Shin'en dev Manfred Linzner explains Wii U's eDRAM
Linzner claims he had Nano Assault Neo running full 60 FPS on TV and GamePad using one core.
Shin'en developer Manfred Linzner does not seem to have a bad thing to say about the Wii U hardware. Whereas other developers complain that the system is difficult to work on, is limited graphically or can't handle certain game engines, Linzner is the rare Nintendo advocate who seems to really have his finger on the pulse of what makes consoles like the Wii and the Wii U tick. Funnily enough, the way he's been explaining the console's capabilities imply he's been able to squeeze a lot of performance without even using full capabilities of the console, which Shin'en hasn't fully explored yet. Quite the humblebrag right there.
In tweets, Linzner describes Wii U development as straightforward and much easier compared to Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
Later, Linzner took up an offer by HDWarriors.com to explain the eDRAM's capabilities in detail. Basically, it's similar to Xbox 360's eDRAM, but whereas the 360 eDRAM had to lower rendering to 720p, Wii U's eDRAM is fully capable of 1080p rendering. The 360 needed 16 MB available to do 1080p framebuffer when double buffering. Microsoft corrected this on the Xbox One, providing that console 32 MB of RAM.
Next, Linzner claims he used the Wii U eDRAM to handle framebuffering, intermediate framebuffer captures, fast scratch memory and GPU memory writes. By simply optimizing the capabilitied of the eDRAM, Shin'en was able to obtain the beautiful graphics in Nano Assault Neo without utiliing the system's full ability.
Linzner reiterates his claim that Wii U development is straightforward, and goes into detail on how they used the hardware for Nano Assault Neo, before dropping this bombshell: The game only used one CPU core for everything. That includes rendering graphics on both GamePad and TV, both at full 60 FPS.
Linzner concludes that in general, developers aren't able to utilize the full capabilities of a console at the start of its cycle anyway, so we really haven't seen what the Wii U is fully capable of yet. One would certainly hope other developers take the time to learn gaming hardware as well as Shin'en and not short fans with compromised ports.