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Game Technology To Watch In 2009

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the axiously-awaiting-the-wii-hibachi dept.

Games 123

IGN has compiled a list of gaming technology they expect to have a significant effect on this year's products. Leading the list is the 3D technology being pushed in television and films. A number of popular games are already set up to handle this, and more are on the way. They also suggest that improved Blu-ray technology, which allows much more storage, will pave the way for even bigger and better looking games. IGN hopes that brain-computer interfaces, such as Emotiv's headset, will become responsive enough to be taken seriously, and notes that DirectX 11 and a broader adoption for PhysX are on the horizon.

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Bigger and better games? (2, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967275)

They also suggest that improved Blu-ray technology, which allows much more storage, will pave the way for even bigger and better looking games.

I wasn't aware that we were hitting the 50Gb limit of today's BR-DL disks. To my knowledge, only one game has even come close (MGS4) and even then, it apparently only uses about 31Gb.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967359)

They also suggest that improved Blu-ray technology, which allows much more storage, will pave the way for even bigger and better looking games.

I wasn't aware that we were hitting the 50Gb limit of today's BR-DL disks. To my knowledge, only one game has even come close (MGS4) and even then, it apparently only uses about 31Gb.

I think that the expanded capacity for Blu-Ray discs will hardly have an impact on how games are produced unless they are Blu-Ray disc, or Playstation 3 exclusive. And yes, the only game to come close to using an entire BD is Metal Gear Solid 4. And even then, size doesn't mean a good game, Chrono Trigger is only a few megabytes in a SNES cartridge and I play that game more often these new 10GB and up games. And tons of digitally distributed games are tiny in comparison to disc based games but they play just as well. And Metal Gear Solid had gigantic budget to get those 31GB on the disc, most AAA game companies are downsizing or lack the budget to make a 100GB+ game.

What expanded Blu-Ray Disc is really going to affect is movies and television shows. Imagine Lord of The Ring extended editions, all three movies with the special features in HD video and audio, and on one single Blu-Ray Disc? How about the Alien Quadrilogy? Star Wars episodes 1-6 on a single disc? All of the Star Trek movies? Pretty excellent potential.

But now imagine this, entire television shows on a single disc, you could purchase every season of LOST, every episode, on a single disc. Or The Sopranos, The Office, South Park, or even Anime shows on a single disc. Futurama entire series on a single disc? Please sign me up, immediately.

For people who collect a lot of DVDs for movies and television shows this is going to hopefully be a reality soon enough. And should movies and television shows start migrating to expanded Blu-Ray discs I might actually start using my PS3 for something other than Metal Gear Online or various Street Fighter games.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967391)

I don't know if I'd call the prospect of not having to change disks "Exciting", many people are already living the dream with HPCs in front of their TV's. Maybe not the most ideal solution, but I certainly don't think bigger disks are going to really change much just yet.

Re:Bigger and better games? (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26972415)

How about AI that doesn't suck? I know AI isn't easy, but neither is cutting edge graphics. We get more and more bling, more and more boom, more and more razzle dazzle but frankly most of the games I play the AI just sucks. I don't know about everyone else but I would rather have some challenging AI than more fancy bling bling graphics. I personally think that we have far passed the "good enough" stage in that department.

What would be nice is some decent AI that would put up a good fight along with some replay value, like perhaps changing up the amount/skill level of the bad guys on subsequent plays. The closest I have seen to this is SWAT 3 & 4 where the amount of bad guys VS hostages changes so you can't memorize what comes where. But IMHO we have way too many games now that can be summarized in this sentence "Looks really great, plays like shit.". And a great deal of that is due to really stupid enemy AI.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26975451)

How about AI that doesn't suck?

Doesn't show in screenshots and expensive advertisements.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26976503)

Oh, please. That old argument is crap. Let me show how easy it would be to sell AI.

"Tired of the same old stupid enemies that run straight at you every time? Tired of the whole "bad guys so stupid they hide from gunfire behind gas tanks" BS? Then play new "Superkill 5000" and watch as this game KICKS YOUR ASS! Watch as the enemy plans and executes multilevel squad tactics against you and makes you work for every victory! No more sitting on a hill and picking them off like ducks anymore! Give away your position and they will HUNT YOU DOWN and will even call artillery fire down on you like hot raining death! Their tactics change depending on your play, so the replay value is only limited by your ability to fight back! Get "Superkill 5000" and EARN your bodycount!"

See how easy that was? Guys playing games WANT a good fight. Why do you think so many start out games on the super hard difficulty settings? because otherwise the stupid AI makes most games a freaking cakewalk. And add a good editor for a game that has good AI? The modders will keep your game a must have for years. Trust me, with a decent ad agency AI would be quite easy to sell to gamers. You just have to add the right buzz to it.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#26976859)

a great deal of that is due to really stupid enemy AI.

Is it really? What exactly do people want from AI in games? Everybody is always talking about AI that flanks, waits you out, does complex "strategies" to kill you, but when implemented it really is practically invisible.

The only time that AI is really a problem is when it has poor pathfinding. It's glaringly obvious when a enemy is running endlessly into a wall. But aside from that, you're really just shooting enemies. Sure, maybe they can take cover, go prone or crouch, or run away, but half of those "strategies" don't make a difference when you have 500% more health than they do.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26978649)

Well, let me give an example that really chapped my ass. FEAR-the original. Great game, but one part totally blew the immersion for me. About halfway through or so i am going down the many tunnels and end up in a locker room. I'm sure those that have played the game know which part I am talking about already. A locker gets knocked over partially blocking a hallway. Now you can go left or right and come around quite easily, hell you can even jump over the little wussy dividing wall if you want.

What does bad guy after freaking bad guy do? With me standing not 4 feet away and quite clearly visible they drop everything to try to crawl under the damned locker like it was razorwire or something. meanwhile I am sitting there bored and actually started picking them off with the pistol just to practice my accuracy. now THAT was severely lame.

I'm not asking for freaking General Patton here, planning and executing hugely complex tactical maneuvers. we are not asking for actual AI here, just a little teeny tiny bit of common fucking sense. I think what really blows the mood for a lot of folks and what I myself consider shitty AI is the lack of even the most basic of freaking survival sense. If there is a guy standing 4 feet away, how about NOT dropping everything to crawl under a locker? How about when there is an obvious mine sitting in the middle of the ground in broad daylight you DON'T go walk right onto it? Or how about actually acting like their might be a bit of a problem when you come around a corner and find your buddies all blown apart like they had a run in with the freaking Predator. Is that really too much to ask? We all know there is stupid people in the world but...damn. These games lately have all been populated with rejects from planet of the morons.

