory their fault.

After that AC4 and COD being gimped to 720p for the early reviews, maybe Dice did do something similar for the preview build of the game. I don't know. It can't be a coincidence that already 2 games being set to similar X1 resolution just for the first reviews (that we are sure of now whatever the bullshit excuses they gave us). Why not doing a similar thing (900p internally downscaled to 720p or even pure gaussian blur to make the game look like 720p) for the third most important launch game? Doing that, on screenshots the aliasing would be 900p typical but the visual aspect would be similar to X1, visual parity would be respected at least for the first impressions of the game by reviewers.

And it worked! For the early reviews lots of reviewers could not tell if one version was superior to the other. Some even wrote that X1 was sharper, even DF...

And it explains why this first version of BF4 had exactly the same blurriness of the 700p-ish PS3 version, and the PS3 versions having MLAA instead of the naughty FXAA, in some cases, the PS3 version (on still screenshots) looked even sharper. That is not anymore the case thankfully now.

Whatever the build was for early reviews, 720p downcaling or even evil gaussian blur, they removed it for the retail final version. They even removed the bad sharpen effect on X1.


I understand it now. Thanks for the info. Kudos.