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Next-Gen Console CPUs Not Up to Hype 783

rAiNsT0rm writes "Anandtech follows up their initial in-depth coverage of the Xbox 360 and PS3 CPU with the real truth about the next-gen consoles' Poor CPU Performance. From the article: "Speaking under conditions of anonymity with real world game developers who have had first hand experience writing code for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 hardware (and dev kits where applicable), we asked them for nothing more than their brutal honesty. What did they think of these new consoles? Are they really outfitted with the PC-eclipsing performance we've been lead to believe they have? The answer is actually quite frequently found in history; as with anything, you get what you pay for."" Update: 06/30 21:11 GMT by Z : The original article disappeared from Anandtech, so I've changed the link to point to the story as hosted by Google Groups.
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Next-Gen Console CPUs Not Up to Hype

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  • PPU is the answer. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eunuch ( 844280 ) * on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:11PM (#12945148)
    Physics processors came too late for this generation of consoles. This will really put PCs over the top. This should be coming out by the end of the year.
  • by jandrese ( 485 ) * <> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:15PM (#12945179) Homepage Journal
    Sony was hyping up the Cell so much it was almost guarenteed to suck.

    It's almost like the Cell architecture was designed to score the highest possible score on trivial benchmarks (like the ones that give you FLOPS) without worrying about real world performance. Where have we seen this before? Oh yeah, the Emotion Engine (PS2)!

    Wasn't Sony saying that we'd be sticking Cell processers in everything because they were going to be so great? I seem to recall talk about personal computers switching over to Cell because it was going to blow regular processors away. In a way, it does (FLOPS), but in practice it's way slower than even processers from last year.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:28PM (#12945320)
    is games. If the game you want exists only on a particular console, that's the console you will buy. Everything else is marketing mumbo-jumbo.

    How do you get the good games? Be very good to the developers. Have a good enough market share so the developers think it is worthwhile to develop on your console. Hearing that Microsoft is becoming less developer friendly is bad news for Microsoft. They are coming into a market full of entrenched players. They should be very very developer friendly. That's the only way they will get the next great game.
  • by torpor ( 458 ) <ibisum@gm a i l . com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:29PM (#12945331) Homepage Journal
    We mentioned before that collision detection is able to be accelerated on the SPEs of Cell, despite being fairly branch heavy. The lack of a branch predictor in the SPEs apparently isn't that big of a deal, since most collision detection branches are basically random and can't be predicted even with the best branch predictor. So not having a branch predictor doesn't hurt, what does hurt however is the very small amount of local memory available to each SPE. In order to access main memory, the SPE places a DMA request on the bus (or the PPE can initiate the DMA request) and waits for it to be fulfilled. From those that have had experience with the PS3 development kits, this access takes far too long to be used in many real world scenarios. It is the small amount of local memory that each SPE has access to that limits the SPEs from being able to work on more than a handful of tasks. While physics acceleration is an important one, there are many more tasks that can't be accelerated by the SPEs because of the memory limitation.,

    well .. at the risk of being a bit fan-boix [], what about throwing Judy [] arrays at the problem [] .. ermm .. i mean, put Judy on Cell .. and use a combination of edge-detection and fast count by value ... []

    i mean, its not like vector can't function as simple hash. or am i missing out something important about this 'collision detection business' that can't be parallelized?

    (i wouldn't know, incidentally, i don't do 3d/gaming .. so please point out my idiocy freely, at will, and as great a length as you can muster..)
  • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:31PM (#12945351)
    After months and months of hype, mystical numbers thrown around in the air, arguments about hypothetical maximums, some more hype, fancy product launches, more hype, constant bickering by fan boys on message forums, evaluations of the consoles, and (did I mention hype?) everything else, the truth finally comes out.

    Congratulations, we've all fallen victem to the same cruel joke every time some company decides to release a new console, product, etc.

    And in the end, none of it matters if the games aren't very good anyhow. Now that we've gotten over the dick measuring contest to see who can spit out the most flops, maybe we can all get back to enjoying the games on our current generation systems, and hoping that we'll see even better games in the future.

    I don't mean to sound like a troll, flamer, asshat, or other nasty forum lurker, but does the computational power of a console make or break it? I've got a cell phone that probably has more computational power than an SNES, but Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was a damned good game. Let's step away from our obsession with graphics and the raw-power of the machine and worry about other things.

