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360 Limiting GTA IV In Some Ways

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the just-use-the-hdd dept.

XBox (Games) 268

Last week CVG had a story from the Official PlayStation Magazine, a print entity partnered with the website, about limitations Rockstar faces on the 360. For almost the first time, we're now hearing about a title where lack of space on the disc and the lack of a guaranteed hard drive may be detrimental to Microsoft's console. "[Rockstar's creative vice president Dan Houser] continued, 'To be honest with you we haven't solved all those riddles yet.' The difficulties aren't limited to working on Microsoft's box, as Houser explains that 'both have enormous challenges' and that 'both have their own particular pleasures and pains'. Rockstar hasn't said anything about a target SKU between the two consoles, but they're currently demoing the game to press running on an Xbox 360 - so we wouldn't worry too much if you've only got Microsoft's console. Look for more on GTA IV in the next few weeks."

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268 comments

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Consider the Source (-1, Flamebait)

MarkPNeyer (729607) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021467)

Developing on the PS3 III is an absolute nightmare. Sony is simply looking to spread some FUD about the Xbox 360 as well.

Re:Consider the Source (5, Funny)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021549)

Developing on the PS3 III

That must be the new Sony console everybody's been talking about.... especially since the PS3 flopped. The PS3 III might be the next big thing in console gaming!

Re:Consider the Source (3, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021709)

I'm running out to the ATM machine right now so I can put down a deposit at EB Games.

Re:Consider the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021913)

I don't think the ATM machine will cut it. I'm taking out a second mortgage.

Big Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022085)

I hear even Rupert Murdoch took out a second mortgage for the PS3 III.

Re:Consider the Source (4, Funny)

scooterjohnson (1042058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022097)

I would suggest hitting the ATM instead of the ATM machine. I hear those things can be a pain to carry around.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

bozendoka (739643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023265)

The important thing is that he remembers his PIN number.

RRAIDIDA (-1, Redundant)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023387)

Well this thread fizzled. Somehow, in a thread making fun of redundancy, there wasn't nearly enough of it. We need more redundancy people, or at least, more "saying the same thing a different way" in the same thought

Re:RRAIDIDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19023895)

Mod parent up!! +5 so damn true btw I'm posting from a wii

love, AC

Re:Consider the Source (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021557)

Taking the source into account brings up the possibility the the interviews were faked, based on the company's history.

That aside, is it acceptable for a game to release for HD equipped consoles only? I seem to remember way back that a console that required a CD-ROM released one with the game ... perhaps they should look into it.

Re:Consider the Source (3, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021941)

I heard talk from Rockstar employees about how they already hit the limit of the medium with GTASA, due to the slow layer switching (no idea if the 360 still has that issue) only one layer of the disc could be used to keep the load times lower (with streaming it'd be fatal if the loading took too long). Even without the layer switching overhead a "next-gen" GTA game is going to hit the limit of DVD9 very quickly so this report is very likely true.

From what I heard Microsoft requires that all games are basically playable (i.e. it doesn't matter that you can't feasibly finish the game without saving, it just has to be theoretically possible) on a 360 Core system OOTB, this would make HDDVD-only games not allowed.

Re:Consider the Source (2, Informative)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022149)

You know what, call me stupid but any time I watch a dual-layer DVD on my 360, the point at which it switches layers is practically unnoticeable. Compare this to my year-old standalone mid-range DVD player that takes nearly a full half-second to switch layers.

All I'm saying is that the whole "switching layers" argument seems like complete bullshit to me. I mean, heaven forbid it takes an additional quarter of a second in the loading times...

Would additional space be a virtue? Yes, of course it would be. However, I'll take the smaller medium if not for it's cost, then if nothing else at least for its time as a proven technology.

Optical discs are NOT the wave of the future.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022953)

The switching layers argument applied to the PS2, if the 360 has faster switching it's no longer an issue but that still gives them barely twice the space of the disc they used for SA and that had very simple graphics with low resolution textures and everything. With the increased demands of next-gen graphics the same game with improved graphics would easily be more than twice as large and thus be too large for the DVD9. That means either less graphical improvement or a smaller gameworld to make the game fit on the disc.

Re:Consider the Source (0, Flamebait)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023461)

Ok, you're stupid.

When loading a move you know exactly what order you're going to need the data off of the drive as it is linear. So the instant layer switch doesn't mean that the laser changes any quicker - it's more likely that it prebuffers.

Guess how that maps onto a seamless game with constant loading - yup, you don't know when you're going to cross from the top to the bottom layer and hence the game may glitch (very noticably) for a 1/4 second.