All I am asking for is the appearance of just the tiniest bit of common sense. Because it really blows the suspension of disbelief when an enemy that is supposed to be trained commando killers don't even seem to notice that the land in front of them has been turned into the killing fields and it is entirely made up of their former comrades. That just kinda blows the whole mood, you know?

Content (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967445)

Usually it's artwork that takes the bulk of the space.

How many artists and designers and how much time would you need to create 50GB of artwork/maps/levels? If you could programmatically create it quickly, you are unlikely to need all that capacity right?

The more artists and designers, or time taken (render time etc), the higher the costs of producing the game.

Whereas most game rules (and game play) seem to fit well within a few megabytes, if not just a single MB.

For example the quake executable itself is less than a megabyte in size. The textures, maps and other stuff use up most of the space.

After a while, the game looks good enough. I think we're hitting diminishing returns already. After all many PC games already have higher res and framerate than a DVD movie.

Some even have better plots and acting but let's not go there for now :p.

Re:Content (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968009)

Textures. Even compressed, they take up tons of space and you need a lot of them to make levels look nice and pretty. The more detailed, the more textures you're going to need. Heck, even to make it looks BAD from a distance, so as to increase performance (LOD) you guessed it, you need another texture.

Re:Content (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968341)

I thought that mipmapping was to stop it aliasing badly?

Re:Content (3, Interesting)

Creepy (93888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970555)

yes, Mipmapping is one technique to help prevent aliasing - it really is pre-computed anti-aliasing on the texture itself. Ripmaps provide better anti-aliasing (since they do perspective oriented scaling), but they also use a lot more memory.

For mipmapping, you may have something like this

using the convention 0x=hexidecimal (base 16, where letters A through F represent numbers 10-15 - FF below is the number 255 [15*16+15]) A=alpha (transparency - 0=fully transparent, FF means fully opaque), R=red, G=green, B=blue


0xAARRGGBB
0xFF000033 0xFF000000
0xFF444444 0xFF000000

the mipmap averages these for the next level (this is called isotropic filtering)

0xFF111119

then depending on the distance, either the higher resolution or lower resolution is used. There are a number of extensions to this idea that give better results (i.e. trilinear filtering, anisotropic filtering, ripmaps), but that is deep ending a bit.

Re:Content (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26975313)

Indeed, however the parent to my comment seems to be suggesting that multiple (smaller) textures are used to increase performance rather than visual appeal. I may be wrong, but I believe they are referring to mipmapping and as far as I'm aware, they actually suffer a performance disadvantage as changing textures is quite costly. However, if I am mistaken about this, by all means feel free to correct me.

Re:Content (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969929)

Not really. I think textures are last or nearly last as far as disk use on most games - I think only models typically use less, although if you count shaders those typically take up less memory than anything, but they are really more like code.

Pre-rendered movies usually take up more space than anything else.

    Video cards need to split the video ram between geometry and textures, so when it comes to textures, you've usually got 250-300MB of active VRAM to work with. A 512x512 32 bit texture takes up roughly 1MB (2 if mipmapped), and often modern games will use several textures for each pixel drawn (either through multitexturing or techniques like parallax mapping, normal mapping, etc)

Detailed terrain data can chew up disk space fast, as well - the smaller the scale, the more data needed. A developer I know is working on a MMORPG world that currently uses 16GB of terrain data alone. He's using quad-trees (it is much easier to write asynchronous paging for quad-trees because the data is uniform), but if he used something like oct-trees that size could rapidly increase.

Re:Content (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970061)

error correction - 1 1/3MB if mipmapped. I was thinking of normal maps, not mipmaps when I typed that.

Re:Content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26971611)

I think we're hitting diminishing returns already. After all many PC games already have higher res and framerate than a DVD movie.

Some even have better plots and acting but let's not go there for now :p.

Most movies are only filmed at 24FPS, and played back at the same speed - it stands to reason that ALL modern PC games (on a capable machine) have higher resolution and frame rates than DVD movies.

Re:Content (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26973855)

And still look worse. I think at this point, we're optimizing the wrong parameter.

I'd love to play a game in 720x480 resolution (DVD), if it had proper motion blurring, models that animated realistically, and so on. Instead, most work seems to be on displaying edges of polygons in incredibly crisp detail as they move through stock animations over and over.

Re:Bigger and better games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26967515)

But now imagine this, entire television shows on a single disc, you could purchase every season of LOST, every episode, on a single disc.

That would massivly increase the price per product. 200-300$ for a few seasons of a TV series in one chunk? Sounds awfully high. I guess selling seasons at 40-50$ is more viable. Plus series are inherently ... serial. You'd have to wait until the show gets cancelled to release it; or mix the "season 1-4" BD with the "season 5" dvd add-on.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968353)

They release box sets of entire shows all the time. I don't see why putting it all on one disk would make it any more expensive than putting it on several.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967517)

But now imagine this, entire television shows on a single disc, you could purchase every season of LOST, every episode, on a single disc. Or The Sopranos, The Office, South Park, or even Anime shows on a single disc. Futurama entire series on a single disc? Please sign me up, immediately.

I accept that this is an improvement, but I really don't think it is anything more than a tiny one. Besides which this is something that storing media on the system achieves and would do better, just imagine not having to change discs when you finished watching an episode of Futurama and now want to play Gears of War...

Bluray is great if you like JRPGs with loads of CG cutscenes, otherwise the majority of games devs are having very little issue sticking to DVD size limits.

Aww, Teh Liddle Xbox 360 Fanboy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26967577)

Golly, some stupid fuck who owns the only console in history to have LESS storage space on its disc format than a previous gen is babbling about his 7GB are somehow 'teh magical size' for games.

You fucking piece of shit.

Re:Bigger and better games? (2, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967717)

Frankly, _I_ like my TV shows in boxes. Married... with Children is effing long and I want it to take a considerable part of my DVD rack.

If I was all about size I could just as well download everything as DivX and store it on my NAS/Mediacenter.

Also, I think prices for those should would have to come down (and would thus have much more of an impact than squeezing everything onto a single disc). I don't know how it is in America, but here they even started splitting the Star Trek seasons up in the hopes that people would buy them that way. They still don't think that the cost of 30 bucks for two or four (I'm not sure) episodes was a tad high.

I believe a show has to cost a certain amount of $. There is a price limit somewhere that people are willing to pay. If the show is very long it might move that limit a bit but it is not proportional.

Also, a lot of stuff that gets released is mastered in a very awful way. The Cosby Show, for instance, does not have the intro and outro chaptered here, making you have to fast forward and try to hit the exact moment the show starts. This wouldn't be bad if you were watching one episode at a time, but if you watch four episodes an eveing, three evenings in a row, you get highly fed up with that waste of time.

