What does 10X computational power mean?
Geek out for a min with some pies

So we were talking about how the new xbox has roughly 10 times the CPU power of the old one.

What does it really mean?

I was using an open world game as an example, say it has the draw distance of 1KM.

The open world game will have to render 360 degrees of the world, so it has to render an area of 1KM^2 X Pi = 3.14KM^2.

So if I I have to render an area with radius of 2KM, how much more CPU power do I need?

2KM^2 X Pi = 12.57KM^2 (stuff to render)
12.57/3.14 (2KM / 1KM) = 4

Wow, to double the distance, I will need 4X the CPU power!

So 10X CPU power gives you
sqr of 10 = 3.1623KM

That means, when we 10X the CPU power, the world is 3.16KM instead of 1KM in an open world game...

This refutes Ben's article - Endless open worlds

Of course this is pure maths, and there are plenty of interesting things you can do to increase perceived draw distance.

Ok, one last maths equation

if I increase 1KM to 100KM draw distance, how much more CPU power do I need [trollface]

100^2 * Pi = 31,415 KM to render

31,415 / 3.1415 = 10,000 X CPU Power - that's a lot of CPU power

TLDR - 10X gives you around 3 times more rendering in an open world game. To render 100X more distance, you need 10,000 times CPU power.

written by Roy Hui - Find me on

Posted 18/06/2013
EndBoss 10,028 XP
Favourite: Nintendo Land

What does 10X computational power mean? Comments

  • EndBoss 10028 XP 18/06/2013
    The issue with high def is the graphics team in a game dev company needs to draw all those graphics.

    The same rule applies, when the world is three times as big, your team needs to 10X, unless you render lots of water, lots of desert...

  • GreenThumb 100613 XP 18/06/2013
    Too complex for my brain to comprehend. [MOG]
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  • iamtom 47142 XP 18/06/2013
    Wouldn't you offset more of the computation for the draw distance onto the GPU as it's highly parallel so you'd be able to do it much faster?

    edit: forgot the xbox one doesn't really have a gpu, oops
  • metalliguy 54337 XP 18/06/2013
    Wind Waker's draw distance was endless. Your article is invalid [MOG]

    Don't take this post seriously. If you already did, then shame on you [MOG]
  • Pilkingbod 99627 XP 18/06/2013
    Xbox has TWICE the ultrabits.
  • Kerosanak 89635 XP 18/06/2013
    Doesn't have blast processing.

    Entire next gen fails again.
  • EndBoss 10028 XP 18/06/2013
    @Tom - the same rule apply to GPUs, if there was 10K parallel vector processing, to 10X the GPU power will still only give you 3X drawing distance...
  • Rashy 37276 XP 18/06/2013
    Realisticly how far does the draw distance need to be though. You only need to draw to the horizon.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon

    There aren't many situations where you'd be looking 100km at a time. Unless the game is set on a mountain top or something
  • EndBoss 10028 XP 19/06/2013
    Rashy - the point was to illustrate 10X CPU power doesn't equate to much more space. And yes, theoretically you can end the horizon after 500m if you like, that would actually make a very interesting game.
  • colintm 2 XP 19/06/2013 +1
    This exemplifies the point that linear higher technical fidelity in a game requires exponential amounts of processing power. Meaning higher cost processing hardware is lesser and lesser effective as time goes on.
  • EndBoss 10028 XP 19/06/2013
    @collintm - totally - that's really my point, more processing power is good, but it that doesn't mean we can build exponentially more complex systems. and the Fun Factor of a game has nothing to do with processing power, just by throwing more CPU, better rendering doesn't make the game more fun.
  • Guyver 432504 XP 19/06/2013
    I'll take your word for it..
  • PS3sR2Dear 661 XP 22/06/2013
    Draw distance is relative to a bit of trickery too.
    Look at Minecraft - Bloody awful programming, the draw distance is damn crime.

