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PC Games (Games)

Unreal Creator Proclaims PCs are Not For Gaming 705

An anonymous reader writes "TG Daily is running an interesting interview with EPIC founder and Unreal creator Tim Sweeney. Sweeney is anyway very clear about his views on the gaming industry, but it is surprising how sharply he criticizes the PC industry for transforming the PC into a useless gaming machine. He's especially unhappy with Intel, which he says has integrated graphics chipsets that 'just don't work'."
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Unreal Creator Proclaims PCs are Not For Gaming

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  • by Sansavarous ( 78763 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:11AM (#22699534)

    How often does a game console crash? PC?

    For me being able to care for my own system is important also. If it breaks I like being able to choose if I upgrade or replace. Being in control is important that's why I like Gentoo.


    From my research to get a console, which only plays games. It would cost me 300+ $ (American) to buy new.
    To buy a PC which does more then just play games. It would cost me 500+ to buy new. (A bit more then basic) I built my own power gameing system for 1500$.


    For me I learned games on the PC I know the mouse/keyboard Human Interface Device (HID). I've not played many console game systems, I know they have custom controllers for the HID. The only console I tried that was intuitive to me in the least was the WII.

    PC's have more buttons and button combinations. Plus they come with full keyboard, note: consoles now can have keyboards also.
  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:18AM (#22699628)
    Oh please. I don't understand you console jockeys at all- FPS can. not. be played on a controller. None of them can. Halo came somewhat close to playability, but anyone who ever seriously played the terrible PC port of one of the first two Haloes can attest that without the added challenge of dealing with a joystick input, the game is ridiculously easy, and multiplayer is a joke- anyone with moderate railgun skill can just crank up their resolution, grab a sniper rifle, and score nonstop headshots from a mile away. Sorry Wii, the input should be seamless and not the only thing that makes a game challenging. The mouse is obviously the easier input device for FPS, so it alone should be used. Ever wonder why the console versions of multipleyer FPS can never play with the PC versions of the same game? The first time they tried that was with Quake 3 on the dreamcast and on the PC. Even if you've never played the game yourself, you know the reputation- ridiculously fast amphetamine-twitch gameplay. The PC players absolutely curb stomped the dreamcast players until they were drowning in the blood pouring out their eyes.. it was a huge joke at the time because the dreamcast players just couldn't even score a kill- you'd look at the scoreboard and it would be like naturally the top half of the scoreboard is reserved for PC players, the bottom half for dreamcast players.. the controller just sucks that much.
  • Re:TFA Clarification (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daveime ( 1253762 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:19AM (#22699640)
    Amen to that ... I'm so tired of buying games for my 10 year old, then having to disappoint her when it won't install because it doesn support pixelshader 1.N, and 10^27 polygons per second etc ... perhaps it's time for them to realise that I don't want to buy a new graphics card every 3 months just because they are too lazy to put anything in code anymore and rely solely on the GPU functions. DOOM was a cracking game, and works on everything, even Intel integrated chipsets ... why can't they follow that model for success ?
  • by Brian Gordon ( 987471 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:25AM (#22699736)
    And who said PC hardware isn't on par with consoles? Have you seen those new NVIDIA cards? From wikipedia []:

    Two 65nm process GPUs, with 256 total Stream Processors (128 per PCB) Supports Quad SLI. 1 GiB memory framebuffer, possibly up to 2 GiB [this is insane 2ghz GDDR3 memory] 128 GB/s memory bandwidth
  • Re:TFA Clarification (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:31AM (#22699800)
    You nailed it. Furthermore, his message is very confusing:

    You pay twice as much money for 30% more performance... That is just not right.
    Fair enough, but then a few questions later:

    The biggest problem in this space right now is that you cannot go and design a game for a high end PC and downscale it to mainstream PCs. The performance difference between high-end and low-end PC is something like 100x.
    I mean, I get what he is trying to say, but it's not a very consistent message. He's just spouting facts that support his flawed argument that everyone else should be concerned about how hard it is for him to design a game.

    He also doesn't consider reality:

    A PC should be an out-of-the-box workable gaming platform.
    So the interviewer then asks "what about notebooks?":

    There is no room to put a fast GPU into that compact form.
    So now he wants EVERY computer to be an out-of-the-box workable gaming platform... well, except for 50% of them. So apparently portability is an acceptable trade-off, but cost is not?

    He also makes this odd statement regarding Intel's integrated graphics:

    They're not faster now than they have been at any time in the past.
    Weird thing to say, since integrated graphics seem much, much better to me. In the bad old days integrated graphics meant watching the windows redraw... if you were lucky you got some 2d acceleration. Now you can actually run in 3d. I'm presuming that he means they aren't faster in relative terms - which is probably true.

    By the way, gamers:

    My work computers are Dell workstations. Currently, I have a dual-CPU setup, dual-quad cores for a total of eight cores, and 16 GB of memory. We at Epic tend to go to the high-end of things. Until recently, we used to buy high-end consumer PCs, simply because they tend to deliver the best performance. However, as time goes by, we constantly run into stability problems with CPUs and graphics, so we decided to switch to workstations. We just need very, very stable computers and they perform very well.
    I think that it is very interesting that he does not try to use super high-end gear. It really tells you where the sweet spot is for gaming - might as well use the gear that the developers do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:34AM (#22699836)
    No sure what that means... Crysis isn't running on either 360 or PS. It doesn't run on most PC even. Most gamers have PC in addition to any consoles because the upgrade cycle let's PC have far better video than consoles (though this is expensive). WoW is a bad example because it isn't new but I play it at 1920x1280 Wide. Most console games play in 720p. The PS3 does run in 1080p- not allot of games there though.

    Example: I have a 360. I also have a Alienware notebook with a NVIDIA 8600 and dual-core 2.5ghz cpu. I know the GPU throughput on my video card is allot more than the 360 and more than the PS3.
  • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <> on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:34AM (#22699840) Journal
    I just bought a new motherboard with integrated Intel GMA3100 graphics. I ended up buying a low end Nvidia 8400 for 40 EUROS because it sucked so much. The Intel can barely run Google Earth. It runs Quake3 worse than a 6 year old Geforce. The 8400 runs ET:QW at 30 fps @ 1680x1050, medium-low settings with shadows disabled. That's not £300, just £30, and it's capable of running recent games decently.
    So yeah, the guy's right, Intel's graphics adaptors are terrible. I don't know about the X3xxx series, they're supposed to be much better, but I wouldn't count on it.

    * OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE /. still can't display the EURO sign, what the fuck is wrong with you people? *
  • by thebdj ( 768618 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:40AM (#22699916) Journal

    How often does a game console crash? PC?
    This has always been touted as some sort of advantage of the console over the PC; however, I think the X-Box360 failures have sort of highlighted this as not being as lopsided as the console makers would have you believe. In the end, system stability is largely a variable based on the user system and setup. My PC has been known to run for weeks on end without the need for a reboot and without a crashing issue.

    For me being able to care for my own system is important also. If it breaks I like being able to choose if I upgrade or replace. Being in control is important that's why I like Gentoo.
    I think this is something that is lost on some people. Not only do you often have the ability to fix your PC problem yourself (where this is more difficult to impossible with a console), it is also far easier to get PC service without shipping off your system. From my experience, console repairs typically take longer to perform and often require the shipping of the console back to a manufacturer for repair or replacement (more likely the latter).

    From my research to get a console, which only plays games. It would cost me 300+ $ (American) to buy new. To buy a PC which does more then just play games. It would cost me 500+ to buy new. (A bit more then basic) I built my own power gameing system for 1500$.
    Price is an interesting debate. You typically will have a higher entry point for PCs then you will for consoles. Of course, you have added functionality with a PC, something consoles have been trying to gain on to as well. This is why you see some of the console makers pushing multimedia services of their consoles in an attempt to show it is more then just a game-playing box. (Of course, the sony execs seems to have a hard time saying exactly what their system was.)

    For me I learned games on the PC I know the mouse/keyboard Human Interface Device (HID). I've not played many console game systems, I know they have custom controllers for the HID. The only console I tried that was intuitive to me in the least was the WII.
    This is another interesting argument that is often had between console and PC gamers. I think there are some games that just do not lend themselves well to the console. In particular RTS comes to mind. Here is a game where fast key strokes and multiple commands are often required to be successful. This means a console with only a controller is very limited.

    People have also made arguments that FPS is better on the PC (you can get higher frame rates and some prefer the mouse + keyboard combo). The same could be said for MMOs. (I think they've managed to successfully simplify most RPGs on consoles; however, an MMO where timing and networking are important still feels better on a PC. I think the number of MMOs on console vs. on PC shows the industry believes this as well.)

    At the same time, there are games where simplified control allows the console to strive. I think this is why most sports titles are better sold on consoles then the PC. Platform games also feel more natural on the console. Granted, these can be made to work on PCs with the help of additional game controllers; however, this is another piece of clutter for a desk.

    In the end, I think both PC and consoles have their place in the gaming world. I own a PC for gaming (mostly FPS and Lord of the Rings: Online), and I own a console (the Wii) for various game types.
  • by sqldr ( 838964 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:43AM (#22699962)
    FPS can. not. be played on a controller.

    I finished Resistance: Fall of man on my ps3 last month. Absolutely brilliant game. Ok, so the controller was a bit clumsy, but did that stop me having fun? No. It also enabled me to play the game slouched on a sofa, rather than sitting bolt upright at a PC desk with a bottle of mountain dew and a half eaten pizza for sustenance.

    "The PC players absolutely curb stomped the dreamcast players until they were drowning in the blood pouring out their eyes"

    Well done. Give yourself a pat on the back, and slurp some more of that mountain dew.

    The PC is fundamentally flawed by inconsistent drivers, latency, incompatibility, and simply by being a moving target. How fast is a PC? What graphics chipset does a PC have? A developer has to make the game tweakable, so that it works on everyone's PC and the people with the lithium-cooled turbofan graphics card can stop moaning that it doesn't play at 15241x19841 in 64 bit colour. Alternately, they could just focus it and optimise it for the same graphics chip everywhere and get the absolute best out of it.

    Last Ninja 2 on my C64 was a far better game than daikatana, running on a far more powerful machine. Go figure.
  • by MORB ( 793798 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @09:43AM (#22699974)
    That's twice that someone from epic say pc gaming is dead. I think that's because they have sour grapes that UT3 sales failed.

    The problem is that they failed on many points:

    1. They shouldn't have released an unfinished games to meet seasonal sales, because in the end they missed much more than just christmas 07 - they made people ignore the game altogether.

    2. When you release a primarily multiplayer game with the idea that it's third parties who'll host most of the servers, you have dedicated linus server binary available on the release day. On release day people had to host servers on windows with a retail CD in the drive for fuck's sake.

    3. When you release a successor to ut2004 that had tons of maps and mostly the same gameplay and game mechanics (minus the bugs and unfinished features of ut3 like spectating), don't expect people to upgrade just for the visuals - especially since ut2004 can run so well on today's machines.

    4. And they should have listened to complains and answered them on their forums instead of deleting any post suggesting ut3 is far from a perfect game in the hope that other potential buyers wouldn't otherwise find out (how stupid can those PR fucks be?). That or just don't have forums at all.
  • by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:12AM (#22700440)

    Have you even tried to play Unreal III? It takes far more PC than most people have. and that same problem plagued ID on it's last 2 releases for almost 2 years. Hell I know people that STILL dont have a pc capable of running Doom III at any playable speeds.
    What the hell? Unreal 3 runs like a dream on my machine, and here are my component costs, at the time of purchase:

    CPU - $90
    Motherboard - $140
    2 gigs RAM - $80
    Graphics card - $160
    HD - $120

    Grand total? $590. Considering I built this system almost a year ago now, it's safe to say that you could purchase the same components for under $500 today. 5 years ago I couldn't have even bought a basic system for under $1200, let alone one capable of running the most recent games!
  • by mdarksbane ( 587589 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:13AM (#22700460)
    I agree 100%. The difference between an integrated graphics chip and a $50 consumer-grade card from *two* generations ago is staggering.

    A Geforce 6600 will still run new Unreal Engine games with the graphics turned down to medium. A 5900 will run them on low (I think, anyway.. they might be missing a few extensions needed). That's hardware from several years ago.

    An intel integrated graphics card still can't run Quake 3 well.

    He's saying we need to get into that 10x range from low to high, not that everyone needs an 8800. When the average new product gets trounced by a low-end standalone card from four years ago... how are you supposed to develop games for the platform?
  • by Andrzej Sawicki ( 921100 ) <> on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:15AM (#22700508)

    Maybe we care more about having fun than about worrying about optimum input devices
    Unfortunately, as with RTS games, this is directly correlated. Every FPS I tried playing on a console has had me screaming (and I mean screaming, even though I'm usually very patient) in minutes because of the crappy interface. All I usually do on my PC, is pick the right mouse sensitivity, tick off antialiasing, and I'm set for fraggin'. (Plus, on my PC, I get to play Civilization.)

    All your other points are well taken, though. It does take some thinking ahead to make a PC that is silent (as in the hard disk being the loudest component), and suited for gaming at the same time. And it doesn't end with the hardware, you also have to know how to choose the right settings for each game.
  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:18AM (#22700546) Homepage Journal
    Personally I have a harder time understanding you PC bigots. Of course, I should understand because I used to be one. Playing FPS games on the PS3 is completely different from when I tried (and failed) to do so on the PS2. Why? Sony increased the resolution of the sticks to have much higher sensitivity and with the HD output, I can get comparable-to-PC resolutions making good shooting possible again. Is aiming the same? No. Is auto-aim necessary? No. Can you still get headshots? Yes, and I often do.

    Resistance: Fall of Man on the PS3 is a great example at 720p, Warhawk (a 3rd person shooter) is a very fun example at 1080p (but has auto-aim by default). In fact in some cases the ability to aim rapidly in traditional FPS style is completely taken away like in the Resident Evil series where you have to stand still to shoot and have a limited aim speed when doing so just to add to the horror.

    As for relating to this article, Unreal plays very well on a PS3 (can't say I've tried on a 360, so I'm not comparing) and although many two-joystick users suck at aiming, that doesn't make it impossible nor unacceptable. Its just a new skill to acquire and IMHO the only downfall is in needing another finger for weapon switching (which Resistance: Fall of Man assigns to R2 so you don't have to take your thumbs off the sticks).

    In the future, feel free to stick up for your platform's superiority, but the FUD smells bad.
  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @10:35AM (#22700904)
    What did everyone had at home? Televisions.
    What do you need to use a console? Televisions.

    When everybody has a computer at home, wouldn't it be natural for consoles to connect to the computer and use it's display? Wouldn't it also follow that, having connected to the computer you could also use it's peripherals?

    At the same time, aren't graphic cards concentrating more and more of the power needed to run a modern game?

    So, on one side we'll have consoles that lack display (as now) but also controls and sound, and graphic cards concentrating almost all the power to run a cutting edge game.

    What differentiates those two pieces of hardware?
  • by Bob-taro ( 996889 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @11:49AM (#22702158)

    Here is an opposing viewpoint [] from Doug Lombardi.

    I tend to agree that PC gaming is not going away. PC game programming definitely has it's challenges. The console programmer is programming for known hardware so he can optimize much more easily than a PC game programmer who has to deal with unknown graphics capabilities, cpu speed, memory size, monitor resolution, etc. Good graphics APIs help, but do not take the problem away. OTOH, once you have programmed for this variability, you have a more portable game. When I buy a new PC, I don't mind paying a few hundred more for discrete graphics card (I don't buy consoles anyway), and I enjoy loading all my old games onto it and knowing they'll (usually) still work. Sometimes I even find that some group has created a modified version of the game that improves the experience on faster hardware (like open GL versions of doom or descent). Also, user created content (maps, characters, campaigns, etc) is an area where PC games outshine their console counterparts.

  • by aarku ( 151823 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:27PM (#22703930) Journal
    We do scale down graphics to the GMA950 ... and below. The fun part happens when you get this big divide in user reviews due to the scaling down. Some claim the graphics "sux" and others claim the graphics "rox". There is also only so much you can scale down. It takes a ton of resources to remodel/re-rig a character at a low-poly for the integrated cards and a high-poly for everything else. We end up just shipping ridiculously low polygon models that anything with hardware T&L is barely taxed. In short, we game developers are generally intelligent people and we do our best, and there actually is a problem in these integrated cards... A pc may not have been purchased as a gaming PC but little Timmy is still just as pissed when the game doesn't perform well on it.
  • by KamuZ ( 127113 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @01:57PM (#22704656) Homepage
    It's the same it happened to movies. With the boom on digital effects they started pushing the movies to be heavy on effects but no good storyline. People went to the movies just to see how "good" were the effects, you know, "it looks great but kinda boring" movie. Now that we reached the point that most studios can afford them, people are starting to realize the crappy content and now moves to independent movies or low budget films. I believe this is going to happen (or already it is) in console world. Once people have enough of pretty graphics and look for awesome gameplay, they game developers will have to adjust. I mean, check for example Xbox Live Arcade, Virtual Console, etc., they offer old games which many play for the nostalgia, on the other hand, young people also realize there is so much fun in old games and they don't need great graphics for it.
  • by Kremmy ( 793693 ) on Monday March 10, 2008 @08:39PM (#22710524)
    Just how much of a problem do you think CPU architecture is?

    I've been coding for years. My primary development platform is Linux, which as you know supports dozens of CPU architectures. How many changes do I have to make in order to compile on a differing architecture? Chances are, not a single one. If there is a change that needs to be made it's with the build scripts most of the time, only very rarely does the code itself need to be touched. I can take this same code and compile it on Mac OS X, creating a Universal Binary supporting both PowerPC and x86 at the same time with the same minimal effort. I can install MinGW/MSYS on a Windows box and do the same damn thing there.

    It's not a difficult task. You don't even have to give a damn about the differing APIs among them because of the various freely available abstraction libraries. Satisfying the LGPL with regard to a commercial game is as simple as including the tarballs of the LGPL libraries you used on the disc, it's not rocket science. Satisfying many licenses that these libraries fall under is as simple as putting a line in a credits file somewhere. If a game developer chooses not to use cross platform technologies, it's their choice, but that doesn't change the fact of cross platform development being a trivial task.

    You are completely off base.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein