03-02-2007 08:49 PM
By Eugene Huang
In an article last week, we reported that developer arm High Moon Studios organized a Vivendi-wide conference with IBM to unlock the secrets of Sony's Cell processor. Next-Gen.biz followed up with High Moon's Clinton Keith after the conference, and spoke with him in more detail about what they had learned from the "Cell Summit" and other complexities involved with PS3 game development.
To start off the interview, Keith illustrated the differences between developing on the Xbox 360 and developing on the PS3. Whereas the Xbox 360 has three general purpose processors that are similar to what you might see on a PC or Mac, the Cell embeds about seven processors, he explained. One is the general purpose core, while the other six are dedicated, "specific-use" type processors that he describes as "extremely fast".
"With the big general purpose processors , we can write the software traditionally the way we've done it in the past, so we don't have to change things so much," he states. But with the PS3, Keith explains that developers will have to not only write software differently, but will also have to think about tackling problems in a completely different light.
"Right now, the games you're seeing come out are using engines that are more in the traditional way of creating games, which is that your engine architecture has access to all the other parts of the engine itself. With the PlayStation 3, we're going to have to figure out how to divide these things up so that they're much more separate."
With such engineering elements as "procedural synthesis", Keith hopes to use the processor to "create environments and create artificial intelligence rules that kind of emerge with gameplay and adjust to the gamers' input, so we can have a lot more variety." He also comments on the Cell's blade servers, which can potentially reduce the amount of time it takes to pre-light an environment from half a day to just a few minutes. Keith believes that succeeding in these tasks would be of particular interest to those looking to stem the rise of development costs.
One of Keith's goals is to create a gaming environment that permanently changes over time, as opposed to being consticted with a static map that remains the same every time you load the level. Keith feels that the Cell processor contains the potential for such a dream to become a reality. Although that reality might not manifest until a few years down the line, he likes to think that some developers will manage to feed the gaming world with a surprise here and there sooner than we think.
Keith is hoping that it will be his development team, since his studios have created a new R&D team called "Beachhead", which will work exclusively on exploring the Cell and making the kinds of "small games that can't possibly be made on any other platform." The team is unrestricted by schedule deadlines and is free to experiment with anything they so choose.
"We've actually got a prototype on the PS3 that simulates liquid like no one's seen before and we've actually built a little minigame around that to take advantage of that," he concludes
03-02-2007 09:16 PM
03-02-2007 09:45 PM
03-02-2007 09:53 PM
LegendofMe wrote:"We've actually got a prototype on the PS3 that simulates liquid like no one's seen before and we've actually built a little minigame around that to take advantage of that,"Gimmie! Lol, they should make those mini games available in the PS store. That would be cool.