Strengths and weaknesses of GameCube relative to its peers *spawn

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by phoenix_chipset, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. Shifty Geezer

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    The source was an experienced game artist presenting data from an investigation as an aid to other game artists. Original blog isn't available but here's a link explaining it...
    http://www.game-artist.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3241
    There was a double asterisk with the 30M/s figure which isn't explained without access to the blog which is no longer online.

    I won't argue this proves the 30 million figure, but you dismissed it out of hand without appreciating where it came from. It was an insider figure of a game the artist saw and felt worth mentioning as being useful to other game artists. Possibly the game didn't see release because it didn't run well enough, but that should be the level of your counter argument, rather than a snooty 'yeah well that company went bust and didn't even release the game so it was probably vapourware anyway.'

    It's well known the PS2 can produce far more polygons than GC, and if you question that then you are seriously ill informed. PS2 can produce many times more polygons on screen than GC because it has to because it's a multi-pass renderer. By and large the same polygons were drawn multiple times using the immense polygon and pixel drawing capabilities (in which the PS2 was by far the most powerful console of its generation and quite probably will always be relatively the most powerful console in those two areas because we use different techniques now). The end result was using several triangles to achieve the same look as one triangle on the other machines with single-pass multitexturing etc. However, in some cases where you could get away with just one pass like particles, PS2 was unequalled. You could end up with a situation where the PS2 drew more polygons than GC, had simpler object geometry than GC (drawing the same triangles multiple times per object), and yet have more particles and better effects than GC.

    As a final reference point to try and illustrate it's not as black and white as you think, check out this side-by-side for Baldur's gate Dark Alliance 2 (which is not in any way a good side-by-side video!), a very well made PS2 (skip 1 minute).

    There's a clear IQ advantage to the PS2 in this vid, where the game was supersampled (rendered at twice normal resolution and downsampled) only on PS2. GC res looks quite low. You also see more water detail on PS2. Was the GC less capable? Was it just a weak port? It's always the same with every platform comparison, which is why on B3D we restrict ourselves to discussing the particulars and seeking meaningful data instead of just what looks good to our eyes.
     
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  2. phoenix_chipset

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    Didn't know that, but it's still the end result of geometric complexity that matters. Not talking about particles, just model detail. Where Xbox and gamecube are clearly superior. Esp. GC, once again looking at games like RS and Prime, but hey you or anyone can show me different anytime.

    Except perhaps, as I read above in gamecube's case of being designed for more static geometry. I looked up the sales of the burnout games on Xbox and gamecube, and they're seemingly pretty similar so perhaps there is some credence to the gamecube not quite being up to snuff for that game. I just had it in my mind that it had to be about sales. After all, I said before Criterion was an impressive studio. In fact, Criterion is pretty much the only 3rd party studio that managed to make a AAA port run and look better on Wii U (need for speed most wanted U) ; they give good efforts.
     
    #42 phoenix_chipset, Mar 1, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2017
  3. phoenix_chipset

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    Too bad there's no Xbox emulation, we could look at the wireframe models in Xbox games for comparison, like we can do in dolphin. Factor 5 posted those polygon figures themselves, and as for Prime the wireframe modeling is much more complex when compared to something like Halo CE. I'd like to look at Riddick and doom later.

    I guess it's true there's no perfect comparison to be had here at the end of the day when we can't look at every game, but everything i've seen points in the gamecube's favor with regards to this particular aspect.
     
  4. function

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    Why? Doom 3 and Riddick chose to do something other than chase peak polygon complexity in order to acheive visuals that the GC couldn't hope to acheive. They created bump maps out of super high poly models to achieve a level of detail GC was incapable of. Even launch day Halo CE used bump maps to create a level of detail never before seen using geometry.

    When PS2 and Xbox chased polygon complexity, they both exceeded what the GC could do. Case in point: 30 million pps for an early Xbox game with specular and fresnel.

    Xbox could setup 1 tri every 2 cycles. GC was at best 2 cycles per triangle, and likely lower, and it also ran at a significantly lower frequency.

    More cycles per triangle would make back face culling increasingly expensive.

    It doesn't, that's just how you perceive it.
     
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  5. dogen

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    Check out this ps2 demo to see some cool mesh deformation and other stuff it could do.

     
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  6. HTupolev

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    I've always felt that this is a very silly comparison, for reasons largely going back to Halo's development blitz. The game was extremely rushed or, in Mat Noguchi's words, they made a conscious decision to ship as a launch title with a brand spankin' new console.