    Here's a few I can think of right now:

    1) The Xbox 360 will still be using DVDs. Guess what, we have already managed to fill up a full DVD with some games. Because we're going with HD games now, that'll take up more space (or processor time if we compress it to save space) which we don't have.

    2) The Xbox 360 is using 2.4GHhz wireless controllers last I heard. Not a bad concept, but what happens when the battery dies mid-game? What about the cost of batters that add up over time? What happens if I have some other 2.4GHz device such as a phone or wireless router in the near location? I'm not the most knowledgable about wireless communications, but could this cause some interference?

    3) Backwards compatability might not be included. Every day I hear a different story. Please, someone tell me it's going to be there for sure. Shouldn't Microsoft be more worried about pissing off the installed customer base that they had to fight to get than trying to get a few more flops out of a processor?

    Just my opinion, but let's focus more on the games than the hardware.

  • Re:Random Thoughts: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Slack3r78 ( 596506 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:32PM (#12945361) Homepage
    1. With the next generation of consoles becoming nothing more than computers, what becomes the purpose of having two separate machines? Or perhaps the real point is, why use your computer for gaming?

    Personally, I'd argue that this is an incorrect premise. The next-gen consoles are *not* general-purpose computers, but rather, extremely powerful media DSPs. The multicore, in-order execution of the Cell and the Xenon are meant to eat through datasets very quickly, but aren't going to be particularly powerful for general purpose use.

    Both these CPUs are going to require quite a bit of rethinking of design by developers as traditional engine designs just aren't going to perform that well. Design is going to have the shift toward highly threaded engines which are designed around the idea of feeding datasets into each of the many cores as quickly as possible. The XBox 360 in particular was designed around the idea of dynamically generating as much content as possible, rather than using stored content as in the past, but the Cell's design lends toward the same type of approach.

    I'm not sure whether or not this is why developers are reporting the machines to be relatively underpowered or not, but I'd certainly suspect it. To be quite frank, our current engine designs will *not* run well on this type of an architechture. In general computing terms, it wouldn't surprise me that the 360 is only twice as powerful. As a media DSP, however, Xenon should run circles around the P6 based CPU of the XBox.

    In short, these next-gen consoles are based around a very specific set of requirements, and I wouldn't expect them to replace your desktop PC any time particularly soon. Set-top box, sure. But they're not general purpose computers.
  • HDTV gaming, lag? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:34PM (#12945373) Homepage
    I know some people who run current-gen consoles thru scalers (or use their HD set's scaler) have issues with lag: microseconds between when a controller is actuated and when the effect is displayed onscreen.

    Scaler folks have had issues with HD upconversion lag when it comes to, say, DVDs. However, many HT receivers will let you customize your audio delay to compensate since lag should be fairly consistent. There's really no compensation for gaming, unless you're psychic.

    Presumably, the next gen of consoles (along with decent GPUs in general purpose computers) will not have this issue since their output resolutions bypass scalers. However, some of the upcoming 1080p sets (Samsung at least) will not take 1080p via their HDMI inputs, so they'll deinterlace 1080i internally, and beyond picture quality concerns this may impact when it comes to lag. Or, use their RGB ins and suffer from D->A->D conversion.
  • Re:Random Thoughts: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:35PM (#12945386)
    Play ICO on the PS2 (best game ever made)

    Check out Wanda versus the Collosus (AKA Shadow Versus the Collosus) Its made by the team that made ICO.

    These guys make games like fine art. Do yourself a favor and check out these games. Good luck finding a copy of ICO for PS2... Its worth looking for it though. Amazing sense of story and adventure through subtle and "of the moment" like atmosphere. Great ending... beautiful music. Its like a Miyazaki film.

    Sony's ICO team is incredible!!!
  • by Brain_Recall ( 868040 ) <> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:37PM (#12945406)
    Since the tests were only on one core, each core running twice as fast as the previous generation should be more than enough.

    The XBOX processor was a special one-off by Intel. It's closely based off the Pentium 3 Coppermine core, except with only 128KB of L2 cache (In that respect its like the Coppermine-based Celeron, who's name I forget. However, the processor uses a full 133MHz FSB for some extra kick.) There is no socket, either, with the proc soldered to the motherboard. Must of been interesting getting those 1.4GHz Tualatins soldered on there in those special Super-X Hyper Platinum!! EXTREME modded XBOX's.