So in conclusion: Bluray discs cost somewhere around 50 to 80% more here with debatable additional value for the customer (I don't give a shit about FullHD), while production cost clearly does not reflect that price.

Technical gimmicks are usually not what Joe Average wants, I believe. Joe Average wants to be entertained with as little hassle as possible (and the more expensive, the less of it he can afford). So cut the crap with technical gimmicks already and start marketing a good cost/value proportion.

Bigger and prettier games (2, Interesting)

aerton (748473) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967799)

Whilst cut-secenes rendered by game engine became more popular, pre-rendered are still common. All that extra space could be used to store different variations of character's gear instead of sticking to the default. E.g. in RE4 cut-scenes the character is always rendered in the starting cloth even if you are wearing some other vest.

This does not require that much more effort to create, it would add a little to the immersion and a DVD release could use one version as current games.

Re:Bigger and prettier games (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968365)

In RE4 on the PS2 and PC, the cut-scenes were pre-rendered as video files, however on the Gamecube they were real time and I believe they reflected the outfits you were wearing at the time.

Re:Bigger and prettier games (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26973957)

That is correct. The Wii version (the BEST version) used the pre-rendered scenes as well. They looked nice, but I would have preferred using the engine. They sacrificed function for form when they switched to the pre-rendered movies.

Re:Bigger and prettier games (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26975273)

I believe this was a side effect from the PS2 port. If I'm not mistaken, the Gamecube's cut scenes used higher resolution models for the characters than the main game, however the PS2 couldn't handle this so they pre-rendered them instead. They then made a few engine/game tweaks and improvements and all subsequent ports (PC and Wii) were then based off of this code.

Re:Bigger and prettier games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968661)

That is only done in Resident Evil 4 because the developers were lazy when it came to the PC version. Capcom is notoriously bad with their console to PC ports, with games often having worse performance and worse visuals than the console version even though the system requirements for the game call for a PC that is far more powerful than the consoles.

Re:Bigger and prettier games (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26972873)

Not to mention the controls for PC sucked. Why is it that when companies do console to PC they end up butchering the controls? Either rip off the controls of a game in the genre that worked, or make everything customizable so your shitty control setup can be changed.

I bought Cold Fear when it hit the bargain bin and frankly it was unplayable. The controls were so bad you spent more time fighting them than the monsters. But the one off the top of my head that POed me the most recently was GTA:SA. I loved GTA II and VC and was jazzed when I got my hands on SA. But the controls simply sucked the fun out of it for me. Would it really have been so hard to give us an option of having the controls work like GTA III and VC? Just a lousy option, that's all I ask. After trying to deal with it for a week I gave it to my oldest who tried for 2 days and then chunked it in a drawer and got SA for the PS2. It has gotten to the point I have to read several reviews before I will even touch a game in the bargain bin if it came out on consoles. Because even under $20 most console "ports" are just too lousy to control to make it worth even that little amount IMHO.

Re:Bigger and prettier games (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26974241)

Happens the other way too, my favorite example being the PS3 version of the Orange box, which doesn't support mouse aiming even though the PS2 release of the original Half life does. The PS3 PSN release of Zuma doesn't support mouse either, which is annoying. But I may be an anomaly because I always have a keyboard and mouse hooked up to the PS3 (like I did the PS2 before it). Mostly because of Linux on the PS3/PS2, but also handy for GameOS use.

Re:Bigger and prettier games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26974897)

That is odd since I had no problems with the GTA SA controls on PC. Granted I have a dual analog 14 button gamepad for my PC, but I didn't find the keyboard/mouse controls to be any worse than they were for the previous GTA games. I think those games were just made to be played using a gamepad, so they don't work well any other way, especially trying to drive at high speeds using the keyboard.

Size definitely does impact games (1)

LrdDimwit (1133419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26974293)

Were you aware that a significant amount of content was cut from Chrono Trigger? Including at least one dungeon? A beta ROM that had been distributed to magazines before the original SNES release leaked to the Internet a few years back. In it was accessible this extra dungeon; it was removed from the game before release. Many other threads were left hanging. The game's ROM was crammed full to capacity. Coincidence?

Re:Bigger and better games? (2, Insightful)

Rah'Dick (976472) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967431)

Additionally, there is still the problem of content creation - which game studio has the time and resources to generate that much actual game content nowadays, not just pre-rendered ultra-HD cutscenes or music? MGS4 is a pretty good example. It takes an immense amount of work to create a game with that much detail that it fills up a Bluray disk.

Most of that space could be filled up with procedurally generated environments, but that's just the same "more of the good old stuff" philosophy that Sony's been following with the PS3. Once you max out one factor (horsepower), the highest possible output becomes dependent on other factors.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

cshcrgo (1454975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967499)

I wasn't aware that we were hitting the 50Gb limit of today's BR-DL disks.

I dont think we are. So maybe this isn't big news for 2009, but what about 2010 or 2011? Games haven't exactly gotten smaller so far.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967601)

And the article is about technologies for 2009...

Re:Bigger and better games? (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967521)

And also lets not forget that BluRay is pretty damn slow. In the case of MGS4 you needed 8 minutes of install time to the HD and then again like 4 minutes on each chapter change, not fun. Having gigantic amounts of storage isn't all that useful when you can't read them from the disc fast enough.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967617)

It's not Blu-ray that's slow, it's the PS3's blu-ray drive that is slow. It's only 2x, which is slower compared to the 360's 12x DVD drive, but a 4x BR drive is easily faster than this. Today, BR drives are 6x and higher (at least their PC drives are), so it's not really a problem of the format.

Oh Shut Up! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26967653)

You're like a cesspool of 'crap fanboys repeat from other idiots they read on the Net'.

The PS3 BluRay drive is faster than the old DVD drive in the 360 in all cases except for reading data from the very edge of the 360 7 gigabyte DVD.

And even then you are forced to try to fit most of your active game data onto just one of the two 3.5 gigabyte DVD layers because there is a relatively huge seek time to transfer across DVD layers.

Get the fuck off the Net dipshit. So sick and tired of idiots like you sitting around in forums repeating the same garbage over and over and over again. You don't win a prize for being the biggest idiot in a console gaming thread retard.

Re:Oh Shut Up! (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968377)

I'll say to you what I'll say to the guy below - if this were the case, then why do 360 games typically have similar or shorter loading times as their PS3 counterparts?
Why do (certain) PS3 games NEED to be installed?

