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Zelda: Breath of the Wild uses dynamic resolution scaling

Posted on March 14, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Switch, Wii U

Eurogamer has a new report up explaining how The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild uses dynamic resolution scaling. It doesn’t mean much for the end user, but it’s still pretty interesting. The technique is used in the game to help maintain the frame rate.

When Zelda: Breath of the Wild is running Switch to the max, resolution appears to dip to 90 percent on both axes. In other words, when in portable mode, resolution drops to 1152×648 for 81 percent of native 720p in total. Breath of the Wild has a native pixel-count of 1440×810 when docked and stressed, dropping from its usual 1600×900.

Eurogamer further adds:

“It’s the same 56 per cent increase in resolution between the two modes, whether the dynamic scaler is active or not, so the bottom line is that Breath of the Wild’s increased performance level in handheld mode isn’t explained by the game’s ability to change its native rendering resolution. The comparatively small bump in memory bandwidth between mobile and docked configuration remains our best theory here. Undocked, Switch runs its LPDD4 modules at 1331MHz, rising to 1600MHz when plugged into the dock. That’s only a 20 per cent increase in bandwidth to sustain a 56 per cent uplift in resolution. Meanwhile, both CPU and GPU are tapping into that same pool of bandwidth, possibly causing contention issues.

Further testing may prove otherwise, but right now our contention is that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild switches between two resolutions depending on configuration – so to confirm, that’s 648p/720p on Wii U and Switch mobile, and 810p/900p on the docked Switch. Thus far, we’ve not seen any intermediate pixel-counts and nor have we seen any dips below a 90 per cent reading on either axis. Bearing in mind that the technique has mostly escaped notice thus far, it looks like Nintendo made a pretty good call on where to draw the line in terms of reducing resolution.”

In other news, Eurogamer has an update on yesterday’s report that Wi-Fi could be impacting Switch performance. It’s possible that some players may be affected, but the site itself is “finding that this has no impact on our existing results.” Eurogamer does point out though that Shin’en says FAST RMX’s performance may be improved when a firmware issues is taken care of.

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