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[P]
Laying the Smack Down on the X-Box...

By sugarman in Technology
Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 09:40:42 AM EST
Tags: Hardware (all tags)
Hardware

Well, today was the day that Bill Gates unveiled his latest baby to the world. Of course, to make sure his message reached the target audience, he enlisted the help of one of the biggest stars in the 18-34 yr. old male demographic.


However, that doesn't change the signifcance of the announcement. The X-Box is poised to shake-up the console market, which has traditionally only had room for one top dog at any given time. What's more, the X-BOx is bringing a lot of features that the PC users are familiar with, and may prove to be attractive to the home user that feels a PC is "too much".

But the story has been covered pretty well. 1st, some MLP:

  • the X-Box homepage
  • msxbox
  • Yahoo
  • C/Net
  • IGN
  • and, oh yeah, slashdot too

    and some screenshots...

  • the actual system
  • game #1
  • and game #2

    But, MLP aside, what do you think? Will the X-Box have massive ramifications in both the console and PC worlds? Microsoft if putting half-a-billion dollars behind the promotion of this between now and X-Mas, and I'm thinking that they won't have the supply problems that the PS2 has suffered from.

    Also, they appear to be luring a number of developers from the PC world to develop for them. Will the quality and quantity of PC games suffer?

    And lastly, what do you think of the platform, from a development standpoint? It seems to be much like a PC, with some internals that we are familiar with. It is quite likely that NetBSD or linux could be ported to it, in much the same way that was done with the Dreamcast. Would you get one just to see if this could be done?

  • Sponsors

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    Login

    Poll
    The X-Box will...
    o complement my PC. 10%
    o replace my PC. 1%
    o be something to tinker with. 14%
    o never enter my house. 74%

    Votes: 90
    Results | Other Polls

    Related Links
    o Slashdot
    o Yahoo
    o stars
    o homepage
    o msxbox
    o Yahoo [2]
    o C/Net
    o IGN
    o slashdot
    o actual system
    o game #1
    o game #2
    o done
    o Also by sugarman


    Display: Sort:
    Laying the Smack Down on the X-Box... | 46 comments (45 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
    Xbox Controller (3.94 / 19) (#1)
    by doormat on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 01:27:39 AM EST

    First three buttons added to the Xbox controller..

    ctrl
    alt
    del

    |\
    |/oormat

    They will make it easier than that (2.66 / 3) (#12)
    by turtleshadow on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:06:05 AM EST

    A big red reset button built to withstand punishment -- Microsoft is learning and wont make it that complicated.
    Turtleshadow

    [ Parent ]
    yeah it looks nice and all but... (2.62 / 8) (#2)
    by rebelcool on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 01:40:45 AM EST

    like all consoles, the hardware will be about as good as pc hardware is when it comes out. Then a year later, it wont be able to compare. Until console makers learn to come up with hardware upgrading options, they still won't be able to touch PC's in terms of performance and capability.

    On the note of game developers, you'll probably see alot more ports between systems. Of course not all games will be easily ported, as many games take advantage of the fact you have over 100 keys on a keyboard, whereas a controller has perhaps a dozen. If you've ever tried to play Quake3 on a dreamcast, you know how shitty the play quality is compared to a good ole mouse and keyboard (or whatever you like to quake with)

    Of course a mouse and keyboard will probably be available for x-box, but that wont be the standard input device.

    COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

    Hardware, one year later (2.66 / 3) (#8)
    by tftp on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:23:51 AM EST

    they still won't be able to touch PC's in terms of performance and capability.

    A standard industry-wide response to that would be that We don't need performance, our games are designed well and they work on older hardware just fine. What we really need is a stable, predictable hardware.

    This may be technically correct, but where is the selling point? How come that Johnny can't claim any more that "my gaming box can beat your gaming box!"? Everyone has the same X-box, what a boring world!

    not all games will be easily ported

    Most definitely so. I would not be surprised if developers have to code for the specific hardware if they want to use some features that aren't available (or are too slow) by using a generic OpenGL or something. This is -extremely- labor-intensive. If I have to choose between coding in assembly language for 750MHz X-box vs. coding in C++/OpenGL for an off-the-shelf 2GHz home PC what would be my choice?

