rac_pic2.jpg

There has been some discussion about the recently released demo of Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction for the Playstation 3 on the well known gaming forum Neogaf. A very select few have been having some visual troubles with the game, resulting in a pixelated mess on their HDTVs. This is surprising, since most who have experienced the beauty of Insomniac’s game can see that it is very sharp and pretty damn special to say the least. So what is going on here?

On some 1080p HDTV’s Ratchet and Clank appears to be pixelated, or in the best possible words – a garbled mess. Now reports of this have been few and far between, but it seems that although being a 720p game, when 720p is selected on the display options for the Playstation 3 the game does not appear as it should on some HDTV’s (a 52inch 1080p Sony Bravia is one of the mentioned televisions). When 720p is unchecked, leaving only 1080i and 1080p the picture in fact clears up but at the bottom-right of the screen is a block of broken up, fuzziness.

What could be the problem? Well some research has been done at the Beyond3d forums, suggesting that Ratchet and Clank is 704p or 704by1280 pixels instead of the regular 720by1280. This is unlike the Halo 3 problem of being a 640p image (or even Conan at 576p) being upscaled to 720p (and higher) since Ratchet and Clank is not upscaled by the Playstation3.

Upscaling from 640p to 720p would cause some strange exaggeration of aliasing, and other minor problems with picture quality. Instead, Ratchet and Clank cuts off 8pixels above and below, meaning the remaining image will still be rendered at 720p but with small black bars above and below, such as you would see when you watch an HD film on your television. A 1080p film will have black borders above and below, thus not using all the pixels, but the quality that is displayed still means it is 1080p. Ratchet and Clank is even less extreme than this, since the black borders would be almost unnoticeable if your HDTV didn’t use overscan to remove them completely. This image is sent from the Playstation to your television, and then the overscan of your television will make the final picture fit the screen, thus not showing the black bars.

rac_pic1.jpg

Ratchet and Clank being 704p is thus a clever way to save some pixels without impacting visual quality, for Ratchet and Clank is so gorgeous to experience, especially at 60fps, that you will double check to make sure you are not playing through a Pixar film. But could this be a problem for some 1080i/p HDTV’s? It’s not clear if it is, but it could be due to these televisions upscaling from 704p without overscan.

Whatever the problem is, Insomniac seems to be keen to get it fixed for every HDTV out there. While we have yet to confirm that the following is indeed from an employee of Insomniac, it appears that one One of the Insomniac team members has personally posted on the Neogaf forum asking exactly what the trouble is. If it is a member of Insomniac, it would be This is proof of just how down to earth the developer is.

“Hey guys,

Can you send me any brand/model numbers of TVs you have if you are having issues and what the issue is, plus what settings you are running (screen caps are helpful too).

We believe the lower right corner garbling issue appears to only be happening with 1080i/p output forced and with no-overscan. The vast majority of people shouldn’t experience it, and we highly recommend ensuring your PS3 has 720p output enabled as RCF will look best at that resolution and it should correct the issue.

If you’re having the strange pixelation issues, we want to try to replicate that here. We’ve never seen it in-house on all of our various HD sets, and knowing what TVs we need to track down would be helpful.

Appreciate your help
JS”

So let’s hope Insomniac gets this fixed for those that have the problem, otherwise some sorry sods will be missing out on one of the best looking games the Playstation 3 has to offer.

(Note: Insomniac has not confirmed that the game is rendered at 704p.)

Sources: Neogaf, Beyond3d

Update – 10/16 7:36 PM EST
The poster on the Neogaf board has been confirmed as an actual employee of Insomniac. Well known to the board, and featured in several of Insomniac’s Podcasts.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Seems to me the problem lies with underpowered hardware and developers using fancy tricks to makes games function at supposedly supported high resolutions.

    This isn’t the first game on either platform to have issues displaying HD and likely won’t be the last.

    It is pretty sad that the HD console era less then 2 years in or 1 year in for the PS3 are showing incapable of displaying standard HD resolutions which both parties claim there machines are so capable of.

    Maybe the real problem though isn’t the PS3 or 360 but the HDTV manufacturers who don’t support 704p and 640p… The Golden standard of we can’t deliver HD, HD… on the bright side we sure as hell can pay for it $60 games and $600 consoles, all of which stamped with Seal of they’ll never know quality.

    Inspiring Corporate confidence since the founding of The Zombie Consumer, 2005 CFUZE.

  2. It is HD as stated. The game is rendered at 720p with small black borders above and below. I have Casino Royale in 1080p with huge black borders above and below, thus not using many of the pixels…is it thus not HD?

  3. hmm thats interesting, now were talking about aspect ratios movies are not natively 16×9 so keeping the film true to its aspect ratio you generally get those bars.

    sometimes they use anamorphic aspect ratios to fill the entire screen.

    Games are a bit different since there no predefined standard by which games are made like with movies so I guess you could argue that it is higher definition.

    1280x720p and 1920x1080p are the standard resolutions that the TV manufactures are supporting. I don’t think that the xbox 360 or PS3 are capable of sustaining those native resolutions while also pushing more and more advance effects so you see some of this sorta trickery cutting resolutions to save processing and upscaling to meet the HD standards.

    I’d argue that its not true HD in the cases where they have to upscale an image to meet the tv’s resolution.

    I think though regardless when they say 720p, 1080i and 1080p are supported resolutions by your console then they need to output those resolutions hassle free.

    Its mess of confusion and frustration, I think propagated by hardware trickery that is not outputting proper signals supported by hdtv’s.

    This article I link you below is pretty informative about the issue, I think the 360 and PS3 launched to soon for an HD era with hardware that wasn’t fit for providing HD and better suited for Standard Defintion.

    The power of both machines is being used up just for hd resolutions, its why many games feel so generic and similar to last gen pc and xbox games. Theres not a lot of room for innovation and its been expensive for all parties involved.

    http://gamers-creed.com/?p=423#more-423

  4. “Seems to me the problem lies with underpowered hardware and developers using fancy tricks to makes games function at supposedly supported high resolutions.”

    I’ll believe a developer before I believe someone on a forum, lol.

    The game is rendered at 720p. And for only a select few to have this issue and everyone else play the game without a problem is hardly “underpowered hardware”.

    Don’t talk smack on the PS3 OR 360. Keep the fanboy comments to yourself. Developers choose whatever resolution they want. If these consoles are so “underpowered” then why on earth do we see games like Gears of War at 1080i and Gran Turismo at 1080p?

    As I said before. Keep the fanboyism to yourself. It only makes YOU look bad.

  5. so what im a wii or pc fanboy?

    come off it.

    Don’t call me a fanboy when the truth is that the 360 and ps3 hardware is @#$! for hd gaming, there plenty of info out there about the sub hd resolutions the ps3 and 360 output.

    You go ahead and believe what these companie pr departments feed you, any one with an inkling of comprehension about hardware can see for themselves that the hardware is under powered if not ram choked.

    You got two machines using gpu’s comparable to last gen mid/low range pc cards and multiple developers using tricks to output sub-hd as full hd.

    Hell this isn’t the first PS3 insomniac game to have resolution issue as resistance fall of man wouldn’t output 1080i and auto defaulted to 480p.

    There was a big row over that if you remember Microsoft bashing sony about not having a proper scaler.

    If the game properly outputted 720p then people wouldn’t be having problems. its far too typical to blame the consumer for these hd mishaps then the game developer and hardware provider.

    Its ironic that insomniac games have so much trouble displaying properly through ps3’s that “fully” support all hd resolution on sony branded hdtvs.

  6. piece of crap crunk HD graphics man, there putting these games out way to fast! Think of the #$%^(*& children man.. they are losing their life, education, and potential girls standing inline buying this.. MAKE BETTER GAMES!!

  7. Some of you are completely misinterpretting this.

    One it is NOT confirmed as 704p.

    Two – it is rendered at 720p and is sent from the playstation as 720p, but has black bars above and below. It IS NOT upscaled.

    Three – the advantages of saving 16pixel height is not clear, but since the game runs at 60fps it would be inaccurate to say the console is underpowered – in fact the game would run similarly even without the black borders.

    Four. Ratchet supports 1080i…this may be the problem for some, not setting their PS3 to the right resolution.

    Five. The game is stunning, and will be a blast to play.

    Jack. It could be a patch, but I expect it will most likely be Insomniac informing these TV owners what settings to use on their TV and PS3…it’s nice of them to think of these select people, don’t you think?

  8. You all seem to be hate mongering on the games machines, when in fact it’s LCD and Plasmas that are at fault. I work with TVs and the amount sets that are men’t to be true HD that are not, is shocking to say the least. At the end of the day, as stated, the game works on most sets problem free, it’s just some manufactures TV sets that have the problem, because said manufacture is cutting corners to produce a cheaper TV.

  9. You do realize demos are not given as much attention as the final game right? This demo is the same as was played at E3, which was when they were still in production. This is in no way a demo of the final product, just a taste of what is to come. To judge a game by a demo is ridiculous.

  10. BD: The story shows that there is an unofficial response from Insomniac saying they want to recreate the problem in-house so they can work it out, and see if they can fix it. The game has gone gold, so you’d expect it might still effect the final release of the game.

    Plus, no one is judging anything, merely reporting on the problems with the demo.

LEAVE A REPLY