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 Gameguru Mania News - Nov,20 2006 -  
PS3 vs. Xbox 360-A Game Developer's Perspective - console
(hx) 05:43 PM CET - Nov,20 2006 - Post a comment / read (12)
hardCOREware.net has posted pretty interesting article called PS3 vs. Xbox 360-A Game Developer's Perspective. They talked with an experienced PS3/Xbox 360/PC/Xbox/PS2 programmer as he shares his thoughts on both next-gen consoles. Here's a taster:
Being a video game developer (I develop for both, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360) people ask me almost daily which platform I think is better. These are my personal feelings, in no way does this reflect my employer. Short answer: Xbox 360. Long answer: Price, performance, visual quality, game selection and online support. I think the Xbox 360 wins in every category.

Price: This is obvious; the Xbox 360 core is only $299. The PS3 is around $499 for the 20GB version. It comes with a hard drive, but you don't need a hard drive to enjoy a lot of great games on the 360 so I think it's fair to compare both core systems.

Performance: On paper, the PS3 is more powerful. In reality, it's quite inferior to the 360. Without getting into too many details, the three general-purpose CPU's the xbox360 has are currently FAR easier to take advantage of than the SPU's on the PS3. I suspect a few years down the road some high budget, first party PS3 exclusive titles will come out that really take advantage of the SPU's and do things the Xbox 360 can't, but I don't think the console is worth buying based on this speculation (for some it will be though, we'll have to wait and see how these games turn out).

Graphics: The Xbox 360 is a clear winner. The GPU is more powerful. It has more powerful fillrate, and far more pixel and vertex processing horsepower. Part of the reason is their choice of memory, and architecture of pixel and vertex procesing. I can't get into details but the same vertex shader will run much slower on the PS3 than the Xbox 360. The 360 also has a clever new way rendering high definition anti aliased back buffers. To accomplish the same effect on PS3 is prohibitively expensive. For this reason I think many games will have no choice but to run in non-HD resolutions on the PS3 version, use a lower quality anti aliasing technique, or do back buffer upscaling. The end result in all cases is going to be noticeably worse image quality.

Game Selection: The Xbox 360 has a huge head start here. 1 year is an eternity in gaming. Almost all multi-platform developers have made the Xbox 360 their primary platform due to timing of release-to-market, this means the games will look and perform better on the 360. The PS3 versions will be ports of the 360 versions. (The opposite was true for XBOX 1 vs. PS2). The Xbox 360 is also far faster to develop for due to better development tools (massively popular Visual Studio .NET vs. proprietary, buggy PS3 compiler and debugger), better documentation, and easier architecture (3 general purpose CPU's vs. 8 specialized processors that require DMA). Timing has also caused all next-gen middleware developers to make Xbox 360 their primary platform, and they will 'add ps3 support' as needed. This support will probably be inferior to the Xbox 360's due to manpower and more importantly, demand. It's this catch-22 now that will continue to drive the 360 forward and hold PS3 back.
last 10 comments:
djRom(06:23 PM CET - Nov,20 2006 )
Very interesting. It will be intersting to see how all that affects the end result of who has more market share.

darknothing(09:21 PM CET - Nov,20 2006 )
i dont think it will at all..
playstation heads will think this and this alone

playstation better xbox 360 sucks!

Safer(11:17 PM CET - Nov,20 2006 )
/angry panda =_=

I'm not the usual to complain, but this guy is... yeah... he's a 360 fanboy since he disregard some commonly known things and somethings he probably left out in the process. I'm just gonna deal with the technological part for starters as I will annihlate this so called "assessment" of power between the systems and this mans own justfication of that he "was right to chose the 360 as good development platform!"

So, yeah - it's easier to develop for a core architechture based on the same x86 standard we have for our PCs so the language and kernel capabilities are far from diffrent. If you have made a game for the PC, it it's not hard to make the code compatible with such hardware (and as the 360 uses a DirectX extentsion it's even easier I will assume).

