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PC Gaming 'a Generation Ahead' of Consoles, Says Crytek Boss 412

Crytek co-founder Cevat Yerli spoke recently about the growing gap between modern PCs and consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360, saying that the desire to develop for multiple platforms is hampering creative expression. "PC is easily a generation ahead right now. With 360 and PS3, we believe the quality of the games beyond Crysis 2 and other CryEngine developments will be pretty much limited to what their creative expressions is, what the content is. You won't be able to squeeze more juice from these rocks." One reason this trend persists is because of the perception that PC game sales are not high enough for most developers to focus on that platform. Rock, Paper, Shotgun says this indicates a need for the disclosure of digital distribution sales numbers, which could dispel that myth. Yerli's comments come alongside news of Crytek's announcement of a new military-based shooter called Warface.
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PC Gaming 'a Generation Ahead' of Consoles, Says Crytek Boss

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  • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:-1, Interesting)

    by devbox ( 1919724 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @06:30PM (#34345758)
    Wii HD. Seriously, the only problem with Wii is the really old graphics. Say what you want about gameplay and graphics comparison, but it doesn't feel nice to play games with such old looking graphics. Old classics or games especially made towards that purpose, sure, but it looks really bad with 3D games.

    Besides, having good looking graphics doesn't mean you can't have great gameplay too.
  • by Jartan ( 219704 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @06:38PM (#34345820)

    The PS3 might not be "maxed out" in terms of software existing which uses it's good points. It's pretty clear though that it's maxed out in terms of what the gaming market is ever going to do with it. The reality is that Sony tried to go a new direction with hardware but they failed to get the market stranglehold they needed to force developers to take risks on new coding styles for a platform specific title.

    Either way the original point that the PC has far surpassed the PS3 is still true. The PS3 has way too much power in certain area's that aren't necessary. In area's like GPU and memory though it's pathetic. It was in many ways far subpar to PC's the day it was released.

  • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Thursday November 25, 2010 @06:41PM (#34345848) Homepage Journal
    Why can't, say, Dell or Gateway make a PC in a home-theater-PC case for 599 US dollars [youtube.com] and call it the new fourth console?
  • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Thursday November 25, 2010 @06:47PM (#34345904) Homepage

    Most of the really good Wii titles don't even use the Wii motion controls for anything more than a gimmick, though. Frequently, shaking could have been replaced with a simple button press (and that would have been far more accurate--I'm looking at you, New Super Mario Bros. Wii) Pointing at the screen gets quite a bit of use, at least since it's got a fairly obvious application (aiming in a FPS.)

    The accelerometers were a gimmick, and I think that Nintendo knows it. It worked out for them--they did a good amount of business while in competition with two other giants. What I think Nintendo has proven in this generation is that 2D side-scrollers (or 2.5D or whatever) aren't dead and are actually quite popular, as long as the controls and gameplay are good.

    I don't see much of a need to go HD, other than to finally get rid of the last holdout for analog input on my TV.

  • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cinder6 ( 894572 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @06:48PM (#34345912)

    I would say the main problem with the Wii is its library. And this comes from somebody who owns one. I really don't care about its graphics, but there just isn't much that interests me on the platform. I have 7 Wii games, while I have 42 or so PS3 games and 17 360 games. Granted, there are a few games that I'm interested in, but it's only 3 or so. So much of the library is dedicated to shovelware games and kid stuff.

    I think the culprit behind this is that publishers want to make multiplatform games to maximize returns. It's easy to match the 360 and PS3 games, as they're of like performance. The Wii? Not so much (due to both the hardware limitations and the different default control scheme). Exclusives for it would be better, but exclusives aren't what make the most money these days. So developers make the big games for the 360 and PS3, but give the Wii spin-offs or other budget titles that just aren't as good. Case in point: the 360 and PS3 got Resident Evil 5. The Wii? Umbrella Chronicles and a re-release of RE4.

    Of course, none of this matters to Nintendo, as the Wii is basically a license to print money. It's great for those who were never really into gaming before this generation, but the "traditional" gaming segment is more or less left out.

    (Or maybe I need to look harder?)

  • by Movi ( 1005625 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @06:52PM (#34345946)

    Actually it's not a new direction at all. If anything, the PS2 was the new direction. Stick very high speed vector processors next to the a standard CPU and GPU and some low latency ram on a high speed interconnect. The PS3 is just this idea extended to more vector units and current-generation CPU and GPU (at the time it was made).

    What Microsoft did was smart - instead on banking on very specialized hardware, it made sure it's development kit could do the optimisation automatically, hence it's MUCH easier to push the xbox to it's limits than the PS3 (read about the ATi shader compiler for R600, and how cool Visual Studio for the Xbox is).

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by icegreentea ( 974342 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @06:53PM (#34345954)
    No, you stop this bullshit. It's pretty clear that they're talking about graphics capabilities here. The word innovative doesn't even appear anywhere in the summary or articles. Every fucking time we talk about games or movies, its the same shit. "Omg, it's shiny it sucks". Shiny and "creative" and "fun" and "innovative" are all largely orthogonal to each other. Their only real conflict is the budget. And this is goddamn Crysis. It's a game which is meant to be a tech demo. Like UT. Of fucking course their making it shiny.

    And you know what? Crysis was shiny as fuck when it came out. It was slightly innovative within the FPS field (the multi power suit thing). And it was FUN. Maybe you didn't like it because you were clouded by your "only play games that can run on old hardware" snobbery, but I got to run around blowing shit up and throw chickens at people. And I look forward to doing it again. In New York.

    Seriously I'm tired of this shit. It's not like these new shiny games are a torture to play or anything. You just refuse to enjoy them. Did you insist on Half Life being playable on 10 year old hardware when it came out too? Doom?
  • Re:Bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ksd1337 ( 1029386 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:22PM (#34346146)

    Besides "Mr. Crytek" isn't talking about Innovation - he's talking about creative expression. The ability to have "more" in a game (better graphics, bigger worlds, more detail).

    Creative expression? Give me a break. That's like saying that a photographer is more creative than a painter because photos have higher resolutions than paintings.

  • by EXTomar ( 78739 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:51PM (#34346310)

    So lets look at some games:

    - "World of Warcraft" just had The Shattering which revamped the graphics and game flow of the world adopting tech and design they learned from 6 years of successful gaming.
    - Steam just told me that "Poker Night at the Inventory" is available for cheap. Although it is basically a poker game, the fun part is the conversations and jokes in the game.
    - "Farmville" is still going strong
    - "Minecraft" would be a hard sell if not impossible on consoles

    So yeah, if you say so. I don't think flashy and poorly coded are a PC feature but something that comes from the developer regardless of their target platform.

  • by Alphathon ( 1634555 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @08:11PM (#34346390)

    That's already happened - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: Reflex for Wii [amazon.com], Call of Duty: Black Ops for Wii [amazon.com]

    I've never played them, so I don't know how they compare to CoD on the HD consoles or PC, but they certainly exist. It's not really been heavily publicised though, so I doubt the kind of person that'd be swayed by it would know about it. Heck, a lot of people I know who're into CoD think it's a 360 exclusive purely because it plays the 360 logo animation, thing, at the end of the ads.

  • Re:Wii Boxing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sancho ( 17056 ) * on Thursday November 25, 2010 @08:17PM (#34346412) Homepage

    Yeah, but that was practically a demo. I haven't tried Wii Punch Out--does it use a similar mechanic?

    One of the things I really disliked about Wii Sports was that the motions you made only barely correlated with the motions your character could perform. Tennis is the best example of this--where you halt your swing determined what type of swing your character took (most people I knew tried to swing as though they were swinging a real tennis racket--which didn't work particularly well.) Most of those minigames had similar quirks.

    Better, more precise motion might be useful. However I think that motion itself is vastly overrated. Between the difficulty with repeating the same motions precisely (the ability to do this separates the average person from sports players) and the difficulty of the Wii in interpreting your motions, I'll take discrete button presses any day.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, 2010 @08:18PM (#34346418)

    No, it couldn't. The PS1 didn't have enough CPU power to pull off the number of simultanious enemies that Crysis had, or be able to exist in such large maps, or have as good AI.

    If you're willing to sacrifice all of those, then yes you could, but the gameplay will be so different that its a pointless comparison.

    For that matter, what PS3 game couldn't run just as well on an NES if you're willing to sacrifice all of that?

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pentium100 ( 1240090 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @08:57PM (#34346610)

    No, that's like saying that a photographer with a good DSLR or a film SLR camera can be more creative than a photographer with a cell phone that takes 320x240 photos. The photographer with a good camera can make his photos low resolution, but he can also take high resolution photos where you see every detail, while the photographer with a cell phone cannot take high resolution photos even if he wants to.

    You can make a low resolution PC game (Minecraft or any old PC game) but you can also make a high resolution game if you want to. If you were creating a game for the NES or a PC 15 years ago, you would not be able to create a game with good graphics even if you really wanted to.

  • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @09:13PM (#34346702) Homepage

    I hesitate to point this out, but:

    Your Example 1 could describe most OSS games.
    Your Example 2 could describe most commercial games.

    Now go do a side-by-side comparison of the two, for any given genre.

    And I say this as an OSS advocate.

  • by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @10:02PM (#34346916)

    I don't see first person shooters as immersive at all. I feel like I'm playing a floating camera with a gun attached. I prefer third person shooters for a number of reasons, 1) They don't give me dizziness and headache from the camera movement 2) They give me a much better idea of the relative position of my character compared to everything else, and doesn't make it feel like the character is floating when he climbs ladders or whatnot 3) They allow the character to have much better movements as you can see in more then one direction 4) They allow you to have more game-play mechanics like interesting melee combat.

    Third person shooters can also be made competently with PC controls in mind, for instance Global Agenda is a great Team Fortressish shooter that's third person and designed for PC and I find it much nicer to play then Team Fortress 2.

  • Ok (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @10:03PM (#34346922)

    How about large game worlds? Consoles, with their tiny memory amounts, put real limits on that kind of shit. As an interesting study in this, look at Deus Ex 1 vs Deus Ex 2. DX1 was PC only, running on Unreal Engine 1. Levels were more or less large, continuous, zones. You'd start and just walk around the whole thing, no loading. Also it wasn't streaming, the whole level was active, NPCs moved around freely and did things off camera. DX2 was designed for consoles, using Unreal Engine 2. Despite being a number of years later and requiring better hardware, the zones are tiny. You are in a little area and have to move through doors or other interlocks to reach a new one. The reason is that the Xbox, which it also ran on, had only 64MB of memory. Zones had to be kept small to fit in that.

    Now you can fake this, to a degree, with streaming. Stream the data from disc as needed. But you can't have a truly free world where everything is loaded and active all the time. Look at Grand Theft Auto 3 or Vice City. You discover that other than special objects, like police chasing you or cars for missions, nothing exists that is out of your FOV. Look at a street, turn around, then turn back. It changes because it is regenerated. Again, done because of the small memory on the PS2 which it also runs on.

    These are gameplay affecting things. A designer has to engineer around that limit rather than making the game as they want.

    Also I'm sorry, but graphics have a long way to go. They are good, but they aren't fooling me they are real. Until that day, more power is needed. The limit should be the imagination, not GPU power. As a minor example, take resolution. The consoles are only 720p devices (1280x720). Yes, they do basic upsampling but you gain no detail with that. Other than a few rare PS3 games (which suffer in therms of textures and so on because of it) that run at 1080, they all run at 720, and sometimes even less.

    On a PC you can do far more. I like my 1920x1200 gaming, but really I want more. I want smaller pixels on a bigger display. I want the beyond 2k screens that are out there (2560x1600) and I want it at a smooth 60fps. PCs can handle that, generally, with high end hardware.

    Of course past just resolution there are plenty of other things that could be made to look better too.

    The idea that what we have now is "good enough" is silly. You could say that of any time in the past, but then when presented with somethign better, suddenly that better thing is rather nice.

  • Re:Captain Obvious (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, 2010 @10:33PM (#34347026)

    I would say the main problem with the Wii is its library.

    The Wii has a great library of games for people who are into the types of games that Nintendo makes. Maybe not for everybody, but there's certainly a place for it. You can call it "kid stuff," but I'm an adult who has a three inch beard and a gun collection and Mario Galaxy 2 is one of my favorite games of all time.

  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @12:22AM (#34347422) Homepage

    To be fair, developing on a PC is DAMNED HARD. To extend your analogy:

    You have to build a house. You don't know what bricks you have, what materials the walls will be made of, or even the amount of space you have to put the house in. You have to build the house in such a way as to take advantage of a 512 mb lot, or an 8gb lot. The floors might be made by nVidia, ATI, or a prefab floor by intel. Each room might be bigger or smaller than you thought.

    So you've gone from a console, where you know EXACTLY the dimensions, building materials, etc of the place you're building, to one where you're building an abstracted concept of a game that is supposed to build itself from available materials and still function.

  • Re:Bullshit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @01:34AM (#34347704) Homepage

    You can make a game 20% more immersive by increasing visual fidelity, but you can't put enough lipstick on it to call it art. The concepts that made Shadow of the Colossus art could have been executed on a SNES. There is a 2D flash Portal that still feels exactly like Portal.

    There is a trap in there: Visuals always make something *better*, therefore if we polish the visuals enough the game can be any arbitrary level of good. And that's just not true. You have to have a core, a soul, that makes it appealing on a human level. That's not going to be true of Crysis. Don't get me wrong, Crysis was fun. But it was bubblegum. Half-Life 2 looked amazing, but it also had the gravity gun, a story, and an eerie flip on the usual hero mythos.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 26, 2010 @03:20AM (#34348030)

    There is a lot of truth to this.

    I worked on an EA title once. Everything was going fine until one of the higher ups panicked, afraid that we weren't going to meet our launch date, and took charge. The first matter of business was to reduce the bug count. This was accomplished by simply not reporting any new bugs (save for bugs that would cause us to fail cert). A lot of the cert bugs were silly things that most users wouldn't notice or care about, but they took precedent over everything else. Under my producer's instructions, I regularly packaged numerous bug fixes into single changelists, since we were only permitted to submit changelists pertaining to specific bugs (and had to cite them). I also successfully petitioned to get a few non-cert bugs fixed for the more serious issues.

    The crazy thing is in the month leading up to cert, I had very little to do. I wasn't allowed to fix anything. I had about two dozen changelists that they simply wouldn't let me submit - regardless of how simple or safe the bug fixes were, or how serious the bug was. I held onto them, but they never made it into any patches either. They simply did not care about the quality of the game. It was all about getting it out the door.

  • Re:Wii Boxing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teh kurisu ( 701097 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @04:53AM (#34348362) Homepage

    Wii Sports Resort, which came bundled with more recent consoles and uses the MotionPlus accessory, is much better in this regard.

  • Can you say MEMORY (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Friday November 26, 2010 @06:10AM (#34348612) Journal

    Consoles have always had a simple weakness. Memory. Developers love it, consoles don't have it.

    Netbooks now come with 2GB. The PS3 comes with 512mb. That is all, video and main memory and in some ways it really only 256mb. When was the last time you had a computer with 256mb main memory? Or for that matter a 256mb video card? Oh okay, my current netbook has but then I would hardly call it a gaming machine.

    A perfect example was Morrowind, it performed horrible on the PC at first with frequent loading between "zones". Until a PC only expansion was added which increased the memory usage. Foila, no more loading. The original game had been designed with the console in mind and so was extremely conservative with the amount it used.

    Games like Fallout 3 show it as well. My DUAL core PC not only has higher resolution textures by default, it can even run smooth with insanely high definition user made textures. That is a DUAL core PC, two cores are better then 6(or 3 I believe for the x-box)? Why yes, because while the consoles are chugging along with constant streaming from a slow HD, my humble PC just has it in memory, in the 1 gig (4x video memory of the console) video memory.

    Further proof lies in the horrible PS3 as a linux machine performance. Seriously, who would want a linux desktop with 256mb memory? Why not just try to run linux on the DS and really hurt yourself... oh wait... someone is doing just that.

    But can't clever programming offset this? No, not really. That same clever programming after all also works on PC's so they get the same benefit and STILL have tons more memory. While you can make a lot of fun games that use little memory, a lot of games just don't fit. You can't have a large open persistent world where you can zoom around and have non-streaming optimized content (Think GTA where you have lots of car models but only a couple loaded at the same time) in 512mb.

    And no, it ain't just shooters. Think the Sims 3. All that user created content, were is it going to fit? A decent installation with a owner who wants her sims to be JUST right already can bring a PC to its knees with its memory demands. On the console forget it! The HD would catch on fire.

    The simple fact is that once all the tricks on the PS2 were learned, it was still a horribly obsolete machine compared to an average PC. Only people that don't game think different. Why do think we still got PC only games? MMO development is PC only (the recent FFXIV is such a failure that it can't be counted)?

    Somehow I think the guys at Crytek know better then some console fanboy.

No extensible language will be universal. -- T. Cheatham