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AMD PC Games (Games) Hardware

AMD Wants to Standardize PC Gaming 277

Vigile writes "Even though PC gaming has a very devout fan-base, it is impossible to not see the many benefits that console gaming offers: faster loads, better compatibility and more games that fully utilize the hardware to name a few. AMD just launched a new initiative called AMD GAME! that attempts to bring some of these benefits to PC games as well. AMD will be certifying hardware for two different levels of PC gaming standards, testing compatibility with a host of current and future PC titles as well as offering up AMD GAME! ready components or pre-built systems from partners."
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AMD Wants to Standardize PC Gaming

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  • eh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dreddnott ( 555950 ) <> on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:14PM (#23466634) Homepage
    This kind of crap has been going on for a long, long time. Anybody else remember the MPC standards?
  • A better way? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kelbear ( 870538 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:20PM (#23466720)
    It's a nice ideal, but AMD has no authority or power to make this happen. The difference between PCs and Consoles is who is in control. With a console the manufacturer can dictate standardization, but with a PC the user gets to decide what goes where. AMD will need to ask all the gaming-hardware manufacturers to join together voluntarily to make the user's choices fit into a standard. They can't just restrict the user to standardized options, the user will pick as they please.

    I think the best chance for standardized PC gaming is for someone to pitch a desktop-console. Essentially they'd just be selling a standardized box of subsidized PC hardware. Market it well enough to developers and to consumers and hopefully enough people will hop on board to make it a defacto standard by popularity. What would make this difference is pre-packaging an affordable gaming box instead of having casual consumers pick out hardware on their own. Hardcore gamers will of course prefer to do this themselves, but casual consumers would rather that things "just work".
  • 4 consoles? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ZephyrXero ( 750822 ) <> on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:32PM (#23466868) Homepage Journal
    Sounds like AMDs aiming to make 4 different "console" type setups... to make this really work they need to focus on a singular setup rather than what they're doing... unfortunately I just don't think their heart is really in it enough. We've been working on the Open Game Console project for over 2 years now to figure out these sorts of issues and I just don't see AMDs current game plan working.
  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:35PM (#23466902) Homepage Journal
    One of the biggest advantages of a games console is a specification and implementation once released. A PC (whatever the OS) is a moving target and because of the complexities of configurations and different hardware proves to be harder to get right, especially when you are pushing the edge. Taking this into account and the existence of virtual machine technologies, such as Virtual PC, I wonder how successful a Virtual Games Machine environment would be. The idea is that you provide a virtual machine environment that runs transparently to the user on whatever OS they happen to have (MS-Windows, Linux, MacOS X) and provides the right hooks to run on the underlying hardware. This is probably wishful thinking, but maybe it is the only way PC gaming has a way to survive beyond the speciality games that are suited for a PC - think World of Warcraft and other strategy games.
  • by pdusen ( 1146399 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:37PM (#23466922) Journal
  • by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:37PM (#23466924)
    Dammit, I _do_not_want_ a separate computer to play games on!

    I _have_ a computer. It is primarily for playing games. I don't want another computer for playing games, and a separate computer for email, web browsing, watching movies, etc. etc.

    And while more and more of this functionality is showing up on gaming consoles, now I'M RIGHT BACK TO HAVING A COMPUTER AGAIN.

    I just do not understand the console appeal. My last console was an Atari 2600.
  • by bhtooefr ( 649901 ) <bhtooefr@bhtooefr. o r g> on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:39PM (#23466964) Homepage Journal
    For that matter, you could just figure out the algorithm that MS is using to determine the Vista experience scores, and use THAT.
  • Alternate Boot (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @04:43PM (#23467014)
    You know how some laptops have an alternate, simple OS built in that can fire up in seconds to play movies, listen to music, and so forth? I think that would be a slick way to establish the pc back as a gaming console. It could be a stripped down, heavily tainted linux OS, or a severely trimmed XP; the point is you would put in a disk and hit the 'game' button on the case, and bam!
  • Just use model years (Score:2, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Monday May 19, 2008 @05:19PM (#23467486) Homepage Journal