    PCs are fact of life. They are already in every home that has enough money to buy X-box. This means that X-box has to offer something beyond PC. If developers stick to PC games instead of switching stampede-style to X-box then there will be absolutely no reason to choose obsolete X-box because you already have a comparable or even faster (=better in minds of most people!) PC already in your home, in your friend's home, in your school, at your workplace - everywhere.

    If X-box indeed requires to code to hardware then very few companies will be able to maintain two or more branches of the code. I can understand PS2 branch - this is an already established brand, many people have it etc. etc. But what is the point of investing into X-box? It will be vaporware for a whole year, and by then a recession in US economy may as well wipe the market off the map.

    With regard to controllers, indeed - in Q3A you can choose a weapon with a single keystroke. How can that be done on a tiny little controller? No mouse? Forget it. Mouse is a must for all FPS games. A good joystick requires USB (which they do not have, as it seems) and costs USD $100+.

    [ Parent ]

    fps's and input devices (4.33 / 3) (#15)
    by Delirium on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:13:28 AM EST

    Mouse is a must for all FPS games.

    Not necessarily. Goldeneye for the Nintendo 64 has sold a ton of copies, and is designed to be played with the N64 controller. It works quite well, since the gameplay is designed specifically for the hardware it'll run on. What you seem to be saying is that mouse is a must for a PC-style FPSs, which is true. Of course, that's why they're on the PC.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: fps's and input devices (2.75 / 4) (#17)
    by tftp on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:21:09 AM EST

    Could be that Goldeneye on N64 is nice, I haven't seen it.

    From what I saw (like ads on TV), a lot of console games look cartoonish compared to real life scenarios played on PC screens. It could be my lack of console experience, but probably CPU contributed to that too. You simply can't run Q3A-like stuff on anything below 500 MHz, and even then your frame rate suffers; these games are -so blazingly fast- that 50 ms delay in response may mean getting fragged.

    [ Parent ]

    stuff (4.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Delirium on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 04:50:18 PM EST

    From what I saw (like ads on TV), a lot of console games look cartoonish compared to real life scenarios played on PC screens.

    Well, the goal is generally not realistic gameplay, but enjoyable gameplay. In my experience consoles can also get away with a lower level of technical achievement because they make up for that with the fact that four people playing on a console is fun. You can't match that on a PC unless you own four of them. So, yeah, Goldeneye can't match up with Q3A in graphics, but it's still a damn fun game, and Q3A can't match up with Goldeneye as something enjoyable to do with a few friends some evening (except for LAN parties of course, but those take much more preparation and lugging around of hardware).

    You simply can't run Q3A-like stuff on anything below 500 MHz, and even then your frame rate suffers; these games are -so blazingly fast- that 50 ms delay in response may mean getting fragged.

    It's odd that you claim that, because I play Q3A regularly on my 266 MHz Pentium II (with an 8MB Voodoo2 3d accelerator). I play at 640x480 and typically get around 40 fps, which is quite playable. Sure, this is on the low end (the manual claims a 233 MHz Pentium II with an OpenGL-compatible 3d accelerator as the minimum system requirements), but a 500 MHz should be able to play Quake 3 Arena amazingly well. If I can play it fine then I don't see how someone with twice the CPU would have their frame rate suffer unless they were trying something stupid like 1280x1024 at 32bpp.

    [ Parent ]

    Resolution matters too! (4.00 / 1) (#31)
    by tftp on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 05:53:23 PM EST

    If I can play it fine then I don't see how someone with twice the CPU would have their frame rate suffer unless they were trying something stupid like 1280x1024 at 32bpp.

    I agree about 32bpp, but 1280x1024 is hardly a worthless item. On higher resolution you can see farther and clearer. Q3A also has some eye candies in options (like sky) that cost a lot to draw. Sure, one can disable everything that does not directly contribute to the game, but that is getting technical, and technical does not sell!

    When Q7 is released for 2+GHz boxen it may use higher resolution, draw incredible amount of timiest details, push frame rate beyond perceivable (making it a perfect movie), run 20 bots (try more than 5 on 450 MHz box :-) etc. etc. So far applications successfully consumed all available computing resources, why would that magically stop after BG says so? He already mentioned once that 640Kb ought to be enough for everyone, see how right he was?

    There is a competition (I hope) in gaming market, and if all developers are chained to the same X-box nobody can get a whole lot of a lead. You tend to write games that are better, and that often requires faster hardware - because at least this is the most obvious thing to do.

    Of course, I agree with notion that the scenario and game design are more important - and true, one can happily shoot at Martians on Atari, or wander in text-based dungeon, or control a snake, or fill a glass with misshaped chunks... but most games (and most players) are not that sophisticated. Eye candy sells, that's fact of life. If a future game can do real time CGI of movie quality (lotsa pixels!), so that you can -interact- with a believable character, in a believable world - that would sell. So if that 2GHz box can make someone an instant leader if he changes just few numbers in his models that define rendering quality, that would be a very good business case in favor of whatever sells.

    [ Parent ]

    goldeneye (3.00 / 1) (#20)
    by rebelcool on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 12:33:49 PM EST

    its not that fun or fast paced because of the controller. I found it to be a crutch which kept the game from being fun, coming from PC shooter games..

    COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
    [ Parent ]

    Goldeneye (4.00 / 1) (#23)
    by JohnIII on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:48:12 PM EST

    On the contrary, I found it to be more enjoyable due to that. Goldeneye does require some getting used to, and if you don't stick with it then you obviously won't enjoy it. However, the single-player is superb, and the multi-player even better. Remote mines are especially good :->

    John III



    [ Parent ]
    goldeneye (4.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Delirium on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 04:54:34 PM EST

    Well, it's a different style of gameplay. Particularly in the single-player mode, I like the less fast-paced style of gameplay, since it lends itself to more precision type playing rather than just running around madly shooting things. Things like headshots, good sniping, etc., are much more important than in games like Q3A. It's definitely not the same type of gameplay, so if you're expecting a PC-style FPS you'd be disappointed, but it has its advantages (the primary one being that you can play four-player deathmatch without having to lug around lots of computers and network cable).

    [ Parent ]
    you forget (4.00 / 1) (#42)
    by SEAL on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 03:02:10 AM EST

    Microsoft doesn't just make the X-Box, they also make the development tools. Don't expect to see people writing assembly code for that thing anytime soon :)

    It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
    [ Parent ]
    Q3A on DC (3.25 / 4) (#16)
    by gblues on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:16:33 AM EST

    You can play Q3A on a Dreamcast with a mouse and keyboard. There are even PS/2 -> Dreamcast adapters so you can use a standard PC keyboard (don't know if they work with the mice). Nathan
    ... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
    [ Parent ]
    Value of X-box (2.33 / 3) (#3)
    by tftp on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 01:58:49 AM EST

    It may be a good, cheap piece of hardware to make headless firewalls, VPNs etc. But I do not think that they will be able to keep the hardware unchanged for any time longer than 6 months. Computers get obsoleted so fast that it practically makes no sense to hold onto a year-old box with mere 750 MHz CPU and 64MB RAM... come on, you can have a notebook with better specs now!

    In a year from now this X-box will be ancient history. "Fall 2001", they must be kidding! MS simply has no idea how fast hardware gets obsoleted. But again, my 486-based firewall will need replacement by then :-)

    How about playstation? (4.50 / 2) (#9)
    by darthaya on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:29:50 AM EST

    Playstation had been lagged behind the the most up-to-dated hardware for years, and it is still the most popular console ever. Reason? It has kick-ass games.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: How about playstation? (2.50 / 2) (#11)
    by tftp on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:50:35 AM EST

    Playstation [...] has kick-ass games.

    Right. But X-box will be competing a lot with PCs. That's where it loses steam. If MS can lock all game developers into X-box cell - then indeed competitors will be far and between. This hasn't happened yet.

    In my POV PCs progress way too fast for game developers to ignore. PCs already have the best performance, very good graphics, very good monitors (19" below $500, like the one in front of me) - and you can make your dad to pay for all of it because he needs one for work too!

    [ Parent ]

    Hogwash (4.00 / 1) (#19)
    by sugarman on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 10:32:38 AM EST

    Computers get obsoleted so fast that it practically makes no sense to hold onto a year-old box with mere 750 MHz CPU and 64MB RAM...

    Hogwash. I have a "mere" celery 400 (non-OC'd) with an average video card and it has run any recent game just fine. I've given up on the lemming-like need to upgrade, and I still have no complaints with anything on my system.

    It's the games that matter. That's why the PSone still sold well this holiday, despite the newer alternatives on the market. If your system runs the games you like, then why do you need to upgrade?

    --sugarman--
    [ Parent ]

    Re: hogwash (4.00 / 1) (#38)
    by mihalis on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 09:37:59 PM EST

    I agree entirely. I found a system in a dumpster across the street from my office earlier this year. It wasn't quite as stripped as the other machines and in the end I discovered it had a Pentium MMX 200 and 512k pipeline burst still on the motherboard. I dug around and found a 12X CD-ROM and the side and faceplates in the same dumpster. Once I got it home I put in some new memory from Crucial and a cheap IDE hard disk, plus keyboard and mouse, and bingo, a new webserver/mailserver/shell account for my domain. Being a Dell DImension, the case is quite good quality with a high quality (i.e. quiet) fan. Nice!
    -- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>
    [ Parent ]
    X-box will be cool (3.20 / 5) (#4)
    by k5er on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:06:49 AM EST

    Its not the hardware that is the problem, so what if it becomes out of date, should I never play games because of that. The X-box looks like it will be better than all its competitors and even though computers may be better, its more fun to sit on the couch and play games using only a controller. That can't be replaced in my opinion.
    Long live k5, down with CNN.
    Re: X-box will be cool (2.66 / 3) (#10)
    by tftp on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:40:03 AM EST

    Its not the hardware that is the problem, so what if it becomes out of date, should I never play games because of that.

    Yes, you can still play. Blow layer of dust off an old Doom CD and play, for 3 minutes. Then couple of things become obvious:

    1. The screen resolution (320x240) is a disaster
    2. Characters are dumb
    3. Models of surroundings are very simple
    Compare that to Q3A. What a difference!

    Another point is that FPS games require a lot of resources - some CPU, some video. But whatever you do you want the fastest box if you want to have a winning chance against your buddies on Internet. Download Q3A demo and try a network game. Some of opponents will be bots, other will be humans, and only the one with fastest reflexes (and fastest box) wins. Some players, of course, can win even on slower hardware - but generally people are not that good, and you don't play to lose.

    Worst of all, how do I rip CDs on that X-box? :-) That would be a $64K question among the customer base (<= 15 years old). You can do that on PC, easily.

    [ Parent ]

    Biased example (4.00 / 1) (#22)
    by JohnIII on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:45:02 PM EST

    Get an N64. Old, slow console. Pick up Mario Party 1 or 2, fairly recent games. Get 3 or more friends round. Play possibly the best multiplayer game in existence. You can play for hors without getting bored/fatigued, unlike Quake 3.

    Quake 3 has the better graphics engine, no doubt. But Mario Party 1 and 2 both have superb, vibrant graphics which are enjoyable to look at. Besides which, I turned all the graphics on Q3 right down, for speed (as you say, a necessity for this game) and clarity of vision.

    Of course, if you really must have a PC game, try Civ 2. Games that are engineered to play well often outlast their hardware.

    John III



    [ Parent ]
    Along the same lines.. (3.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Scooby on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 06:00:38 PM EST

    Hell, look at Rogue/Nethack. They're text-based RPG's, and have been around since the 70's. Tell me that's not a good game :)

    [ Parent ]
    Speaking of lines... (3.00 / 1) (#35)
    by tftp on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 07:25:18 PM EST

    While in university I fought Klingons on IBM/360 (256KB RAM), on 12x80 character monitor - and I liked it :-)

    [ Parent ]
    Doom vs. Q3A (3.00 / 1) (#36)
    by end0parasite on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 08:51:35 PM EST

    I've played both Doom and Q3A. I like Doom better. I can't see a thing with Q3A and it doesn't feel as real as Doom (manueverability wise). Doom is a classic and will live on forever as one of the pioneers in first-person shooters. Q3A will never reach that legacy.

    Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    [ Parent ]
    re: Doom vs. Quake3 (3.00 / 1) (#39)
    by mihalis on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 10:01:11 PM EST

    I think Doom has atmosphere, and puzzles, making it at least some kind of single player game. Q3A looks great but it's so fast I hardly see a lot of what happens, plus it's not really a single player game at all.

    I recently upgraded my girlfriends old PC with some extra RAM before we give it to some friends of ours so I had a chance to play Doom again on a machin where the music works. I really enjoyed the music still ("Deimos Lab").
    -- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>
    [ Parent ]

    Value for money (2.75 / 4) (#5)
    by Lance on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:09:28 AM EST

    I'm not sure how much the XBox is going to cost, but after looking at the specs I suspect it won't be cheap - you're basically buying a PC. If you're going to spend that kind of money, why not buy a real PC? IMHO, a PC would offer better value for money.

    ---

    not that expensive (3.25 / 4) (#14)
    by Delirium on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:08:27 AM EST

    I've seen rumored target prices of around $300, and even $200. Microsoft has enough cash reserves that they can afford to sell the system at an enourmous loss in order to break into a new market (and start making money with the X-Box 2 or whatever, if not sooner through the game licensing fees).

    [ Parent ]
    loss-leader (3.00 / 1) (#37)
    by mihalis on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 09:31:48 PM EST

    If Microsoft discounts the hardware enough, I may have to buy an X-Box just for the delicious feeling of costing Microsoft money. Running some non-Microsoft software on it would be a pleasant added bonus if possble, but if not I'll just put it on the shelf!
    -- Chris Morgan <see em at mihalis dot net>
    [ Parent ]
    The threat to Microsoft posed by consoles (4.42 / 7) (#6)
    by Eloquence on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:17:29 AM EST

    You must credit MS with one thing: They have excellent strategists. It surprises me that they missed the rise of the Net for many years, but they have recognized many other important developments. .NET is a strategy that helps them to work around the demise of intellectual property, as the web is the ultimate copy protection, and it helps them in the antitrust case as well (this, however, is no longer a big deal with Dubya's selection).

    I could mention numerous other examples where MS has developed an extensive "arrive and conquer" strategy. Often they fail (it looks like the PDA market belongs to 3com, the ISP market to AOL, the database market to Oracle, and the web server "market" to Apache), but at least they know where the money is.

    Now, the X-Box will help them combat another strong threat: The console as a competing hard- and software platform. There is only one reason I can see that we don't have the ubiquitous "settop boxes" everyone's been talking about for years: The display. As you know, TV uses interlacing with half-pictures to reduce flicker (that's why it's so cheap), which makes small text practically unreadable. We've been hearing about the rollable, throwable, super-cheap & ultra-large displays, be it polymer-based or something else, for years, and we all know that they will arive. That's when consoles get new relevance as cheap entry systems for all.

    MS has recognized this, and they will try to conquer this market like they try to conquer the PDA market with PocketPC. Remember, they care about the software, not the hardware. So their interest is spreading WinCE as an OS for consoles, and there will probably be more than the X-Box. The problem is that it will be very easy to port games to the X-Box, so there'll be a lot of games -- plus the usual MS hype.

