Archive for April, 2007
IGN gave “Calling All Cars” a great review!
Calling All Cars is Sony’s first truly original, must-have title on the PlayStation Network, and it bests just about everything there is to be found on Microsoft’s online arcade center. The game is just about as fun as any downloadable game could hope to be and while it isn’t perfect, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better party game anytime soon on any system.
Wow! It looks like this game really delivers the excellent multiplayer mayhem that people are expecting.
PS3 gamers needed some good news and this definitely does it. Hopefully, we will be able to buy this tomorrow.
At the beginning of the month I discussed the Mac OSX application HandBrake. I wanted to use this application to rip DVD’s to watch on my PS3. I have a NAS on which I wanted to store some of my DVD images. I ran into some problems, the main one being that HandBrake produced an MP4 file that the PS3 couldn’t read.
But recently a new version of HandBrake was released – 0.8.5 beta 1 – which promised to fix that. It has a preset for PS3 video, which is great, though it took me a while to find. (There’s a button near the top that says “presets” which when pressed will open a drawer. That wasn’t very obvious.)
These are my experiences.
I wanted to create a high-quality MP4 of a DVD, so in HandBrake I chose to set the file size to 3.5GB – large but it would still fit on a MemoryStick if required. I also set it to use 2-pass encoding. Well, after a couple hours of chugging along on my MacBook, HandBrake unexpectantly quit. Nice.
So last night I just decided to use the PS3 defaults and encode the video that way. That worked fine. It create an MP4 file just over 2GB in size.
Transfer to PS3
I wanted to store my video on my NAS (a ReadyNAS NV+) and access it from a webpage on my PS3. But for some reason, my PS3 can see the file structure on my NAS, but it can’t actually read any files. Which is annoying.
So I used mcloki’s instructions to set up a web server on my Mac. My PS3 saw the directory structure just fine. I put a JPG in there to test, and the PS3 could view it just fine. Great! I plunked the video into my Mac sharing folder, and the PS3 saw that it was there (after a quick refresh). I clicked on it and my PS3 prompted me to save. So far so good. So I saved the file on my PS3’s HDD, but the PS3 downloaded it as size 0! It showed up in my PS3’s video folder as a size 0 file that the PS3 does not recognize. Bummer.
So I re-encoded just one chapter of the DVD to see if maybe it was a file size issue, and that was it. The PS3 downloaded the 200MB MP4 just fine. And the cool thing is that background downloading works for downloading using the web browser!
Playing MP4 on PS3
So I played back the smaller video, and that worked fine. Well, mostly. I didn’t get 5.1 surround sound – just ProLogic-encoded stereo. So I went back to HandBrake and looked at the audio encoding options. It was a little confusing. I think what it said was that you could select both the source audio and the destination audio. The destination was set to Dolby ProLogic II. So I changed that to “6 discrete channels” or something like that, and re-encoded a bit of the movie.
On the PS3 side, however, it still showed up as two-channel audio. Anybody know how to fix this?
So that leaves me with three problems to fix. If anybody could help me with any of them, I’d really appreciate it:
- How do I transfer files from my NAS? Why can I download files from my Mac’s webserver, but not from my NAS’s webserver? If I remember correctly, I see a little lock symbol in the address bar when accessing the NAS. Is that relevant?
- How do I transfer files to my PS3 over a webpage that are really big? Like 2GB?
- How do I get 5.1 surround sound encoded in my MP4’s?
The recent firmware update (1.70) has enabled us to play downloadable PS1 games on our PS3s, rather than just being able to play them on a PSP. North American and Japanese PS3 owners need new versions of any PS1 games they’ve currently downloaded to enable them to be played on their PS3, if I remember correctly. Us Europeans are exempt from this as we have had no PS1 games available to download at all.
11 new PS3 (and PSP) compatible PS1 games will be added to the PS Store tomorrow, although I don’t know if it’s just Japan that gets the new content.
IGN, courtesy of Sony Japan, has a list of the new PS1 games that you should be able to download tomorrow when the PS Store is updated:
- Spectral Force (Idea Factory)
- R-Types (Irem)
- A.IV. Evolution Global (Artdink)
- Resident Evil Directors Edition (Capcom) The game I want the most!!
- Bishibashi Special (Konami)
- Arc the Land (Sony)
- Ore no Shi wo Koete Yuke (Sony)
- Gunners Heaven (Sony)
- Ganbare Morikawa-kun Ni-go (Sony)
- Marl Oukoku no Ningyou Hime (Nippon Ichi)
- Tekken 2 (Bandai Namco)
There’s also 14 new PSP only games being added tomorrow but most of them are in Japanese so I don’t have a clue what they are, apart from Metal Slug.
When are we Europeans going to get these PS1 games? I’ll be shocked if it happens tomorrow but all signs point to that not being the case. Whatever, the only game I would get is Resi Evil Director’s Cut out of that list.
A press release about Folding@Home from Sony:
Tokyo, April 25, 2007 – Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) today announced that great progress has been made in the one month since PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3™) computer entertainment systems became part of Stanford University’s Folding@home™ program, a distributed computing project aimed at understanding protein folding, misfolding and related diseases. Since the program launched in March, participation by the PS3 user community has been phenomenal, providing Folding@home with immense computing power that is helping to fast forward its research. Furthermore, thanks to PS3’s powerful Cell Broadband Engine™ (Cell/B.E.), the Folding@home program has become one of the most powerful distributed computing networks in the world and is quickly approaching a level of computing power that is of historical proportions.
Exhibiting its continued commitment to the program, SCE also announced that starting tomorrow, it is providing a Folding@home application update that will further enhance the user experience. The updated software features an improvement in folding calculation speeds, increased visibility of user location (*1) on the globe and the ability for users to create longer donor or team names.