Re:Oh Shut Up! (1)

chaim79 (898507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26972765)

I'll say to you what I'll say to the guy below - if this were the case, then why do 360 games typically have similar or shorter loading times as their PS3 counterparts?

The amount of data (Duh). The 360 is loading smaller/more heavily compressed textures, the PS3 not so much.

Why do (certain) PS3 games NEED to be installed?

Pulling from the HD is faster than from the BR drive, so they install on the HD what they need quickly and keep on the BR what they can spend some time loading

I've been hearing about some of the newer games going to a "progressive install" kind of methodology, initial install is small, but as the game progresses it continues to copy stuff from the BR to the HD.

Re:Oh Shut Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26972931)

PS3 2X BD-ROM = 9MB/s
360 12X DVD-ROM = 15.75MB/s

Re:Oh Shut Up! (1)

chaim79 (898507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26973509)

360 DVD is only 12x on single layer DVDs (how many games come on single layer DVD, answer: just 4), for everything else, it's 8x.

360 is also CAV, so it's only 8x at the very edge of the disc, everywhere else it's all downhill from there.

2x BD is 71Mbit/Sec constant across the entire disk surface.

8x DVD is 86.4Mbit/sec only on the outer edge, and then peak transfer speed.

From a different AC Post [slashdot.org]

We aren't talking a huge difference in speed (single layer outer edge 360 VS PS3 BR) therefore we must be talking about a huge difference in the amount of data.

Re:Oh Shut Up! (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26975241)

If it was that simple, then why don't they just use the same textures on the PS3 version? Both the PS3 and 360 are very similar in terms of texture fill rates (in fact, I believe the 360 has the edge here). Most multi-platform games look about the same and if there is a noticeable difference, more often than not the advantage lies with the 360.

People can keep on quoting read speed statistics all day long, but the end results speak for themselves.

Answers (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26972915)

"why do 360 games typically have similar or shorter loading times as their PS3 counterparts?"

The XBox 12x DVD is about 16 MB/s and 2x Blu-ray is only 9 MB/s.

"Why do (certain) PS3 games NEED to be installed?"

To speed up loading.

Re:Answers (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26975263)

And that is exactly what I said. Why do people claim the PS3's BR drive is just as fast as the 360's DVD drive?

Re:Answers (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26977685)

Probably because Blu-Ray has the capacity to do 54 MB/s, which is a lot more than DVD. People just don't know Sony uses a slow player in the PS3.

Re: Oh Shut Up! (5, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968687)

You don't win a prize for being the biggest idiot in a console gaming thread retard.

And the Oscar goes to... Anonymous Coward, for his post "Butthurt Fanboy Wharrgarbl"!

"Thank you! Thank you! I couldn't have done it without Cheatos, obesity, and shame. I didn't win this just for me, I won this for everyone who attaches their identity to a corporation to derive some semblance of self-esteem. Thank you!"

Re: Oh Shut Up! (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968767)

Oh if only I still had mod points! That was classic!

Re: Oh Shut Up! (1)

SkeezerDoodle (1178213) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970011)

"Butthurt Fanboy Wharrgarbl"!

LOL! That's exactly what I was thinking...

Re: Oh Shut Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26971781)

This is why the mod system needs to be more descriptive. The above post should by Score 5, 0wn3d.

Don't forget Teh FOSSies!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26972955)

"Thank you! Thank you! I couldn't have done it without Cheatos, obesity, and shame. I didn't win this just for me, I won this for everyone who attaches their identity to a corporation to derive some semblance of self-esteem. Thank you!"

It's not just corporations teh fanbois are attaching their identity to- it's also teh FOSS.

To discount the hundreds of hundreds of FOSSies in the world is to do a huge disservice to rabid, vapid fanboiism and associatative identities.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26967875)

Bingo. We have a winner.... Idiot prize of the week.

I wondered how long it would be before someone mentioned the Microsoft fueled PS3 BD drive is slow FUD/Bile.

Get some education please..., whilst you are at it, also learn how to separate FUD from FACT. The internet is full of people that want to trick you into believing their last-gen technology is somehow better..

FACT:

360 DVD is only 12x on single layer DVDs (how many games come on single layer DVD, answer: just 4), for everything else, it's 8x.

360 is also CAV, so it's only 8x at the very edge of the disc, everywhere else it's all downhill from there.

2x BD is 71Mbit/Sec constant across the entire disk surface.

8x DVD is 86.4Mbit/sec only on the outer edge, and then peak transfer speed.

Re:Bigger and better games? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968381)

I'll say to you what I'll say to the guy above - if this were the case, then why do 360 games typically have similar or shorter loading times as their PS3 counterparts?
Why do (certain) PS3 games NEED to be installed?

If either of you (anonymous cowards) can give some valid reasons why, I'll listen.

Re:Bigger and better games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26970743)

Seek times on the blu-ray drive in the PS3 are bad (like 400ms without a layer change). That's why games install to the HDD - if you are streaming sounds or textures, you're literally going to spend all your time seeking. The HDD has much faster seeks obviously, so you throw your random access data there. It makes no sense to install things like movies, where you're not seeking through them. But for streamed audio and video, it's a win.

The read speeds are roughly similar - Blu ray has a constant read speed, but DVD will vary depending on which part of the disc you're reading. The outer edge can read faster than a Blu-ray disc can, but the inner bits of the disc read more slowly. You can use this to do creative disc layouts to get fast loads on 360.

Re:Bigger and better games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26978629)

Fact:

You're totally ignoring seek times.

so.... (1)

plonk420 (750939) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967303)

nothing of interest in 2009?




how about casual games as fun as L4D?

Who got a 120Hz monitor today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26967307)

The 3D glasses are cool.
But how many have a 120Hz monitor

And how many monitors today can run 120Hz, and still be a good size, and have good colours. And normal persons can effort?

It's not the only way (5, Informative)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967625)

Actually, it's not the only way. Unfortunately, though, the others are a lot more... limited.

1. For a start, there are the two Zalman 3D monitors which use simple polarizer glasses and don't need any particular frequency. Simply: odd rows are polarized in one direction, even rows in the perpendicular direction, so each eye sees only half of them.

Upsides: Every single frame is split into two like that, so 60Hz is enough. It works right out of the box with the Nvidia Vista drivers. No flickering because it's not shutter-glasses.

Downsides: needs Vista. Or the iz3d drivers in XP which honestly aren't that mature yet, and it's a pain in most games to get a neat 3D both afar and in the weapon you have in your hands. You get half the resolution either way. Any text which isn't in a huge font, _will_ be broken by seeing only every other line of it. But the worst is that the 3D effect only works in a vertical angle of +/- 8 degrees. You only need to slide in your chair a little or even move your head a bit if you're close to the screen, to just start seeing double instead of 3D.