    Biggest issue with is the entire thing is the X PC configuration is labeled as Ultra and Y PC configuration is label basic. How long will these configurations be the adequate for PC gaming? In 2 years, the "ULTRA" system may be pretty crappy compared to what is for sale. You have to keep coming up with new names to identify that this is different from that.
    That or just use model years [], like on cars. So you'd have machines that conform to 2008 Basic, machines that conform to 2008 Ultra, machines that conform to 2009 Basic and 2008 Ultra, etc.
  • by BizzyM ( 996195 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @05:31PM (#23467646)
    I've been saying this since at least '95, "Why can't games be bootable?" With the proliferation of CD/DVD burners, It shouldn't be so difficult to create a Windows or Linux installer that customizes the game for your particular system and create a bootable CD/DVD. By eliminating the Windows executable and all other programs, games should run XX%(pull stat from whatever orifice you wish) better. Considering that back in the day, you would exit out of Windows 3.1 to play DOS games even though you could run them in Windows. They were alway faster in DOS. Wasn't until Windows 95 and that God awful game Microsoft came up with that was truly Win95 compatible that game makers accepted the performance hit just so they could sell how easy it is to run the game.
  • by Chandon Seldon ( 43083 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @05:35PM (#23467690) Homepage

    I've got 30minutes to chill and play a game, just work for fucks sake.

    If you're gaming time comes in 30 minute blocks, consoles are just as useless to you as a gaming PC would be. You'll do just fine with any old computer by navigating your web browser to or whatever - that's pretty much all you have time for.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @05:45PM (#23467796) Homepage Journal

    I've been saying this since at least '95, "Why can't games be bootable?"

    Because that would be a pain in the ass. Instead of pausing my game and pressing alt-enter to switch from fullscreen to a window, I'd have to reboot, just to do something else with the computer.

    Or boot it inside a virtual machine. makers accepted the performance hit just so they could sell how easy it is to run the game.

    Maybe that's because customers thought ease was worth more than a few milliseconds. There's no way I'd still be playing Kohan or SMAC every once in a while, if I had to reboot to do it.

    Also, it seems like eliminating the OS is exactly the wrong approach from an engineering perspective. The OS is there to provide drivers, and a way to upgrade stuff without altering the game software itself. Get a new video card, recompile the game with a different video driver? Ugh. And what if it's a network game? What if it has sound? What if you want to store saved games on disk?

    I think you might be happier with a console game system. (And I think I might be less happy with one, which probably explains why I haven't had one since the 1980s. ;-)

  • by ElboRuum ( 946542 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @05:59PM (#23467912)
    ...because, invariably, a PC which was good two years ago when I bought it just never seems to be good enough for the games coming out two years later.

    Game companies trying to use the high end equipment to "fully develop" their games kept leaving me with abysmal frame rates. I got tired of my wallet smoking from trying to keep up.

    Of course, I understand the idea. Can you imagine game development languor if the latest NVidia or ATI was forced to sit on the store shelf because a company is dedicated to the creation of games which will have excellent framerates on boxes carrying cards, memory, and CPU horsepower from four to five year old machines?

    It just seems like the only people who can afford "hard core" PC gaming are the ones who are willing to build their own boxes from a la carte parts (already an expensive proposition) hoping that upgrades they'll have to perform are minimal and they get a few years of top-level experience through a generation or two of games before having to do a major overhaul.

    I mean, I like the idea of this kind of uber-performance insanity getting reined in a bit, but I just don't see how this could reasonably accomplished. And "speccing" systems doesn't help either. With so many hardware options and combinations thereof, can you really make any real statements about compatibility and performance without caveating the shit out of it?

    At least with a console I know that that console is going to be at least 5 years relevant. I know that every game produced for it has been tested against identical or near identical hardware to the hardware that's in my console so I don't have to worry about compatibility issues or a degraded experience. I know that the controllers will not require setup to use properly. In other words, if a game strikes my fancy, I can buy it only with the knowledge that the console it is made for is the same console that I purchased and know its going to work (at least if the disk isn't scratched beyond repair).

    Unless this "standardization scheme" can approach this level of confidence, it strikes me as an empty effort.
  • by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @06:09PM (#23467992)

    Also, it seems like eliminating the OS is exactly the wrong approach from an engineering perspective. The OS is there to provide drivers, and a way to upgrade stuff without altering the game software itself. Get a new video card, recompile the game with a different video driver? Ugh. And what if it's a network game? What if it has sound? What if you want to store saved games on disk?

