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Resident Evil 4 PS2 Porting Problems 93

Posted by Zonk
from the just-buy-a-cube dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Gamesarefun is reporting that Capcom is having serious difficulty in porting Resident Evil 4, to Sony's PlayStation 2. The numbers behind the graphical differences are interesting, since Capcom sites a few specifics. Apparently the original model for Leon Kennedy in the GameCube version has had to be scaled down from 10,000 polygons to 5000 for the PS2 version, which is equal to both the poly count for Naked Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3 as well as the poly count of the typical villager in the GameCube version of RE4."
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Resident Evil 4 PS2 Porting Problems

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  • by ArsonSmith (13997) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:30AM (#11606450) Journal
    Is the PS2 that underpowered or is this just a familiarity problem? Or is just optimizing for the GameCube that much different than the PS2? I'd think Capcom would have plenty of experience with the PS2 by now.
    • by vasqzr (619165)

      They key is memory. The PS2 (which came out earlier) doesn't have as much RAM as the GC for this type of thing. So the textures have to be less detailed, 8/4 bit instead of 24 bit, and they can't have as many polygons...

      On the other hand, in some games it goes the OTHER way, the GC discs do not have as much space as the PS2's DVD discs, so sometimes the Gamecube version of a game has less detail.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:45AM (#11606593)
        The Dreamcast came out before PS2, yet still had double the video ram PS2 has.

        • Compare the video resolution of the Dreamcast to that of the PS2 and you'll understand why it needs more. 8MB vs 4MB. The PS2 has 32MB system RAM compared to the DC's 16MB system RAM. Both consoles have 2MB audio RAM.
          • The Dreamcast also had texture compression whereas the PS2 does not, so that 8MB and 16MB were a lot more effective as far as textures were concerned.

            Even then, 640x480x16bits is about 1MB. So even with frame buffering and the Z buffer, there's still more video RAM hanging around. I also remember a few Dreamcast games using 320x240 resolution.

            On the other hand, while the Dreamcast did have more video RAM, I don't think it was embedded into the GPU like the PS2's (which I assume meant much lower bandwidt
      • I for one hope Sony has learned their lessons from the last two playstations and don't skimp out on memory for the PS3.
    • I really don't think this is redundant. It's a good question, really. But I think that the problems with the PS2 poly counts is not so much a "performance" issue as it is a development kit issue. I remember that the PS2 has a relatively tough learning curve and is really picky about how certain processess are done, particularly with polygon counts during certain grpahical processes and anti-aliasing. I haven't RTFA, but I'll bet that it's mostly a developement process woe, rather than a hardware or performa
      • I haven't RTFA, but I'll bet that it's mostly a developement process woe, rather than a hardware or performance limitation that is causing the frustrations.

        I'll take that bet.

        From TFA: "According to various Japanese publications, the new Resident Evil 4 team is encountering a few problems porting Resident Evil 4 to the PS2. Why do you ask? Hardware, Hardware, Hardware."

        "One of the big issues the team over at Capcom is facing is the fact that the PS2's texture memory capacity is far smaller than the

    • The PS2 isn't necesarily "underpowered," but it is older hardware than the Gamecube. It's weaker for sure, but that's just a sign of its age and not an implication of poor quality. This also has to do with the fact that the game was specifically designed with the Gamecube hardware in mind. Getting it to work on the PS2 is going to be a minor miracle.
      • I own a PS2, and I can admit the hardware was just weak engineering. There was so much emphasis on the new "emotional engine" during launch that this feature is virtually unused today.

        Then there is the lousy DVD drive. I went thru 2 playstations already cause of malfunctional drives. No, I don't mod or do anything. I just game all day. RE4 doesn't port, no surprise at all.

        • Here here on the DVD drive. That thing is a piece of crap, and I've repaired one so far for a friend (though I have a later model PS2 so I don't have that problem).

          Also, about your comment about the "emotional engine" feature not being used today ... "Emotion Engine" is the name of the PS2's CPU (and for completeness, "Graphics Synthesizer" is the name of the GPU). It's not a feature at all. The reason they kept saying that it would add emotion to games is that the 300 MHz (350 MHz?) clock speed was su
      • One could say that it is underpowered, considering that it was largely eclipsed (in most respects) by the fantastic Dreamcast system. Though it was two years older, it was still probably the more powerful of the two. It wasn't uncommon for multiplatform games to look and play better on the Dreamcast when it was around.

