Archive for January, 2008
Got some comedy, suspense, and a couple music blu-rays. Still no Final Fantasy Advent Children Complete Why do you torture me so Sony.
Daddy Day Camp (Sony Pictures)
Damages: The Complete First Season (Sony Pictures)
Dispatch: Zimbabwe, Live at Madison Square Garden (Warner Music)
The Invasion (Warner Bros.)
Justin Timberlake: FutureSex/LoveShow Live from Madison Square Garden (Sony Music)
King of California (First Look Studios)
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Sony Pictures)
Recently we were given the opportunity to ask Naughty Dog, the creators of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, some interview questions. Here are the results.
Questions 3 and 4 answered by Pal Engstad, Lead Rendering Programmer. The others were answered by Evan Wells, the Co President of Naughty Dog
Q1: What kind of Home integration are you planning for Uncharted?
A1: Rather than each individual treasure, the Medals in Uncharted are more likely going to turn into Home trophies. We modelled the detail into the treasures just to increase the satisfaction in finding them. We also went to great lengths to make sure that they were authentic items that were from the right time period and location. We will have to come up with new 3D models to represent the trophies when the time comes.
Q2: What kind of tools (software packages) did your programmers and artists use to create the game?
A2: A lot of our tools were designed and created at Naughty Dog including a level editor, a shader and material editor, an asset management system and a scripting language that can be compiled and uploaded to the PS3 on the fly. With all of the development tools that we use, the most important feature is iteration time. We want to cut down the time it takes for our artists, designers and programmers to see their work show up in the game. This means that they will get the maximum opportunity to experiment which is the only way to make a great game.
Q3: Do you find a global queue of jobs to be doled out upon request to be a good approach to paritioning work to the SPE’s, or is it better to assign each SPE it’s own task in the game?
A3: Naughty Dog uses a Job Manager developed jointly by Naughty Dog’s ICE team and SCEE’s ATG group. This means that we can send any type of job to any SPE, and all of the scheduling of jobs is done through a priority system. This works well, since the overhead is minimal and we achieve good load-balancing between SPEs, something that would be hard to do by allocating a whole SPU to a single task.
Q4: With streaming technologies and the included HDD in every PS3, how important is actual memory? I ask because the PS3′s OS takes up so much more of the available 512MB than the 360′s OS does.
A4: Main memory is a cache, but remember that a larger cache enables us to keep more data in memory at the same time, enabling more detail in textures. Therefore, every MB saved improves the quality of our game. We’ve solved most of our memory problems by relying on the SPEs to perform compression, both at load-time and at run-time, using techniques developed by ICE, SCEA Tools&Tech and the SCEE ATG group. So yes, memory footprint is very important to us.
Someone e-mailed me earlier this month asking if the 80GB PS3 was being discontinued. He mentioned that his Best Buy didn’t have it on order anymore. Now it seems that no BestBuy will be selling the 80GB PS3 anymore.
When I first heard that Sony would be selling two models – the 20GB and 60GB PLAYSTATION 3′s, I was disappointed. Why confuse people? Why not just have one console and be done with it? But now I’m starting to see the light, and just when I start to see why a dual-SKU might be necessary, it looks like Sony might be moving to a single PS3 model in North America. (After all, they’ve already done so in other regions.)
So why do I think Sony should stick with a two-model approach? Here’s why:
- Lose Less Money
The current 40GB model is the cheapest PS3 Sony has produced so far. If the rumours are true, Sony is basically selling this unit at cost, instead of at a loss. Sony needs to be able to start making some money or at least not losing money on these consoles. So Sony needs a popular offering that does not break the bank for them.
- Sony Needs a Highend Offering
Microsoft is selling a high-end Elite solution, and Sony needs to counter that with an offering of their own. Not only that, but 40GB of space is lots for some people, but for others (especially those in other territories who will have a PVR built into the PS3 soon), it’s not enough. So we need an option with more disc space. I suggest that Sony upgrade the 80GB PS3 to 120GB.
- Sony Needs BC
Sony needs a model with PS2 backwards compatibility. I use the BC in my PS3 quite often, and I think it’s great. I wish it was even better! (Some of my games don’t work.) Sony had previously made a commitment to BC, and I think that they should honour that commitment by keeping the higher priced SKU with BC.
