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GSdx upscaling on God of War 2
#1
For starters, anyone who is familiar with using the upscale options in GSdx understands the improvement in image quality that it provides; there's definitely an amazing difference compared to rendering at native resolution.

However, there are games that I've come across where using upscaling seems to do the opposite. Right now, I'm examining the effect of it on God of War 2.

I'm using pcsx 0.9.7.3876 (official beta), and here are my GSdx settings:
-Native res: ON
-Alpha Hack: ON
-Texture Filtering: PARTIAL

I have the Alpha Hack enabled since the bloom layer might be distracting from my main point.

   

First off, here is a native-resolution screenshot (using the config above) captured using F8.
   

You can clearly see 'teh jaggies on the model edges -- so far, that's a good thing.

Now, if Native Res was turned OFF, but the custom resolution is still the same as the game's native res (512x448), this happens:
   

Major blurring on the whole screen -- a big WTF, despite the custom resolution being set to the game's native res.

Moving along, here is a screenshot of 2x upscaling:
   

Here, the jaggies aren't jagged at all! (upscale much?)

Here's 2x upscaling, but with Texture Filtering completely OFF.
   

The nature of the jaggies here indicate a few things, but the most obvious is that the screen is not being rendered higher resolution at all.

Let me say here that all the screenshots above were obtained using the F8 key -- not PrintScreen. No resizing of any kind was done in an external image editor either.

Now my question is: can GSdx be used to play God of War 2 at higher-than-native resolutions without causing upscaling or blurriness to the screen?
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#2
(04-11-2011, 03:15 AM)patrickdinh Wrote: Now my question is: can GSdx be used to play God of War 2 at higher-than-native resolutions without causing upscaling or blurriness to the screen?

there is a reason its called upscale, cause it upscales the image.
also taking a screenshot with F8 can sometimes give a different quality picture of the one we actually see (and what we see is actually important to us).

also not all games react like this with upscaling, gow for some reason looks bad while most games looks ALLOT better even with only 1.5x upscaling (not even 2x Tongue).

also you use dx10 so disabling the alpha hack thingy doesnt work for dx10 cause its dx9 only (thats why its grayed and you cant change it in dx10).

ps2 games where coded to use a specific resolution so making the native resolution higher means you are upscaling it aka what pcsx2 does.
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#3
(04-11-2011, 03:35 AM)iakoboss7 Wrote: there is a reason its called upscale, cause it upscales the image.
also taking a screenshot with F8 can sometimes give a different quality picture of the one we actually see (and what we see is actually important to us).

That's true, but in this case I am more interested in the F8 screenshot than what is displayed in pcsx2's window.

(04-11-2011, 03:35 AM)iakoboss7 Wrote: also not all games react like this with upscaling, gow for some reason looks bad while most games looks ALLOT better even with only 1.5x upscaling (not even 2x Tongue).

Indeed. I have seen the possibilities of 'upscaling' on FFX and SotC. It looks really good.

(04-11-2011, 03:35 AM)iakoboss7 Wrote: ps2 games where coded to use a specific resolution so making the native resolution higher means you are upscaling it aka what pcsx2 does.

I was hoping that GSdx would render at a higher resolution, as opposed to upscaling (I certainly have an idea of what I'm looking to achieve).
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#4
(04-11-2011, 03:49 AM)patrickdinh Wrote: ...
I was hoping that GSdx would render at a higher resolution, as opposed to upscaling (I certainly have an idea of what I'm looking to achieve).

GSdx DOES render at a higher resolution when 'D3D internal resolution' (that's GSdx's 'canvas' resolution) is set to a higher resolution than native, but not in software mode. Obviously, it only results in upscaling for most 2D titles, but 3D titles are mostly rendered at that higher resolution. Some of the visual glitches (and hacks) are exactly because the game was only designed for a specific resolution.

That being said, GSdx does a good job, and many 3D titles look much better when rendered at a higher res.
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#5
Use Fraps or print screen key to get a more accurate capture. Most 3D games looks really good at high resolution.
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#6
(04-11-2011, 04:29 AM)avih Wrote: GSdx DOES render at a higher resolution...