    The problem is, more often then not the OS is MS's OS. That raises a few questions, A) Will this game be supported in the next version of Windows (after Vista I think this is a question all of them need to answer) B) Will this game work even without MS's next generation of "security" (such as UAC). I don't think any of them can be truly answered without being MS and that is the real problem with PC gaming. With consoles it can be rather guaranteed that software made for the Wii will still work on a Wii made 7 years down the line, with PC gaming the disk you bought 4 years ago may not work on MS's new OS, and that is where Linux or other OSS OSes come in. With say Ubuntu you can get a free base that you know what everything is, as for driver updates it would just be as simple as including them on a CD to be flashed onto a USB drive and then the OS would read the drivers and update it. I don't see how a company can spend tons of money on a game that may not work right 2, 3, or 5 years down the road.
  • Re:eh (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2008 @07:05PM (#23468536)
    notice 60 FPS? your eyes run at ~24. when was the last time you noticed changes in movies/tv? they generally run 2x or 3x.
  • by neomunk ( 913773 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @07:41PM (#23468892)
    Pardon my ignorance, but you may know the answer to this; are there any virtualization systems out there that offer near-native performance specifically in reference to the video hardware? I'm sorry if this is noob, but I know next to nothing about virtualization. My ignorance-crippled googling is telling me mostly no, with enough uncertainty to make me ask.
  • Re:eh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:06PM (#23469124)

    Things that are filmed have natural motion blur built in. The frame of film (or CCD or whatever for digital cameras) is exposed for some duration of time. During this time, you get a slight motion blur on the frame. Games and such have frames that are calculated for one instant (quantum) in time, and have no such blurring (without the use of additional filters).

    (I wont' even get into frame blanking, projection, viewing environment, etc.)

    And if you're simply watching a movie, you don't have to do anything or react in any meaningful way. Games are much different in this regard.

    Your eye can "run at" extremely high "frame rates". The human visual system is based heavily on contrast and pattern recognition. You're able to see things of extremely short duration - such as a light bulb burning out, or a strike of lightning, or the motion of the second hand on your watch. The perceived speed of your vision is very content-dependent. It is also dependent on how alert/excited you are.

    You can easily see tearing in most games at refresh rates of 60Hz and lower. If you watch something like a seizure-inducing rgb flashing video, you can easily see the tearing even at 120 Hz (assuming you don't actually get a seizure).
    Try this out on a good CRT at varying refresh rates [] .

    Basically, you're wrong and that's an old myth that's been outed many many times. There is no set speed of your eyes. Of course upper bounds exist, and 120 Hz over 90 Hz is kind of pointless for games since reaction times for you WASDing all over that keyboard become the bottle neck.

  • by kesuki ( 321456 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @08:25PM (#23469250) Journal
    "I've been saying this since at least '95, "Why can't games be bootable?"

    Console games, are esentially bootable, to switch games you switch discs and hit reset...

    Why would Pc games do the same thing? it's easier for a PC to make the game a program that installs and uses whatever drivers the OS has, there is no point to make PCs load programs like consoles do, because consoles already provide that functionality for less cost.
  • by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Monday May 19, 2008 @10:27PM (#23470164)
    good point, the main factor of PC games that makes them interesting is persistence. That a game world data can stay grow and ebb and change as you play it. It's got gigabytes of space and no time limit when you hit the reset button. The real push on PCs should be for persistent games... ones that stay available all the time and you just check in to see how they're doing.
  • Re:eh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @04:52AM (#23472576)
    Thousandths of a second? I'll admit that a light impulse of short duration will deposit enough quanta on the relevant photosensitive dyes in your optical cells to provide a usable bit of information. After all, light quanta are discrete, and so are neural signals, and individual quanta are apparently detectable in extremely low light conditions. But the photoreceptors, and the nerves they are connected to, do a lot of signal combining and time smearing. So any kind of temporal resolution for distinct events at temporal separations of less than a millisecond seems a bit awkward.

    So are you referring to being able to notice short, bright flashes of light, which fits what I just mentioned, or something else?
  • Re:eh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lena_10326 ( 1100441 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2008 @06:57AM (#23473196) Homepage
    I've had this conversation a lot before. It's rather annoying having to repeat it so often. Anyone who's played an FPS game for longer than 60 seconds can obviously see the difference between 30 and 60 FPS.

    And, you do need as much FPS as you can get due to slow down which happens in firefights where there's a sudden jump in projectiles, which is exactly the time you don't want the FPS to dip, but it does.

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