OK, now that we've established that you're a dumbass, there is a way around it for rockstar - but it is more work, and they might be pushing the drive to its limits to stream their data already. They could replicate all non location data (everything but the maps, geometry and local textures) on both layers, and then use some kind of spatial subdivision to split the world. They probably do this already using a quadtree or something similar. Have a line down the middle of the gameworld for the top/bottom layer and then replicate the stuff around that line on both layers. Use the hystersis this creates do a little preloading when approaching the layer so that you can take the 1/4 second hit...

Re:Consider the Source (4, Funny)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023757)

You know, when trying to prove a point to someone, the worst thing you can do is insult them right upfront. That pretty much garantees they aren't going to read the rest of what you have to say. Also, it makes you sound like a socially inept basement dweller.

Re:Consider the Source (5, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023541)

It is not the single layer switch that happens when watching a movie. This is predictable, and always happens at the same place. The head also does not need to move during the layer change, it just reads from the inside to the out on L1 and then switches to L2.

The problem comes from random access reads between layers.

To decrease this issue each layer has to be treated like its own disc. Once the transition is made to L2 you stay there. That means any part of the game engine that is not always in memory has to also be on both layers. Along with any textures, models, sounds, etc. that are used through out the game. So going to two layers does not double the ammount of space available due to having to store a lot of data twice.

Re:Consider the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022545)

Don't know about the layer swiching problem, but DVD9 read speeds in the 360 are the same as BD25 in the Ps3.
So the speed argument is pretty much out of the equation.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022743)

Speaking of san andreas I still haven't beat it. If you play without the flying cars, infinite machine guns and infinite cash that game is tough.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

Firefly1 (251590) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023267)

Where are you having difficulty? I might be able to offer some specific pointers. More generally, though...
For weapons, there're a couple of good maps on GameFAQs detailing where various weapons and vehicles spawn... for example, there're three spots in Los Santos where the MP5 spawns and two each for the AK-47 and sawn-off shotgun. Another set of maps details the locations of tags, horseshoes, photo opportunities, and oysters.
  • before getting into the storyline missions in a given area, take the time to complete the delivery jobs. Each nets a recurring $2000 plus whatever you made on the deliveries.
  • it's possible to unlock the airports early: use a car as a step to get onto the guard shack at Los Santos International. Take any plane there and fly it in circles for a stretch (or several) until you get your pilot's license. Note, though, that most planes at the other airports remain locked until you complete 'Learning to Fly'.
  • the airports are also great places to work on your firearms skills - just stock up, find one of the baggage trucks, and keep shooting the tires.
  • another reason to unlock the airports early: there is an M4 spawn near the western end of Los Santos' runways; out on the tarmac at Easter Bay (and incidentally next to one of the photo opportunities) is a missile launcher (not RPG). This latter comes in very handy for certain missions.
  • drug dealers (the chaps wearing black muscle shirts and chains, or grey hoodies) drop about $2000 when flatlined.
  • the gym on the beach is available from the very beginning of the game.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19024023)

The mission "supply lines" is the one that I have been stuck at for a long time and still can't past it. I know of 2 other people who gave up the game because of that mission. Personally I wanted to throw my game out the window.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023293)

Took me about 3 weeks to beat it (no cheats). Once you're out of the first city, you're basically 80% finished with the game (although flight school was almost enough to make me quit). It's really too bad...such a big world and you really only get to know the first 25% with any intimacy.

Re:Consider the Source (2, Interesting)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023741)

For what it's worth, Saints Row already has trouble loading the city at a rate fast enough to keep up with their top tier cars. I'm sure there are optimizations that can help, but there will still be an upper limit on what the Xbox360 can stream. It's not outrageous to believe that GTAIV would benefit from a harddrive or faster stream.

But there's always a benefit to be had from having more of a resource. You just work with what you have. Crackdown lets you see the other side of the city if you can get high enough. The game is cel-shaded and isn't trying to push photo-realism, but that's how they made it happen with the resources at hand. It plays butter smooth even with hell being unleashed all over the neighborhood.

There are no HD equipped 360's (1, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021947)

That aside, is it acceptable for a game to release for HD equipped consoles only?

No, because no 360 models come with an HD-DVD drive - not even the Elite. And Microsoft has forbidden developers from using the HD-DVD drive for games (thus I'm not sure it's even technically possible to do so the way it's connected and boots).

Re:There are no HD equipped 360's (4, Informative)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022187)

I think the "HD" refers to hard drive, not HD-DVD.

