While multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) has been available on both Xbox 360 and PS3 since day one, RAM and bandwidth limitations on the Sony console often meant that early cross-platform games would only feature anti-aliasing on the 360 version.
Sony didn’t take this lying down though, and created a new effect – dubbed MLAA – that used five of the PlayStation 3 SPUs to produce far superior results to traditional MSAA techniques in minimising “jaggies” and creating a smoother overall image. Debuted with God of War III, MLAA has since come to be a regular feature of both first and third party PS3 games.
It was, seemingly, an effect the Xbox 360′s CPU couldn’t match – but now a team of two developers have got it working on not only the 360 but also PC by using the GPU to achieve the MLAA – and they believe their implementation is superior.
MLAA is considered highly demanding, taking 3-4ms to render on the PS3 while using five SPUS, but Jorge Jimenez and Jose I. Echevarria say their 360 version is faster: “On the Xbox 360 we run at 2.47ms, with still a lot of optimisations to try,” Jimenez said.
“We can’t speak for all the MLAA(-like) implementations out there, but we think our current version 1.6 (the one used for these comparisons) has raised the quality bar considerably,” Jimenez told gamesindustry.biz. “In our tests, it produces results on par (when not superior) to CPU MLAA
It’ll certainly be fascinating to see if 360 developers can put MLAA to the same striking effect as seen on the PS3, and, whatever platform you game on, the ability of programmers to continue to push higher performance out of the ageing consoles is impressive.