Archive for January, 2006

PS3’s 2006 Game Lineup

Hmm. Have you ever wondered, which of those 102 games announced as being in development for the PS3 at the TGS show last year have actually been announced as being released in 2006? If you’re thinking thoughts like those, then GameSpot has just the list for you. Of course, no exact release dates can be given, but the games listed are all supposed to come out this year.

Here they are:

  • Fatal Inertia, Koei, spring 2006
  • Mahjong Taikai, Koei, spring 2006
  • Ni-Oh, Koei, summer 2006
  • Shin Ten Makai VI, Idea Factory, summer 2006
  • Vampire’s Rain, AQ Interactive, winter 2006
  • Sonic the Hedgehog, Sega, 2006
  • Unnamed RPG, Success, 2006
  • Hitsuji Mura, Success, 2006

GameSpot – PS3’s 2006 game lineup updated

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PS3 Countdown 10

PS3Gavin has released PS3 Countdown 10, which covers the following topic:

  • Destination PlayStation
  • Sony removes games list from website
  • Virtua Figher 5 confirmed for PS3
  • More PS3 dealy rumblings
  • PS3 may launch for $500
  • PS3 Developer’s Conference
  • SOCOM developer Zipper Interactive acquired by Sony
  • PS3 design still conceptual

PS3 Countdown – PS3 Countdown 10

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PS3 Programming for Possession

Keith Stuary did an article for the Official PlayStation 2 magazine about the development of Possession for the PS3. Now he can talk about what he learned, and it’s quite interesting.

First of all, the PS3 uses OpenGL, an open well known standard. (Even I’ve done some OpenGL programming, and it’s nice.) So anyone who’s done OpenGL, and there are a lot of us, will be familiar with the 3D graphics engine of the PS3. Because there is so much knowledge, books, and tutorials about OpenGL, it makes 3D programming for the PS3 much easier than it was for the PS2.

As well, the RSX chip from nVidia uses the Cg shader language, which is a standard that many people know. It’s not a Sony exclusive thing. And here is someone else saying how great the physics will be – Volatile’s lead PS3 programmer, Lyndon Homewood:

“The graphics capabilities of PS3 will, I think, be slightly above the absolutely top-end graphics cards on the PC, but you’ve got much more processing power in the box so you’re going to see a lot more physics, a lot more generated geometry. With water ripples, for example – they’re pretty much algorithms, you have a flat plane of triangles and you run some sort of mathematical algorithm over it to generate a surface rippling effect – well, you will have the processing power to do these sorts of generated geometry effects On PS3. You could actually put one chip aside just to do that…”

And on the question of how to make the most use of the SPE’s, he had this to say:

“The way we’re thinking of doing it ourselves is via a job queue. We’ll stick the jobs we want to do into a queue on the main processor and then we’ll get the SPEs to pull off a queue entry and process it whenever they’re free. You want to make sure all of your processors are always running. If you give the chips specific jobs, you’ll end up with a lot of them being idle – you won’t get the maximum out of PS3 doing that unless you time everything perfectly, so that the time it takes to do the animation on the first chip is exactly the same amount of time to do the physics on the next chip, which is exactly the same length of time it takes to do all your AI on the next chip – I think that would be extremely problematic.”

It’s nice to hear words from an actual developer’s mouth for once.

Gamesblog – Possession and the art of PS3 programming from Guardian Unlimited

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Console War Questions

Revolution ControllersSomeone recently asked me a couple questions about the next-gen console war, and I thought I’d post my answers here (with small clarifications) in case anyone is interested.

1. How smart was Microsoft’s strategy in getting the system out before PS3?

Sony says that Microsoft’s headstart is no big deal. But although I think it may not give Microsoft quite the huge advantage they were thinking, it’s still a good thing in the short term. The Xbox 360 will be out in America for probably a whole year before the PS3 appears, giving Microsoft that much more of an installed base. In theory. However, Microsoft’s supply problems are crippling that effort. For example, fewer Xbox 360’s were sold in November and December than Microsoft had wanted and predicted. The Xbox 360 has sold more poorly in Japan than the original Xbox did. Microsoft had to lower its estimates for the first 3 months of total sales. However, they are still getting consoles out there while Sony is still developing theirs. If Sony’s console were to be a huge improvement over the Xbox 360 because of that delay, that might change things. But it looks like the graphics prowess of the two machines will be about the same. But in the long term, I don’t know how wise Microsoft’s strategy is. They forced the next generation of consoles to come early. The Xbox and PS2 still have life in them, and traditionally console makers have left more time between console releases. We are still getting games that are pushing the consoles to limits we didn’t know existed. Take a look at Burnout: Revenge or the upcoming game Black. Those look better than any previous games in their genres. Microsoft is forcing the Xbox 360 on people in order to win the next generation, and are abandoning the Xbox platform in the process. I think people won’t appreciate that.

2. The sales of Xbox 360 were lower than Microsoft expected, however, they say it was not because of demand? Do you agree with this?

Yes. Demand is high. Microsoft just couldn’t produce the units they wanted to. On the other hand, if there was a over abundance of supply, it would have been interesting to see how many 360’s sold. Maybe the demand was very close to the supply, but we don’t know.

3. What did you think about the Xbox price point? How will it compared to the PS3?

I don’t think it’s that bad. The PS2 came to America at $300, but it didn’t have all that the Xbox 360 has. And when the PS2 originally launched in Japan, it sold for the equivalent of over $400US if I remember correctly. But the price of technologies does come down, so for $400US, I would have liked to see a larger hard drive. System information and stuff like that take up several gigabytes. When you only have 20GB to start with, that hurts. But that’s just a small quibble. The price of the PS3 hasn’t been announced yet, so I can’t comment on that.

4. What kind of an effect will the PS3 have on the console community? Do you believe it will be more successful?

More successful than the 360? Yes I think so, because of Japan. But I don’t think they’ll have the same margin of dominance as the PS2 enjoyed worldwide. The PS3 will be released sometime this year and it’ll be a smash hit in Japan. I don’t need to be a soothsayer to predict that. It’s obvious. In North America it’s my opinion that it’ll do about as well as the 360.

5. How do you think Nintendo’s Revolution system will figure in?

Right now there’s lots of talk about the Revolution. Some are suggesting that it’ll pull a fast one on everyone and do a lot better than people expected, taking away marketshare from Sony and Microsoft. Personally, I don’t think that’ll happen. Gamers are maturing. Sure, kids play games like they always used to, but adults are playing video games in increasing numbers (kids grow up!), and Nintendo has historically pretty much ignored that market except for a very few games like Resident Evil. So kids that bought Nintendo N64 grow up and buy a PlayStation 2 instead of a GameCube. Sony and Microsoft are addressing that market, Nintendo isn’t. The fancy new controller won’t change that. A friend of mine has a GameCube (because he couldn’t find a PS2) and N64, and he plans not to buy a Revolution for just this reason. Too many kiddy games, not enough fun ones. Plus, the fact that the Revolution doesn’t support HD is a major strike against it in my mind (and my friend’s).

See the new poll on the Revolution versus GameCube.

6. Do you think this new generation of consoles will sell better than the record breaking previous generation? Are console developers expanding to new demographics to try and achieve this (ie. +30)?

I’ve heard predictions that 200 million PS3’s will be sold. (I know, I know – from an analyst. But it’s still a number we can discuss.) That’s twice the number of PS2’s that have sold up to now. But remember – Sony will continue selling the PS2 for probably another 5 years. That’s what it did with the PSone. So the PS2 will, once its life is over, probably have sold much more than 100 million. So to say that the PS3 will sell 200 million over its lifetime isn’t that much of a stretch. That said, I’m no fortune teller, and I don’t know how many new gamers Sony and Microsoft might entice with their products. Personally, I’m 36, and I’m already playing video games. I can’t imagine that they can grab other people like me who aren’t already playing games. The most they can do is entice them from playing computer games to playing console games. But to take a non-gamer and sell them a console? At the age of 30+? I find that hard to believe.

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