Re:Consider the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021565)

It comes down to a few simple things, On the PS3 you get an HD and plenty if disk storage, on the 360 you dont. That means caching and the games size is limited. Dev on the PS3 while different to the 360 isnt any harder just takes a different approach.

Re:Consider the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021903)

plenty of disk storage?

If they cant get a game to fit in 15 gig then they have no business writing games. Maybe they should cut down on in-game movie crap and add more gameplay.

0 is not 15 (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022025)

The base model 360 still ships with no HD at all - so that is the baseline developers have to work with, not 15GB (which should be enough for anyone, right?)

If Microsoft had dropped the no HD model then it might possibly be acceptable, but it's not very kind to the userbase to target only a portion of users that have a special add-on. It's an option but it has some negatives.

There's not really a good way to work around the disc size limitation though, given the open ended nature of the world - you can't have users swapping discs all the time.

Re:Consider the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021939)

It comes down to a few simple things, On the PS3 you get an HD and plenty if disk storage, on the 360 you dont.
In all practical terms you do. Making the game HDD-only would be a first but wouldn't, IMO, be completely outrageous given the 20GB drive isn't much more expensive than a game.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022645)

And isn't worth much more than a box of Cracker Jack. microsoft tried to game the system by offering an incomplete version of their console to keep from breaking the $300 barrier. Now it's coming back to bite them.

In related news, I'd like to congratulate you for being the ONE guy who managed to abbreviate Hard Disk Drive properly.

Re:Consider the Source (3, Insightful)

krakelohm (830589) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021577)

I would not call it just FUD if this is coming from the developers. It is mighty nice of OPSM to relay this *unbiased* information though, HA. Anyway I can see how this could cause challenges, but if I did own a 360, I would not be too worried.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021641)

The source, TFA, is Dan Houser, Creative VP at Rockstar.

What would a person titled "Creative VP" have to do with announcing a technical limitation of a game that just finished releasing a trailer which implies the game is coming pretty soon? I dunno.

Would it be a big loss to target the game to HD-equipped 360's only? How about it looks less detailed if the console doesn't have one, so that those users can decide if they want extra detail and spring for the HD.

Granted adding a HD to a 360 isn't quite the same as a new controller, but remember that Sony released quite a few games clearly labelled "DUAL SHOCK REQUIRED" due to heavy non-optional use of the analog sticks. Ape Escape is one that instantly comes to mind. Nintendo also required the 8 Meg expansion for the N64 for a few games, too.

Re:Consider the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022793)

You are not allowed to exclude non-hard-drive-equipped Xboxes. All Xbox 360 games must be compatible with all versions of the Xbox 360, including the friggin' Core version. I'm a game developer, worked on several 360 games now, and in all of them, that was a major PITA. If you can assume they have a hard drive, for example, it alleviates the problem GTA is talking about, because you can cache off a lot of streaming stuff in free space on the hard drive. (Doesn't fix the DVD-size problem, obviously, but it can make streaming faster.)

(Now, of course, *if* they have a hard drive, you can cache the streaming stuff. However, you still have to make it load fast enough on the non-hard-drive equipped versions to meet the load time TCRs, and since you're not allowed to cut features or content if they don't have a hard drive, you end up having to design for people without a hard drive anyway. It's quite annoying, especially since the original Xbox had a hard drive!)

However, if they're having troubles with the Xbox, I've got to imagine they're worse on the PS3. I'd rather develop for the 360 than the PS3 any day of the week. With the streaming troubles in particular, imagine how much worse it is to stream it into 256 megs of memory than 512 megs. :)

The DVD size is a problem, though, and probably one that will become more pronounced as the next-generation moves along. (And to those who asked, no, the HD-DVD drive is purely a movie player -- it cannot be used to play games.)

Re:Consider the Source (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023561)

"You are not allowed to exclude non-hard-drive-equipped Xboxes"

Is that a mandate from Microsoft in order to be a Licensed game? Is that a rule with the development house? Is there a requirement that a screenshot of the game must look identical regardless of which version console you're using?

I'd buy the first question having a YES answer. I could even shrug my shoulders at the second having a YES. The third, well, doesn't seem very likely since already the quality of the image depends on your display hookup.

Couldn't the game, at run time, determine the availability of a HD and use that for caching high-detail textures while if unavailable it would cap itself to just low/medium detail textures streaming off the disc?

And I'm just an armchair console guy: I'm sure actual developers have already thought of that and many other potential solutions. :P

Re:Consider the Source (2, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#19024123)

It can't be that strict of a licensing requirement because there are a few games that require the hard drive... FFXI and LMA Manager come to mind, I'm sure there are others.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

badasscat (563442) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021649)

Sony is simply looking to spread some FUD about the Xbox 360 as well.

