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XBox (Games)

360 Limiting GTA IV In Some Ways 268

Last week CVG had a story from the Official PlayStation Magazine, a print entity partnered with the website, about limitations Rockstar faces on the 360. For almost the first time, we're now hearing about a title where lack of space on the disc and the lack of a guaranteed hard drive may be detrimental to Microsoft's console. "[Rockstar's creative vice president Dan Houser] continued, 'To be honest with you we haven't solved all those riddles yet.' The difficulties aren't limited to working on Microsoft's box, as Houser explains that 'both have enormous challenges' and that 'both have their own particular pleasures and pains'. Rockstar hasn't said anything about a target SKU between the two consoles, but they're currently demoing the game to press running on an Xbox 360 - so we wouldn't worry too much if you've only got Microsoft's console. Look for more on GTA IV in the next few weeks."
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360 Limiting GTA IV In Some Ways

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  • by krakelohm ( 830589 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:40AM (#19021577)
    I would not call it just FUD if this is coming from the developers. It is mighty nice of OPSM to relay this *unbiased* information though, HA. Anyway I can see how this could cause challenges, but if I did own a 360, I would not be too worried.
  • by deathsquirrel ( 956752 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:42AM (#19021629)
    The interviewer asks specificaly if the 360 has limitations and the interviewee says that yes, both platforms have their challenges and this becomes "DVD and lack of built-in HD is limiting GTA4!!!
  • by Applekid ( 993327 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:52AM (#19021785)
    The problem was that the open areas of SA didn't really add to the game much. It's not like Oblivion where taking a detour could pay off in a neat cave or side story or something under the radar.

    The aforementioned problem is a game design problem where extra stuff was padded in but not fleshed out. It was most certainly technically possible to remove that padding but they chose not to.

    Technical limitations and getting around them aren't exactly going to help game design any.
  • by Rude Turnip ( 49495 ) <[valuation] [at] []> on Monday May 07, 2007 @11:53AM (#19021799)
    My Xbox 360 is a computer. A very specialized one that is much more powerful than my desktop or laptop. It sits under my TV and is small and quiet. And, it's partly subsidized by Microsoft, so it's far cheaper for me, too. The best's one fixed standard, aside from this hard drive issue (hint, screw you if you don't have a hard drive), so developers can develop for one fixed set of hardware.
  • by TB ( 7206 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @12:14PM (#19022203)
    All games are compressed, and have been since the 80s. With every generation of console, games have increased in size by about 4x, so why wouldnt it for this generation?
  • by shidoshi ( 567151 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @12:14PM (#19022207)
    When I play games, with the exception of Warcraft, I want to kick back on my couch and relax, not be hunched over my computer. Plus, I rather enjoy buying games without having to worry if my video card is good enough or if I have enough RAM for the game or whatever else.
  • by cbreaker ( 561297 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @12:30PM (#19022507) Journal
    My computer monitor is 23", not square but Widescreen, and I sit two feet from it. It's very large when you put it that way.

    And why use a PC when you can use a game console? How about: It's extremely versatile, PC games are usually cheaper then console ones, it's cheap to upgrade them, you have a 101 button controller, and a mouse. There's no monthly fee to play most PC games, with the exception of MMORPG's, and MMORPG's exist for the PC.

    FPS games are better with a mouse. Sorry, Halo might be fun but you'll never, ever, be as fast or accurate as you can be with a mouse.

    "HD Console" is a joke. My workstation at home - an Opteron 165 with 2GB RAM and a 6800GT AGP - is still seemingly more powerful then current game consoles. You can build this system now for peanuts. Don't give me this "3rd of the price" bullcrap.

    Now, not all of this is to say consoles are bad. I own one. But PC gaming is still strong, and this same old tired argument is brought up every time new game consoles are introduced. In another year, PC games will blow away console games, not that they haven't already..
  • by Bones3D_mac ( 324952 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @12:47PM (#19022829)
    I don't get it... why are they claiming the 360 is somehow imposing limitations on a game's design? Hasn't it always been developer policy to create software for the least common denominator (ie, a 360 sans hard drive) first and *then* add extra features for more powerful systems afterwards?

    If I had to guess, it sounds like they are testing the waters, seeing if the 360's multiple configuration can be used as a viable scapegoat, should the developers miss the deadline they publicly set for themselves.

    Sure, the PS3 fanboys are probably eating this up now, but will they be chomping at the bit later on, if it turns out the delays were actually caused by the nightmares involved in developing for the PS3?
  • by malevolentjelly ( 1057140 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:00PM (#19024225) Journal

    I heard talk from Rockstar employees about how they already hit the limit of the medium with GTASA, due to the slow layer switching (no idea if the 360 still has that issue) only one layer of the disc could be used to keep the load times lower (with streaming it'd be fatal if the loading took too long). Even without the layer switching overhead a "next-gen" GTA game is going to hit the limit of DVD9 very quickly so this report is very likely true.

    From what I heard Microsoft requires that all games are basically playable (i.e. it doesn't matter that you can't feasibly finish the game without saving, it just has to be theoretically possible) on a 360 Core system OOTB, this would make HDDVD-only games not allowed.
    Actually, the 360 has excellent streaming performance since it doesn't have the obscene memory constraints the PS3 has (the 360 has more bandwidth, more efficient pipeline, high performance DRAM on die, and its got that 512 mb of shared RAM for added flexibility.)

    Honestly, when developing an open-world 360 game (I've worked on one), the biggest problem is the lack of an HDD- which means we need to disc stream all our data. It causes some major issues.

    It's sort of a toss- the 360 is conventionally more powerful in a lot of cases, but the PS3 has that standard HDD. It's ridiculous, really, since Core systems are far more scarce than Premium. Microsoft should let us use the HDD to a greater extent, when available.
  • by kinglink ( 195330 ) on Monday May 07, 2007 @02:06PM (#19024321)
    The full interview shows how biased the magazine is. Even the linked story has it. They basically laid out the obvious flaws with the xbox 360 and all Houser could do is say yes. What a shock for the Playstation Magazine.

    But on the other hand they at least mentioned he said both systems have issues. And trust me from what I've seen with the PS3 and how my company is handling it, the HD issue and the Disc capacity should be the least of their worries. The 360's issues are easy to enumerate and resolve.. the PS3, not so much.

    Seriously the 360 has proven itself over and over. We have Oblivion, yet if Rockstar can't get their head out of their ass and figure out how to do the work they don't deserve your money. We have at least 4 major open world games on the 360 (hell Just Cause was also available on the PS2, at the same size world which was "fucking enormous".) And Rockstar the guys who everyone seems to think can piss gold can't figure this one out?

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday May 07, 2007 @03:27PM (#19025747) Homepage Journal

    Which would you rather use your power for? Making a more immersive environment or procedurally generating textures?

    Given the speed of the Blu-Ray drive, I'll take procedurally generated textures.

    But actually, the answer to your question is "Mu", which means "the question cannot be answered as asked". This is because your question consists of a logical fallacy - because procedurally generated textures provide a more immersive environment. Why? First, they reduce load times. The procedure for the texture is smaller than the texture itself. Some types of procedural texture can be rendered at a variety of resolutions, meaning that you need only produce a texture with the resolution you need. And the texture can be rendered at a higher resolution when you are close to it, so that it will be smooth even when you are right up next to a wall or something similar. In order to do this without procedural textures, you need to produce very high resolution textures, and either downsample them if you want a lower-res texture (in order to save memory) or pre-generate a whole series of different-resolution textures.

    Finally, the Xbox 360 has dramatically more power than the Xbox, and I personally would pay for more games using the same engine as, say, GTA:SA. In fact, I would rather buy another game for the Xbox, because I don't have a loading time problem either - I used XBcopy to copy the game to my Xbox (yes, I own a real commercially-purchased copy of the game - that, and Panzer Dragoon, and a bunch of crap that was way cheap used) and now the loading time is negligible. I never get streaming errors (LOADING... PLEASE WAIT, on a big black rectangle... that rectangle is fucking lame, it's fucked me up more than anything else anyone has done in a game in a long time.)

    More space is a good thing, but not at that price. This is not the time.

  • by steveo777 ( 183629 ) on Wednesday May 09, 2007 @11:31AM (#19052269) Homepage Journal
    The most significant part of that comment

    REQUIRES a HDD or a memory card to play
    (emphasis mine)

    means that it mearly requires that you be able to save system data to play the game. Technically this does limit your market to anyone who does not own a memory card, but it is assumed universally that owners of consoles without internal memory have external memory. The HD is a different issue. Perhaps the same ballpark... well, maybe not the same ballpark, but at least the same sport.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!