The war between next-gen consoles (are they still next-gen? They're here aren't they?!) often has a lot to do with graphics quality. Given that High Definition (HD) is the current buzz-word of the day, it's not a big surprise. What is a big surprise is that some sharp-eyed forum posters have started looking at the picture quality of Bungee's newest hit: Halo 3 for the Xbox 360 and claiming that it's nothing more than a scaled up 640p image.
Here's what's really going on:
“The studio admitted in the update that "Halo 3's vertical resolution, when captured from a frame buffer, is indeed 640 pixels," but offered a deeper explanation as to why.
"[Y]ou could argue we gave you 1280 pixels of vertical resolution, since Halo 3 uses not one, but two frame buffers, both of which render at 1152x640 pixels,"a Bungie representativewrote. "The reason we chose this slightly unorthodox resolution and this very complex use of two buffers is simple enough to see: lighting. We wanted to preserve as much dynamic range as possible, so we use one for the high dynamic range and one for the low dynamic range values. Both are combined to create the finished on screen image."
The approach helps to give the game a "real" feeling at a steady frame rate,the updatesaid, adding that the Xbox 360 can upscale the image to 1080p without a problem.”
Sort of like a reverse SLI? One chip splitting two frames up in order to concentrate different types of lighting techniques on them then merge them? Stranger things have happened.