The source is Dan Houser, who works for Rockstar last I checked, not Sony.

btw, what is new about this article that it deserves another mention on the site? This is the same quote as in the OPM article; it's apparently just CVG referencing OPM.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021719)

I'm sure they took stuff out of context (like ignoring the part where Houser talks about the drug rehab program he will have to put his PS3 system programmers into after they finish the project), but the DVD size and lack of harddrive will be an issue for the XBox360 going forward.

Re:Consider the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022037)

The Playstation 33, wow. PS1 released December 3, 1994. PS2 March 4, 2000. PS3 November 11, 2006. 63 mo, 80 mo, ave 71.5 mo...30 generations forward, so 2145 mo...178 yrs 9 mo...August 2185. The Izar colony founded and another ship disappears near Taurus II. Ice asteroid discovered by Mahmed, Home is colonized. Pine trees and poodles extinct, no more modesty, and Lucy Liu's head held prisoner.

But thank god Sony's still around.

Re:Consider the Source (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022249)

What in the hell are you talking about?

You don't see the fact that not all 360's have hard drives as a limitation? I think everyone saw this coming from a mile away. It's not a big deal for most games but for some, it will be. They'll work around it, and do so while probably introducing more load times and stuff.

Re:Consider the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19024135)

Developing on the PS3 III is an absolute nightmare.

Said with such authority. Out of interest, what first-hand experience do you have developing on the PS3?

Other limitations (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021503)

Also, it will come with a magic scanner that will determine if you're under 18 and not let U play it lol. But watch out when they release it for the Wii and you can add in your whole family as characters rofl

system requirements (4, Informative)

underwhelm (53409) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021587)

One of the contributors at Kotaku suggested that Rockstar simply require the hard drive to play. I think that would be a great solution, but I'd be surprised if Microsoft let them do something like that.

Re:system requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022267)

What really needs to happen is MS needs to get their head out of their ass and give the consumer some decent hard drive sizes at fair prices.

If they did this in collusion with the launch of the game, it would be a win win for both MS and Rockstar.

Re:system requirements (2, Informative)

Lectoid (891115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022709)

Oblivion requires a hard drive. And that's been a pretty popular game.

Re:system requirements (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19023287)

That is incorrect, Oblivion doesn't require a hard drive. You are not allowed to require a hard drive -- Microsoft will not pass Xbox 360 games that don't work on the Core version. The closest they've gotten to making an exception is allowing Symphony of the Night on Xbox Live Arcade to be bigger than a memory card can hold.

Similarly, GTA can't require a hard drive. Like Oblivion, it can run FASTER on a hard-drive-equipped Xbox by using it to cache streaming data, but running GTA on a Core version must still comply with all the load time TRCs.

Re:system requirements (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023019)

People are expecting the Core to cease to exist. I'll allow MS+Rockstar this particular excluding move,
since the choice will be between Premium and Elite for new customers anyway.

Re:system requirements (1)

Fred Or Alive (738779) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023133)

The Xbox 360 ports of Football Manager 2006 & 2007 both require the hard disc AFAIK, so it isn't totally unknown, although GTA IV would be the biggest titles to require it really, and it would be a kick in the bollocks for any idiots who thought they were getting anything like a good deal with the Crap Pack.

I don't see the problem (4, Interesting)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021627)

I'm THANKFUL they are running into this problem, maybe they won't make GTA4 the ridiculously countryside game that San Andreas was. I loved Vice City and GTA3, but San Andreas was FAR too open, you had no idea where the fuck you were without looking at the map every 5 seconds.

Re:I don't see the problem (4, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021785)

The problem was that the open areas of SA didn't really add to the game much. It's not like Oblivion where taking a detour could pay off in a neat cave or side story or something under the radar.

The aforementioned problem is a game design problem where extra stuff was padded in but not fleshed out. It was most certainly technically possible to remove that padding but they chose not to.

Technical limitations and getting around them aren't exactly going to help game design any.

Re:I don't see the problem (3, Interesting)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021821)

I agree. And let's hope we don't have to sugar up girlfriends, feed ourselves, exercise ourselves, and dress ourselves in this one too. San Andreas was like a badass Sims game.

Re:I don't see the problem (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021911)

How about:

1. Drive somewhere.
2. Kill somebody.
3. Goto 2.

I love how that's gotten cut down (5, Insightful)

deathsquirrel (956752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021629)

The interviewer asks specificaly if the 360 has limitations and the interviewee says that yes, both platforms have their challenges and this becomes "DVD and lack of built-in HD is limiting GTA4!!!