    First, a lot of geometry assets were final or near-final before the game was either an FPS or on the Xbox. Take a look at the E3 2000 prototype trailer, for instance; lots of character assets are on display. When they moved the game to Xbox, the final visual makeup was constructed to look good around the existing geometric and texturing styles while taking advantage of newer lighting tech. So although it was in many ways graphically modern, it makes very little sense to use it in a geometry-showcasing comparison.

    Second, visibility-friendly design was one of the things tossed into the ditch as Bungie threw the levels together. As a result, although poly density is low in world-space, it's highly variable in screen-space. To facilitate a remotely playable game (and especially one which enjoys very little obvious pop-in in 2001) you sort of *have* to have low world-space density in this circumstance. Like, this right here, you've got a clear look through huge numbers of semi-transparenct objects across the whole battlefield, making it basically impossible to cull:

    [​IMG]

    (On the plus side, this had awesome effects in terms of unconstraining level and encounter design.)

    Also, Halo potentially has to use its geometry more than Prime. For instance, Prime largely uses blob shadows, whereas objects in Halo 1 feature rasterized shadows with enormous draw distance. That's admittedly a very difficult comparison though.

    //==============================

    As for actual relative GCN's geometry capabilities... seems complicated.

    Depending on a game's particular effects makeup, I suppose it's possible that the greater amount of certain ops/data that Flipper can handle in a single pass could mean less redundant triangle setup and rasterization.

    IIRC, one of ERP's old posts suggested that GCN scaled pretty well with geometry density. Could have made boosting tri density a good-looking compromise compared with other platforms. Maybe.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
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  7. phoenix_chipset

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    Except RS, a launch title has bump mapping. Star fox has bump mapping. That is a faulty argument, you can only argue the lighting aspect of Doom and Riddick. TEV, don't gloss it over and ignore evidence. Forget the cube, if it couldn't do it than Wii couldn't either, yet we have Mario galaxy and the conduit as examples that come to mind that do use it. Devs may have chosen to use these techniques less than Xbox, but they're capable of them all the same.

    For everyone to see -

    [​IMG]

    And your only defense against RS and Prime's poly count is a game that didn't exist, people outside of this group would find that ridiculous. IF that game ever existed in a playable format, it could of ran at 5fps, had the simplest of textures with 0 lighting ; you just don't know. Stick to facts, you lost that one. Hell, i'd respect your argument if you could even tell me the Xbox game that does have the highest polygon count per second, then we could take a look at the other aspects of its design and where it compromised, perhaps it IS doing more than those GC games. But you provide no evidence whatsoever, and I won't go around in circles on this issue any further.

    ^ To the above poster, yeah I suppose Halo v. Prime isn't the fairest comparison when it did start out as a PC game, but Prime and P2 against Halo 2 would be perfectly fair.
     
  8. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Fallacious argument 'm afraid. Is the reason Wii able to use bump mapping because devs finally worked out how to, in which case GC could, or because the rest of the system resources were progressed enough to make it possible? Because though Wii is architecturally the same, it's still faster and you can't discount that. It could well be that a feature present on a Wii game was technically possible on GC but practically impossible because it took too long to execute.

    eg. Let's take Rogue Squadron (or any other game) on GC and then consider a hypothetical console released 3 years earlier on the same architecture but running at 1/4 the clocks and other resources. Would those same games be possible? No. Effects would have to be dialled back and the visuals simplified because regardless what hardware features are there, there's a basic power limitation on what can be used. Or a game running on console and mobile. Mobile graphics chips have all the features needed to run PS360 games (actually more with better GPU architectures), but don't look as good because they don't have the power needed to implement those features in the same games.
     
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  9. phoenix_chipset

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    Oh I understand that, but function makes it seem like he's saying the architecture doesn't support bump mapping when it clearly does. If he did not mean to say this, he can say so.

    It was unnecessary to even use the Wii in the argument, when gamecube games already use those effects. It was just further info to say that the architecture indeed supported those features.
     
  10. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    There seems to be quite a bit you don't know. If you are more polite and ask questions and listen to those who actually worked on these machines, you'll probably learn a lit. ;)
    Only if you make the discussion that. This is the tech forum on B3D, and conversation has to adhere to a high standard of clarity so we can have meaningful discussion. If you only meant on-screen game object polygon counts, you needed to clarify that's what you were talking about. Then there'd be a discussion about why PS2 could draw more polygons yet had simpler models, and then you'd learn about the different rendering methods, the challenges the hardware designers faced in coming up with their solutions, the trades each console had to make and what that meant for the developers and the games produced.