2. The iz3d stacked tft monitor. Basically it's two monitors in one, and again it uses polarizer glasses to separate them.

Upside: works in XP too. No resolution loss. Angle is much less of a problem. No flickering because it's not shutter-glasses.

Downside: well, it's the iz3d drivers again. It takes a lot of fiddling for the 3D effect to work, and even then it doesn't seem to have the depth that the NVidia drivers manage out of the box. Trying to go any higher will just cause you to see double, as the brain just gives up. Again it's a big problem to have both good depth illusion _and_ not see your weapon doubled in a FPS. (E.g., in Hellgate London literally there's almost no setting except flat where the gun doesn't double in first person.)

Also see what Tom's Hardware had to say about it.

3. The eDimensional glasses and drivers.

Upside: they work in XP (and _only_ in XP.) They work with non-Nvidia cards. And eDimensional claims that they work with TFTs too. No refresh rate restriction: if you don't mind a _lot_ of flickering, you can even run their drivers on a 60Hz screen, effectively getting only 30Hz to each eye. It's much cheaper than the nVidia glasses it will work with the Nvidia drivers too, if you have Vista and an 120Hz display.

Downside: it will only work as well as the nVidia drivers if you actually get the nVidia drivers to use it. I.e., you're back to needing 120Hz and Vista.

Downside: The eDimensional drivers, to put it mildly, suck. First of all there's the issue that it makes the image interlaced if you use them instead of nVidia, and probably only Loki knows why they needed that on a CRT. Worse yet, it stays interlaced even on the desktop once it went interlaced. So it's all the disadvantages of a Zalman display, but it flickers and it has a bunch of other own disadvantages. Like that they've crashed more than once on me. Or that a lot of the time they just make the image interlaced, but not actually 3D. E.g., WoW, the porster child of the "we support 3D glasses" generation, just goes interlaced and starts flickering the glasses, but is otherwise just as flat as ever.

Upside: if you have a CRT, you can use a combination of the iz3d drivers and an eDimensional utility which just activates the glasses. The iz3d drivers don't know how to use the pin that controlls the shutter-glasses, but will happily render alternate frames for them if you activate the glasses otherwise. This actually doesn't have the interlaced effect, and actually works with more games.

Downside: the iz3d drivers still have the same downsides as before in rendering 3D. With an extra nasty twist I found out the hard way. If your fps drops below a limit (about 40 fps), the image starts just jumping between left eye and right eye, for no obvious reason, making the game unplayable. So basically you have to give up virtually eye candy in any game to have enough of the reserve so that doesn't happen. But in practice it still will eventually.

4. To get back Nvidia's drivers, 3D glasses and a CRT, though...

Downside: don't set your hopes too high. I actually have a CRT which can do 120Hz in 1024x768... in XP. In Vista, I don't know if it's MS or nVidia who's retarded, but it doesn't actually let me set any mode higher than 100Hz. Even after editing the monitor.inf to some insanely high values, it makes no difference. And of course, there's the crap paternalist attitude of not letting me even try in 100Hz. So the nVidia drivers just offer to let me use anaglyph, but not the shutterglasses.

To put it mildly, I'm annoyed. I can't think of any objective reason for either of those two (A: not letting me use 120Hz on a good enough monitor, and B: not letting me even try the 3D stuff in any other frequency), much less for enforcing both. Give me a warning screen in lower frequencies if you must, but what the f-word is their good reason for flat-out not letting me use the product I've paid for? Is it at least greed (as in, trying to sell me a monitor too), or just plain stupidity?

Actually make it 3 complaints: why the _fuck_ does it absolutely need Vista for it?

MOD PARENT UP!!! (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968375)

Informative + Interesting.

Re:Who got a 120Hz monitor today? (1)

FoamingToad (904595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971299)

My ten year-old 21" CRT does at least 1024 x 768 @ 120 Hz. I think it drops down to 100HZ for 1280 x 1024 though, but I'd still be willing to give it a shot.

It's a pity that you can't buy decent CRTs any more, as I've yet to see a TFT that comes close to the performance of my current monitor. I'll be forced to change when it dies, but until then you can pry it out of my cold dead hands.

I only see (1)

Zsub (1365549) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967315)

proprietary...

Where's the inventions that have an Open Source-license?

2009 will be... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967367)

...the year of the 3D Linux desktop!

Re:2009 will be... (1)

Handlarn (911194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968449)

When's the "-1, Enough Already" moderation option coming?

My Predictions (4, Insightful)

AndrewStephens (815287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967401)

I predicted the article would be bollocks before I clicked, and I was right! Let me make some other predictions:

3D Gaming - these glasses have been around for years. Maybe they work better now that everyone has bigger screens with higher refresh rates, but they were useless before. Nobody wants to sit in front of a PC wearing glasses. Perhaps if it were released for consoles it may take off, but I don't think the penetration of 120Mhz TVs is large enough to justify it.

Blu-Ray Super Disc - do games really need that much storage? Nope. My prediction for the number of games released in 2009 using super discs? Zero.

Brain Computer Interfaces - I am sure they could sell a few as a gimmick but my understanding is that control is very limited - a few noisy axises at best. I have a hard time imagining a game that could be controlled by brain easier than by fingers. I put it in the Sounds-Good-to-Investors-Neat-Picture-For-Press-Release-Consumers-Don't-Care bucket.

OLED screens - on their way, but immature. It will take years before they are competitive with LCD. In any case, not really gaming related as such.

Wii MotionPlus - well duh, great scoop there, IGN! The MotionPlus opens up some additional options for games, I expect some neat things. But it won't be the game-changer that the Wii originally was. Nintendo have a history of adding stuff to consoles, none of their previous efforts have really set the world alight. A modest success, used by only a few games (but these may be classics).

Windows 7/DirectX11 - better faster, stronger, snore. Nothing revolutionary from the users perspective. Developers might be tempted if Windows7 takes off (which I think it will, if only because it will be shoved down our throats)

240Mhz TVs - good I guess, but this is not the time to launch an expensive piece of equipment. Its not like consoles are actually going to output at 240Mhz, so the motion-compensation filters had better be good.

Play-TV - could be a game changer if Sony pulls finger and markets it world-wide. Sony really needs to give the public a new reason to have a PS3, PlayTV could be the tipping point. But I think it might be too little, too late since PVRs aren't exactly rare at this point and it seems limited.

Re:My Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26967469)

Nobody wants to sit in front of a PC wearing glasses.

But I'm short sighted you insensitive clod!

Re:My Predictions (2, Interesting)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967501)

Somebody please correct me when I am wrong here, but I was under the impression that technology like those 240Hz TVs are meant for movies, not for games. As far as I understand it, they take a handful of frames and then calculate inbetweens to reduce the jitter when the camera is panning in a film. So far so good, the problem however is that they actually need the last frame before they can start displaying the first one, meaning they will generate plenty of lag, which is a non-issue for movies, but makes them unusable for gaming.

Re:My Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969873)

Presumably the game just generates frames at 240Hz. Failing that, it just repeats some frames.

Re:My Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26975825)

240hz is, in effect, nothing but a marketing gimmick. 120hz (for LCD's) makes sense because it's the lowest refresh rate which can natively display both 60fps (television) and 24fps (film). 240hz can also do this, of course, but the only additional benefit it provides is the ability to create twice as many interpolated frames. Unfortunately, the interpolation isn't that great on television and is absolutely awful on films.

Re:My Predictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26967735)

I predicted the article would be bollocks before I clicked, and I was right!

On /. that's hardly a prediction.

Re:My Predictions (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967795)

Agree with most but the blu-ray. You do have some games that need it, and they ship on multiple DVDs. Why you will not have any games shipped is because no one, except PS3, ship with them as default.
One just needs to look at CD readers on computers. They were default items for a long time before CD distributed games became a common method.

Re:My Predictions (2, Insightful)

-noefordeg- (697342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967907)

I can't agree more. "Bigger/Better/Faster"... Yay!

What about native DirectX support for other platforms, so I can start playing games again. I don't have any Windows-based computers at all (both at office and home).

What about an open game platform where you can play games, with mods, in an Xbox Live'ish environment. I like some parts of Xbox Live, but the lack of dedicated community based servers/mods make it inferior to PC.

What about internet/browser based gaming. ID Software is coming with Quake Live now. I want more of this. I don't have 2-3 hours to do "dedicated gaming". I just want to play against people for 15-30 minutes (say, during lunch).

Blu-Ray... Yes! We all know that games became SO MUCH BETTER when CDs where introduced. And lets not forget DVDs. Oh yeah! Games released on DVDs are The Best!

Re:My Predictions (1)

Miltazar (1100457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26970309)

Actually DVD's did improve something about gaming, but it wasn't the games so much. The best thing that DVD's brought to the table was having only 1 dvd instead of 2-3 CD's. The games themselves didn't really improve much, and at the moment there are very few PC games(if any) that come on multiple DVD's. Not that it matters, I don't buy games on DVD anymore, I just d/l them off steam. No disc, no problem.

Re:My Predictions (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26973773)

Forget 2-3 CDs. I think it was King's Quest IV that had something like 9 five and a quarter inch floppies. I'm glad there was an end to that.

Re:My Predictions (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971339)

I actually dread PC games coming on Blue-Rays. On DVDs it's a tolerable convenience but once games get beyond a certain size it's a nightmare to install. The options are:

1. Hey! Let me install this 50GB game on your HD, just give me a couple hours.
2. Let me install only a couple of GB and require load times for reading off the Blue-Ray disk.

To a certain extend, I would like some reasonable constraints placed on how much bloat goes into a game.

Re:My Predictions (1)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968423)

Perhaps if it were released for consoles it may take off, but I don't think the penetration of 120Mhz TVs is large enough to justify it.

Dude, I want to know where you are getting your TVs that can refresh 120 million times per second. That seems like it would eliminate flicker, for sure!

Re:My Predictions (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969073)

You'd still get people complaining that they can see the scanlines or something.

Re:My Predictions (1)

acohen1 (1454445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969493)

Dude, the carrier frequency for my cable isnt even at 120Mhz. Hell, my Ethernet barely handles that. On a side note, people should be using plasmas. 480Hz, very little lag. Its really funny to see people go all out and spend $$ on 120Hz or 240Hz LCDs.

Re:My Predictions (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969181)

Having tried many HMD in my previous job, I was very surprised to try the latest one which are light and finally usable. My money is on this.

I feel it saddening, however, that no game technology focus on the gameplay. Devices, better resolution, better graphic quality, but the games are still the same as Quake I (and less fun than Duke Nukem 3D)

Re:My Predictions (1)

mrjimorg (557309) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971317)

3D Gaming - these glasses have been around for years. Maybe they work better now that everyone has bigger screens with higher refresh rates, but they were useless before. Nobody wants to sit in front of a PC wearing glasses. Perhaps if it were released for consoles it may take off, but I don't think the penetration of 120Mhz TVs is large enough to justify it.

1. Glasses have been around for years, but they always sucked. The new glasses actually work well - provided you use a 120MHz monitor. The old ones either left ghosts or gave you massive headaches after even a few mins of use.

2. 120Mhz TV's weren't released until 2009, and considering how deep the recession is, it's no surprise that they haven't had a strong market penetration.

3. If this tech does take off, then maybe consoles will integrate this, but since it requires these fancy monitors, it's questionable.

Re:My Predictions (1)

Blibblob (868226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26973901)

I actually picked up one of those brain reader things. I got the OCZ NIA since it was on sale. It's pretty cool too, totally not worth the money, but I forgot to return it before my refund time was up. The only thing that it's better at than a mouse and keyboard is for fast reaction clicking. Though that's muscle control, the eeg sensor is only good for watching yourself wander randomly in a small circle.

Re:My Predictions (1)

schevans (1375635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26977659)

Nobody wants to sit in front of a PC wearing glasses.

I wear spectacles you insensitive clod!

I doubt that bigger storage will mean much (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967419)

The limiting factor on game size really comes more down to the system it runs on and the economics of making a game. It basically is two interlocking parts:

1) You can only make a game so big, so involved, so varied, and still expect to make money on it. You cannot spend $1 billion on a game and ever hope to make any money. Thus there are limits as to how much can be in your game: How many different scenes, characters, etc. It costs money to have artists, animators, writers, etc work on all those assets. So no matter how much storage you are given, your world size and complexity are still going to be limited by economic factors. Now you might way ok, but there can be more detail right? Well that leads to...

2) The RAM on the platform you wish your game to run on. Everything you want displayed in a single scene must fit entirely in RAM. Now for consoles, this is a pretty tight limit. The Xbox 360 has 512MB of unified RAM. That means all your code, all your data, and all your graphics must fit in that space. The PS3 is perhaps even more restrictive. It again has 512MB of RAM, but split 256MB for CPU 256MB for GPU. So really all your visuals must fit in 256MB on that platform. On the PC it is better on the high end, there are 1GB graphics cards, but 512MB is common for performance mainstream, and may people have 256MB card, some less. Well this places hard limits on how detailed your assets can be. You can't have a single character with 100MB of texture data and then expect to have 10 characters plus other object plus backgrounds and such on screen. You just don't have the RAM.