        I'm of the opinion that the PS2 was a dated and design from the day it was released. It does, however, have a lot of fantastuc games that never made it to the Dreamcast (or Gamecube for th
    • by Grey Ninja (739021) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @12:58PM (#11607390) Homepage Journal
      I've been saying for months now that the PS2 wouldn't be able to handle the game. Reason being that Resident Evil 4 is a poster child for the true power of the GameCube. PS2 lacks several things required to make the game really work.

      Load times. The GameCube version of the game streams in a lot of data from the disc when navigating through levels. Moving from inside to outside is seamless, and the GameCube has been designed to minimize the effect that this has on gameplay. The PS2 on the other hand... is lucky to even load a codec conversation in MGS.

      Level size. The PS2 has but a fraction of the RAM available to the GameCube. The levels in RE4 can quite often be huge, and often have some complex geometry. The closest I've seen on PS2 is MGS3, and having played both.... I assure you that the GameCube is the CLEAR winner in this case. Also of note in this case is Metroid Prime or Eternal Darkness... which both managed to stream the levels off the disc, eliminating load times completely. (In the case of Eternal Darkness, load times were artificially inserted, as the player couldn't react to the new room quick enough). At any rate, this should be a non-issue, given that I've seen many GameCube games without load times, but have yet to see a PS2 game do the same. And levels are almost always bigger on a GameCube than a PS2.

      Polygons. They are the nice little things that make a 3D model. GameCube often has upward of 6 or 7 enemies attacking you simultaneously, with a high poly player model, all while rendering incredibly detailed backdrops. Again, the closest thing that I am aware of on the PS2 is MGS3, which never has more than 4 or 5 enemies attacking you... and each with significantly less polys. Also worthy of note, GameCube is still the current leader for most polygons pushed in a console game with Rebel Strike. Rebel Strike pushes upwards of 20 million polys per second, which far outdoes the closest competitor on PS2 or Xbox.

      Textures. The PS2 attempts to make up for lack of memory by giving some absolutely insane memory bandwidth. This allows you to swap textures out in memory, but you will not be able to hold nearly as many as the GameCube can. GameCube also has the advantage of 6:1 texture compression. This all results in the color depth of the PS2 textures being greatly reduced. Once again, this is probably going to be related to level size.

      Anyways, this is just a few reasons why RE4 on PS2 just won't work.
      • by BRock97 (17460)
        Also of note in this case is Metroid Prime or Eternal Darkness... which both managed to stream the levels off the disc, eliminating load times completely....

        I appreciate your optimism here, but even Metroid Prime had load times. Even though they were few and far between, there were instances where I shot a door and had to wait 2-5 seconds for it to open before I could continue into the next section. During that period, I could hear the laser head on my 'Cube moving back and forth pretty fast loading dat
        • I appreciate your optimism here, but even Metroid Prime had load times. Even though they were few and far between, there were instances where I shot a door and had to wait 2-5 seconds for it to open before I could continue into the next section. During that period, I could hear the laser head on my 'Cube moving back and forth pretty fast loading data.

          I've seen this pause in Metroid Prime as well, and it generally happens when I run through a large room quickly (generally towards the end of the game) or if

      • Last I checked the PS2 has 32M of RAM + 4M of framebuffer RAM.

        The Gamecube has 24M system SRAM + 16M of dram.

        I'll agree that the 36 is a fraction of 40... but maybe 9/10ths isn't what you were going for.
        • Actually, you forget that GCN has 6:1 texture compression. If you use 6MB of memory for code, geometry, scripts, AI, etc... it leaves 18MB of memory for textures. You can fit 108MB of 24-bit textures in that remaining space.

          On the PS2, you can use that same 6MB of space for the code and shit. But you still need to use some space for sound and textures. (GameCube uses 16MB of SDRAM for sound data). If you use 8MB for sound data (I'm being generous), then you have a total of 32-6-8 = 18MB for textures
      • Metroid Prime didnt eliminate load times at all, there were long elevator sequences, and you waited long periods of time for doors to the next level to open

        As for massive enemy counts, Timesplitters 2 for PS2 supports 4 players, and 12 AIs

      • The original Jak and Daxter for PS2 had virtually no load times.
  • by kenthorvath (225950) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:41AM (#11606540)
    Is this good or bad for Nintendo? On the one hand, it is good that they seem to have superior hardware, but if cross platform portability is at stake, will this drive away more producers than it attracts?
    • Of course it's good for Nintendo, this is why they are still in business. They have a great little console, which (in my opinion) is more powerful than the PS2.

      I'm not a Sony basher, I love my PS2, my GTA series, and Gran Turismo, but most games that have been developed for both systems look a little bit nicer on the GameCube.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        They have a great little console, which (in my opinion) is more powerful than the PS2. And everyone else's too, because it is more powerful than the PS2 flat out. More memory, faster processor (that people actually know how to program for) combined with a better graphics adapter (that people also actually know how to program for) ultimately makes the GameCube a more powerful console than the PS2. It also came out after the PS2, so it's newer technology, too.
        • Actually, the PS2 has the faster processor. But GameCube has dedicated graphics hardware, and the architecture is just ahell of a lot more efficient... this gives a hugely more powerful machine.
    • From what I understand of the article, cross-platform compatibilty on console just like anywhere else is only a problem if you use features avaible on one console not availble on another. If capcom had started on the PS2 the port to the GC might have looked the same in this case.
    • It didn't cause any trouble for the xbox. Remember back in the day when gamers used to say "if it's a multi-platform release, go with xbox because it's so much prettier?"

      I'm not saying that it will pan out the same way, as nintendo and microsoft are perceived very differently by 3rd party developers. If nintendo can spin it right (shouldn't be too hard as it's a very positive feature), this should encourage more developers to view the cube as an equal contender.
    • It's bad for them when their sales are trailing so poorly. If the console was a stronger performer, I'm sure we'd be seeing lots of GC/X-Box exclusives that skipped the PS2.

      Unfortunately, best hardware has never equated best sales in the console scene.

  • by cluke (30394) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:48AM (#11606642)
    While I have no doubt that for many applications the PS2 is less powerful than the gamecube, this article is just guff.

    "The PS2, does however, have a large Direct Memory Access bandwidth, which will allow the developers to provide a high amount of textures into the game."

    Well, that sounds good! If it made sense! But didn't he just say we couldn't have a load of textures?
    But wait! Some of the textures have had to be reduced from 24-bit to 8 or even "4-bit". Yes, folks, the PS2 is so back they are using 16 colour greyscale! Either that or he's talking out his ass.

    His source? "Various Japanese publications." Interesting!

    And, despite this uber-DMA, they are still shit out of luck apparently. He continues:
    "But, if they choose to do this, the game's framerate will drop substantially, this is due to the PS2's, as stated before, limited texture memory capacity."

    Sounds pretty technical, not sure if I can follow that!

    Bottom line is, Capcom may or may not be having lots of troubles scaling down their engine for the PS2, but this article is not going to give you any insight whatsoever into the technical reasons for this.
    • by mausmalone (594185) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @12:02PM (#11606767) Homepage Journal
      "The PS2, does however, have a large Direct Memory Access bandwidth, which will allow the developers to provide a high amount of textures into the game." Well, that sounds good! If it made sense! But didn't he just say we couldn't have a load of textures? But wait! Some of the textures have had to be reduced from 24-bit to 8 or even "4-bit". Yes, folks, the PS2 is so back they are using 16 colour greyscale! Either that or he's talking out his ass. His source? "Various Japanese publications." Interesting! And, despite this uber-DMA, they are still shit out of luck apparently. He continues: "But, if they choose to do this, the game's framerate will drop substantially, this is due to the PS2's, as stated before, limited texture memory capacity."
      You're right, it pretty much is a shitty article, but here's what's really going on: First of all, the main source is an interview with Capcom graphic designers in the latest issue of CG magazine (that's the source cited in another incarnation of this article I saw elsewhere).

      Second: they totally botched the details. The PS2 has a very limited ammount of space for textures being rendered, so they've had to go down to 8 and 4 bit textures in some places (probably lightmaps and/or alpha maps which can sometimes be saved with low color depth). Another alternative, since the PS2 has DMA between the system RAM and the graphics processor is to store textures in system RAM and swap them in and out of texture memory as you go. One will result in a decrease in visual quality, the other will result in a decrease in speed.

      They've had to decrease the number of polygons on each model for the PS2 version. The reason why is that the PS2 rendering pipeline will require multiple passes to do most of the effects that the GCN does in one pass. The PS2 will probably end up rendering about the same number of polygons as the GCN version in the end, but it suffers from having to render the same polygons several times over.

      So, even though this article is inciting all sorts of flamewars around the internet as we speak, it's really just saying that it's hard to port a game to one platform when it's been specifically designed for another.
      • The way I'm reading you however, you're saying essentially that the game was designed for a system that had more texture ram, and could render more effects in one pass. In other words, it was designed for a more technically capable system, and shoehorning it into a less capable system isn't working. That's still pretty flame-worthy, even if it's true. Am I reading this right?
  • This just in! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phleg (523632) <stephen AT touset DOT org> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:54AM (#11606693)

    Older hardware not as good as newer hardware! Crowds shocked!

    On a serious note, I don't really understand why console manufacturers are so tight when it comes to memory. From my experience building personal computers, memory is usually the cheapest way to increase performance (up to a point). A fast processor will go nearly to waste if you don't have the memory to back it up.

    The article, though short and not really all that noteworthy, does touch upon something confusing. Having an extremely memory bus means squat if there isn't all that much memory anyways.

    • Re:This just in! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mausmalone (594185)
      When the PS2 came out, it was a huge leap over the ammount of memory in the PS1 (I believe 32 MB for the PS2 and 2 MB for the PS1... but I may be off). Same with the Gamecube, which has 64 MB total memory (system + graphics) and the N64 (4 MB shared). They figured that it was such an increase over what developers were currently using, that it would take them a while to get any real use out of it. Also, getting 128 MB for only $30 more sounds great for a PC (back then), but when you're talking about a con
      • When the PS2 came out, it was a huge leap over the ammount of memory in the PS1 (I believe 32 MB for the PS2 and 2 MB for the PS1... but I may be off).

        Dreamcast came out before the PS2 and had 26megs of ram, the PS2 has 32 megs of ram. Not exactly a huge leap.

        The PS2 has only 4 megs of video ram, the dreamcast had 8. (which is what this article is all about)
      • Re:This just in! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Aggrazel (13616)
        But what I don't understand is, why don't they make the memory upgradable?

        Nintendo did this with some success with the N64 and Majora's Mask. Made the game look a lot better with a memory upgrade in.

        How many people would pay $50 to upgrade their PS2 to 128 megs of memory if it meant that newer games loaded faster and looked better?
        • Re:This just in! (Score:3, Informative)

          by Toddarooski (12363)
          But what I don't understand is, why don't they make the memory upgradable?

          Noooo! The thing that makes consoles so nice is that every console has the same configuration. I, as a consumer, don't have to worry about whether my console can run game X with memory level Y and video chip Z. On the flip side, game developers can optimize their game towards one and only one system setup.

          Nintendo was able to do this with with Majora's Mask because the memory was integrated into the cartridge (as opposed to being

          • Re:This just in! (Score:3, Informative)

            by Toddarooski (12363)
            Whoops! I stand corrected. Apparently, the exapansion pack was an optional add-on, instead of an "intgrated into the cartridge" thing. Makes my whole argument look kinda stupid.


            (Hangs head in shame. Goes off to play Superman on the N64 as penance.)

        • That's a really good idea considering consoles are supposed to last for 5 years. If the memory doubles in transistors every 18 months, after 3 years you'd be able to sell an expansion with 4 times the RAM for the cost of the original memory.
        • It's not a bad idea, but most consoles nowadays have very low latency video RAM with tons of bandwidth going to it (the PS2 especially is like this, and it needs far more of a RAM upgrade than the other systems, which are still putting out games with amazing graphics). You probably couldn't do a video RAM upgrade very well (or cheaply) without having it integrated like they do now.
    • That was the tradeoff that Sony made (which I thought was a mistake when they originally announced it). Instead of having a large amount of slower video memory (like all the other systems chose), they have a small amount of very fast video memory.

      That's why textures usually look like shit on the PS2 compared to the Xbox or Gamecube. Then you have the PS2 games that are ported to Xbox and Gamecube that look almost identical because they didn't want to spend the money to redo the art assets, so you get sca
    • "Older hardware not as good as newer hardware! Crowds shocked!"

      Shocked? I got my ass chewed here once because I said the GC was more powerful than a PS2.
    • Re:This just in! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zulux (112259)
      On a serious note, I don't really understand why console manufacturers are so tight when it comes to memory.

      The manufactures don't want to get caught with their pants down when it suddenly costs three times as much to buy RAM as is did when the console launched. They can mitigate the risk with options and contracts but it's still a risk that they want to mitigate - considering that companies like Mircosoft have to prop up their flagging console by selling them below cost, it's no wonder that the specs are
    • Most consoles, with some significant exceptions such as Xbox, have the fastest (and most expensive) memory available at the time of release; We've seen consoles with RDRAM, 1T-SRAM, and so on. It's expensive memory, so they include as little as possible. It would be nice, though, if they would include a larger area of slower memory, like the Amiga did. It worked very well on that platform, which in many ways was a game machine :D (ObDisclaimer: I used to be an Amigan, I know I'm just talking shit here, laug
    • Re:This just in! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tc (93768)
      Cost.

      Consoles demand fast memory, and that stuff ain't cheap. If you add $20 to the cost of each console, and you plan to sell 50 million of them, you just took a billion dollars off your bottom line!

      You either have to eat that loss (ouch), or increase your prices, which costs you market share.

      At some point there is a sweet spot between packing the console with more memory, and ensuring you get the market share you want. I'm guessing that Sony, Nintendo, and the rest run those numbers and it turns out th
  • Bullshit. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Spleener12 (587422)
    Mikami just wants to make sure GC owners have the superior version so they won't make him make good on his promise that he'd cut his own head off if it came out for any other system.

    (In all seriousness though, in light of the fact that the PS2 version was obviously not planned at first, the engine's probably optimized out the ass for the Gamecube's hardware, making porting a royal bitch.)

    • I remember when Tenchu 3 was ported from the PS2 to the Xbox, they wound up using the models used to make the CGIs for the Xbox gameplay.

      But you can still tell it came from a PS2 port. Try the levels specially made for the Xbox version, and compare them to the original ported levels.

      Hell, I still see top-tier PS2 games that do things like render a cape as four squares hooked at the edges, with things like clothes and accessories (belts, necklaces, etc) simply as part of the textures, rather than separa

    • Actually, Mikami already said he wasn't having anything to do with the port. So this means that it's someone other than Mikami having problems making the PS2 behave.

      But honestly, I don't know why you are so shocked. I've been predicting that this exact thing would happen since the game was announced for PS2. Until now, I've just been told I was a fanboy who didn't know anything. But to me it's just common sense.
  • Grammar Nazi (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by hab136 (30884)
    "since Capcom sites a few specifics"

    cite: make reference to; "His name was cited in connection with the invention"

    site: assign a location to; "The company sited some of their agents in Los Angeles"

    "Me fail English? That's unpossible!"

  • Try again.

    Have to side with the folks on this one, really just seems like mumbo-jumbo to me.
    • Re:Article hazy... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mausmalone (594185)
      The original source was a Japanese CG modeling magazine. They were talking to Capcom graphic designers who do modeling and texture art, not people who program. This is an example of computer specs as percieved by artists.
  • I believe it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by metamatic (202216) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @12:47PM (#11607243) Homepage Journal
    Speaking as someone with both GameCube and PS2 systems...

    It's a real shame the GameCube didn't become the world's #1 console. It's a better system than the original PS2 in almost every way... design, aesthetics, graphical capabilities, fan noise, build quality... The only thing it lacks is breadth of software.

    When I have the choice, I mostly prefer to play the GameCube versions of games. Generally they're superior, though there have been some exceptions. For Splinter Cell, I decided to go with the PS2, because it had an entire extra level, and that was worth a tradeoff in graphic quality. But ultimately, there are just so many great PS2 games that aren't available for GameCube, and so few GameCube-only "must have" games, that if I had to pick only one system, it would be the PS2. (I'd miss the Metroid games terribly, though.)

    Anyone know of a good games review site that specializes in comparing the same game on different consoles? It seems to me that there are a lot of people with more than one console, who would find it very useful to know which platform to pick for multi-platform games.

    I suspect the DS vs PSP battle will go the same way, only more so because of Nintendo's blinkered focus on kiddy games on the GBA. Already, the PSP has more titles I want to play than my GameBoy Advance has titles I want to play. I haven't yet seen anything that makes me want a DS, since Metroid's just a demo.
    • Re:I believe it (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      IGN does some head-to-head reviews of certain games, but they are available to the IGN Insiders only. If the game is exactly the same on multiple platforms, the rankings are usually

      1) Xbox
      2) GC
      3) PS2

      overall, citing better graphics, sound, load times on Xbox/GC, but better controls on PS2. However, there are times when a feature for a system will skew the head-to-head review greatly toward a system, like an extra level, or online play.

      Hope this helps.
    • I too love my gamecube, there is however one game I prefer on PS2:

      Balder's Gate: Dark Alliance

      Not only does it seem to save/load faster on the PS2, but the PS2's controller is better for it. Though my suspicion is because it was a lazy port, if you know what I mean.
    • Metroid's a demo, yes, but a demo of a game coming out in May.
    • Nintendo really has nobody to blame but themselves for the lack of software on their system. Although the software they release is spot on, they neglected a few important things.

      1. CD space.

      I don't care if they are small or have fast access times or anything, if you don't have the space you can't get the content on there. They could only hold a fraction of the amount of data a DVD on the PS2 or Xbox. Multi-discs aren't a solution either, especially for porting games that origionally came on one.

      2. The
  • Xbox port? (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by JFMulder (59706)
    Why not port it to the Xbox? I mean, it's a bit more powerfull than the Cube, and we sure could use a survival horror game!

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