    That's why you should be posting here, to discuss and educate those who have less (real) info than you and learn from those who have more. If you're just posting to preach a set of console beliefs, you shouldn't be in this forum.

    Right. It was just a feeling based on assumptions and world view, which you then stuck with even when presented with meaningful info that challenged that belief. Maybe some of your other ideas aren't right either? ;)
     
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  11. Shifty Geezer

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    There was a difference, that much I know. Xbox supported normal mapping whereas GC only supported another form of bump mapping (EMBM). Not sure how that factors in to the discussion or points being made, so function will have to discuss that.

    Indeed, so just focus on the relevant discussion points.
     
    #51 Shifty Geezer, Mar 1, 2017
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  12. phoenix_chipset

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    I see. There doesn't seem to be any game on GC that uses normal mapping, (or Wii game) however I would say that even if it were capable of such, that the combination of higher polygon counts and environment mapped bump mapping seen in RS for example would not only produce superior results visually, but run faster. Flipper seems to have been designed for high polygon counts, first and foremost to produce high levels of detail. In other words, GC didn't "need" normal mapping.

    Certainly looking at riddick, though it's modeling is more complex than Doom, still doesn't have the model complexity of these gamecube and wii games that also have detailed surfaces from using bump mapping.
     
  13. phoenix_chipset

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    Even today, game developers may choose to render their game's visuals through pure detail, instead of using advanced mapping techniques. Nioh on PS4 for example doesn't use Parallax occlusion mapping, a common technique today (I think even the first crysis uses it?) and instead pumps out raw polygonal detail to created its detailed surfaces. So definitely, saying GC cannot do a certain technique does not mean it produces inferior results.

     
  14. dogen

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    See this is kinda a defense force type attitude.

    They were discussing whether the cube was actually capable of certain effects that Doom 3 and Riddick used, but now you're saying those effects don't really matter because the gamecube can do the same or better in another way.
     
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  15. function

    function None functional
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    The fact that you're arguing that Doom 3 lighting isn't related to "bump mapping" shows you don't get it. Don't accuse people of glossing over and ignoring things when you have no understanding and no wish to understand anything, and when you dismiss the opinions of developers like ERP and Carmack without a moments consideration.

    I'll try one last time: there are different types of bump mapping. The way that Doom 3 calculates its lighting requires a process that - as far as I understand it - you can't do in the TEV. Because the TEV is a clever texture combiner, and can't calculate per element light vectors to generate dot products with. AFAIK it can only use a single light vector per texture, and generate its dot products from that. Nothing in RS or Star Fox contradicts this, so enough of the screenshots.

    If you have evidence that it can (documentation, developer comments) please post them.

    Firstly, I don't need a "defence" because this isn't a war for anyone except you - by far the most ignorant poster in the conversation. Given the developer behind the comments I have no reason to doubt it.

    Secondly, why would I care about what most of the people outside this group would think? What kind of technical argument is that?

    Thirdly, even if the the game ran at 5fps, that wouldn't change the number of polygons per second. 30 mpps @ 1 hz is still 30 mpps. And they already stated 4 texture layers.

    Fourth, I don't need to know the game with highest polygon count. That's reducing the argument to a single un-knowable data point and attaching an arbitrary level of importance to it. I know straight from a developer that PS2 and Xbox could handle higher levels of geometry [edit: and realistically process it more flexibly]. And I know there were PS2 games drawing ~10 million pps (drawing) and so most likely transforming twice that. And Xbox was significantly faster than PS2 at transforming geometry (again straight from a programmer).

    Arrgghhhhhhh!

    That is a stunningly misinformed statement.

    Once again: you reduce model complexity and build detail using normal maps. That's the point of industry standard tools like Z-brush. There will almost certainly be games using much higher polygon counts than Doom 3 and Riddick on Xbox, because they aren't building world detail using normal maps.
     
    #55 function, Mar 1, 2017
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  16. function

    function None functional
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    Silly me! Here are some public figures for high poly test throughput on the Geforce 4 Ti 4400, in a DX 8 benchmark, direct from Anand:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/875/8

    With one light: 46.5 million
    With eight lights: 11.5 million.

    Three things to note: Xbox frequncy was 233 vs 275 for the Ti 4400, but Xbox could pump out more triangles per clock for some reason (2 cycles / tri vs 2.2 cycles / tri), and these results were also without low level Xbox optimisation. And as we know from ERP ...

    You could get more done on the Xbox than you could with roughly equivalent hardware on PC if you optimised for the hardware. So if a skilled developer says they could hit 30 mpps peak on their Xbox exclusive game, yeah, that's not so hard to believe. It's very well within the bounds of what we know the hardware can do.

