Archive for October, 2005
In a report supposedly by Jason Kraft and Chris Kwak of Susquehanna Financial Group, they look at the Xbox 360 and the PS3 with respect to their storage formats.
They note that the PSOne won over the N64 partly because its CD format had a 640MB capacity vs the N64 cartridge’s 128MB. In the current generation, the PS2 and Xbox formats were the same (DVD), so other factors were used to differentiate the systems.
The next generation of consoles use Blu-ray and DVD drives, in the PS3 and Xbox 360 respectively. For some reason, the article liked to compare the Blu-ray vs HD-DVD, which the Xbox 360 doesn’t have. It also mentioned the Blu-ray media’s higher price as a negative against the PS3. But you know, PS3 games don’t have to come on BD discs! My guess is that if a game fits on a single DVD, they’ll publish the game on a DVD. If multiple DVD’s would be required, they’ll publish on a BD instead.
Then Joystiq goes on to say that the report missed out on discussing the Xbox 360′s HDD. Well, Joystiq missed out on the fact that the PS3 will have an HDD too!
Gamecloud interviews Jeff Yates from Havok, purveyors of physics technology for games.
It’s really more of a general interview about Havok, and the PS3 is only mentioned in passing when Mr. Yates notes that “all Playstation 3 games that ship with Havok technology will utilize our latest 3.2 product version”.
But if you’re interested in this kind of thing, it’s a good read.
Also, it seems that you can use a GPU to accelerate physics operations.
GameSpot: Why did you choose to add physics to the GPU rather than develop your own physics chip, like Ageia?
Jeff Yates: Our single focus is to enable developers to create great games. When we look at the history and momentum of the GPU manufacturers, and the persistent interest in general purpose GPU development, it seemed like a no-brainer to leverage the large amounts of time and money GPU manufacturers have invested to win over the hearts and minds of PC gamers.
GS: Is this [Havok FX], a direct response to Ageia’s physics chip?
JY: For us it is a question of demand and hardware economics. We support platforms with strong install bases and platforms that our customers ask us to support. The installed base and momentum of GPUs is a great opportunity for Havok to deliver even more physics without requiring specialized hardware. To date we’ve received no requests from customers to support Ageia hardware.
Jeff Yates also says that “Certainly for next generation consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, there’s no opportunity to plug in a custom hardware card, so I’m really not sure what the customer benefit will be for a proprietary hardware API in the console space.”
I’m not so sure about that. The Cell processor has 7 SPE’s that are well suited to accelerating physics operations. An API tailored to that hardware could be a good thing. Not knowing the details, I may be wrong. I’d like to hear from anyone in the know…
There’s been some talk recently about developers not liking PS3 development tools. Usually from obscure sources where someone heard it from someone who told two friends.
So when I hear some hard facts about developer commitment one way or another, it’s refreshing. Gamespot talked to THQ CEO Brian Farrell in an interview:
The THQ executives said they would divide their 2006 development efforts among all three consoles. When asked to estimate the division of resources, Farrell said the company would roughly allocate 40 percent for the Xbox 360, 40 percent for the PS3, and 20 percent for the Revolution. “We’ll focus a little less on Revolution until we see more,” he said, saying the company was increasing its initial work on games for Nintendo’s new console.
So there you have it. At least one developer has gone on record to say that their PS3 and Xbox 360 commitments are both about equal. Unfortunately for the Revolution, they’re only spending half the resources on the Revolution than either of the other two consoles.
Epic Games Vice Pres Mark Rein had a lot to say at the IGN Live event. One of them was that he didn’t like the new Nintendo controller. Or the prototype PS3 one Sony has been showing around (join the club, man).
Most interestingly, he said that the cost of developing a next-gen game isn’t as high as some people claim:
I’ve heard EA and Activision make absolutely ridiculous statements about, ‘Oh, it’s going to take 30 million dollars to make a game and we need 300 people’ – that’s just a bunch of bullsh–.
They’re just covering up for their own management and incompetence. Or mismanagement I should say.
Our team size is only about 50 per cent higher than it was last generation, and we’re making fantastic games. Gears of War [Epic's forthcoming Xbox 360 title] is only about 25 people, and that’s smaller than most current-generation game teams.
Unreal Engine 3 will have some competition in the next-gen graphics engine department from Emergent Technologies. They already have a version of their engine running on the Xbox 360, and plan for a PS3 version as well.
Talking at the Austin Game Conference, the company announced that it has shipped version 2.1 of Gamebryo, and that the new version features Xbox 360 final platform support. It has also confirmed for the first time that a PlayStation 3 version of the engine is currently in development. In addition, Gamebryo 2.1 adds a visual performance tool, a reduced memory footprint, a memory allocation system and support for Max 8 and Maya 7.