Thursday, August 31, 2006

John Carmack takes on the Next-Generation Video Game Consoles.

A few days ago , i had the pleasure to watch this video from YouTube. I never seen Mr. Carmack speaking in public before. He seems to be a nice and straight to the point geeky guy =P. A true monster from the computer and Video Games history.

When asked about the next-generation game console war(XBox 360 X PS3). He said that both platforms will kick ass , each on its own manner.

Microsoft's strategy actually is to maximize the number of developers for it's new platform and to boost the strength of the XBox as a gaming platform.
With a powerful set of tools, DirectX based API to access hardware features, simple hardware architecture(Simmetric CPU's, PC-like), the recently announced XNA studio (for Indie Developers) etc.

On the other side , Sony isn't interested in maximizing the fame of the Playstation... there's no need to do it for obvious reasons. It's been 10 years that Sony is standing at the top of the world and they will do anything to keep their kingdom safe in the next generation. So , they built a killer (and expensive) machine , with a complex and sophisticated CPU architecture (Cell), Blu-ray Disc Drive , HDMI video output, Bluetooth support.... and the list goes...

Carmack said that the PS3 have more 'theoretical power' than XBox, and emphatized that the development of games for the PS3 will be a tough task due to the uncommon CPU architecture.

But i don't know... i really liked the set of tools for development on the PS3... a nice fraction of the tools are based on open-standards like OpenGL, COLLADA and OpenVG. There are also some cool vendor-spacific middleware stuff like Havok Physics and the highly scalable Kynapse AI Middleware(from Kynogon, AI middleware supplier of E.A , Atari and even the British Aerospace Division =P).
There are rumors that even the GNU tools are being implemented! A gcc compiler for PS3 would be lovely XD!

Well , if Carmack said it's tough it really should be... Let's consider , he made the first FPS engine for the PC with killer and fast paced action. Better: it used to run perfectly on the 386 with a few megabytes of RAM.

I'm really curious to know which platform will reign on the next generation. The history of video games has proved before that a powerful hardware isn't enough for a well succeded gaming platform.Sony really wants to push the gaming to the next level. It's a matter of time for us to know if Sony is pushing too hard or not..

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hands on!

Lately i've been drowning into gameDev pool. The Design stage has just started, and i'm taking notes of almost every insight i got(i need to detail more components, so , i need to get some inspiration playing the game that i'm taking as a model).
We decided not to use the M3G API , and use the basic J2ME lcdui package to handle the core 2D graphics stuff. The class diagram is taking shape....

In parallel , i'm taking the time and having some contact with an excellent 3D Modelling Tool : Maya (which was recently bought by Autodesk for our happiness or sadness...)
Damn , it's so full of resources the you can easily get lost on it. Well , i'm taking some baby steps on it and having the first contact with the tool.
Along with Maya , i'm boosting up m C++ Skills. I never developed something real with it.
To get back into the C++ mood after one year with Java running on my veins, i'm reading Effective C++ from Scott Meyers (it's a great resource for whom had some decent contact with the language..)
It provides some great tips on the essentials of the language , explaining the rationale behind it. Now i'm checking the memory management chapter and i realized what make so much people run from C++ just like vampires from the Holy Cross... Geez , memory handling in C++ can become a very complicated issue... There are lots of mecanisms to do that like: overloading the new and delete operators, implementing constructors and destructors in a balanced manner, handling pointers like a surgeon etc.... In Java everything is so peaceful with the garbage collector thing.
But we must remember, decently written C++ is far more fast and deadly than Java and period.
For us who deal with heavy processing like real time rendering systems , audio and video programming , etc. The need for fast native code makes C++ one of the main tools available.
So get your templates ready and watch out for memory leaks!!