Re:I love how that's gotten cut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19023049)

No kidding.

Reporter: "Sir, do you support the unfettered nuclear bombing of schoolhouses full of nuns holding kittens?"

Software Guy: "Uh..."

Tomorrow's Headline: ROCKSTAR GAMES REAFFIRMS STRONG STANCE AGAINST NUNS HOLDING KITTENS, SUGGESTS NUCLEAR ATTACK

Re:I love how that's gotten cut down (1)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023083)

...and at that point, Mr Hauser probably thought "oh crap, we should be writing games for the PC"

Seriously though, they've got hard drives, and you can stick a game on multiple DVDs if necessary. It also hasn't been unknown for a game to be released on one specific media either - Farcry only came on DVD. Add to that the fact that 99% of game developers out there could happily develop on an x86 box rather than cryptic head-bending Cell or less common PowerPC code, and I think he'd be onto a winner.

Oh, the installed userbase is big too - more than that of all the nextgen consoles put together... heh!

So the bottom line: if you want to write decent games that sell well, write it for a current PC, then port across to current consoles. Sorted.

Re:I love how that's gotten cut down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19023777)

Farcry was not only released on DVD, there is also a five CD version in Canada, at least.

Re:I love how that's gotten cut down (1)

Zach978 (98911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19024025)

GTA as a PC only game would fail...PC gaming snobs must realize that the demographics are much different for PC gamers vs Console gamers, and that console games almost always outsell the PC equiv.

The two demographics:
  • PC gaming - playing counterstrike/WoW, with virtual friends online, alone, in the dark.
  • Console gaming - playing GTA/Madden, passing around the controller to friends (in real life), while at the same time passing the bong, listening to music, etc

Re:I love how that's gotten cut down (1)

davebo357 (730081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023147)

I imagine it's because the PS3's problems are just difficulty in programming, which programmers work hard at and get done. Whereas not having enough space to make your game is an obstacle that you can't really overcome with a little elbow grease.

And the Solution? (3, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021633)

Dump the consoles. There's this thing, it's called a computer. It's that little (probably beige) box with an attached television-like thingie that you use to make the game anyway. It's much better...

Re:And the Solution? (4, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021799)

My Xbox 360 is a computer. A very specialized one that is much more powerful than my desktop or laptop. It sits under my TV and is small and quiet. And, it's partly subsidized by Microsoft, so it's far cheaper for me, too. The best part...it's one fixed standard, aside from this hard drive issue (hint, screw you if you don't have a hard drive), so developers can develop for one fixed set of hardware.

Re:And the Solution? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021967)

And I agree on that front as probably being the only advantage that consoles do have. I've always liked Macs for that as well. It makes development easier and quicker while allowing the most optimization. But even at that, modern computers aren't too different from one another and most developers don't seem to have much trouble spanning their games across the spectrum when they try. Specifically, I remember every installment in the Grand Theft Auto series itself as being far superior on my PC.

Re:And the Solution? (1)

jkmullins (643492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021917)

It bothers the hell out of me when people always post this response. Computers are great, but sometimes, I just want to play a damn game without having worry about tweaking my resolution and graphics settings to make it run like it should on a small, square monitor. Why bother when for a third of the price of a good gaming PC (which I do also have), I can get an HD console that I can just plug and play?

Re:And the Solution? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022107)

Tweaking doesn't usually seem to be that time consuming, unless you're obsessive over it. Often times it's nice to be able to turn certain "features" off, and it's always a blessing to set your own controls up as opposed to maybe being able to choose from a few predefined ones. Besides, my monitor doesn't feel very small when one takes into consideration how close I sit. I'm more comfortable in my desk chair anyway, since my living room and couch are more for lounging. I'm not saying consoles don't have their place, but over the past several years they have really just been trying to replace computers altogether. Consoles are toys, they should stay at that. I think the Wii has the right idea in that regard. They shouldn't be $600, which is about the price my current PC was to build and runs everything just fine.

Re:And the Solution? (3, Insightful)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022507)

My computer monitor is 23", not square but Widescreen, and I sit two feet from it. It's very large when you put it that way.

And why use a PC when you can use a game console? How about: It's extremely versatile, PC games are usually cheaper then console ones, it's cheap to upgrade them, you have a 101 button controller, and a mouse. There's no monthly fee to play most PC games, with the exception of MMORPG's, and MMORPG's exist for the PC.

FPS games are better with a mouse. Sorry, Halo might be fun but you'll never, ever, be as fast or accurate as you can be with a mouse.

"HD Console" is a joke. My workstation at home - an Opteron 165 with 2GB RAM and a 6800GT AGP - is still seemingly more powerful then current game consoles. You can build this system now for peanuts. Don't give me this "3rd of the price" bullcrap.

Now, not all of this is to say consoles are bad. I own one. But PC gaming is still strong, and this same old tired argument is brought up every time new game consoles are introduced. In another year, PC games will blow away console games, not that they haven't already..

Re:And the Solution? (1)

TheJerg (1052952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022809)

The part everyone leaves out of the cost equation with HD consoles is the HD tv that you have to buy along with the console to take advantage of the extra power... you're talking at least another 6-800 dollars(and if you want a really nice set you could be looking at a cost of over 1500 U.S. dollars) and if you build your own pcs it can be higher for the console when all is said and done. I own a gaming pc(self built for about 800 dollars), a wii, a ps3, a psp, and a DS(which I still spend more time with than all the others right now). PCs will always exist as a gaming platform, and so will consoles. They offer users different feature sets. There's really no point debating which is superior.

Re:And the Solution? (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023931)

You have to factor in the PC's monitor into the cost if you include the TV in the console's cost. Also the TV size would be compared against the monitor's size. Not really fair to compare a 20inch monitor to a 50inch TV, not an apples to apples comparison.

Or in my case, I'm playing the wii and xbox360 off the same two monitors that my PC is hooked up to.

Monitors don't really fit into the equation.

The primary difference is that the consoles have less variance in their specs compared to PC. It's a pro and a con. As console generation pass and the feature sets grow more similar, this standardization vs. flexibility will remain the primary difference distinguishing the two.

Re:And the Solution? (2, Insightful)

shidoshi (567151) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022207)

When I play games, with the exception of Warcraft, I want to kick back on my couch and relax, not be hunched over my computer. Plus, I rather enjoy buying games without having to worry if my video card is good enough or if I have enough RAM for the game or whatever else.

The solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022841)

*PLEASE INSERT DISK #3*

some translation help needed (2, Interesting)

yincrash (854885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021675)

What does this sentence mean exactly?

Rockstar hasn't said anything about a target SKU between the two consoles

Re:some translation help needed (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19021837)

Stock Keeping Unit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_Keeping_Unit [wikipedia.org]

Re:some translation help needed (1)

jbellis (142590) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021861)

"Rockstar hasn't announced which version of the PS3 (20GB/60) or 360 (Elite/Premium/Core) it will recommend for best performance."

Re:some translation help needed (1)

kosanovich (678657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021867)

Basically it means "Rockstar hasn't said anything about releasing one version of the game for the Xbox360 and another different version for the PS3"

Re:some translation help needed (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021881)

I think the submitter is either trying to convince us he's really into inventory management or he works in a warehouse. He is more likely, in reality, a hobo who sleeps in a dumpster outside of a warehouse, because even knowing the definition of SKU I can't figure out what he meant by that sentence.

Re:some translation help needed (4, Interesting)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022089)

Unlike the other reply, I'll try to actually help you out here.

What this statement means is that the reporter wants to know if Rockstar might stipulate that GTA IV for the 360 requires the hard disk, meaning that instead of potentially inhibiting the game by designing around a lack of hard disk, they would require the hard disk and simply require Core owners to buy one if they don't have one already. Rockstar has not made any indication about that.

The hard disk is standard in the PS3, so that's a known quantity on the PS3. It isn't required to play almost all the games on a 360 (the only ones I know of that require it are FFXI and the Halo 3 beta, and Halo 3 probably only requires it since the beta content is too big to be stored on a memory card). I don't have any real numbers but anecdotal evidence suggests that the number of Core 360s in the wild without a hard disk attached is very low. Considering the price of the HDD versus the memory card ($100 for 20 GB versus $40 for 0.05 GB), requiring the 360 to have a hard disk would not be an onerous burden for most gamers, I would think.

Re:some translation help needed (1)

Ruathal (1095651) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022447)

See, that's what I thought first. But reading it again, I think the article is saying one SKU is the PS3 and the other is the XBox 360, rather than saying that the different SKUs are the different versions of each console. I only say that because the sentence goes on to say:

...but they're currently demoing the game to press running on an Xbox 360 - so we wouldn't worry too much if you've only got Microsoft's console.
Sounds like the author was trying to write that Rockstar hasn't said that they are specifically concentrating on developing towards one console and doing a half-assed port to the other.

