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Xbox One developer tools updated to improve performance, Dying Light dev says

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Microsoft updated the Xbox One software development kit this month, giving developers better control over the console's memory so they can improve performance, said Dying Light developer Techland in an interview with GamingBolt.

Techland recently confirmed that Dying Light will run in native 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The studio was originally targeting a frame rate of 60 fps, but said that it decided to scale back that target in order to deliver a "rock-solid" 30 fps because "a stable frame rate is paramount" in a game like Dying Light.

Microsoft's Dec. 12 update to the Xbox One's SDK offers finer control over the console's ESRAM (embedded static RAM), according to Maciej Binkowski, lead game designer on Dying Light.

"The main thing is just how much the ESRAM control has improved," said Binkowski in an interview with GamingBolt. "The new API allows you to do a lot more with the ESRAM, things devs have always wanted to do but were not easily accessible. This together with better tools (PIX) allowed us to really improve performance and tweak ESRAM usage."

The Xbox One's ESRAM was a source of heated debate prior to the launch of the console and its direct competitor, Sony's PlayStation 4, last year. Reports indicated that the PS4's memory solution of 8 GB of GDDR5 RAM gave the console a slight edge over the Xbox One, which boasts 8 GB of slower DDR3 RAM, along with 32 MB of ESRAM intended to make up the difference.

It's unclear if this month's Xbox One SDK update specifically allowed Techland to get the Xbox One version of Dying Light to the studio's 1080p30 target. Reached for comment on the update, a Microsoft representative told Polygon, "Just as we're committed to making ongoing system updates for our fans to enjoy new features of Xbox One, we're also committed to giving developers new tools and flexibility to make their Xbox One games even better."

Dying Light is set for release Jan. 27 on PS4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

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