    In terms of hardware T&L, there's nothing on record that could catch GF4. Not even the GF4 MX 460 @ 300 mhz (31.2 / 7.3). Sega/PowerVRs beast of a chip Elan would have been interesting at 300 mHz though, and certainly for scenes with multiple light sources. Elan was something else back in 2000.

    Speaking of which .... how 'bout some more arcade retro DF??
     
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  17. Nesh

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    Thats mighty impressive. When did this demo happen and for what purpose? I ve seen dozens of PS2 tech demos but never this one
     
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  18. dogen

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    It's a demoscene production, not anything official.
     
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  19. phoenix_chipset

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    And i'll say one last thing as well, with regards to graphics. Normal maps don't fix the lack of geometric complexity on heads, fingers and limbs. So in Doom 3 (also Chaos theory) and riddick (though riddick himself looks fairly rounded) you end up with much more blocky looking models, though they have extra surface detail. Halo combat evolved looks downright primitive compared to a large number of games on all 3 of these consoles because of its low poly counts and stiff animation. I thought about it, and when I think of the most impressive Xbox games to me, none of them have normal mapping, and they run at high frame rates, or at least stable 30fps. Panzer dragoon orta, Conker, Voodoo vince outrun 2 etc. etc.

    I acknowledge the xbox is capable of this type of lighting and "bump mapping", while the others cannot, it's just that I don't think the console has any business using these techniques. The lighting may be more advanced, but it isn't exactly more pleasing to the eye and it results in significant sacrifices to other parts of the game.

    A few posts back (#185) I acknowledged that the cube and Wii couldn't do the type of lighting seen in doom. When you said :
    You didn't specify normal maps, which is why I brought up bump mapping again.

    By "GC didn't need normal mapping" I mean GC didn't need normal maps to compete with Xbox on a graphical level.

    We're discussing the gamecube and Xbox, the lighting in those games was just a part of that conversation. But yes, that's what i'm saying.

    Nothing but more theoretical data and no in game results. If I don't see results, I don't care, which is why I brought up if outsiders looked into this conversation ; they likely wouldn't either.

    If someone says the Xbox was more capable simply because it could use rendering techniques the GC could not, that's true, but in terms of all around detail and actual results (games) both consoles are pretty similar, though I still say gamecube edges it out (except with games like burnout); it certainly has less bottlenecks and was the more thought out piece of hardware, in fact it's probably the most well rounded console period. Though admittedly that's me looking at 5th gen onward.

    It's good to know gamecube couldn't do anything I thought it could and insights to how the ps2 renders games, that's all good stuff. But without evidence and results, my outlook's not going to change.

    After your response (which I will read and consider) i'd like to talk about the cpus next. I admit the my idea of the gekko being superior was *sorta* based around that Factor 5 clock frequency comment, so it's probably not as good as I thought it was. But I also know it has more registers and cache for starters. Anyways, i'd like to learn anything I can about these cpus.
     
    #59 phoenix_chipset, Mar 2, 2017
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  20. Shifty Geezer

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    So you're saying the snow in this image should have been just flat with no bumps?

    [​IMG]

    Normal maps aren't a substitute for good geometry, but they definitely are necessary to add detail because the amount of geometry you actually need is ridiculous, beyond even the latest GPUs.

    You're complaining about artistic choices and compromises which were part of that generation, and you're also being highly subjective is selecting your performance criteria. For you personally, high object detail trumps all, so you attribute 'the best' console to the one that satisfies your perception. Which is fine as a subjective discussion of 'what console do you prefer?' but no good for a technical discussion of the hardware.

    Basically, like so may, you already have a view and the discussion isn't about challenging that but expressing it, to the point technical arguments are brushed aside and you stick with gut feelings. Which you are entitled to do, but not in the B3D Tech fora. Please stick to facts and evidence and, ideally (although not required), please come with an open mind ready to accept one's view may not be accurate and there may be other ways to look at things. I don't think I'm wrong to say many of us were once somewhat blinkered fanboys who have since outgrown such limited thinking thanks to B3D. I found this place many years ago trying to found out how good/bad (okay, how totally Awesome and Superior) PS2 actually was, migrating through various lesser forums until I found this one and got real answers that challenged my preconceptions. Then I came to see all the machines as different engineering solutions and came to understand it's really about the software and the developers, and the whole branding thing is bollocks only worth indulging in as a fun pasttime as long as one can keep it from getting serious.
     
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