The PS3 however is based on the Cell, a non symetrical element based architechture. Programming for this very dynamic and unusal system is not easy at first. But I belive that when developers can untap it's power it will be hard to rival. (I speak here as hardware and software specialist not as a fanboy, thank you). And will explain in detail why a bit further down.

Trying to adapt the same code to two totally diffrent hardware platforms have never been easy.

What I trust here is that what a developer says, and gamer says or whoever speaks up in a voice of this "console war" is blatantly obvious information.

Personally I would rather have a go with the Ps3 since I'm very facinated by the Cell. :P However, one might be a bit thoughful about the choice of hardware. I am impressed by their technology, yet the blatantly obvious question "why make it harder then needed" is there. The answer is probably conceptual goals, technology and some perverted greed since they have for a long tried to get something of their very own into our homes.

Graphics (let's see if I can handle it this correctly); While the eDRAM logic saves time from the CPU running effects like AB, AA and z-buffering, it still uses a unfied memory architecture to share CPU and GPU offloads. In other words - a really cool way to give insane amounts of bandwith between the busses which simplyfies the coding endevour to implment a graphic effect for example since it runs with the rest of code through the triple-core based general purpose CPU.

Now contra, the PS3 uses what can probably be called a unified CPU archtechture where many parts of the processing is spread among diffrent PE's (Processing element - roughly the equillent of a "core") which by themselves are loaded and can handle multiple threads of code in a local memory storage within the PE itself.
Here comes the interesting thing, the PE's work against a bus sytem known as the EIB which uncompasses all the PE units and work towards the memory. This good as the PE's can interchange processes (if they designated towards a specific purpose - in exampel AA) and the "ring", as the EIB can be descibed as, can more effectivly work towards the memory without deadlocks. Regardless though, the maximum transfer bandwith between the EIB and it's member PE' is deterimined by the XDR memory it's coupled with.

My idea of this is that Sony is touting a developer kit which strongly focues on threading and prioritising the processes within the EIB to offhandle excessive use of memory. In it self it's a flaw, but handle correctly, the Cell is fracking monster.

So to implemtent for example alpha blending into the graphics engine you must more or less dedicate a whole thread to this instead of simply putting it into the main code thread as you would do with the 360 to produce the same effect. This thread, apart from being run through a PE would then also be lined into the GPU. Easy huh? Or perphas no - it's far more advanced but in the progress also far more complicated to deal with.

Summa sumaris; Hardware vice they are diffrent, very diffrent. Performance vise? Depends on the your monkeys.

As a last note; Why even begin to compare first year games from a new system? Atleast half of them was ports. The PS3 will probably not have a better dog year but since many large and attractive franchies are synonymous of the Playstation brand they will probably boost the system a good deal if they arrive early.

Since I got the 360 and since I also will get a Ps3 when Europe gets it's share of black monolithic love to stand beside the 360 which finaly is reciving some good games - I see no point at all in justifying this digression into subjective nonsense in their choice of developing platform since in it's own is allways the games that get's the system where it is.

I'm rather neutral to what (the system that is) I play, I'm however ruthless towards incompetent assessments. Why not give the whole view WHY it's harder to develop, WHY it's harder to master the Cell for example. Is it so hard to write a half technical essay about the diffrences without touting some ero-corporate propaganda?

*End-bah!*

miglaugh(12:54 AM CET - Nov,21 2006 )
My head nearly exploded looking at the size of your post. I'm suprised if anyone reads it.

Instead of the devs crying about the tools available for ps3, why don't they make their own and then license the tools out to other companies. If there is a void to fill, fill it you creeps. The homebrew scene might even end up crafting thier own tools anyways, because of the whole "otherOS" feature. I could see an XNA type of thing come out of all this.

If I have some free time next summer I'll prolly play around with linux when i pick up one of the suckers. Nothing sounds geekier or more fascinating then coding up some openGL demos on a console... haha.

I know it'll never happen, but if the game companies started supporting linux as a game platform, then you'd have the best of both worlds: pc games and console games.

Safer(04:03 AM CET - Nov,21 2006 )
mig: I was a wee bit annoyed... :P And I would surprised if any one read it at all.

