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PlayStation (Games)

Orange Box Dysfunctional on the PS3? 154

Posted by Zonk
from the so-close-and-yet-so-far dept.
Via Next Generation, a preview of the PS3 version of the Orange Box . 1up is the site running the piece, and it's notable because it's so incredibly negative. PS3 fans may have some frustrations in store when the game pack releases soon: "After spending a significant amount of time with a near final version of the PS3 game, it's apparent that this version suffers from a number of technical flaws, which at best merely hinder game play and at worst make the experience downright unplayable. Framerate is a consistent issue throughout the Half-Life series of games included in The Orange Box. One moment you'll be cruising through the game at 30 frames per second and the next you'll be enjoying a slideshow of series protagonist Gordon Freeman cruising down the river. "
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Orange Box Dysfunctional on the PS3?

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  • I wonder why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:33PM (#21480157)

    While the PC and Xbox 360 versions were handled by Valve, the PS3 port was handed off to an internal team at EA.

    Aha! There's the problem!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ThirdPrize (938147)
      It was probably the Madden team.
    • Re:I wonder why... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Sockatume (732728) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:50PM (#21480415)
      Specifically, EA UK. From Wikipedia, their resume:

      *Burnout Legends
      *Burnout Dominator
      *Catwoman
      *Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
      *Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
      *Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
      *Untitled DICE Project
      *PS3 port of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2

      • by Sockatume (732728)
        (I should point out: the DS version of Burnout Legends, and the DS and PSP versions of Dominator.)
        • I should point out: the DS version of Burnout Legends

          If they really made this piece of crap, then why are they still working for EA? This must be one of the worst games I've ever played; easily worse than E.T. on the 2600.

    • Precisely (Score:3, Insightful)

      Some commenters on the blogs I've read are quick to write this off as Gabe Newell hating on the PS3. I really don't think that's it. It's just that EA couldn't code for a non-Microsoft platform if it's life depended on it. Everything they put out for the PSP had bugs (two Maddens, NCAA Football, Sims 2), and now bugs on HL for the PS3. I've decided that EA couldn't code themselves out of a black box.

      Fault lays about 90% on EA and about 10% on Valve for trusting EA's coders. If this actually is the case
      • Re:Precisely (Score:4, Insightful)

        by happyemoticon (543015) on Monday November 26, 2007 @01:04PM (#21480599) Homepage

        If I were to bet, Valve probably made a pragmatic decision because they had nobody in-house who knew enough about the PS3 to do the port. Their roots are in PC gaming, and from what I understand, they have a very dedicated culture. The chances that one of their star developers would learn to write for the PS3 just for fun are slim. Then, EA says, "Oh, sure, we've got people who can do the port!" and of course, because they're a bonehead marketing company with little respect for programmers, this turns out to be an exaggeration or an outright mistake.

        • by ADRA (37398)
          Their roots are well entrenched in Microsoft technologies and a port to OpenGL was either untenable for their staff or more likely undesirable for the MS loving Bellevue development shop. They make good games, but their directx / windows lockin means that I won't be playing their games when I finally bury my last windows installation. A true shame.
      • by Smidge204 (605297) on Monday November 26, 2007 @01:11PM (#21480703) Journal
        I've decided that EA couldn't code themselves out of a black box.

        Well it certainly seems they can't code themselves out of an Orange Box...
        =Smidge=
      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Rayonic (462789)

        Fault lays about 90% on EA and about 10% on Valve for trusting EA's coders. If this actually is the case, then it definitely will tarnish Valve's reputation which has been pretty good (barring initial Steam issues) to this point.

        Some fault lies with Sony. There's always going to be times when a publisher wants to port some game to a new system. If building an engine from the ground up on the PS3 is the only way to get good performance out of it, then something is seriously wrong. Either the tools are cra

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by djikster (1189729)
      Every single PS3 game made by EA that I have played has been beyond bad in terms of sustaining a constant frame rate (demos, didn't bother to buy after playing them)! I cannot believe that EA is pumping out games on the conveyor belt without any QA, or if they do QA, their threshold for accepting a product is so good, that I do not want anything from them. Luckily, nowdays you can actually download the demo before having to buy it, so the gamers can at least taste the game before getting PO'd by its quality
  • PRE-RELEASE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zoidbot (1194453) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:41PM (#21480261)
    What part of pre-release do they not understand.

    I get EA are funing today. I also expect 1UP to be precluded from ever seeing unfinished code again.. Talk about killing your buisness..

    Slate it, if it hits the shelves like this, but lets at least wait until then, before passing judgement!
    • by seebs (15766)
      This is the POINT of previews, though!

      A preview is supposed to talk about how the pre-release looks -- and I don't know that I've ever seen a game that was unplayably slow in pre-release suddenly becoming clean and fast in a final shipment.

      Gaming sites don't get blacklisted for saying that a pre-release sucks. If they did, there'd be no previews anymore.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zoidbot (1194453)
        I have seen exactly this.

        If anyone picked up the free demo disc of Ratchet And Clank Future Tools Of Destruction on PS3, from Gamestop, it looked nice, but had quite bad framerate issues, and screen tearing. This was about 2 weeks prior to release.

        The final cut of the game, is perfect, with perhaps the best looking and smoothest visuals ever seen in a videogame.

        It really depends on how old the cut of the game code was, but I doubt SCEA would authorize it's release, if it's as bad as 1Up say it is.

        So I can
        • by seebs (15766)
          It's more complicated than just "if you can be bothered to learn it" -- making effective use of the PS3 frequently requires a complete redesign, and if your basic engine requires more memory than is left over for you after the hypervisor, you're just screwed. Sony made some very bad engineering decisions at the end to cut costs, and it shows.
      • About half the 3D games I've worked on had major fps problems the month before going gold.

    • FTA: "With the clock ticking, EA has a limited amount of time to fix the glaring issues which plague this port of The Orange Box."

      Yeah, they sure don't seem to understand "pre-release" at all. Oh wait, they DO acknowledge the possibility of fixing the product before release. My bad.

      Besides, what is 1UP supposed to do if they play such buggy code? Say everything his A-okay and assume it will be fine by release? No, they told it like it is - the port is currently in an awful state, and EA is going to have
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I hate people who pull that crap. Yes, it's a pre-release. Yes, they might be able to fix it before release.

      But when release is supposed to be so soon, there's only so much you can do to actually release it. Problems that exist in previews and demos often AREN'T fixed by release. Especially when the release is merely weeks away.

      Face it, chances are the PS3 won't be able to get a bug-free Source engine. This speaks more to how insanely difficult Sony made PS3 development than anything else. Either it's going
    • by Sockatume (732728)
      Orange Box PS3 was supposed to be out about a month ago. It's now due out in December. Really, version that 1Up got to play should going into production any day now if EA want to meet the new release date. The game's engine isn't going to come on leaps and bounds in that sort of time.
    • by imr (106517)
      The dogs are after sony and they have been for a while now.
    • by rtechie (244489)
      Heads up Zoidbot, but this is a rare example of GOOD game journalism.

      Publishers are traditionally reluctant to show game journalists pre-release code because bugs and instabilities in the code may give the journalist the false impression that the game has a lot more problems that it will actually have on release. So normally when a company invites a magazine or website to see pre-release code, they have the expectation (often DEMAND) that the journalist will do a fawning puff piece on thier game.

      In this cas
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I was playing games like that on my PCs over five years ago! They're far worse than what I have on the PS3 and those I've seen on friends' 360s.
  • Depressing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cy Sperling (960158) on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:47PM (#21480361)
    Meanwhile, Infinity Ward managed to put out a rock solid multi-platform FPS- COD4. If they can make it look and play so great on the PS3, why can't Valve?
    • Re:Depressing (Score:5, Informative)

      by Alphager (957739) <florian.haas@gQUOTEmail.com minus punct> on Monday November 26, 2007 @12:52PM (#21480441) Homepage Journal

      Meanwhile, Infinity Ward managed to put out a rock solid multi-platform FPS- COD4. If they can make it look and play so great on the PS3, why can't Valve?
      Because EA (and not Valve) is responsible for the PS3-port.
      • by LinuxGeek (6139) *
        So my impression so far is that Valve doesn't care enough about the PS3 to do the port themselves, or to carefully track EA progress on the contracted port or to step up after this horrible PR snafu and promise that everything will be smoothed out before release.

        So far I am not impressed with Valve and their commitment to anything besides MS platforms.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Alphager (957739)

          So my impression so far is that Valve doesn't care enough about the PS3 to do the port themselves, or to carefully track EA progress on the contracted port or to step up after this horrible PR snafu and promise that everything will be smoothed out before release.

          So far I am not impressed with Valve and their commitment to anything besides MS platforms.

          Yup, they don't care about the PS3.
          Or more realistically: being a pure microsoft-shop they do not have the necessary knowledge to port the orange box to ps3. Makes sense to outsource that work (especially if you don't believe the ps3 is going to be important).

      • But isn't Valve ultimately responsible for handing development over to EA to begin with? In this case "can't" extends to outsourcing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Somebody else has already pointed out that it was EA's fault, not really Valve's which is true. But it's also true that Infinity Ward did what other developers haven't - developed from scratch for the PS3. You can't port 360/PC code well to the PS3 platform. It's the painful truth. I love my PS3 but I fear that this kind of lack of portability really may hurt the platform.

      On the other hand, porting from the PS3 to the 360 has had some success to my knowledge. Maybe that's the way these developers shoul
      • by Elyscape (882517)

        On the other hand, porting from the PS3 to the 360 has had some success to my knowledge. Maybe that's the way these developers should go?
        There's one big problem with this: Valve had already made the engine for both the PC and the Xbox. Source was originally made for the PC and was later ported to the original Xbox. Valve had experience and a codebase with both platforms. As a result, they couldn't really develop for the PS3 and port to the other platforms.
      • Re:Depressing (Score:4, Interesting)

        by DDLKermit007 (911046) on Monday November 26, 2007 @01:12PM (#21480735)
        Yeah just like how a game like Assassin's Creed was on the PS3 first, ported to the 360, and the PS3 version is the one that ended up with frame-rate issues XD
        • Actually while Assassin's Creed was originally marketed to Sony in an effort to make it an exclusive--all evidence points to the actual initial development of the game being on the 360.

          All of the original tech demos and gameplay demonstrations were on 360 Dev kits.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        "On the other hand, porting from the PS3 to the 360 has had some success to my knowledge. Maybe that's the way these developers should go?"
        Only if they have a desire for the PS3 to be a hit.
        From what I have seen the PS3 is really hard to develop for. The programing model is very difficult to get good performance out of.
        The reason that you can port from P3 to the 360 is that the 360 is easy to program for.
        I do agree that the difficulty in programing will hurt the PS3. Maybe they can fix the Orange Box.
        What i
        • The PS3 isn't hard to develop for if you have any kind of clue about programming. Infinity Ward is already showing that. The install base is increasing fast so developers are going to be interested in keeping sales going. It's this ongoing meme that the PS3 is so hard to develop for that hurts it. However, Sony released a huge tookpack back in January targeting developers with issues on the PS3. If the development house doesn't use it, it's their own fault when the code doesn't run well.
          • by Erwos (553607)
            Oh, yeah, because Sony releasing some more tools is really going to fix the fundamental problems with the PS3. You are _not_ going to be able to cover up the Cell's weird asymmetrical multi-processing paradigm or the PS3's lack of system RAM with some new libraries. Those are real hardware constraints, not quirks of some system library.

            I suspect that Infinity Ward pumped a _ton_ of dev time into the PS3 version, and they're going to find out that the effort wasn't worth the sales. I'll be curious to see wha
            • That's what Infinity Ward actually said: They had their top programmers working on the PS3 version. [kotaku.com]

              The best part, of course, is that the 360 version still looks better than the PS3 version. [gametrailers.com]

              Frankly, I don't quite understand why cross-platform games look worse on the PS3. I own both consoles, and I do think that the new R&C and Uncharted look better than anything I've seen on the 360. Yet all developers who create games also running on the 360 screw up their PS3 versions, even if they have "the best devs"
              • by Erwos (553607)
                I find it kind of mind-blowing that you can ask "why is the version with the best devs the worst version?" when I gave the answer in the post you responded to. The PS3 is harder to program for, and has an inflexible memory structure. Why is it so hard for people to understand that the PS3 and 360 aren't equally powerful?
                • I'm not sure what you're trying to achieve here by misinterpreting what I said (mindblowing, huh), but let me try this again by slightly rephrasing my question:

                  "Given that the best PS3 games look better than the best 360 games, how come all teams who create cross-platform games make games which look worse on the PS3, even if their best devs are working on the PS3 version?"

                  You say that the PS3 is harder to program for and has an inflexible memory structure. That is obviously true, but does not by itself expl
                  • by LWATCDR (28044)
                    Looks better is a real matter of opinon. Maybe the Sony only titles have better artists. Or artists that match your tastes better.
                    Of the games I have seen for the PS3 I can honestly say that none of them blew me away.
                    If COD looks better on the 360 than the PS3 Then I would have to say that the 360 is easier to program for and they did a better job with it.
                    As too which is more powerful. I think the PS3 has more raw power than the 360 from what I have seen of the docks.
                    The problem is that really doesn't matte
          • by LWATCDR (28044)
            Game developers have X amount of resources. I suspect that the Wii is the number one target for a lot of them. A lot of game houses bet that Wii wouldn't be a hit and now they are in are scramble mode.
            You statement about the PS3 not being hard to write code for just doesn't hold much water. The Orange Box is a big deal and has a lot of resources backing it. It seems that it sucks on the PS3. The fact that Infinity Ward has managed to write a good quality game for the PS3 doesn't prove that it isn't hard to
  • by chriso11 (254041)
    But I thought this generation of consoles was going to totally pwn1!! all the PC systems. How can the orange box experience be worse on the top of the line console than a medium level PC?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)
      I hate to break this to you, but it runs fine on Xbox 360 which is, what, 2 years old now? Video game consoles (at least non-crappy ones) have no problem running Half-Life 2 engine games whatsoever.
      • by FlopEJoe (784551)
        Not to one up but... my PC is over four years old and the ~$200 graphics card is two years old. It plays HL2 and TF2 like a champ so it hardly takes a bleeding edge PC.
        • by Blakey Rat (99501)
          Oh I know, I played HL2 on a AthlonXP 2100+ with a Radeon 9600xt. If you remember, it actually came bundled with that card. (Then Valve delayed it for a full year! By the time I actually was able to play it, the card was almost obsolete.)
  • "How is that port of whatever those dorks from Bellevue sent us going?"

    "Well, we've gotten it to load and we even played through the game once."

    "Yeah, whatever, excellent, I assume you will have finished play testing by noon. After that slap another Medal of Honor together, Bob, VP of Interior Design thinks it should be modeled after Hogan's Heroes and personally, I think any man who drives a Miata; well he just has fine taste. Oh, and before I forget, we fired everyone on your team. We know you can handle
    • by G Fab (1142219)
      "first, we just need to tighten up the graphics a little bit"

      EA's leadership has a vested interest in helping microsoft. I wonder if they'd drop Sony products like they dropped Sega. My 360 gets the multiplatform titles, but this is pretty lame for those with only a PS3.

      I'm pretty sick of supporting EA. Valve should have used Obsidian or someone who has a nice PS3 game out there. This is 100% Valve's fault. EA is what it is, and we've known it for years.

  • Technically, there is no reason why Orange Box should have turned out the way it did. Not when games like COD 4, Drake's Fortune and Ratchet and Clank have shown what the PS3 is capable of in the hands of a conscientious development team.

    Financially is another matter. It seems EA just didn't want to allocate the assets necessary to produce a top notch game, and that shows.

    I hope two things result from this fiasco:

    1. That sales of Orange Box for the PS3 absolutely tank. Resulting in...

    2. EA never again produ
    • by Tacvek (948259)

      Personally, I wouldn't shed a single tear if EA announced that they will never develop for the PS3 again.
      Hmm... I would not be upset if EA stops developing any games at all, as long as they spin Maxis, Westwood, (and a few other studios) back out into separate companies. (And those companies become once again as good as they were before EA ate them.)
      • by Zeussy (868062)
        The company is just a name, Westwood and all the other great companies that have been eaten have bled most of the core employees that made the company what it was. The general trend seems to be that most of the core employees found new companies together. For example a lot of westwood employees went off and founded Petroglyph games [wikipedia.org]

        There really isn't any companies to spit back out again. Shame really.
    • by LKM (227954)

      Personally, I wouldn't shed a single tear if EA announced that they will never develop for the PS3 again.

      Dreamcast, here I come!

  • So, no cake for PS3 owners? I find this whole thing mildly amusing, having been playing TF2 without framerate issues on my two year old PC since the beta came out what, two months ago? (Demoman FTW!)

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