    What's the big deal? Well, if MS gets the market, our only hope left is Linux. But I wouldn't give up on Nintendo, Sony & Sega yet; combined, these are quite a strong competitor. And a Nintendo gaming & browsing station with a flat panel display would probably rock, at least in terms of usability. (And no, I won't go into why MS is insecure and unstable, feel free to agree or disagree, but I think that we all agree that an MS monopoly over all IT branches would be dangerous to say the least.)
    --
    Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
    spread the word!

    super-secret leaked diagrams!! (4.00 / 6) (#13)
    by Delirium on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:06:55 AM EST

    You forgot the super-secret leaked diagrams of the X-Box from The Register. =P

    Geezer Im old. I'm looking forward to this (3.50 / 6) (#18)
    by turtleshadow on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:32:40 AM EST

    I must be showing my age.
    Sometimes you just want to play a game, not realize 12 years of hard core systems knowledge isn't enough to get the "best" effect of of a game.
    I used to be the one that had the 486 Sounblaster 32 and 500MB to kick ass in Wing Commander and Falcon. Now I'm too tired to run out and get the "latest" video, sound, etc just to run the damn game.
    The only reason I dont play more consoles is there are way to many buttons! Really do you really need 2 joyhats, a 4 way switch, finger triggers, and a phalanx of thumb buttons?
    The only games I ever really was satisfied finishing were Impossible Mission I and II by Epix on the C=64 . These needed only a single button and a fourway joystick that could withstand hours of torture and each time I played each keep me entertained for hours!
    I guess Im old fashioned. I never get more than halfway on games now a days without getting board, resorting to cheat to finish or finding my equipment is too obsolete
    I guess the X-M$box may have a market with me. Its simpler to keep up with its tech curve.

    Turtleshadow


    Arcade Gamers of the world unite! Raise your hand if your carpal tunnel problem isn't too bad!


    Other consoles will still be better. (3.33 / 3) (#21)
    by Scooby on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 02:01:20 PM EST

    I can't belive that Microsoft is so stupid as to use an Intel P3 processor. Because the P3 is a CISC processor, they HAVE to get up in the 750mhz+ range to even compete with other consoles. Has anyone looked at the speed of other consoles? I think the highest is the GameCube, which will be up in the 400-500mhz range. The reason they can get so low, is they're all using RISC processors. Not to mention the X-Box is 32bit, while the current generation of consoles are all (please, correct me if I'm wrong) 128bit systems. Other consoles are designed just for games, and they do that good. It seems to me that MS has basically built a cheap computer. Hell, it even has a harddrive built in, and IMO, that's just begging for piracy. The only thing the X-Box has going good for it at the moment is NVida, and their kickass chips.

    I don't see the argument about upgradeabillity though, consoles aren't supposed to be upgraded, that's the whole point of them. Without upgradeability, it creates a standard platform, and all the games will allways preform as well as on other systems. Otherwise, it'd just be a computer. Also, the graphics in current consoles are far better the the average pc game handel at the moment. PCs won't catch up to the current generation of consoles for another year or two.

    Not to sound like I'm hating the X-Box just because it's microsoft, they have (some) good products. But the X-Box is a poorly designed console IMO. If they had went with RISC processors, instead of P3's, and have an actually cool looking case, then it'd probebly be a great console. As it is though, it's basically a computer.



    another difference (2.50 / 2) (#25)
    by xriso on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:35:31 PM EST

    AFAIK, most traditional game consoles will have several CPUs, to create a parallel processing type effect. This way, the central CPU can just do math and not have to worry about sound and video.
    --
    *** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
    [ Parent ]
    Game consoles and speed (4.00 / 2) (#27)
    by BonzoESC on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:44:00 PM EST

    The N64, although not current, is only a 64-bit box. And you can't forget that the XBox has some excellent gaming hardware, including the insanely powerful GeForce 2 (it might be a descendant of the GF2, but I don't really know0. The reason most PC games don't pull things like video game systems is because PC developers don't have standardized quality hardware to design for. Therefore, Half-Life, although it plays best on a >300 mHz machine with video acceleration, still works on a 166 mHz K6 with 32 MB of RAM and no hardware 3D. If everybody had hardware like the XBox, PC games wouldn't have toned-down graphics compared to PS2 games.

    --

    Normally, my sig is an image.
    [ Parent ]

    true, and additions (none / 0) (#46)
    by bradenmcg on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 09:06:37 PM EST

    including the insanely powerful GeForce 2 (it might be a descendant of the GF2, but I don't really know).

    it is a derivitive. It's actually better than a GF2. Quite a bit better. Plus, it uses shared RAM. developers can give the GPU a ton of ram in a first person game with heavy graphics, or give the CPU a lot of ram in a big diablo or starcraft style game with many calculations to handle and not as much pixel pushing.

    and right on about the "standardized" thing. half the reason that games aren't all amazing is because they're made for the lowest common denominator. that means there are a lot of optimizations and such that can't happen, just because it needs to work with EVERYTHING. the Xbox doesn't have those issues.

    i can't wait for the Xbox. =)

    <leonphelps>Yeah, now, uh, "sig," what is that?</leonphelps>
    [ Parent ]

    By your logic .... (2.00 / 2) (#30)
    by stepson3 on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 05:50:49 PM EST

    ... The PPC chips (G3 and G4) don't need to be as fast as their pentium counterparts, because they are RISC as well. Maybe you should get a job in Apple's Marketing department ;).

    And, on another note, why do you never hear this argument from someone who is pro-apple? Mostly they just spout on about Altivec and how great it is with photoshop ...

    [ Parent ]
    Kind of (3.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Scooby on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 05:58:48 PM EST

    What I'm saying, is that the RISC processors on the consoles are made specifically with games in mind, and that's all they need to do, so they do that very, very, very effeciantly.
    Because the P3 is a CISC processor, it needs to be well-rounded, to preform everything pretty good. So it won't preform the same operations as the RISC proccessors as fast or effeciantly

    [ Parent ]
    PowerPC (none / 0) (#43)
    by Refrag on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 12:51:53 PM EST

    They don't. Clock for clock a G4 is more powerful than a Pentium 4.

    I don't own an Apple right now, nor have I ever. But, when MacOS X comes out I will be tempted.

    Refrag

    Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
    [ Parent ]

    CISC vs. RISC (yet again) (4.50 / 2) (#40)
    by Christopher Thomas on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 12:06:22 AM EST

    I can't belive that Microsoft is so stupid as to use an Intel P3 processor. Because the P3 is a CISC processor, they HAVE to get up in the 750mhz+ range to even compete with other consoles.

    You seem to be unaware of a couple of very important points re. x86 and RISC vs. CISC in general:

    • All Intel chips from the Pentium Pro onwards have RISC-ian cores.
      CISC instructions are broken down into RISC-ian primitives and issued to the core. This makes it much easier to design the chip and much easier to optimize and re-order code in hardware.
      Actually, this is true for almost all modern CISC chips, not just Intel's.

    • There is negligeable performance difference between modern RISC and CISC chips.
      A chip with a CISC instruction set has an extra pipeline stage or two to handle decoding. Clock rate isn't affected. The extra silicon is negligeable compared to the amount spent on functional units and the scheduler.

    The CISC vs. RISC argument is a) beaten to death already and b) moot point.

    Also, re. consoles:
    • Consoles are fast because they have a kickass graphics subsystem.
      Processor speed is secondary. You need a processor decent enough to handle the physics and model transformations not handled by the graphics chip's T&L engine. That doesn't take much. Older consoles had low enough polygon counts that software T&L wasn't that big a strain. Consoles also (usually) have a wide and fast enough memory bus to make memory bottlenecking less of an issue than it is in a PC.


    [ Parent ]
    Who the? (2.75 / 4) (#24)
    by boxed on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:19:28 PM EST

    Who the hell is the rock anyhow? I've never heard of him and his website wasn't even worth being called a joke. Anyone wanna enlighten a poor european?

    He's a profesional wrestler (3.50 / 2) (#26)
    by Scooby on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 03:37:48 PM EST

    The Rock's a professional wrestler-type-person. He's (I guess, I don't pay much attention to pro-wrestling) pretty big in the US. Go figure :) I think he's gonna be in the Mummy 2 though.

    [ Parent ]
    Mummy 2, possibly Mummy 3 (4.00 / 1) (#34)
    by AdamJ on Sun Jan 07, 2001 at 07:00:57 PM EST

    He's playing the role of the Scorpion King in Mummy 2, and rumours are that if they drag it out to a third movie he'll be reprising the role, except it will also be the lead character in that flick.