- Stay Price Competitive
The competition is priced much better than the PS3 right now, and the PS3 needs to stay competitive. Say what you will about value in the box, the fact is that the 40GB PS3 is $399, which is still a lot of money, though doable.
- You Decide!
Are there any other reasons?
What do you think?
Being a hardened Devil May Cry fan, I downloaded the demo from the Japanese Store as soon as I got home from work yesterday afternoon and I wasn’t disappointed!!
You have the choice of two missions: Exterminator which is a level set in Fortuna, where you face the usual type of DMC demon scum within a 10 minute time limit, and Executioner, where you battle the Frosts and face off against the awesome looking Berial!
It’s not really two missions though. If you’re fast enough/good enough to beat the Exterminator mission before the time runs out, you will go straight on to the Executioner mission.
You play as Nero, who looks like a very youthful Dante. Nero obviously doesn’t have the same move set as Dante but he kicks arse in a similar spectacular fashion. The main difference is his Devil Bringer techniques which are pretty awesome.
You can grab enemies by pressing circle and slamming them into the ground, which is a very powerful move known as the Buster. You can also grab enemies that are outside the range of your sword and bring them to you using the Devil Bringer technique Snatch. Just lock on to them and press Circle.
The cool thing about that is you can do some great looking combos by switching to your swords or guns, to kick the crap out of them. You can even pull enemies up to you while you’re in mid air to deal out some mile high arse kicking!
You can also use Nero’s Devil Bringer technique, Hell Bound, to make big leaps across gaps you would not be able to get across. It looks cool and is a nice addition to the gameplay.
Nero’s sword techniques are similar to Dante’s. Holding R1 to lock on to an enemy and pressing Triangle will launch Nero into a Streak attack, which will flatten any enemies caught by it. Hold R1 and pressing triangle, while pushing the left stick away from an enemy will launch them into the air (High Roller), where you can continue your combo.
You can avoid attacks by holding L1 and pressing X. You will roll in whatever direction you press the left stick. Handy for when you face the Frosts.
DMC4 plays like a DMC game should. If you’re a fan of either DMC or DMC3/SE then you will feel right at home with DMC4. The combat is awesome fun, everything looks great, the visuals are excellent with a lovely smooth framerate. Some people had problems with Berial’s entrance but it was fine for me.
The sound and music is classic DMC fare, so if you didn’t like it in the previous games you won’t like it now.
My biggest gripe is that it was too easy. I didn’t get hit until I faced the Frosts and that was only because I used the sword rather than grabbing them, which is the better technique to dispose of the Frosts.
The reviews all seem to point to DMC4 being easier than DMC3 which is strange because DMC3 wasn’t hard. It looks as though they are catering for a new audience so have lowered the difficulty by a couple of notches. I hope Must Die Mode is more challenging though.
It looks as though DMC4 will live up to my expectations (lowered difficulty aside) and it’s got the makings of being just as fantastic as Devil May Cry and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full game on Feb 8th (hopefully the 7th )!
* Devil May Cry 4 (free)
* The Club demo (free)
* PixelJunk Monsters PSN game ($7.99)
– You can grab the demo for the Japanese Store, it’s in english too.
* Jet Moto 2 PS1 game ($5.99)
* Folklore “Create A Creature winner” add-on (free)
* Stranglehold map-pack add-on ($14.99)
* Stranglehold: Collector’s Edition map-pack add-on ($14.99)
* Rock Band “Oasis” song pack ($5.49)
o Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back In Anger” ($1.99)
o Oasis’ “Live Forever” ($1.99)
o Oasis’ “Wonderwall” ($1.99)
* Need For Speed ProStreet “Premium Car Bundle 1″ add-on pack ($5.99)
* Need For Speed ProStreet “Premium Car Bundle 2″ add-on pack ($5.99)
* Tony Hawk’s Proving Grounds “Stevie Williams Skater Profile” video
* Soul Calibur IV Trailer
* Lost Planet Promotional Movie
* Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway Trailer
* Dynasty Warriors 6 Trailer
* Borderlands Trailer
* Step Up 2: The Streets Trailer
* Dragon Wars Trailer
* PixelJunk Monsters Theme
* Lemmings Theme
* PixelJunk Monsters PSN game (4,99)
* Judge Dredd (PS1 game, 3.49)
* Syphon Filter: Combat Ops (PSP game, 6.99)
* Civilization Revolution
* CoD4 Theme