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Have multi-format releases finally come of age?


Nick Laslett
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John, whilst you're in techy head mode, how come the PS2 version of Prince of Persia, despite being not as 'crisp' or stable as the GC version has lovely 'glowey' lighting effects, yet the Cube doesn't, despite having chip-based lighting routines?

The problem in this case IS the chip-based lighting routines. If you use a 3D package like Maya (which I use on a daily basis), you use hardwarelights to light your scene in real-time previews. This does the job and makes for some nice quick shading, but you won't get all the nice glowing, foggy and flary effects you'll get when you render it using a software renderer. So the PS2 is more or less forced to render it using software, meaning that they can add any effect they like. The Xbox can use hardware, but probably uses a pixelshader or something to create glowy effects.

But there's no reason the GC couldn't do it. It's probably lazyness, not technical constraints. Probably using hardwarelights made the job easier, and they didn't mind losing some of the gloss over it.

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while i do think multi format titles have come of age there are still clear winners on the gfx front and it's the big black/green xbox. This is especially clear on titles where the xbox was the lead format (splinter cell)

But wasn’t Splinter Cell released a few months before it came out on the PS2 and many people were downgrading it already.

Anyway as much as I would like to admit it there isn’t a major graphic difference between the 3 systems.

IMO it is all about how well the game plays.

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Guest Penguin_Lad
Renderware is shit.

Nah, Renderware powers some truly great games (like Burnout 2, Rayman, the GTA series), and makes it possible for developers to focus more on content than on creating a new engine. As long as it's used well, there's nothing wrong with middleware.

It's not very efficient and is expensive-ish.

Yes, it's produced some great games, but a custom built engine is going to be a lot better.

Of course there's nothing wrong with middleware at all, but Renderware isn't the magic monkey that they'd have you believe.

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I recall something in Edge suggesting that in many cases a game is developed for one format then converted to others, causing a drop in quality sometimes. As opposed to doing multiple formats at once, while developing. That would explain quite a few cases.

Someone may have mentioned this already, there are a lot of techy posts here I have skipped.

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Guest Penguin_Lad
I recall something in Edge suggesting that in many cases a game is developed for one format then converted to others, causing a drop in quality sometimes. As opposed to doing multiple formats at once, while developing. That would explain quite a few cases.

Someone may have mentioned this already, there are a lot of techy posts here I have skipped.

As John and I have already said...

PS2 is always the "lead" platform. Why? Well you are going to sell more on PS2, there's more PS2 out there yadda yadda.

So, you make the game for the PS2, and convert it across to the other formats.

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John, whilst you're in techy head mode, how come the PS2 version of Prince of Persia, despite being not as 'crisp' or stable as the GC version has lovely 'glowey' lighting effects, yet the Cube doesn't, despite having chip-based lighting routines?

Fuck knows.

They probably just came up with an effect the PS2 can do REALLY well.

All the machines have their strengths.

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Also the lack of VRAM on PS2 means most\many 60fps games only render the odd\even lines each frame (for an interlaced display). GC & Xbox will render twice as many lines and blend pairs for a much nicer appearance.

...

In our game Pillage we can't implement prog-scan on the PS2 version as we are (as described above) only rendering a half-height buffer. This looks okay so long as the game runs at 60fps (it does). The GC & XBOX versions have prog scan which looks great.

How come you say you can't do it, and yet Nick Laslett reckons Burnout 2 can?

Not picking a fight or owt, just curious, like.

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Guest Penguin_Lad
We ran out of VRAM. The PS2 CAN do it, but the machine is low on VRAM. The way we are doing it uses half the amount of VRAM and is (I believe) the 'default' way of doing things on that machine.

Doesn't the DC have more VRAM than the PS2 if i remember correctly? Or was this just a lie someone told me at work once...

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Prog Scan titles on the PS2 that I know of:

Soul Calibur 2

Burnout 2 (NTSC)

Getaway

Primal

Jak2

Tekken 4

PS2 games that use the full-height buffer that I know of:

SSX1

PES2 (renderware)

ZOE2

Timesplitters2

Blaze do a VGA device that hacks the PS2 and makes games run prog scan, using the full height buffer. When a game doesn't have this capability and uses the half-height frame buffer only half the vertical part of the screen is used. This can look decidedly odd.

The resolution and sharpness of prog scan games on the PS2 is quite astounding.

The colours are more vibrant, the textures much more crisp. There are a lot less jaggies or aliasing. For example the menu screens on PES2 look like a PC display, they are so precise.

When a game only uses a half-height frame buffer, this is consistent with how an interlaced TV signal works. But it does mean that the graphics will look a lot more blurry, jaggy and less precise. This is why GT3 suffers from shimmering on the far distance images.

In a game like Burnout 2, the high res display makes a real difference to the gameplay. Because the image is crisper and clear you can make-out oncoming traffic sooner than when playing on an normal interlaced TV display, making the game easier to play.

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