    But the reason he's making it into movies is because he's probably the second most popular wrestler ever in modern times - slighly less popular than Steve Austin, IMO.

    Just tune in RAW is WAR on Monday Night and you'll see who he is - the speech he gave with Bill makes a lot more sense when you've seen what he's like in the ring...

    [ Parent ]

    take it from a game developer... (4.33 / 3) (#41)
    by SEAL on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 02:55:55 AM EST

    I'm not psychic or anything, but I think the X-Box will do very well. I've only used one of their dev stations so far but this thing has everything going for it.

    Marketing: well, I give this a B+. It really isn't unreasonable for Microsoft to be spending $500M to break into a market already dominated by some big players. Sony is a difficult opponent for anyone. I think Microsoft could've really taken the wind out of Sony's sails if the X-Box had been able to launch when the PS/2 did.

    Hardware: getting nVidia on board early was a great move. Not only that, but it rubs off favorably on PCs, since nVidia is pushing new features for DirectX.

    Development: here's the one I'm happiest about. I can't say enough good things about this. Porting a PC game to the X-Box is insanely easy compared to a PS/2 port. The only real "porting" difficulty is if you want to take advantage of a single-hardware target and add extra features.

    As for the development tools, once again - blows Sony out of the water. If Sony wasn't so big it might be called unfair competition. Here's the thing. Most of us PC game developers work in Visual C++ day to day, and use the Intel compiler for release builds. Say what you will about Windows, but the VC++ IDE is pretty good. It's nice being able to use the same thing for the X-Box.

    Contrast that with the Playstation 2: Sony won't use MS development tools, so you're stuck with CodeWarrior. Yack. Not only that, but you run into a lot of problems trying to port modern day PC games into a 32 MB system. Our most recent port is finding that a lot of textures have to be remade in order to deal with scarce memory.

    Now I'm not a marketroid so I don't know what kind of fees an X-Box game developer has to pay to Microsoft. But if they keep this competitive with Sony, I expect developers to flock to the X-Box.

    From the standpoint of the gamers, I'm not sure what will happen. The controllers are nice, but it really boils down to what kind of games are available. If Microsoft gets a respectable lineup of games early on, then this system will really take off.

    Best regards,

    SEAL

    It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything.
    The HD is the key (none / 0) (#44)
    by sugarman on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 03:05:54 PM EST

    The only real "porting" difficulty is if you want to take advantage of a single-hardware target and add extra features.

    But then you could aim the main development at the "feature-rich" system (the X-Box in this case) and then dumb it down for the PC market where the target systems can vary coinsiderably. With nVidia starting to loom as the defacto video card standard, this might not be as big an issue as it was in the past though.

    If Microsoft gets a respectable lineup of games early on, then this system will really take off.

    Well, they have Bungie's "Halo" which looks like it might be enough to sell me one on it's own. All it would take would be an agreement with Valve for a 6-month exclusive to Team Fortress 2 and they'd sell half-a-million of the damn things.

    Microsoft, love 'em or hate 'em, do have a pretty decent line-up of games. Mechwarrior, Flight Simulator, and Links have some pretty large followings, and I can't imagine these three NOT being high on the ports list.

    I think the inclusion of the hard -drive might be the key. Most other consoles have given it lip service in the past, but with the HD built in, the X-Box seems to be positioned to tajke advantage of online gaming more than any other. New maps, mods, skins, etc would all be available. And I can't think of a way to do an MMORPG without a HD for local files. 300,000 monthly subscribers to EQ is a big incentive. Hope it's something other than AC though, Ack.

    --sugarman--
    [ Parent ]

    Platform Cross-overs. (none / 0) (#45)
    by davidd on Mon Jan 08, 2001 at 07:05:48 PM EST

    Um.. don't some games developed for console eventually end up being ported to PC? So I doubt the PC scene will change much. Also, I was looking down a list of developers for the X-Box and most of them already have a strong base in PC game sales, this raises the question will the xbox be to PC-like?
    w0rd!
    Laying the Smack Down on the X-Box... | 46 comments (45 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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