Titanfall launches at the same "792p" resolution as the beta code released last month, according to reports that surfaced over the weekend, and officially confirmed by Respawn lead engineer Richard Baker during a recent interview with Digital Foundry.
We asked Baker whether we can expect to see any post-beta resolution shifts, bearing in mind comments attributed to Respawn community manager Abbie Heppe, who indicated that final resolution may be in the region of 900p.
"We've been experimenting with making it higher and lower. One of the big tricks is how much ESRAM we're going to use, so we're thinking of not using hardware MSAA and instead using FXAA to make it so we don't have to have this larger render target," Baker told us.
"We're going to experiment. The target is either 1080p non-anti-aliased or 900p with FXAA. We're trying to optimise... we don't want to give up anything for higher res. So far we're not 100 per cent happy with any of the options, we're still working on it. For day one it's not going to change. We're still looking at it for post-day one. We're likely to increase resolution after we ship."
What's curious about this response is that ESRAM utilisation appears to be key for Respawn as opposed to raw GPU power, as the jump from 792p to 900p, and again to 1080p are highly significant resolution bumps unlikely to be resolved by switching away from multi-sampling anti-aliasing (MSAA) alone. However, theoretically, dropping MSAA from a 1408x792 framebuffer could free up enough ESRAM to accommodate a 1080p image. In our recent tech analysis of the beta, we were curious about how Respawn could increase resolution so dramatically when the 792p code we played had issues sustaining a locked 60fps.
"A lot of the performance is on the GPU side. There's still room for optimisation and we're still working on it," Baker commented. "Ideally it would have been a rock-solid 60 all the time when we shipped but obviously when there's big fights going on, lots of particle effects, lots of physics objects... we're still working to condense the systems, make them more parallel so we can hit 60 all the time, ideally."
Baker did reveal that we can expect to see some performance increases in the shipping game, based on optimisations carried out after the beta concluded.
"There was an issue with decals taking a lot more time than they should which we fixed for launch," he said. "The worst-case scenarios are better, I think. The average is probably about the same as the beta."