That being said, GSdx does a good job, and many 3D titles look much better when rendered at a higher res.

True... I forgot to specifically say in this instance that GoW2 is one example of a 3D game where GSdx will upscale, rather than render at a higher resolution.

(04-11-2011, 04:45 AM)tuanming Wrote: Use Fraps or print screen key to get a more accurate capture. Most 3D games looks really good at high resolution.

GSdx's F8 key captures the frame straight out of the GS framebuffer (including an alpha channel, for whatever reason). I don't think it gets any more accurate than that. I certainly avoided using PrintScreen for a reason (I needed pixel-perfect captures).
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#7
(04-11-2011, 05:07 AM)patrickdinh Wrote: True... I forgot to specifically say in this instance that GoW2 is one example of a 3D game where GSdx will upscale, rather than render at a higher resolution.

That's not true. GOW2 does render at a higher resolution.

(04-11-2011, 05:07 AM)patrickdinh Wrote: GSdx's F8 key captures the frame straight out of the GS framebuffer (including an alpha channel, for whatever reason). I don't think it gets any more accurate than that. I certainly avoided using PrintScreen for a reason (I needed pixel-perfect captures).

Also not true. F8 captures from GSdx's (or other GS plugins) own "internal framebuffer" (not the GS framebuffer). That's the plugin's "internal canvas", onto which the image is rendered. It's either the native resolution, or other custom resolution you choose yourself (at the plugin settings), and that's what you get when you press F8.

Once the plugin creates this image, PCSX2 stretches it to fit the window at the correct aspect ratio which you define at PCSX2's settings (many games create an image which is neither 4:3 nor 16:9 but should display as such, GOW2 is such game, i.e. 512x448 is NOT 4:3 nor 16:9). So, at the minimum, the screenshot you get with F8 for GOW2 does not have the correct aspect ratio.

Also, the fact that GSdx renders differently at "native" vs 512x448 (GOW2 native res at least at the opening screen) is due to different internal calculations at "native" mode vs "custom resolution" mode. Preferably this shouldn't happen, but that's how it is.

For GSdx in hardware rendering, it displays the most accurate image at native res (Software mode is even more accurate). Then, usually the x2/x3/x4 resolutions are mostly better than custom resolutions (for some games, some scales are better than others in regards to the image accuracy). Note the word "mostly", as there are exceptions to this "rule".

As for your (wrong) conclusion that GOW2 only upscales and doesn't render at higher res, imagine this procedure when rendering 3D:

1. The 3D geometry is drawn (that's polygons, or "lines" that defines the 3D objects on the screen). THIS is what being rendered at the resolution you choose at GSdx.

2. 2D textures are mapped onto this geometry mesh. These textures are the "skin" of people, the texture of walls, etc. These 2D textures are basically flat images, that come at the resolution the game designers decided upon, and these are always only upscaled. GSdx cannot generate more details than what they already contain. When you change texture filtering at GSdx, this is what gets filtered, so the "stretching" of the textures to the geometry objects can be smoother or more coarse.

Usually, on screen text and other "flat" icons are also such 2D texture.

3. Lighting is applied to the textured polygons. So the same polygon with the same texture on the same 3D object can be displayed lighter or darker, depending on the source(s) of light at the 3D scene.

4. Other effects are then sometimes applied to the entire image. These can be bloom effects, distortions of sorts, etc.

Of these 4 stages, stages 1/2/3 are usually OK at any resolution because that's a "standard" 3D pipeline. But the 4th stage is the most sensitive to non-native resolutions. Because the game designers designed the game for specific PS2 resolutions which they know in advance, they also apply such effects at this resolution, so it becomes harder to "automatically" apply such "global" effects to an image of a different resolution. That's where the "offset hack" at GSdx may sometimes help.

The opening screen at GOW2 has such global effects (the fire "flickering") which doesn't apply properly at custom resolutions.

However, once you get to the game itself, which mostly renders a normal 3D image (with exception of some bloom effects), then GOW2 renders very nicely at a higher resolution than native.
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#8
The blurring in gow has always happened when you upscale due to the post processing. the offset hack might help you there
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