Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

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Zachh
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Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Zachh » Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:36 am UTC

This occured to me when I recently read an artical on Kotaku about Dead Rising 2.

During a gameplay demo running on an Xbox 360 it was shown at one time, in one screen without any preloading that there were 7000 differently rendered zombies. All the these zombies were moving on their own accord a la the games AI, and all of this was possible because of an engine rebuild. Also during the demo it was shown that everything in the enviorment was useable,even more so than in the last game. All of this without sacrificing graphical prowes, infact according to the devlopers it was improved.

source:http://kotaku.com/5229775/dead-rising-2-7000-zombies-and-plenty-of-chainsaws

I think is pretty impressive, especially for a console thats about four years old. I've long been and avid PC gamer but I have to say the alure of console gaming is getting pretty intiseing.


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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby headprogrammingczar » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:17 am UTC

Meh. They are cherry-picking what gets the heavy processor attention and what gets reduced in scale or cut out entirely. Their "increased graphics" looks a lot like they just used larger textures to me. As far as performance goes in games, textures are as cheap as they come. I seriously doubt they have 7000 unique zombies, unless they generate them dynamically with preset shirts/pants/faces, or using color shifting. The way they mention their AI improvements makes me think all they did was cut back some overhead in their algorithms. While technically an improvement, it doesn't change the behavior of the zombies. Also, Dead Rising is not like Source games; you don't have an enormously robust AI system, you have an AI specifically coded to handle ONLY the behaviors that zombies engage in. Zombies don't need to do such things as prioritize targets and calculate flank paths, so you can get much larger numbers of them in-game at a time. 7000 is a big number, but certainly not a profound number.
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby aion7 » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:34 am UTC

That's nothing a good computer from two years ago couldn't do.

Couldn't they at least have gotten 2001 more?
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Xaddak » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:05 am UTC

That's how it seems like it goes (drawing as I am from the very short time span where consoles and PCs are directly comparable). Every time a new generation of consoles come out, they leap ahead for a while, and then home computer technology catches up a year or two later, and then consoles set a new benchmark, and then the computers catch up again...
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby CogDissident » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:07 pm UTC

Home computer technology is, has always been, and will (likely) always be more advanced than console technology.

Believe it or not, a xbox360 uses a triple-core cpu, developed by IBM, which is a powerPC based CPU (the PS3 also uses a powerPC based CPU)

A 360 uses an ATI video card, the PS3 uses an Nvidia card based on the G70.

Similar things can be said about all other console parts. Heck, a 360 even runs a second generation derivative of windows 2000 (source: http://www.windowsfordevices.com/news/NS3988467635.html).

So, to summarize, consoles are never more advanced than PCs, because they all run on PC hardware to begin with, and really are just computers you plug into a television.

Hope that clears it up Xaddak.

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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby headprogrammingczar » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:10 pm UTC

Xaddak wrote:That's how it seems like it goes (drawing as I am from the very short time span where consoles and PCs are directly comparable). Every time a new generation of consoles come out, they leap ahead for a while, and then home computer technology catches up a year or two later, and then consoles set a new benchmark, and then the computers catch up again...

Not necessarily. There were PCs a year ago that could outperform a PS3 in several categories, simply because no matter how good you think seven processors is, it still doesn't compare to how massively parallellized GPU units are. PC games generally have more complex pixel shaders, more sophisticated AI, and usually end up being run at a much higher resolution than console games.

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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Toeofdoom » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:20 pm UTC

Rome: total war, equivalent of 25600 zombies (peasants) onscreen at once. Ah, that was fun.
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:34 pm UTC

Xaddak wrote:That's how it seems like it goes (drawing as I am from the very short time span where consoles and PCs are directly comparable). Every time a new generation of consoles come out, they leap ahead for a while, and then home computer technology catches up a year or two later, and then consoles set a new benchmark, and then the computers catch up again...
It's not really that they're so far ahead.. it's that they're so far specialized.

Generally speaking, when AMD/Intel sends a chip out the door, they really don't know if it's going to be put in a gaming machine or at a desk where it will be ignored. They can't be sure if someone is going to push it to the maximum during operation, or just let it idle for a bit. They have no idea if the person is going to switch between programs like a monkey on speed or just use one program for 15 hours straight. They don't know how much memory is going to be there, they don't know the frontside bus of the motherboard it will be installed in, and so on. So they make it as best as they can for a wide variety of tasks and send it out the door.

In a console - you already know the hardware specs. You know what it's going to be used for. You can specialize your chips and such so that from a sheer power standpoint they are weaker than what's in a computer.. but because it's specialized, it can outperform an average computer.

Same thing with pretty much all of the rest of the hardware, and for the software writers too. You no longer have to code for a generic "computer" and only later find out that if a person has an MSI Motherboard, ATI Videocard and AMD processor of a certain line while running a version of Windows XP only running Service Pack 1 they will have a problem with the code due to a strange fuckup.. you know 100% what the hardware is going to be in the machine, and you know what the operating system is going to be like exactly (at least out the door. But you also know what the patches will be for the precise system too).