Thus you find that when you take the amount of game you can design and hope to make money, and the amount of assets you can fit in RAM, you get a number that is your real limit, regardless of how much space you have. You also find that for the most part, a DVD is just fine. While you'll find some games on the PS3 that use more, it is with HD videos. That's nice and all, but not really relevant to the core of how good a game looks.

So I don't see this changing any this year. The 360 and PS3 are still the cutting edge in consoles. Since the console market is a large one, that's what many games are going to be designed to accommodate. That places limits on their on screen complexity and in turn on how much space is useful. I suppose the could make the PC version more detailed, but I'm not seeing a lot of money being spent on that.

Even if you take games that are PC only I don't know how much you'll see. While it is true that PCs at the high end have lots more power, I've got a system with 1GB of VRAM and 4GB of system RAM, that's the exception. There are plenty of people who have PCs with 256MB video cards, so you run in to the same kind of limits as consoles have.

After all, PCs have had the option of larger games for quite some time. DVDs are cheap, there's nothing stopping a company from shipping a game on 2 DVDs. Games used to (and still do some times) ship on multiple CDs. You can put them both on the harddrive. You do see it in very rare cases, but for the most part it just isn't done because it isn't needed. One disc holds all that data you need.

I don't think we'll start to see much bigger games until there's more development in video technology, possibly until the next generation of consoles. Even then, maybe not. Maybe instead of getting larger, games will start doing more procedural content. There's already been some of that going on. For example some games make use of SpeedTree. It's a library that generates trees in real time, procedurally. You provide it with basic data, it generates the information to be sent to the graphics card. So rather than having an artist design hundreds of different trees, and then a designer place them in a level, you generate the basic data, and do the rest in real time. This, of course, takes up much less disk space.

As an extreme example of this you can look at the demo Debris by Farbrausch. It's a 180k executable that generates a 3D world complete with motion, music and so on. Now obviously there's some limitations when you take it to that extreme, but it demonstrates how procedural content can work. If games start moving more that way, and I think they may there's a lot of compelling reasons, you could well see game sizes stay fairly stagnant, despite much greater visual detail.

Re:I doubt that bigger storage will mean much (1)

paganizer (566360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26967851)

I really wish that more game developers would go procedural; the concept has been around forever (or at least since Strike Commander) and could go a long way towards enhancing replayability.
I don't think we are going to see the one thing that I PERSONALLY THINK is the thing most needed, however; a end to sloppy code, relying on gigantic libraries, etc.
We need a Chris Sawyer for the year 2009; programming in assembly, using OpenGL, Procedural synthesis, and capable of making use of a distributed computing mesh.
GTA-V should be able to fit on one CD (with room to spare) and be able to play on a mid-range PC.

Re:I doubt that bigger storage will mean much (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971049)

(or at least since Strike Commander)

Sure that you mean Strike Commander? I can't remember anything procedural in that game, maybe the terrain, but other then that it was a very artwork heavy game, quite similar to what we have today. Procedural stuff such in Elite or Elite2 on the other side was extremely impressive, whole solar systems that fit onto a floppy disk, neat stuff. But that was a long time ago and color swapping an image to produce yet another planet isn't going to impress people today. The big disadvantage of real 100% procedural graphics is that they are quite heavy on the CPU if you want to make stuff look good (see Roboblitz or those 64KB demos, tiny download, but requires quite a while till they are actually ready), so I don't think they will get all that much use in mainstream games for the time being (aside from a few oddballs like Spore).

However on the positive side of things proceduralism is sneaking into the backdoor, there are already plenty of games that use procedurally generates trees [speedtree.com] for example, those are all offline generated, so they don't grow in the game itself, but its a clear indication that when it comes to things like nature procedurally generated things look already more then good enough to be used in todays AAA games. Hopefully just a matter of time till somebody has a few spare cycles on the CPU left to let the procedure stuff happen in the game itself.

All that texture/model data aside, one thing that I find a little annoying is that the gameplay itself is still so very prescripted. Games like EF2000 or XCom:UFO had a full dynamic war going back in 1995 or even before that, yet todays FPS are more often then not just a rail shooter with a little free movement thrown in, times when an enemy actually surprises or when your doing actually has consequences are few and far between. If procedural levels are to much, I'd like to at least see some procedural enemy placement and movement. But as with all good things, it might just be a matter of time, after all Battlefield Bad Company already brought destructible walls not unlixe XCom:UFO back and we had games like Assassins Creed, which did a hell of a lot stuff right, before the developers ran out of ideas and implemented one of the lamest missions systems in history.

Re:I doubt that bigger storage will mean much (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968747)

Thus you find that when you take the amount of game you can design and hope to make money, and the amount of assets you can fit in RAM, you get a number that is your real limit, regardless of how much space you have. You also find that for the most part, a DVD is just fine. While you'll find some games on the PS3 that use more, it is with HD videos. That's nice and all, but not really relevant to the core of how good a game looks.

Am I the only one with ears? Its the sound! Many larger PS3 games come with uncompressed 7.1 audio. That's UNCOMPRESSED 7.1 PCM audio, and it sounds incredible.

Now fine, if you think 128k MP3s sound fine compared to a CD, go on enjoying your DVD-based games, but really good non-scratchy perfectly clear well-mixed PCM audio makes all the difference to me.

Re:I doubt that bigger storage will mean much (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 5 years ago | (#26973609)

Many larger PS3 games come with uncompressed 7.1 audio. That's UNCOMPRESSED 7.1 PCM audio, and it sounds incredible.

So that's why they sound so good. Heck, even the PSN release of Zuma sounds awesome compared to Zuma Deluxe on the PC. (Colors seem more vibrant on the PSN Zuma and Bejeweled too, but that may just be HDMI full range in action compared to the laptops screen) I also enjoyed the bump in sound quality from the PS1 to the PS2 as well, though the sound improvement from cartridge games to the PS1 games was the biggest leap.

Re:I doubt that bigger storage will mean much (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#26974243)

There are choices in between 128k mp3s, and uncompressed audio. Uncompressed audio makes absolutely no sense, except as an archival medium to make compressed audio from. A well compressed piece of music, at a moderately high bit rate, can't be distinguished from the original.

I think the uncompressed 7.1 sound is marketing fluff... there needs to be SOMETHING filling up a BluRay disk, so why not raw audio? It's not actually any better, but we can claim it is.