    The problem with new consoles is usually an entirely new development setup for them. The programmers this time around not only have to deal with a new development kit, but also a new instruction set and trying to figure out large-parallel programming. I pity those poor guys.
    Usually, however, things only start to really get interesting towards the end of a consoles lifetime, when the developers have fully mastered the console. Just a recent example is Halo 2 on XBOX and how it compares to Halo 1. This is far more apparent on a more "different" (i.e. less like a PC) console like the PS2.

    BTW, this article doesn't surprise me one bit. Sony over-hyped the PS2 to oblivion, and they did the same with the PS3. Simply, there's not enough silicon in there to be a super-computer in a box.
  • Re:Random Thoughts: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Strontium-90 ( 799337 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:41PM (#12945435)
    I heartily agree. I'd like to go back and play the old LucasArts games like Monkey Island, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and Day of the Tentacle. I need to put together an old 486/DOS box so that I can load up my old Sierra (Space/King's Quest) and Origin (Wing Commander, Ultima) games. I keep saying it: Computer game companies could make a ton of money by simply updating their old classics to play easily on new computers. I don't even really care about updated graphics. I know that there are things like ScummVM that allow you to play some games and fix up the graphics a bit, but it requires the original disks, which I have but cannot use (no 5.25"/3.5" floppy drives). I, for one, would pay a lot of money to get copies of my old games that Just Work on my newer machines.

    You fight like a dairy farmer! ... How appropriate, you fight like a cow! []
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:45PM (#12945468) Homepage
    Not so much because of its average-case power, but because of what happens when you pull out all the stops and optimize some game like crazy for it. Look at the PS2-- really weak machine in a lot of ways, but when someone who knows how to really harness the hardware makes a game for it you periodically get an Ico or Metal Gear Solid 3 or something where the graphics just absolutely blow you away. The Cell looks to have the same tweakability features of the Emotion Engine, only times like a thousand.

    I also want a Cell just, like, to play around with. They say Linux is running on this thing? Awesome. I just want to play with the microchip and see what I can get it to do. OK, yeah, I'm something of a compiler junkie. Blah :P
  • Info about the PPU (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann ( 805235 ) <spydermann.slash ... minus cat> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:45PM (#12945470) Homepage Journal
    for the lazy: =140 []

    From the link:
    What AGEIA and even game developers envision a PPU will enable for a gamer is a world with physics unlike anything we have seen in a real time game before. We are talking about thousands of rigid bodies, real flowing water, hair simulation, avalanches of rock, clothing simulations and more. Even more impressive is the idea of a universal collision detection system that allows you to interact with absolutely ANYTHING in a game world. All of it calculated in real time with nothing scripted in the game engine.

    Sure you might have seen some explosions in a game you have played before, ones that might destroy an entire building. In nearly all cases, those have been scripted, meaning the debris and fire and dust were all created specifically for that explosion scene. Their motions and reactions were probably all scripted so that they went in a particular direction at a particular time and a particular speed. But what if you could have the option of changing that? What if you could have the explostion of a dam on a river be changed in real time depending on YOUR placement of the explosives? You might place them on the very center of the dam, creating a big hole that water rushes through, or instead you might only use a small amount of explosives to destory a small side portion and let water move out more slowly and let the water pressure be the force that eventually destroys the entire dam.

    Damn. That would be a cool scene, and I didn't even see a demo of that -- just made it up!
    (end of snip)
  • Re:Random Thoughts: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:51PM (#12945518) Homepage Journal
    Personally, I'd argue that this is an incorrect premise. The next-gen consoles are *not* general-purpose computers, but rather, extremely powerful media DSPs.

    Arguably they are general purpose computers, their design is just such that they excel in a certain area.

    DSPs are great for a lot of areas, especially graphical work where you can get away with only a minor amount of conditional logic, but a whole metric tonne of pipeline streaming. However, video games tend to be split across all sorts of hardware. The multimedia can always be enhanced with DSPs for sound, DSPs for video, DSPs for artifical music, but what about AI?

    It strikes me that this next generation of consoles potentially ignores one of the key uses for branched logic: Intelligent Machines. AI was getting quite good about the time of Quake (who remembers the Reaper Bot? $$%%$@ thing kicked my ass), but it hasn't advanced much since then. For a *fun* game, better AI may not be necessary. Then again, the entire purpose of enhancing the hardware with multithreaded DSP equipment is to improve immersion. What does it help if your graphics are more realistic than ever, but your opponent is dumber than your two year old brother? (And he just hits random buttons.)

