Saturday, April 14, 2007

Dark Future of the Video Game Consoles Realm?

Last week John Romero was interviewed by the Adrenaline Vault , and when asked about the Console-War he commented the fact that Video Game Consoles have a very obscure future. The possible convergence of a new GPU/CPU integrated multi-core architecture in a near future represents a threat for the actual PC-Like console model (like PS3 and XBox 360).

This tech-tendency is getting stronger since AMD aquired ATI for U$ 5.4 bi and the constant rumors of a Intel-Nvidia merger as well.

John highlighted that the PC possibly will rule the hardcore gamers realm in the next generations. Because of the cheaper, more powerful hardware + lower development costs +recent MMORPG fever + stronger anti-piracy methods around. In this scenario , consoles will remain as the standard appliance for easy entertainment of casual gamers.

This is a valid possibility, considering that the consoles main strength are longer platform liveness and uniformity of hardware specifications needed
to run game titles. For example : You don't have to worry about the amount of RAM of your Playstation in order to run it's Street Fighter Alpha 2 release.
On the computer things get complicated, in most times you gotta check things like "DirectX-9 Compatible Videocard with Vertex Shader Support" before buying a game. Standard users will ask "What the %@%# is Vertex Shader support?"

When thinking about all these stuff i remembered the Nintendo Wii's strongest Points : Cool and Intuitive Gaming , without jerking hardware firepower.
One of these days a guy stated in a Orkut community that Nintendo screwed up again with the Wii. My reply was :

I don't think Nintendo screwed up this time... Back at Nintendo64-era, the decision of

using cartridges as storage medium was a gruesome mistake and Nintendo deserved its defeat

for the Sony PlayStation.

Although, this time Nintendo is being alot smarter with the Wii, exploring elements like simplicity, gameplay innovation and human-machine interaction. Maybe i'm wrong but my first impression about this first round of the 7-gen console war is that
Sony and Microsoft are too worried to boost their machines so the Source Engine can run
with dazzling FPS rates in high-resolutions.

Why would Nintendo try to compete with the techno-masturbators of this generation?
They lost enough money with the N64/GameCube fiascos... the solution to recover their remarkable position is to reach other user groups. The ones that don't care if they are playing a game with the hottest graphical engine around or if the Cell processor has 7 cores.

Maybe Wii can reach a very remarkable position in a near future.. Its mission is critical: Recover Nintendo's platform credibility lost over the last 10 years.(Their kickin-ass game franchises like Mario, Zelda et al remained as the only strong point to aquire a Nintendo system in the last 2 generations)
Remember : NES's hardware was very similar to the Atari 2600 (with some mods, of course) and it was enough to revive the game market after the 1983's fall. What makes a console is the creativity and quality of its games.

I'm not bullying PS3 or Xbox 360(believe me, i want a I just want to point that you don't need the ultimate hardware to provide nice digital entertainment

In Synthesys : Consoles may lost room in the hardcore gamers guild. But in my opinion, the PC games need some improvement in the "design quality" factor to be as fun as the games released for the Consoles. So, in order for this "prediction" become concrete we need more killer PC games around.
For example : I have a hot PC at the moment and all i want to play right now are Playstation 2 and Wii titles... lol

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Recent Bachelor's Projections

It's been a while since my last post... back at that time, i was working my ass off to develop my graduation paper, understand the J2ME API's and provide a simple but interesting mobile gaming framework. Thanks to the good lord everything went great, and now i'm enjoying a period free of academic duties.

Well, i really loved being in college : A great experience... it opened my mind for thousands of things and made me think better. Now that the fixed compromise of being 7:00am at a college class no longer exists, i can allocate my time on personal projects and learning interesting technologies/stuff.

First of all, i need to check if Game Programming/Development is really a area that i want to master. I liked alot the small contact i've had, but i intend to move on bigger and more elaborated stuff. The main problem about GameDev is the fact that it's too hard to do it alone. For example, without some graphical arts done it's creepy hard to code/test the entities behavior and to shape the gaming world. So, in order to master Game Programming, you need to be in complete synergy with artists and a team. This dependency level is complicated as building a band's lineup. To be more concise, it @#!% things up....
I'm inside a game remake project that is stuck at the basic design stage. I have a simple architecture in mind, but the afraid of facing C++ code without the Scott Meyers book is buggin me . Just need to stop being a chicken and set a Ogre3D development environment in my PC, period. Using jMonkeyEngine can be a great pick too!

In parallel with that i'll be attending some Computer Science Math classes (my math skills are too sloppy) and a basic Blender modelling course between April and June. I'm having a hard time to learn these stuff on my own...

I intend to boost my Algorithm Analisys background as well with the great OpenCourseWare program supported by MIT. Obs : i'm growing insanely curious about four languages(in ascending order) : Smalltalk, Lisp, Ruby and Python . It's so cool to check around and see this myriad of programming paradigms! I'm pretending to reflect on these very soon :)

Maybe i'm not that far from a "college environment" anyway... lol