Update 31 Preview—ESO’s Graphical Improvements

12/08/2021

Learn about some of the graphical improvements coming with Update 31 from ZOS’s Lead Graphics Engineer, Alex Tardif.


Hello ESO community! We wanted to give you an update on what is coming up as part of Update 31 in terms of ESO’s graphics.

Those of you on the new-generation consoles are already experiencing our new graphics features and upgrades. Many of these features were available on PC prior to the update, but some (such as Screen Space Global Illumination) went live for the first time with the Blackwood Chapter release. For PC players, these new settings (TAA, Circular and Smooth depth of field, LSAO and SSGI, grass draw distance) have quietly been rolling out over the last year, as well as our new “Maximum” graphics quality setting, which turns them all on. We encourage those of you playing on PC to check them out, as we chose to make all these new settings “opt-in” on PC to not disrupt your existing GPU performance.

Of course, we have some exciting improvements and features on the way for Update 31 as well.

Dynamic Resolution Scaling

For the launch of ESO: Console Enhanced, our most important goal on the graphics side was to get as close as possible to a solid 60fps for our performance modes on Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. For us, that meant sticking with a resolution that we believed would hold up in all situations on each respective platform: 1440p on the X and PS5, and 1080p on the S.

Some of you have called out that the new generation consoles should be capable of delivering higher resolutions at 60fps, and you are correct. With Update 31, we are enabling dynamic resolution scaling for performance mode on Xbox Series X|S and PS5, which steps resolutions up and down based on performance metrics. For Series X and PS5, the dynamic resolution will scale between 1080p and 2160p (4k), while Series S will scale between 1080p and 1440p. For example, we expect our players on Series X to be running at or very close to 4K at 60fps in performance mode in most situations. On the flip side, the headroom for dropping to as low as 1080p should further prevent dropped frames in high-intensity situations, such as large Cyrodiil battles and certain trial and dungeon boss fights. We’re still experimenting with dynamic resolution scaling, so please let us know how it works for you!

New HDR Mode

Many of you have expressed frustration with our current HDR implementation on consoles. We are happy to report that we have a new hue-preserving HDR mode coming with Update 31 that very closely matches the look of ESO in SDR while taking advantage of the increased range. If you prefer the way ESO looks in HDR right now, this will remain an option. To do so, you will simply toggle our new HDR Mode setting from Default to Vibrant.

Multithreaded Rendering Beta (PC)

The launch of ESO on the new generation consoles brought with it many improvements to our render threading to achieve 60fps in our performance modes. In Update 31, we are bringing our console render multithreading to PC via a new opt-in beta setting. For those of you who are CPU limited while playing ESO (most of you), this setting should improve your frame rate.

We urge you to give this a try when it becomes available in your video settings and send us your feedback as well as any issues you may encounter, especially if you play with addons. Given the incredible amount of addons that exist for ESO on PC, it is difficult to predict how well this setting will behave out of the box with every possible combination of addons available. Note that Multithreaded Rendering is available in beta for PC only and is not available on Stadia or Mac. We look forward to seeing what you think!


Thank you to Alex for taking the time to provide this breakdown of ESO’s upcoming graphical improvements. Don’t forget to jump in and check out these improvements when they arrive with Update 31 and beyond—we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Update 31 arrives on PC/Mac and Stadia on August 23, and on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 on August 31.

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