    Perhaps it's time for consoles to begin considering AI hardware, or perhaps a smaller secondary procesor?

    In short, these next-gen consoles are based around a very specific set of requirements, and I wouldn't expect them to replace your desktop PC any time particularly soon. Set-top box, sure. But they're not general purpose computers.

    I'm not so much thinking of replacing the PC with a game console, but rather adding a strict division of labor. Why should a desktop PC be incurring the expense of fancy gaming hardware when it's just going to be replicated on the console? In the past the answer was that the PC could do a lot cooler games than consoles, especially in the areas of simulation and immersion. But now consoles have nearly as many buttons as a PC (which annoys the hell out of me) and can actually do immersive games *better*. In addition, a console can theoretically be more social than a PC. (Although the X-Box and Playstation don't show it.)

    Just my random musings, anyway.
  • Cell not dead yet? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @05:54PM (#12945535)
    According to the article, the Cell's SPE's end up not being useful because it takes too long for them to access the main memory. Given the early nature of the development systems and libraries and that the rambus interface should be plenty fast enough, I wonder if the DMA issue can be cleared up before the PS3 ships?

    I'm actually a bit glad that the CPU's suck for standard, single threaded games, because it almost forces the developers to try something different. You've got two CPU cores in the Xbox 360 just sitting around, why not try some interesting AI? Code them in as bots and the latency won't matter at all, it works over the internet even now after all. How about a little voice-recognition for, well, practically everything? I wonder if a PS3 and one of those HD-eye toys can do facial recognition... a Japanese dating game that could read your facial expressions would be cool (Sakura Taisen Remake Again, hurrah!). As long as it's mainly the FPS makers getting hosed, I'm happy.
  • by Sark666 ( 756464 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @06:06PM (#12945630)
    This article really seems to take the wind out of their sails regarding what's being boasted 'under the hood' and what it's actually capable of doing.

    But I look at a game like doom3 running on a xbox. Yes it's low res and yes I read their changed some of the levels so there isn't as much draw distance (like removing a window from a corridor etc).

    But still, it's doom3 running on what is a 733 mhz cpu with ONLY 64 megs of ram and doing a pretty good job of it.

    Whereas my p4 1.6 with only 128 megs of ram (really need to upgrade) and a gf4ti4200 runs doom3 like shit. Downright unplayable. Heck I wish I could have the xbox version of doom3 to run on my pos system.

    My point? Well, history has shown that the developers will eventually make these systems do tricks that no one initially thought the systems were capable of. But the pc is such a moving target with so many configurations that we don't see near as much optimizations.

    But I'm a pc gamer for life and mainly cause I hate exclusive agreements and would love to see these systems be a disappointment. :)

    I miss the days (snes/genesis) where only 1st party titles were exclusive (mario vs sonic) and with pretty much all other titles it was may the best console win.

    How much do they offer these developers to only play on one side of the fence? I think one of the biggest first exclusive agreements was tombraider on the ps1. But what I always liked was the pc was ignored in these agreements. Doesn't seem to be the case these days. Cough, halo, cough. And I'll never forgive the developers dropping the pc with the oddworld series. Ok way OT now I'll stop rambling.
  • by VanWEric ( 700062 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @06:12PM (#12945675)
    Just a quick comment on the wirelessness of controllers: DON'T DO IT. I like my wires. They work. ALWAYS. Sure, they are in some ways more convenient: You can't get tripped by them, you can move around more easily, and they allow you to produce golden eggs when you defecate. However, it is a pain in my gold producer to find a lost wireless controller and re battery it. I hate batteries. I just hate them. This may be because of that one time I wired 72v of Latern Cell's to my tongue, but I want all of my electricity to come out of mr Happy Face on the wall. If you can make the console recharge the controllers, AND find them for me, I will love you forever.
  • by Hannah E. Davis ( 870669 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @06:37PM (#12945875) Journal
    As the girlfriend of a guy with an Xbox 360 under his desk, I'd like to post what little I've observed of this machine.

    Now, I'm no hardware wiz, so I can really only comment on this from the perspective of the average non-techie gamer, but... I've played the new (ie. unreleased) Need for Speed on the thing, and I must say that it looks damn sweet. Sure, maybe the article's right and the machine doesn't perform as well as it should, but as a gamer, am I going to notice the limitations? Is my gaming experience going to be impacted by this? Probably not.

    Basically what I'm trying to say is that while the article is certainly interesting to the geek in all of us, saying that the processors are "Not Up To Hype" seems a bit too sensational given that the only people who will notice these minor failings are the developers who, one would hope, already know about them.

  • by GFLPraxis ( 745118 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @06:55PM (#12945998) Homepage Journal
    "What developers really want is the *exact same* architecture, but much faster, more memory, etc. No more processors, no more complex ways of addressing different caches. Just make the thing the same, only faster, and developers would love it. Initially..."

    While we have yet to see exactly what Ninty has up their sleeves, this sounds like the Revolution. Same API, using IBM CPU's and ATi GPU's again just like last long as they don't do some exotic IBM CPU like the Cell (co-developed by Sony so unlikely) or three pathetic CPU's working together to be okay like the XBox 360, it'll be basicly just a much much faster GameCube.

    With wireless, free online play, thousands of downloadable games and game demos, and a new 'revolutionary' controller added, of course.
  • Preach it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Paradox ( 13555 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:00PM (#12946037) Homepage Journal
    "Keep riding the bleeding edge of gaming."
    Bleeding edge isn't as safely profitable as rehashing out old games.
    A truer statement you will not find. The truth is that there are masses of people out there who will cheerfully consume large quantities of mediocre content.

    The fact that people are excited about Battlefield 2, which is yet another FPS war sim army-style, just blows my mind. I have a friend who's trying to justify it to me.

    "No, it's great. See, the graphics are amazing, and the netplay is wonderful. Now, you spawn on your team leader, and you all work together. It's brilliant!

    My response, "So it's yet another Doom clone with new spawn rules and a graphics update. Yee-haw. Know what I was playing? Katamari Damacy and Way of the Samurai 2." Trying to explain to him these games, let alone show them to him, is an utter waste of time. He walks out at the title screen, claiming he can't stand graphics so "old".

    It's really depressing, because as long as there are people like him, we're going to see more games like EAInsert-Sport-Here 200X, Halflife 2 (Just like Halflife 1, but more so).

  • by YouMakeMeSoANGRY ( 641079 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:07PM (#12946079)
    If only you weren't so wrong.

    The Revolution is expected to come with two processors. Each of which is a slightly faster variant of the processors in the 360.

    As there are only two of them, it will have a slightly lower total theoretical peak CPU performance. On the other hand, fewer processors mean reduced synchronisation overheads and it should also be easier to keep them both operating at full tilt.

    Developers will still face the challenge of writing mutli-processor capable code, but as they'll have had a year to get used to it on the other consoles, they should be able to hit the ground running.
  • by adam31 ( 817930 ) <adam31 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:07PM (#12946092)
    First of all, if you're going to rant you need some background. It's hugely important that you understand how this Hollywood wannabe mentality started.

    A couple years ago Jason Rubin (of Crash Bandicoot/Jak&Daxter fame) gave a speech about Hollywood that seems to have been wildly misinterpreted. He likened the current state of the video game industry to the packaged goods business. People aren't buying the content of games, they're buying the box. They're buying the marketing, the [evil] publisher. The [evil] publisher wants it that way, they want to remove the public's association with talent from the purchasing of the game... they want consumers to think that all developers are the same and let hype take care of the rest (at this pointed he pointed out that Crash games are still being made, but not by Naughty Dog).

    He then mentioned that if the top 300 game developers got in an airplane and it crashed, the industry would be set back a decade. If the top 300 marketing people fell into the same misfortune, the Industry wouldn't miss a beat. People hooted and cheered at this irony... laid out so eloquently, between where the publishers place the importance of moving products with where the real importance was.

    He then confused a lot of people, talking about Hollywood is the future and getting invited to parties, and so that is what a lot of people walked away with... However, the real crux of the passionate speech was that Game Companies, not publishers, belong in big bold letters on the box. Game development is a talent industry, not a packaged good... Game Designers who consistently design good games deserve the same name recognition and the same selling power as the equivalent Hollywood celebrities, Robert Deniro, Kevin Spacey, etc. with their name Right There on the Box in the same way that Hollywood movies are marketed (And that there are more people making good games than just Will Wright and Miyamoto). Until developers make those demands, publishers will feel free to keep marketing and unloading the same crap on the unsuspecting public.

  • Re:Random Thoughts: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pulzar ( 81031 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @07:27PM (#12946257)
    So, from one avid gamer to another, tell me what these complicated and involved games are?

    First, to put things in perspective, I was comparing the complexity of the new games vs. the early games that the original poster was referring to -- the games that his 5 year old son enjoys. Compared to the original Zeldas, Marios, and going even further, Tetris, any of the modern games are a lot more complex.

    While the basic idea for most of these new games might be rehashes, the implementation is quite complex. Simulation/stregy games like Civilization 3, SimCity 4, Football Manager 2005, and adventure games like Syberia II, are all very involved games, even though they had much simpler predecesors available some number of years ago. There's a whole new type of games in recent years in MMORPGs, and World of Warcraft is anything but a simple game. Splinter Cell requires you to master a wide variety of moves and tools in other to be succesful against other players, which is a big improvement over the original FPS games, and Chaos Theory now adds an element of teamwork to that. Rome: Total War puts in total control of giant armies, raising the complexity of RTS games to another level. Fight Night: Round 2 gives you almost perfect control of the boxer's complete body, comparing that to the simple button mashing of the original boxing games.

    All of this is subjective, of course, and maybe you still find all these things overly simple, but, IMHO, most gamers will agree that the games listed above are quite a bit more complex that what was popular 10-15 years ago.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sabinm ( 447146 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @08:40PM (#12946766) Homepage Journal
    I feel like Senator Palpatine when Mace Windu is about unite him with the force--No. No, No, No, No, NO!

    Did you miss the whole "It'll be like jacking up to the matrix!"

    You remember the winking, smiling girl? This was all supposed to be in-game! They marketed it as such. Everyone I know believed it to be so. We were waiting for the greatest console since the NES. That's what it felt like. It felt like there was a giant PS2 blowing the roof off my house while I chanted "Now, you're playing with POWER! POWER!" I was so excited for the PS2. I agonized over paying for a text book or a PS2 (i bought the textbook instead). The PS2 was going to deliver something that I had waited for all my youth--to be virtually immersed in a game so detailed and expansive that I would feel as I i walked in that world.

    No. Sony lied. I don't know how to put it to you better. Sony lied terribly. They promised mana, and they served up a huge steaming pile of shit. I never bought a playstation2 because I played the first games out on the PS2 and I realized that my best friend had just been robbed of four hundred dollars for a piece of technology that didn't deliver even a fraction of it's hype. It was months before any game came out that my buddy felt he could play.

    Don't fall for their lies. Don't do it again. No, No, NO! NO!
  • 'Tis a shame that this isn't every gamers' mentality... If only more gamers looked beyond graphics and marketing hype...
  • dev kits? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @09:52PM (#12947218) Homepage Journal
    The article didn't make it clear if the developers they talked to had the actual consoles to test on or just emulated dev kit enviroments. If it's just the dev kit enviroment and not an actual development console then their experiences really don't mean much of anything.

    The only things this article said that were actually substantial were both obvious.. next gen consoles won't be everything marketing says they'll be and that developers don't like having to learn to write code for a new architecture.

    Code ported from, or modeled from, current code bases obviously won't get the most out of parallel cores, SPEs, etc but that really doesn't say much about the real world limits of these systems. Just don't expect developers to slap a copy of Quake X on these consoles and have it run at 10 times the speed it did on the previous consoles.

    I am a little disappointed that neither next gen console is supposed to have a dedicated phsyics processor. THAT along with their boost in CPU and GPU power would be radical.

    Remember.. a weakness in a market is an opening for competition. Does anyone have the guts to slap a nice AMD-64 CPU in a box, gigabit ethernet, modern Gforce 6800 or better video card, and a phsyics processor, and 4GB of ram in a box and sell it as a console? Do it, and avoid going broke from the costs, and the console market could be yours. :)
  • Re:This just in... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CreateWindowEx ( 630955 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @09:53PM (#12947221)
    From the PA scans I've seen, I would guess VU0 is idle most if not all of the time on the majority of PS2 games, and I suspect we'll see 7 dark SPE's on a lot of the first-generation PS3 titles. ;)

    I do think they must have been talking to PC developers or something, especially when they say things like the original Xbox was limited by a slow CPU and "only" 64 MB of memory. At least when co-developing with the PS2, it felt like the Xbox had gobs of CPU time and RAM, and the limiting factor was fill rate and memory throughput.

    Also, as someone who's written non-graphics VU0 code, to me the SPEs look like a walk in the park. Integer multiplies? We can use C? Read *and* write memory without CPU intervention? Sounds pretty good to me, although of course it will probably be hard to find enough tasks that are a natural fit to the SPEs, not to mention multi-platform issues.

    I remember when we first moved to PS2 development from the PC, and all the PS1 developers were saying how awesome the seemingly crippled PS2 was and I thought they were delusional. Now I feel like an old codger telling the kids how in my day we had to pair our instructions by hand, and we liked it! Actually, I am kind of sad to see the end of the PS2; while I've certainly done my share of cursing at a black screen or a 30 page DMA log, it has been pretty satisfying to pull off all the various hacks you do to get stuff running on a PS2, plus the nice feeling that doing all your graphics straight to the metal without a single library call. I think those days are over, and in ten years, nobody will care that we once got MSKPATH3 to work with DMA call/return or whatever. Such is life.

  • by MasterofUnlocking ( 889272 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @09:58PM (#12947251)
    Actually, the gamecubes best looking game is Resident Evil 4, which I would have to say is by far the best looking game on any console. Heck, even after playing HL2 and oggling the Unreal3 Engine, I recently played RE4 again and it STILL looks damn amazing. But yes, the Xbox typically has better graphics than the Gamecube does, but for the most part the difference is very small (and mostly atributed to lazy developers porting games).
  • by Joseph_Daniel_Zukige ( 807773 ) on Wednesday June 29, 2005 @10:15PM (#12947342) Homepage Journal
    With three cpus, couldn't the programmer just decide to dedicate one to physics? Or would that require an API that MS doesn't provide?
  • Re:Random Thoughts: (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ^_^x ( 178540 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @12:32AM (#12947955)
    I had a similar experience, except I'd been hooked on console gaming since the NES. After the utter disappointment of the N64, I didn't even look at the GameCube, especially since Nintendo had a reputation for only bringing kids titles to the US.

    I'd held off on the PS2/XBox/Cube generation unless you count the Dreamcast among them. I love my GBA SP though, and picked up a 'cube one day. It was like everything I hated about "modern games" was gone - no incomprehensible hard to remember controls, no awkward glitches like walking through cracks in levels or AI that would spaz and do bizarre things, and so far, no games that just go "ok, you're dead now!" regardless of skill in order to make it seem "harder." It seemed that Nintendo still put in the time and effort to test and debug their games!

    I love the amount of options and content they put into the GTA games, but they're so buggy and surreal that it's not worth my effort to do any missions - maybe instead of getting into a car, my character will just jog in little circles beside it. Maybe he'll smack into the car, stagger, and repeat. Maybe I'll get shot THROUGH a wall or building by the psychic cops (which seem to make up 1/4 of the city's population even when they're not materializing out of thin air!) ...then I tried Resident Evil 4... it was the most seamless shooter I've ever played. I never got the "I'm alone in a world of stupid NPCs" feeling or the monotony of endless grinding so many games, especially shooters, give me now. Constant influx of new scenarios without seeming too fake or contrived. I think that was the real selling point for me with the Revolution. I'm eyeing the PS3, but I expect it to be better for big franchise games, cinematic "wow" factor, and whatever additional non-gaming features they throw in (especially anything integrated with the PSP.) Nintendo though, has proven to me that while they don't have a firehose flow of new games coming out, they almost ALWAYS deliver a planned, tested, polished quality gaming experience instead of just selling devkits and saying "go nuts!" to developers. Less free perhaps, but it seems to be working for them!
  • by Otis_INF ( 130595 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:21AM (#12948665) Homepage

    Nothing is more rewarding than fiddling with hardware registers, parallel execution lists and then... finally... get something visually on the screen :)

    reading your post made me think back to the old demoscene days on the Amiga 500. :) I never have written a single statement for a console, but reading about how they're programmed it's similar to old amiga hardware as in: utilize the different hardware to get as much out of it as possible. That wasn't hard, it was FUN :). Good to know there are still people out there enjoying that kind of work :)
  • Gamecube :) (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spiderworm ( 830684 ) on Thursday June 30, 2005 @04:07PM (#12953095)
    I second that. While Nintento doesn't have a monopoly on game creativity, they do a better job than the game makers for the PS2 and the Xbox.

    Pikmin. Super Mario Sunshine. Windwaker. Mario Party. Double Dash. Bomberman Generations. No blood, no guts, but original and more fun than most titles for the PS2 or Xbox IMO (I realize others may disagree).

    The two I will be picking up will be the PS3 and the Revolution.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb