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Thinking about HDR support? Devs say it's effective, but expensive

Thinking about HDR support? Devs say it's effective, but expensive

September 12, 2017 | By Alex Wawro

September 12, 2017 | By Alex Wawro
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More: Console/PC, Indie, Art, Production

"HDR is an incredible tool you can use to increase the player’s immersion, but it’s also very expensive in terms of resources—human and graphics."

- Timothée Raulin, lead 3D programmer at Amplitude Studios, speaking to PCGamer

Now that HDR (high dynamic range) support has become a big talking point for Sony, Microsoft, and other game/tech companies, a lot of devs are asking themselves the question: what does it cost to ensure our game supports HDR, and is it worth it?

A few devs shared their thoughts on the issue with PCGamer for a recent feature on HDR support, and it's worth a read if you're at all curious about how folks at different studios are tackling the issue.

In brief, it sounds like many devs are adapting their production practices to generate assets that look great on HDR-capable hardware, especially when they have the financial backing of a big studio or publisher -- but that comes with a higher cost.

"We need to adapt the production to anything related to lighting, skyboxes, and material rendering," Amplitude Studios' Timothée Raulin told PCGamer. "Then, we also need to take some time to produce and tweak those, but it’s a choice you have to make, and it’s also more about what you actually want to achieve with your game."

Elsewhere in the article, a representative from Square Enix Montreal says the studio has been producing games with HDR in mind for some time (notably, last year's Deus Ex: Mankind Divided) but acknowledges that this required a lot of effort invested in producing assets which look good on HDR displays. For small-scale dev teams, that effort may not (yet) be worth the payoff. 

"Maybe HDR will soon be the standard in triple-A games," indie dev Jake Anderson (Cavern Crumblers) told PCGamer. "Maybe even in the mid-size games. But I don't think it will be the standard for indies, at least not anytime too soon."

To read more of these devs' comments on the topic, as well as a deeper dive into the vagaries of developing with HDR in mind and the confusing tangle of HDR standards, check out the full article over on PCGamer's website.

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