Archive for October, 2005
Aaaaah yes. My tax dollars at work. It’s a good thing us canucks need game developers so badly that the government is willing to take money from each and every one of us and give it to Koei. What would we be without an additional set of young men and women working on entertainment software? I mean, we really really need this. I think I’ll write my MP and tell him that our government should invest even more money in entertainment software companies. Then maybe we can be the entertainment software capital of the world!!! Harr ha ha haaaa…..
Yeah, I know this is only vaguely related to the PS3. Koei Canada is, after all, developing Fatal Inertia, a podrace-type of racing game for the PS3. Actually, if I remember correctly, it’ll even be a launch title. And looks cool.
It’ll be nice to know that when I (perhaps) go to WalMart and pick up a copy that I’ll already have paid for a portion of it. I’m just getting my money back. It all comes full circle, you know. Karma. Circle of life. Little lions and all that.
Ha, just yesterday I was mentioning multithreaded/multicore stuff, and here Microsoft comes out of the closet.
It looks like all of the Xbox 360’s first generation of games are single threaded. That means that they cannot directly take advantage of the Xbox 360’s multicore design. (And I say “directly” because though the game might not be multithreaded, the Xbox 360’s OS most assuredly is. So it’ll be able to use multiple cores.)
Now we’ve heard this before. I’m trying to remember where I heard it, let me think.
… ( this is me thinking )
Ah yes. It was me!
Sometimes I amaze even myself.
So what if all the first generation of next generation games are single threaded? Personally, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Once developers get the hang of it, we’ll see even better games coming down the pike.
* SIGH *
Sometimes I despair. Sometimes I wonder if all these whacky rumours are just FUD put out there by competing firms. People out there that want to make the PS3 look bad for whatever reason.
The latest rumour is that Japanese devs aren’t happy with the PS3 dev kits. It seems that “the difficulty seems squarely blamed on the PS3’s Cell chip architecture and the resulting need for better-thought out version control tools for coding teams”. Now, the CV&G writer who quoted this said “We’d pretend we know what this means, but we don’t.”
Ah, you see. That’s where I have an advantage. I’m a developer! And I can state with absolute assurance that the Cell’s chip architecture has nothing whatsoever to do with version control tools. Nothing. Zilch. Zip. Nada. A version control tool is a piece of software you use to track (you guessed it!) versions of files. It’s basically a database. It contains a history of all the files it contains, so you can track changes, go back to previous versions, distribute changes, etc. Does that sound like it has anything to do with a microprocessor’s architecture? I thought not.
Here’s another one: “Also problems of an unknown price point – currently tipped at around $400 – means developers and publishers are also uncertain of their target audience.”
Gosh, you know. I think targetting the current PS2 audience might be a great place to start. I think making a platformer would be a pretty safe bet. Or an RPG. Wait wait wait. I know what you’re going to say. Developers need more specific info than that. Hmm, well. You can say that, but I’m not sure you’ll get me to believe you! “Oh no, the price is really $500 instead of $400. Quick, add some blood!” Yeah, right.
One of the big things about the PS3 (and Xbox 360 for that matter) is that it has a multicore processor. One main PowerPC core, and 7 Synergistic Processor Elements (or SPEs). An SPE is basically just another core that’s geared more towards a certain kind of computation. So the Cell chip has 8 cores.
And, well, you know, this means the end of all time as we know it.
You’ve read the doomsayers as well as I have. Game programmers won’t be able to take advantage of all those cores. Those extra cores should be tossed in the trash just like apple cores. The first generation of next generation games will all just use the main core and ignore the others. Programming has gotten much too complicated. Blah blah blah. If you’ve been reading this website and others, you’ve seen it.
And while we read all this and think about how terrible this next-gen mess has turned out to be, Apple introduces a computer with to processors each of which has two cores. That’s four cores total. Of course, for an application to really scream in this scenario it has to be multithreaded up the apple core. But do you see huge protests? Big hot shots in the Apple development community complaining about how terrible this is and that the sky is falling? Any of that? No. It’s just the next step. A little more work. Great benefits, if you choose to do the work. Not if not.
So PS3 (and Xbox 360) game developers will have to learn how to write multithreaded applications. Deadlocks, mutexes, condition variables, semaphores. You know the drill. Programmers have been doing this for literally decades. It’s tricky, granted. But I think those game developers are smart folks. They’ll do it, and we’ll reap the rewards.