Retro (2, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26968043)

Money's tight, people aren't going to shell out megabucks on the latest and greatest games - or the hardware to run it.

Re:Retro (1)

RemoWilliams84 (1348761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969153)

Wrong [cnet.com] This article is about how the gaming industry may be the only one that is recession proof. Well, that and hard liquor. People still need an escape from reality.

Re:Retro (2, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971411)

Wrong? What's wrong is your calendar. The article is from 2008 and there's been mostly bad news since it was written. As to how 2009 will go, the time to crow would be in 2010.

What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26968471)

Wow... the ONLY interesting thing in this list is the Larrabee. 3D glasses from nVidia? Been there, done that. It was lame back then, and I don't image it will be any better this time 'round. People just don't want to wear things on their heads to play games... Which leads me to the brain controllers... Nobody wants to wear stupid shit on their heads to play a game.

I'm excited over OLED displays because CRTs are too bulky, even if I do love them to death. I just don't have the space for them in my tiny apartment. LCDs are everywhere in here. But OLEDs are supposed to allow for higher displayed frame rate from games (counter-strike comes to mind) and less display lag.

As soon as I can afford a Larrabee CPU (thinking 30 cores?), I'm going to put it to good use. Mass virtualization of games comes to mind (undetectable bots anybody?).

This article is mostly a waste of a read.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969195)

As soon as I can afford a Larrabee CPU (thinking 30 cores?), I'm going to put it to good use. Mass virtualization of games comes to mind (undetectable bots anybody?).

Where are you getting the idea that it'll be anything close to powerful enough for that?

Virtualising games? Crazy. It's a graphics card, not a magical artifact.

Stop using DirectX already! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969135)

Developers who use DirectX are locking themselves up into Windows and Xbox.

Developers who use OpenGL are locking themselves up into Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Playstation 3, Wii, Nintendo DS (?), PSP (?).

Guess which one has more total marketshare?

Hint 1: both choices include Windows, so choose carefully.

Hint 2: over 25% of students on campus use a Mac. Grandma using her old Windows 98 PC at home to check email isn't a gamer yet is counted as part of the total Windows Marketshare.

Re:Stop using DirectX already! (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26969451)

Yeah, but you see there are more aspects to this than just portability, like performance or scope. You'll need more than just OpenGL to do what DirectX does, if I'm not mistaken.

Re:Stop using DirectX already! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26969673)

The part of DirectX that is nice in any respect is Direct3d.

Really, the two hardest things in game development are A) The Renderer and B) The simulation code.

Direct3d and OpenGL are used for the renderer and simulation is typically API independent/proprietary (aside from some things like physics libraries).

The rest of game technologies development takes much less time than the two part listed above.

Re:Stop using DirectX already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26971109)

Or, how about this. You use whatever gives you the best results individually on EACH AND EVERY PLATFORM!

Good PS3 games use gcm, not OpenGL. And the Xbox market is about a billion million times larger than the Linux market, so I guess it depends whether you prefer money or lines of code. You can talk about marketshare all you want, while smart people focus on sales. It turns out the marketshare for crappy 2001 5mz cell phones is much larger than the iphone market, but iphone owners actually buy games.

PC game sales in North America for 2008 were $701 million retail dollars. Console sales were $21.3 billion. And you think focusing on PC, Mac, and Linux is the smart path? Oh, and before you say it, no, Steam did not account for $20 billion dollars in sales in North America in 2008.

Re:Stop using DirectX already! (1)

Creepy (93888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26971871)

If those handhelds use OpenGL (like the iPhone) they probably use OpenGL ES (embedded systems), which is a subset of OpenGL.

I'm venting a bit (ok, a lot) here, but I've found that Apple makes it extremely painful to write cross platform OpenGL code. First, they use a non-standard macro file for glext.h, but the framework prefers it over any you include even if you #include yours first, so you need to define a variable GL_GLEXT_LEGACY so it doesn't get included. Then Apple recommends you don't use macros at all (because you don't have to, and I commend Apple on that), but that requires coding #ifdefs for every OpenGL function that is called (because Windows and Linux need the macros), which is over 400 calls in the project I'm maintaining, and a new one for every non GLSL OpenGL function that gets added. For large projects like mine where there is no full time mac developer, it is almost impossible to maintain compatibility that way. To make matters worse, I've recently discovered code that compiled fine in X.4 and early versions of X.5 doesn't work at all with recent versions of X.5 (I'm still compiling on an X.4 box, so I found this out with complaints). I want to tear my hair out...

    And the marketshare issue is dubious because all Intel macs can be set to dual boot Linux or Windows or run them in virtual machines, meaning you have access to DirectX on them (through native DirectX or WINE), which levels the PC playing field a bit. Wii has a much different interface than other platforms, so its titles tend to be exclusive or reworks. So the only real competitive advantage for writing OpenGL is for cross-platform release with the PS3, the weakest selling platform that many people buy just to be a blu-ray player. I'm also still waiting for Khronos to get the API modernized and streamlined and fix the performance hit from having everything mutable which was promised 2 years ago.

Another issue I have with OpenGL is companies like ATI not releasing many functions as EXTs even when the exact same functionality exists for DirectX (nVidia is much better at this than ATI). When you need to wait 3 years for a function that is essential to the project you're working on it get frustrating (especially one I've had on my nVidia box for 4 years). ATI has made a HLSL to GLSL converter, which makes porting shaders a breeze if you write both (especially with most sample code you can find being HLSL). With more and more code being written for shaders and easy conversion, writing to both APIs may continue to be the way to go for cross-platform.

OpenGL in a window can take a huge performance hit vs DirectX on Windows (the context switch is supposed to cost no more than 20%, but my Vista based laptop is more like 60%, probably due to shoddy drivers), so that can play a factor too (like for java browser games). This isn't really OpenGL's fault, it's Microsoft's, but it is a legitimate issue on Vista and Windows 7 (beta).

Re:Stop using DirectX already! (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26972841)

This is why there are so few (if any) good third-party games on the Wii.

All of the platforms have diverged to the point where you can't simply port and sell. If you're developing a Wii game, you damn well better be designing around the controls. If you're developing a DS game, you damn well better be designing around touch screen, and two screens. If you're developing for the PC, you damn well better be taking advantage of the mouse and keyboard. If you're developing for the PS3, you damn well better be taking advantage of the blu-ray storage and the wacky architecture.

And in any of these cases, you've already ruled out porting without re-writing, or you've developed something so damn generic it's not going to sell on any platform anyway.

It hasn't been about the graphics language since Quake. And even Carmack dropped that argument a very long time ago.

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