    Now, wheres the pretty Pie chart ? Too many numbers.
  • Skarteh 100560 XP 23/06/2013
    Why would you use a CPU for draw distance though? CPU would be for calculations not rendering; that would be held back by the GPU before the CPU.
  • Gryllis 341376 XP 24/06/2013
    NEEERRRRDDDDDD!

    The endless open worlds don't really apply to this though. They stream before you get there, so there's no pause to load. It still has to load, but you're not aware of it and the game doesn't stop.

    At least, that's how they presented Dead Rising 3.
  • Doyl 84830 XP 25/06/2013 +1
    Since when was the environment to the rear of you fully rendered at all times?
    Do the calcs again with a 100° field of view and then subtract a smaller amount for the remaining 260° as the objects will be there, but not fully rendered. More as calculations rather than graphics.
  • Desi 41930 XP 01/07/2013
    And further to Doyl's comment, not only is there frustum culling in video graphics (stuff outside the camera doesn't get rendered), but there's also occlusion culling (stuff behind opaque stuff doesn't get rendered) and backface culling (only the visible sides of an object get rendered). There are other tricks too, like specifically disabling the rendering of areas which you know will not be visible from a particular spot, which is how the Battlefield games do their large-scale occlusion culling. Sure these require some resources to work out, but they save a lot more than they use.

    In PC and other platforms that have dedicated GPUs, the CPUs get used for AI, physics calculations (if the GPU isn't being used for them), game state, and sundry visual effects.

    The thing that limits draw distance the most, in my opinion, is system memory. You've gotta store not only the current and surrounding cells, but also the states of items and actors within those cells, and their relationships to each other. You've also got to recompute them per screen draw (or at least fairly regularly), and keep them updated in memory. More gigamoos of processing power can help, but all of that info must be stored, and it ain't getting stored in the hard disk, I tell you what. Too slow. It's a good thing that the new gen consoles are getting more RAM, finally the industry can use the RAM in our PCs properly.

    (As an aside, "recompute per screen draw" is a big deal. That calculation get performed 60 or more times per second. That's why so many console devs chose to target 30 frames per second; more twice as much calculation time. I predict that the only tangible difference that will come from more CPU power is the ability to target something like 60fps or 90fps more reliably).
  • Doles 37414 XP 04/07/2013

    Desi said: And further to Doyl's comment, not only is there frustum culling in video graphics (stuff outside the camera doesn't get rendered), but there's also occlusion culling (stuff behind opaque stuff doesn't get rendered) and backface culling (only the visible sides of an object get rendered). There are other tricks too, like specifically disabling the rendering of areas which you know will not be visible from a particular spot, which is how the Battlefield games do their large-scale occlusion culling. Sure these require some resources to work out, but they save a lot more than they use.
    In PC and other platforms that have dedicated GPUs, the CPUs get used for AI, physics calculations (if the GPU isn't being used for them), game state, and sundry visual effects.
    The thing that limits draw distance the most, in my opinion, is system memory. You've gotta store not only the current and surrounding cells, but also the states of items and actors within those cells, and their relationships to each other. You've also got to recompute them per screen draw (or at least fairly regularly), and keep them updated in memory. More gigamoos of processing power can help, but all of that info must be stored, and it ain't getting stored in the hard disk, I tell you what. Too slow. It's a good thing that the new gen consoles are getting more RAM, finally the industry can use the RAM in our PCs properly.
    (As an aside, "recompute per screen draw" is a big deal. That calculation get performed 60 or more times per second. That's why so many console devs chose to target 30 frames per second; more twice as much calculation time. I predict that the only tangible difference that will come from more CPU power is the ability to target something like 60fps or 90fps more reliably).


    Schooled.

    That'll teach Roy to ruin perfectly good advertising with his stupid "maths" :P
  • DarkMidna 70 XP 16/10/2013
    Who cares about graphics? I certainly don't. I play games for the challenge and the storyline :b
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