Re:some translation help needed (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023041)

I would believe this to be the most likely intent.
However, I also wanted to point out with my original post that using the term SKU should not be used in news articles because it doesn't really mean anything important unless you're in a warehouse or working at a store.
Basically, that was a really piss poor sentence because several replies to my post all inferred different meanings.

It comes down to this (0, Troll)

TB (7206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19021827)

It comes down to this. Any issues devs have with the PS3 can be fixed with time as they're software based, issues on the 360 require hardware, and thats a problem. GTA4 isnt the only game strugling with the 360, you'll notice many highend EA projects have now moved from 360 to PS3 due to the space and processing issues. Miscrosoft knew these issues would come up when they decided to drop HDDVD internaly and go for the early start to try and get one up on Sony.

Re:It comes down to this (1)

Carbonite (183181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022023)

GTA4 isnt the only game strugling with the 360, you'll notice many highend EA projects have now moved from 360 to PS3 due to the space and processing issues.

Any specific examples?

Re:It comes down to this (3, Informative)

TB (7206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022095)

Wardevil is one of the more recent ones.

Re:It comes down to this (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022553)

I can't find any reference to Wardevil being moved to PS3 only because of space or processing issues. The only reasons I've found is the vague "to focus on one platform." Can you point me in the right direction?

Also, you mentioned a number of high-end EA games. Is Wardevil being published by EA? I saw the Wardevil site and noted that it is being developed by Digi-guys but couldn't find any information on a publisher. Also - what EA games have been canceled on the 360 and moved to the PS3?

Re:It comes down to this (1)

TB (7206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022615)

Take a look around for some recent interviews or something from EA, youll probably find something there.

Re:It comes down to this (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022719)

But you stated that there were multiple EA games that this had happened to. Are you not able to remember the names of these games?

And why did you bring up Wardevils? That doesn't look to be an EA game at all.

Re:It comes down to this (1)

SpeedyRich (754676) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023145)

Lol, a vain attempt. Anyway, it doesn't matter. What really matters is that there are nary decent 360 exclusives - mostly they're cross-platform, either cross-console or PC ports. On the other hand, the PS3 gets some truly exciting - yeah, EXCITING - exclusives. You know, Metal Gear Solid. Lair. Little Big Planet. Home. Motorstorm. Wipeout. God of War 3. And so on. The 360 is old hardware. Get used to it. [hypocricy]The future is all PS3, fanboy :) [/hypocricy]

Not sure MS is to blame (1, Troll)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022045)

Lack of space on a DVD means to me that these guys aren't using the space well... to say that they're limited by 360 not being HD-DVD... it seems like maybe they're just lazy about how they're going about making the game look good visually. Either that or they're not compressing audio well.

I get the feeling that some devs are just better at using what space they have available. That is, I'm not so sure GTAIV is going to look and sound better than even Oblivion. I don't see it being larger...

Re:Not sure MS is to blame (2, Insightful)

TB (7206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022203)

All games are compressed, and have been since the 80s. With every generation of console, games have increased in size by about 4x, so why wouldnt it for this generation?

Re:Not sure MS is to blame (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023703)

Well for starters, when texture resolution approaches TV resolution, you're done. Second, sound quality can only get so high before further improvements become negligible.

Really, you have PS2 games on multiple DVDs and you have Oblivion on one. I think some folks just are better at getting a lot of quality content onto one disc... or at least try harder.

Re:Not sure MS is to blame (1, Informative)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022259)

You've seen the GTA IV trailer right? The size of the map looks much larger than San Andreas, the texturing, AI and everything else has improved (I can see them using a DVD in texturing alone.) It not like they can even use mutliple layers for the DVD because streaming issue would (probably) kick in.

Re:Not sure MS is to blame (2, Informative)

TB (7206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022341)

GTA4 is smaller than SA in land used but is much larger is the terms of textures, models, sound, shaders, and such, not to mention the addition of multiplayer.

Re:Not sure MS is to blame (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022813)

It not like they can even use mutliple layers for the DVD because streaming issue would (probably) kick in.

If your streaming is designed intelligently enough and your disc layout is also well-designed, this does not have to be an issue.

I also have a hard time imagining that with all of the power involved in the Xbox 360 that procedural textures are outside the scope of the system...

Re:Not sure MS is to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19022471)

So I'm guessing you program games for a living? Otherwise I'm not sure how you can critize their ability (or lack thereof) to use the space wisely

Re:Not sure MS is to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19023111)

Like Microsoft Flight simulator with 14GB, but MS is retarded in the software making department aren't they?

Re:Not sure MS is to blame (1)

lc_overlord (563906) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023303)

Lack of space on a DVD means to me that these guys aren't using the space well
Well not exactly, there are a few ps2 games that use multiple DVDs, though most of this is movies, it's not that hard to imagine ways to fill a few dvds of data with non video content on the new consoles, especially in games like GTA4.
The major issues for console games is often to load and manage as much data as possible, not the processing power, and in this respect the ps3 comes out on top(as well as in more or less all other areas).

Yeah, MS really dropped the ball here (5, Informative)

Mr_eX9 (800448) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022165)

I thought from the very beginning that making the hard drive optional was a step backwards in the system's design.

The original Xbox was a really ballsy system overall. It was the first (commercially successful) console to have a hard drive and internet connectivity built-in. It brought LAN gaming and broadband online gaming to console gamers in a really big way. I thought it was really cool that if I played the same couple of maps or levels in Halo over and over it only had to load them once because Bungie was able to stream the files to the hard drive.

I feel like MS pussied out on the 360's design by removing the hard drive because they took that away from developers. Instead of innovating the console market again, they just seem to be riding on the success that they've already created. Now we're finally seeing a successful multi-platform developer complain about the 360's limitations. I don't think this looks very good for the 360 or for Microsoft.

P.S.: I'm sure the PS3 has development issues too--mainly the long load times as a result of the Blu-Ray disc and still figuring out the Cell architecture. But Rockstar is used to taking crap from Sony, so they're not complaining about it.

Re:Yeah, MS really dropped the ball here (1)

TB (7206) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022257)

BD loadtimes are only an issue if the game doesnt use HD caching, but Im betting GTA4 will given its a sandbox game.

Re:Yeah, MS really dropped the ball here (2, Informative)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023593)

I agree and I squeeled like a stuck pig on my xbox forum of choice when I learned of no Hard Drive option in the 360's. I think the decision was made for a few reasons. First, I think the Hard Drive was what eventually bit MS on the rear towards the end of XB1 as far as cost. If I remember correctly (maybe not) that size drive went out of normal production and was expensive to include as the lifecycle ended. Also, besides the tard pack low cost option, I think they made the decision to up the RAM instead of including the Hard Drive which all the developers loved at the time. If this continues, I think we will see Hard Drive only games become more prevalent, however, it makes ya wonder how Oblivion can be so vast and not be dragged down w/o one as well as recent games like Crackdown which is massive and is even in the same type genre. Im leaning towards lazy devs and not the system holding them back.

Re:Yeah, MS really dropped the ball here (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023731)

If I remember correctly (maybe not) that size drive went out of normal production and was expensive to include as the lifecycle ended.

Doesn't make much sense to me.. they could have gotten cheaper/larger drives and just formatted them down to 8 GB.

Weird Development Approach Foreshadowing Delays? (2, Insightful)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022829)

I don't get it... why are they claiming the 360 is somehow imposing limitations on a game's design? Hasn't it always been developer policy to create software for the least common denominator (ie, a 360 sans hard drive) first and *then* add extra features for more powerful systems afterwards?

If I had to guess, it sounds like they are testing the waters, seeing if the 360's multiple configuration can be used as a viable scapegoat, should the developers miss the deadline they publicly set for themselves.

Sure, the PS3 fanboys are probably eating this up now, but will they be chomping at the bit later on, if it turns out the delays were actually caused by the nightmares involved in developing for the PS3?

One DVD may be too small.. (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022879)

So if a DVD is too small and is impacting their goal, why not use a second disc? I know the whole map will have to be available, among other things, so much of the data would have to be duplicated on the second disc, but there has to be a way they can separate some of the missions onto the first disc. Then once most of the missions are complete they won't ever need that data again.. So the gamer switches discs.

sounds to me.. (1)

Mockylock (1087585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19022929)

Sounds to me like they really didn't have the 360 in mind when they put together the game. I'm pretty sure when you're designing a game, you create a roadmap, requirements and blueprints if you know there may be certain limitations.

In they end, they have to make it work one way or another if they want to keep sales up... unless (which seems to be) Sony's giving them a bit of outside inscentive to push users in their direction because they know how popular the game is.

The 360 has been out for how long now... and they're JUST releasing GTA4? PLEASE tell me you don't think they waited for the PS3 to start developing it.

Gates says (2, Funny)

TravisO (979545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19023887)

9.4GB is enough for anyone!

Re:Gates says (2, Funny)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 7 years ago | (#19024115)

that's the dumbest fucking idea I've heard since I've been at Microsoft

this is Go4tsex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19023959)

the reape8 BSD's outreacch are troubles of Walnut
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