Moore’s Law has been a constant specter overlooking the intersections of technology and performance. For so long, computing has held close to the idea of throwing bigger numbers and bigger projects as a solution, but this concept has proven unsustainable. Instead, the hardware and software world is increasingly turning to clever tricks and shortcuts to increase the performance and flexibility of what programs can do. It’s about finesse, not raw horsepower, and the results can be startling.
A Need for Scaleability
The basis of the shortcuts now used to improve performance is most often found in the need to scale output to different systems. An example of this on the less demanding side of the spectrum could be found in systems like online casinos. Here, titles like Megaways slots at MegaRush are built with the focus of offering a consistent level of playability and quality no matter the device. By only placing low demands on systems’ hardware while simultaneously appealing to graphical styles over unnecessary detail, these games look and play great both on the fastest PCs and outdated mobiles. They also require little bandwidth to load and play, but many other forms of software aren’t this welcoming to different systems. On the other side of the spectrum we need shortcuts, and this is where developers have been trying exciting new ideas.
One of the most famous illustrates of bypassing the higher demands of some forms of video gaming software comes from game streaming. With this technology, an offsite server can manage all of the intensive calculations of a game, where only the controls and video output are sent to a user’s device. Through these programs, a simple phone can run some of the most demanding games at high settings, which they could never do if the titles were run natively. Google famously failed in their attempt at this approach with Google Stadia, but there are others in the space like Microsoft and Nvidia which are doing much better with their cloud gaming progress.
Most recent of the big breakthroughs to come to tech shortcuts are those of upscaling. This technology allows higher-quality images to be created via AI from lower-definition images, and it works in both 3D gaming environments and video streaming. In games, systems like AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution can upscale a 1080p image to 4K more easily than produce an image at native 4K, for example, offering a minor drop in quality with a huge leap in performance.
Nvidia makes an appearance here again with its introduction of RTX Video Super Resolution. This works with lower-quality video streams and upscales them in real-time, which both saves on bandwidth and can increase the quality of a video stream beyond what platforms like YouTube natively allow.
When using shortcuts to emulate a higher-quality outcome with less powerful devices there will always be caveats. That said, the advantages and potential of these new technologies are immense, opening doors to millions of users that might otherwise miss out. Sometimes a shortcut doesn’t just get you there easier, it can let you visit places you’d miss. Still, in their infancy, these systems are only going to get better.