Regarding Linux games, one of the larger and faster growing MMO games, Eve, is getting itself a Linux client in some form as I understand it at least which is a positive thing as I among others have been asking nicely for it since the realese.

(10:38 AM CET - Nov,21 2006 )
Safer> WHY it's harder to develop, WHY it's harder to master the Cell for example. Is it so hard to write a half technical essay about the diffrences without touting some ero-corporate propaganda?

good post IMHO. WHY it's harder to master the Cell? Because we are living in the age of the consumer society :(

There are no Coders out there who can code super efficient Cell machine...it will be pretty expensive game for SONY...


FYI:

quote:

The Cell's seven DSPs (what Sony calls SPEs) have no cache, no direct access to memory, no branch predictor, and a different instruction set from the PS3's main CPU. They are not designed for or efficient at general purpose computing. DSPs are not appropriate for game programming.


quote:

Sony's CPU is ideal for an environment where 12.5% of the work is general-purpose computing and 87.5% of the work is DSP calculations. That sort of mix makes sense for video playback or networked waveform analysis, but not for games. In fact, when analyzing real games one finds almost the opposite distribution of general purpose computing and DSP calculation requirements. A relatively small percentage of instructions are actually floating point. Of those instructions which are floating-point, very few involve processing continuous streams of numbers. Instead they are used in tasks like AI and path-finding, which require random access to memory and frequent branches, which the DSPs are ill-suited to.


http://www.itvidya.com/playstation_3_vs_xbox_360

Ravenheart(01:23 PM CET - Nov,21 2006 )
If the developer is lazy, yeah PS3 sux :roll: i think SONY once again are the pionners in what will become the future. Cuz back in 1994 when PS1 hit no one wanted even to think about 3D graphics "its 10x harder, its more expensive!!!!" bla bla bla so now every game that comes out is 3D why don't the developers complain now?

Safer(01:40 PM CET - Nov,21 2006 )
hx: Thanks ^_^

In it self the PE (I prefer to just abrivate them as Processing Elements as the Synergetic Processing Element term brings nothing more than more confusion :P) logic is not a bad idea and I belive that EIB outform is neat but is weighed down simply by poor bandwidth to the memory.

A memory bus that is able to handle 8 simoultainious transfers between its cache and the PE's is a quite a interesting endevour and should be further developed.

devilhood(01:46 PM CET - Nov,21 2006 )
The argument from a lazy or pressurized developer will always be based around what they're used to.
I'm sure there are developers out there that are extremely excited about the Cell architecture.

Cry baby thumb twiddlers! bring back the Amiga! :lol:

v1m(05:12 PM CET - Nov,21 2006 )
Sony's sold well over 200 million Playstation 1 and 2s. It's the name the world trusts in gaming. Microsoft is the name the world generally hates.

A year from now with PS3 production ramped up and the 360 having reached full saturation, this coder's little Nostradamus act will seem even more amusing.

Ironically, he may be looking for work by that time, too, as outsourcing devours more and more U.S. coding jobs.

El_Coyote(08:02 PM CET - Nov,21 2006 )
meh i just want a pc remake of cannon fodder... and 2d thanks.. none of that pos 3d :P

xxxx(01:05 AM CET - Nov,22 2006 )
cannon fodder, lol. i played that on both amiga and pc :D

I don't care what anyone has to say about ps3 anymore. I'm getting a xbox 360 because it's more afforadable and does everything 'I' need and more. Sony is too expensive and just too late. But Sony is known to treat their gamers well too, me being one. I have every confidence their console will do well and the interest will be there. The PS market is saturated with addons and stuff that werent even dreamed of when it came out. Not like they have ever really suffered.

People are not gonna be interested in developing for it? pfffff that's just stupid. http://ps3.ign.com/articles/618/618430p1.html
PS3 doesn't have a bad lineup either. 30 some games! Not bad as far as I'm concerned.

If people are foolish enough to keep putting "hundreds" of dollars into PC's every six months to play current games, whats the problem? Look at the girlies that went and got a 8800 while they just bought a 78/7900s! Gimme a break. Get both and/or you know you will! End of story.

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