DF Direct Weekly talks Spider-Man PC reviewing and PC gaming in an energy crisis

Welcome the latest edition of DF Direct Weekly – Digital Foundry’s regular show on the latest gaming and technology news. Perhaps not surprisingly, the lion’s share of our news discussion this week concerns the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered on PC. We’ve discussed the various trials we had in delivering our coverage – not least the arrival of a major (and welcome!) patch on embargo day. However, in this week’s show, we talk about our discussions with Nixxes, remaining performance hurdles and the title’s remarkable CPU burden, especially with ray tracing enabled.

However, we also spend a fair amount of time talking about the rising cost of gaming – or more specifically, the huge increases in energy costs. In the UK at least, we’re looking at a potentially gigantic and disastrous increase in the cost of electricity in October – and the recent news on next-gen GPUs raising their TDPs has got a lot of people concerned. First of all, I do think that the biggest TDP increases will be found on the more expensive GPUs, but ultimately, perhaps we should be looking at the energy savings brought about by frame-rate limiters.

As we discuss in this week’s show, you never really fully utilise a CPU – you buy a more expensive processor to mitigate against the worst case scenarios… so why not adopt the same strategy with a GPU too? I’m perfectly happy to play most triple-A fare at 90-100fps, effectively a 10-11ms render time per frame. Beyond that, my perception barely sees much difference – but the energy cost in running a GPU unlocked is significantly higher. So setting an arbitrary frame-rate cap that sits at the sweet spot of the game you’re playing seems like a good idea to me, the idea being that your extra GPU performance is only deployed where needed in the service of a consistent experience. It’ll be interesting to see if Nvidia, AMD or Intel consider some kind of energy efficiency mode – but of course, using DLSS or FSR 2.0 is also a big energy saver too.

The 74th edition of DF Direct Weekly is once again perpetrated by Rich Leadbetter, Alex Battaglia and John Linneman.
  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:00:57 News 01: Spider-Man Remastered released on PC!
  • 00:27:05 News 02: Boneworks gets Metal Gear Solid mod
  • 00:35:30 News 03: RTX 4070/4080 power consumption less than expected?
  • 00:42:48 DF Update: DF site upgrade + Half-Life charity stream
  • 00:46:01 DF Supporter Q1: Is Rich surprised DF Direct has run this long?
  • 00:47:52 DF Supporter Q2: Was the Xbox BC program cancelled for licensing reasons or technical issues?
  • 00:52:54 DF Supporter Q3: Could Microsoft introduce lower-feature OS modes to free up more performance on Series S?
  • 00:55:37 DF Supporter Q4: How much will RT improve with efficiency improvements alone this generation?
  • 00:59:23 DF Supporter Q5: What are your favourite methods of implementing complex graphical effects in retro games?
  • 01:06:54 DF Supporter Q6: Would Sony ever release a new portable PlayStation system?

Other topics this week? We take a look at a brilliant-looking mod for VR classic Bone Works, which taps into the original Metal Gear Solid’s PS1 aesthetics to remarkable effect. We also discuss the brand new Digital Foundry website coming online later this week. It’s a full revamp that ties into our Supporter Program relaunch, giving users easy access to all of the exclusive content we’ve rolled out over the last year without having to delve into Patreon’s unfathomable archives. For those that aren’t supporting us, you’ll at least get an idea of the kind of bonus material and exclusive videos we provide.

Supporter Q+A? As usual, there are some great topics up for debate this week. Based on the excitement surrounding Steam Deck, what are the chances of Sony producing a new PlayStation Portable? Well, based on how well Steam Deck performs without the kind of low-level access that made Vita and Switch so great, one can only imagine how good a dedicated PlayStation handheld would be – but in the meantime, it looks like Sony is happy to see their PC ports play out on Steam Deck or any other PC-based portable. The future of console ray tracing is also debated, along with licensing limitations to the Xbox backwards compatibility program – could they be freed up in future? Interacting with our community via DF Direct Weekly and our brilliant Discord is a pleasure, so please do consider joining us!

Leave a Comment