Archive for September, 2005
Mike has another question:
In regards to the “Multiple PS3’s Working Together” question; how is it that the cell processor can produce graphics, especially graphics that reach the level of the e3 05′ London demo? I thought that the cell processor only made large mathmatical calculations and nothing more. If the cell processor can act as a gpu in certain ways and work together with the nVidia gpu, then ps3 game graphics really will br amazing.
What is a GPU except a special-purpose processor? A GPU is basically a CPU but will special circuitry for doing 3D graphical things faster than a normal CPU would. A general-purpose CPU like the Cell is perfectly capable of rendering awesome 3D imagery. The faster it is, the better the imagery. And the Cell is fast. Also, it has 7 SPE’s. 3D images are easy to partition into pieces, which is great for a multi-core processor like the Cell.
Witness RenderMan and MentalRay. These two renderers (while not realtime) produce the best looking CG imagery in the industry today, and run on normal PC’s using the main CPU. Gelato by NVIDIA is similar, except it accelerates the rendering using NVIDIA hardware. So Gelato uses both the main CPU and the GPU. Many games use mostly the GPU, just feeding it data (though the CPU still needs to do some of the setup work). So if you want to create a 3D image, you can do it with a CPU alone, CPU and GPU together, or mostly the GPU. Photorealistic imagery is too compute-intensive to not use the CPU, and even then takes many minutes to render a frame.
However, if you’re willing to sacrifice Finding Nemo-type graphics to get realtime interactivity, you have options. You can use the CPU to render a scene, (mostly) the GPU to render a scene, or a combination thereof. It’s really up to the game developer what they want to do. It just so happens that the Cell is so powerful, it does a great job all by itself, even without that special 3D circuitry.
If you haven’t been living exclusively in the basement playing video games, you’ll know that Sony last week announced 10,000 layoffs and a bit of a corporate restructuring. How does this affect us PlayStation people? Not much, really.
Sony will continue to work towards making the PSP a huge success. Sony will continue to do all it can to bring the PS3 to market in a spectacular fashion. (Words mine.)
“Creating a seamless link between the device and the service is crucial,” said Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner Inc. “That’s what Apple has done, and that’s what Sony wants to do with the PSP. Consumers are nothing if not foragers of digital content. With the PSP, you can connect to the Internet, browse and download content other than games.”
“Given the fact that PS3 means much more than just video gaming, it’s going to be important to all their media studios,” said P.J. McNealy, an analyst at American Technology Research. “This comes at a time when all internal content — whether or not it’s music, movies or games — will be important to the PS3.”
With previous console generations, launch software has typically commanded a price premium. Once the novelty wore off a bit, prices came down. This time around, we might not be so lucky.
Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick thinks that market pressures won’t force the prices down this time. “We don’t really think that there’s a lot of price sensitivity on the part of the consumer, if you’re delivering value,” he said. Does that mean he thinks value is not currently being delivered with the current generation of games?
Already I wait for games to get old to come down in price before I buy. Recently I picked up Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal for a pretty cheap price, because the game isn’t so new anymore. But it was new to me, and my friends and I are enjoying it. If prices start high and stay high, I’ll have to start seriously looking into the used market, no matter what Mark Rein thinks.
From all accounts, you have to put up some big bucks to buy the right to use Unreal Engine 3 in your game. But Gearbox Software seems to think its worth it, recently announced that they’ll be doing just that.
Gearbox Software will be using the Unreal Engine 3 for both PC games and next-gen console systems too. The only announced Gearbox game to use Unreal Engine 3 is Brothers in Arms 3, so far an exclusive PS3 title.
“We have had a huge amount of success using the Unreal Engine technology on Brothers In Arms Road to Hill 30, which has sold about 2 million copies so far, and we’re also using it on Brothers In Arms Earned in Blood.” says Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software, “We’ve used most of the major 3D engines on the market and without a doubt Unreal Engine 3 is the best. Epic’s tools, technology and support are fantastic. We’ve chosen Unreal Engine 3 as the exclusive technology we will use for all of our own titles going forward into the next generation. We’re confident that our ability to continue to create world-class titles will be enhanced by this choice.”
Mark Rein is the vice-president of Epic Games, and he seems to have some issues with a free world.
He thinks that if you walk into EB games and buy a used game by Epic, EB should share the revenue with Epic. This is so absurd on so many levels I don’t know where to begin. If you sold your buddy your car, do you want to send some of the proceeds to the car manufacturer? Or if a dealer sells a used car, should they?
What a minute, you say, that’s different. Games are more intellectual property than anything else, you might say. Well, then, okay. What about books? They’re intellectual property that’s very similar to video games. There’s a thriving used book market. Should publishers get paid every time one of them gets resold? I’ve heard such complaints from authors. They want a piece of that pie too, but I don’t think that’ll happen. Which makes me wonder about Epic. If Epic gets a piece of resold game revenue, does that mean they’ll give the game authors additional money as well?
I don’t think so.