In short, there's a lot less guesswork when you write a game for a console. So you can twerk and stretch your code to do all sorts of crazy crap. The end result is a machine that's technically inferior to the average computer, yet produces better results.

Better than the average computer. The hardware freak's computer is going to outperform it no matter what. There's really no getting around that, not without having the various hardware companies agree to stop developing consumer products for a time, just so your console can be awesome.
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Endless Mike » Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:08 pm UTC

My console will cost a fraction of Hardware Freak's computer and require far less time getting it to do so.

Honestly, we're already at the point where we're chasing small gains for huge amounts of money and effort, both on the PC and console side of things. The current generation certainly looks better than the last, but it's not half the jump that the last generation was over the previous and not a 10th of the SNES->PS1 jump, and all it's doing is causing high-level software makers to spend enormous amounts of money for minimal gain, stifling creativity so that we're just playing SERIES 4 with not a lot of gameplay innovation.

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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Jebobek » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:42 pm UTC

The hardware gains have been pretty decent, its just that the software gains are rough. Once everything goes 3D you start running out of programmer time and money to throw in better content and ideas. They have to make it LOOK like todays generation game by the deadline so that it sells, then they spend their leftover time on content (its not really in that order, but thats how they prioritize). No matter how much they render the sweat on that guy's face, the basketball game is still going to suck if they don't work on the game play. However, if they advertise the sweat, people will buy it. It seems like we've went from 2D to 3D, then an improvement of the 3D polygon, now going from regular to highdef.
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Xaddak » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:42 am UTC

Endless Mike wrote:My console will cost a fraction of Hardware Freak's computer and require far less time getting it to do so.


This is true. But the sheer volume of games available makes the PC the better choice in terms of games available per dollar spent. Show me a console running Dwarf Fortress, which is in my opinion, one of the best indie games available! Yes, the 360 and the PS3 COULD technically run DF. They'd probably be quite good at it, in fact, with all the raw processing power available to them. But it'll never be on them because of the higher barrier to entry for producing games for the PS3 and 360 (and the Wii). There are thousands upon thousands of games available for the PC, ranging straight back to the birth of gaming, without even counting Flash games. I could still play King's Quest or probably even Pong if I wanted to.

In the end, if you want to have access to every game ever made, you'll need every console, and a Windows machine, and a Mac, and a Linux box, and others as well probably, with all the compatibility issues sorted out for each one. But I believe that my Windows computer gives me the most bang for my buck in terms of games available to me.
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby headprogrammingczar » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:54 am UTC

I can think of a few Acorn-specific games too, and yes, the entry barrier on making console games is very high. Any developers reading this: Include an IDE that runs on your console itself, and make sure your console supports a keyboard (or better yet, comes with one). Having 20 highly addictive flash-like games in the first month of release is the best thing that could possibly happen to spur sales of your system.
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Endless Mike » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:42 pm UTC

Xaddak wrote:This is true. But the sheer volume of games available makes the PC the better choice in terms of games available per dollar spent. Show me a console running Dwarf Fortress, which is in my opinion, one of the best indie games available! Yes, the 360 and the PS3 COULD technically run DF. They'd probably be quite good at it, in fact, with all the raw processing power available to them. But it'll never be on them because of the higher barrier to entry for producing games for the PS3 and 360 (and the Wii).

If the developers of DF wanted it to run on the 360, they could do so. The XNA development kit isn't all that expensive (free to DL, use and publish Windows games, but $99/year to publish for 360). PSN seems VERY open to publishing unusual indie games, as well. Not to mention the PS3 will run Linux, so you could theoretically run DF, although it would probably run pretty poorly since they only low a horribly limited amount of system RAM to be used.

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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Jebobek » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:57 pm UTC

They would make it a watered-down version of what it is right now, maybe not so many rocks sitting around, and a population cap. People may call it heresy but I would rather enjoy a Dwarf Fortress Lite.

Also, isn't the creator focusing on creating content rather than tightening coding to ease the processor/memory demand? That if work was done through this, the game would not lag as much in big forts? I just heard that somewhere, so I'm not sure how true it is.
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:01 pm UTC

He's stated many times that he's going for content, and once all that's done, then he's going to tighten it up. Which is probably for the best, as he's liable to paint himself in a corner if he optimized it at this point, then attempted to add new features.
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Re: Console Technology is getting pretty serious.

Postby Jebobek » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:14 pm UTC

That said, it still might not be enough to work on a console. He's coding and "stretching" things around for a PC game. Similar to a game like Sim City 4, the bottleneck is the processor/memory rather than the video card. This is probably why you don't see too many of these games on the console (that and no mouse sucks).

So if he or some other company buying rights to DF would ever decide to apply it to the console, they would probably consider the strengths, weaknesses, and marketability of the console version. This would mean better graphics (if possible, I don't know how, maybe some animated 3d tilesets) but less things going on at once to be processed.

I feel that its worth going through these steps, because that could mean we get more console players realizing that they *like* these types of games, and then persuing these games on the PC. Sim City for the SNES was my gateway drug, and I think we're due for a couple new ones. Its rough, because these days console hardware is not geared for city sims with PC quality.
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