XBOX 360 to be Carmacks Primary Development Platform

Discussion in 'Beyond3D News' started by Dave Baumann, Aug 15, 2005.

  1. Dave Baumann

    Dave Baumann Gamerscore Wh...
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    id Software's John Carmack has often commented that his engines target a particular feature set of a graphics board and he uses a certain boards for his primary development; for instance the Doom3 engine was initially targeted towards the features enabled by the GeForce 256 series of graphics processors, but overtime that was incremented to DirectX8 and 9 level boards, with NVIDIA's 5800 (NV30) being his primary development platform for a while. What has always been clear is that the PC, and the capabilities of PC graphics, was id's primary target market and development platform. From John's keynote speech, transcribed <a href="http://www.beyond3d.com/forum/showthread.php?p=543232#post543232" target="_b3dout">here</a> by Beyond3D forum member aaaaa00, it would appear that this is likely to change, in the interim at least:<blockquote>"<i>In the last couple weeks I actually have started working on an XBOX 360. Most of the upcoming graphics development work will be starting on that initially. It’s worth going into the reasons for that decision on there. To be clear, the PC platform will be released at least at the same time if not earlier than any of the consoles but we are putting a good deal more effort towards making sure that the development process goes smoothly onto them.</i>"</blockquote>Questions have often been asked about the state and longevity of the games market on the PC, and although John states that the PC versions of upcoming id engine based titles will appear on the PC first, it could be quite telling that such a consummate PC developer is choosing to base his development on the XBOX 360 for the time being.

    However, reading into it a little further he clearly states that "<i>most upcoming <b>graphics</b> development</i>" will be based on XBOX 360 - other than the reasons he states, this could also be because the graphics processor within the XBOX 360 will not only be relevant to the XBOX 360, but may also give more insights to future PC processors than those around now or the next year. As our <a href="http://www.beyond3d.com/articles/xenos/" target="_b3dout">article on Xenos</a>, the graphics processor behind the XBOX 360, states, the graphics processor doesn't map entirely on to any current DirectX based PC graphics processor, and whilst falling short of Shader 4.0 capabilities (as they probably haven't been entirely finalised yet, and certainly not when Xenos's design was finished) it does have capabilities beyond the current Shader Model 3.0 requirements. To add to that, the XBOX 360 processor utilises a unified shader architecture, bringing around the potential for a different balance in vertex to pixel loads, as well as a general understanding of the performance mapping - while it is almost a given that ATI will bring an architecture very similar to this for the PC, NVIDIA have also recently made suggestions that they are looking into it as well, so getting to grips with such a graphics processor now may be beneficial for PC development later.
     
  2. Acert93

    Acert93 Artist formerly known as Acert93
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    Seems like a smart move from a business perspective.

    It would appear that supporting WGF 2.0/DX10 is the way to go if a developer wants to get the best performance out of Windows Vista. That being the case, getting a leg up on some of the architectural nuances by working with the 360 puts id in a good position to get more out of DX10 faster.

    And this is not to mention that the console platform is pretty large. Releasing games on the PS3 and Xbox 360 while taking advantage of the hardware to a degree former id ports did not and releasing it withing a relatively short timeframe after the PC version releases could be a boom for sales.
     
  3. Geo

    Geo Mostly Harmless
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    Well, everyone knows that Carmack is a hopeless Nvidiot, and this just goes to. . .Uhh, never mind.


    ;)
     
  4. Jawed

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    Is this a preview of what programming under DX10 will be like?

    Jawed
     
    #4 Jawed, Aug 15, 2005
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  5. Jawed

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    Another DX10-relevant point is that he says that virtual memory (for texturing) is not in the next gen consoles:

    I wasn't expecting it in PS3, but it did seem a possibility in XB360.

    Jawed
     
    #5 Jawed, Aug 15, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2005
  6. LightHeaven

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    I may got it wrong but i think that Dave's article about Xenos says that Memexport should make it capable of doing Virtual memory functions, however it shouldn't be easy to get around the hard coded limitations on xenos...

    I guess that it is a remote possibility in XB360, like in 2 years from now developers will be able to understand 360's architeture in order to take advantage of Memexport capabilities...
     
  7. Jawed

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    That isn't virtual memory though. Also, the requirement for a virtual memory model for GPUs is mostly to do with providing access to texture data unconstrained by the quantity of RAM (a flat-memory model of texture data, effectively), and providing the programmer with an access-path to that data that doesn't force texture data to be loaded en-masse when only small fractions of it are required.

    Memexport is a technique to allow the GPU to make arbitrary writes to physical RAM (not virtual memory) - i.e. to any physical address (though I'm sure there are limitations...).

    Jawed
     
  8. inefficient

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    Bye bye OpenGL?
     
  9. blakjedi

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    Would it be possible to use the HDD as a virtual memory and memexport utilising it?
     
  10. marco

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    I found that gamespy had a pretty good article on John's speech;

    http://www.gamespy.com/articles/641/641662p1.html

    GameSpy: John Carmack on Next-Gen Consoles and Game Development: "Proponents of faster and faster processors sometimes argue that now that graphics are reaching their 'peak,' extra processing power can be dedicated to calculation-intensive physics or Artificial Intelligence. (Carmack relates how an Engineer at IBM told him that graphics were basically 'done.') Carmack disagrees, seeing that graphics still have a long way to go. 'We'd like to be doing Lord-of-the-Rings type rendering in real-time,' he states. That's still an order of magnitude more than what's possible with current machines, and Carmack is looking forward to it.

    That aside, Carmack spent a few minutes talking about Artificial Intelligence as something that can be offloaded to another processor for a cutting-edge game. Carmack is skeptical. AI is a very bleeding-edge science, and it can often be processor intensive, but when applied to games AI is usually a matter of scripting. What game designers want is a way to act as the 'director,' telling enemy and friendly characters where to stand and what to do. This doesn't take a ton of processing power.

    Moreover, even if you did throw tons of resources toward the AI, it might not be the best thing for gameplay. For instance, writing tons and tons of code to enable monsters to hide in the shadows and sneak around behind the player would be interesting, but often these types of things could be scripted for a fraction of the effort and - for most players - the experience would be just as cool if not cooler. Carmack recounts how players of the original DOOM would think that the monsters were doing all sorts of scheming and plotting and ambushing when, in truth, they were just using the equivalent of one page of C code and running the most basic of scripts.
    "
     
  11. vrecan

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    This explains Doom3 AI, he has no idea what gamers want anymore... first I hear he doesn't think physics are useful in games and then how he basicly just likes to script all "AI"... can't wait for their new game.
     
  12. Mark

    Mark aka Ratchet
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    I was thinking the same thing when I read that. As much respect as I have for the guy, he sure does have some weird views on what gamers want. Not everything is lights and shadows.
     
  13. SanGreal

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    You're much better off reading the full transcript yourself (linked in the first post) than someone elses summarized interpretation.
     
  14. Jawed

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    Seems unlikely to me if M$ is telling devs not to rely on its presence.

    Jawed
     
  15. 5150 Joker

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    Yeah I agree, seems he's becoming out of touch with what gamers want. To me physics is one of the most important aspects of a game now; if a new title doesn't have it, I automatically drop it's rating by two points on a scale of ten. I was immensely disappointed when BF2 didn't ship with the amount of destructable objects DICE first promised nor were the rag doll physics nearly as good as they hyped them to be. Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't UE 3 utilize the AGEIA PPU board? If it does then it just shows Epic is much more in tune with what gamers want in future engines than id and Carmack who seem to be stuck in the early 90s. Shadows and lighting are nice and all but they are nowhere near as important as high resolution textures, awesome physics and good AI.
     
    #15 5150 Joker, Aug 16, 2005
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  16. Jawed

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    Let's wait to see what games do with engine support for a PPU board before judging, eh?...

    Jawed
     
  17. 5150 Joker

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    Even if they don't do as much as promised, the fact that Carmack feels physics isn't a top priority item is enough to warrant my comment.
     
  18. Kanyamagufa

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    Is it just me or was one of the key complaints about Doom 3 (from multiple reviewers) the fact that it was much too reliant on scripted AI? Not only that but weren't there also compaints about it being to much of the same thing happening over and over, ie. just monstors continuously jumping out at you from the shadows?

    I agree that JC needs to re-evaluate what he believes gamers want.
     
  19. Neeyik

    Neeyik Homo ergaster
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    Well, just ask yourself this - how much of the NPC action I saw in HL2, FC and SCCT was scripted and how much of it was freeform?
     
  20. Sunday

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    I think that JC is completely correct, and is trying to make point that to many people is “blinded†by the power of today GPU’s and are convinced that point should be shifted to other things like AI, and PP. And the fact is that we are long way even from Real Time type of rendering shown in FF: Spirits within, and TLOTR is in field of imagination!

    And hi is completely right when he is telling that designer is acting like director “telling†his creatures what to do in a different time and place in a different level of game. Wishing something more “intelligent†from ingame creatures call for much, much powerful processing, and much more time spent for programming. Same goes for physics. It is only useful for level decoration and it is only fraction of gameplay experience. Is it really so important to have exact physically calculated smoke, water, explosion, and grass waving?!?!

    I’m not telling that AI, and PP shouldn’t be in a developer focus, but JC is a graphic guru, and hi only want what is best, and faster for him. And hi has a point when telling that what is most important in current and upcoming games is visual richness! And I would rather spend 300€ for another video card to setup SLi/CrossFire setup, and have more detailed graphics, then physically accurate surroundings!
     
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