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the XBox advantage

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if anyone''s been following the XBox, i think the real reason it could hit it big is because of it''s development approach. The thing has that 8Gb hard drive sitting in it, which allows quicker loads than from memory, and it uses a stripped down Windows OS with DirectX. (at least I think its a stripped down Window OS, correct me if I''m wrong) Anyways, how sweet is that? With Playstation 2 you get handed an SDK that is totally different than the last one for the Playstation thanks to all the new hardware, and you have to learn it first to program it. And even then it''s just documentation, so the first games out may not take full control of the system since the programmers haven''t learned or discovered all the tricks, shortcuts, and backdoors to push more speed and graphics out of the thing. With XBox, everyone knows DirectX (I mean, it''s Microsoft, come on..) so the first games will be as kick ass as the rest. If anyone wants to argue, go ahead, but I think I''m being pretty valid here. I can''t wait to see if this things lives up to gamers expectations. ============================== \\// live long and prosper; \||/ die short and rot. ==============================

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Why would anyone want to buy a system so you can run the same exact DirectX programs on the same OS and not spend oodles and oodles of cash for it?

-----------------------------

A wise man once said "A person with half a clue is more dangerous than a person with or without one."

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Let me get this straight first off: At first glance it does appear that MS is making some good choices for XBOX...but who can tell the future?the

First off I think an OS in a console is not the best idea...I mean enough can go wrong in a game much less having an OS to screw you over also.

Yes the PS2 is convoluted and hard to program for BUT most of the hard part is the graphics. The rest is just c/c++ and directly portable/easy to write. As for PS2 ''tricks'', many ways of pushing the hardware are known, and I highly doubt there are many ''tricks'' waiting to be discovered. Sony is very generous in helping their devolpers to push the machine.

And it actually seems as if you imply that somehow a few extra polygons will make a game better (unless you play games for eye candy).

And the bottom line is this: In term of polygon/pixel pushing, the real place where consoles win over PCs is the specialization of hardware. For example, the PS2 has 3 processors (Core, VU0, VU1), with the whole system designed from the ground up to push polys. Where the XBox is using non-specialized hardware (pentium) and old school design (just add a graphic processor).

Don''t get me wrong, I think that the XBox could have some pontential, but until I see some hard results I will not be over-optimistic. Hell, the NVidia chip hasn''t even been made yet, so nearly all discussion is speculative.

Mike

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Guest Anonymous Poster
A full blown OS on a console would probably be a bad choice, but I seriously doubt MS will put a full OS on par with even CE. I''m guessing the Direct X will be a thin layer above the hardware for source compatibility reasons only.

The X Box will have the major advantage that consoles have, consistent configuration. DirectX was devised to provide as consistent an interface to disparate hardware as possible. Why would they port all of that over? They will just take the barest sliver possible, and maybe just rewrite the whole thing to make it as small as possible.

The other good thing is that there will be no more DLL incompatibilities. Or at least I hope not. Since only one application will be in the machine at a time, you don''t really need DLLs. I guess someone could put code on the hard drive, but even then, only they would know about it, so noone else would use it even if it were there.

As a developer, I would love to get a hold of one of these things. I hope they do what Sony did and release a hobbyist version (perhaps a rigid PC specs with the OS) like the Net Yaroze (but with better development tools).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Gaiiden

The thing has that 8Gb hard drive sitting in it, which allows quicker loads than from memory


Uhm, are you sure about that?



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I think he means loads quicker than a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive, but it came out wrong.

------------------------------
#pragma twice

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well, an 8gb hard drive DOES mean more room to download and update patches for games that suffer the same fate on PCs.

i''m going to wait for the nintendo console (for playing purposes, at least). i can run games under windows/dx anytime.

but hey, there won''t be driver conflicts, etc with xBox (let''s hope).


crazy166
some people think i'm crazy, some people know i am

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Woah!! What''d I do?? OK, lemme calrify here
quote:

Ventari:

First off I think an OS in a console is not the best idea...I mean enough can go wrong in a game much less having an OS to screw you over also.

Anonymus:

A full blown OS on a console would probably be a bad choice, but I seriously doubt MS will put a full OS on par with even CE. I''m guessing the Direct X will be a thin layer above the hardware for source compatibility reasons only.

furby100:

I think he means loads quicker than a CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive, but it came out wrong.



OK, I beleive I did say stripped down OS did I not? *checks post* Yeah, I did. I guess, in hindsight, I should have been a little bit more elaborate. By stripped down, I meant it had to have at least a minimum Windows layer that DirectX can run on, that''s all. No desktop to choose a game from or anything like that. I agree that a full-blown OS would be a bad choice. In fact, its totally uneccessary!! And as for the load time, I did mean CD\DVD, sorry. Of course there''s no way a HD could beat out RAM in terms of access speed, my bad. However, I still hold true to my ease of development point - graphics and tricks and stuff notwithstanding.

Well, now that I have covered my ass, I think I''ll go back in the grave that I dug for myself



==============================
\\// live long and prosper; \||/ die short and rot.
==============================

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Stripped down or not, I still stand by my post. In my opinion an OS (no matter how large) is unnescessay complication which only gives more room for bugs, stress, devolpment time, and speed issues. Can anyone tell me the advantages of one for a console? To my knowledge, no console has previously had one...

Mike

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quote:
Original post by crazy166

well, an 8gb hard drive DOES mean more room to download and update patches for games that suffer the same fate on PCs.



Actually, one of my favorite things about console games is that they are released unpatchable--this encourages developers to be a little more careful in their error-checking. The only times my Playstation has ever frozen up were when I either (A) used a Game Shark or (B) hacked the memory card''s game saves. PC games, on the other hand, sometimes freeze up even after installing the fourteenth bug-fix patch, upgrading all your hardware drivers, and making burnt offerings to Bill Gates

quote:
but hey, there won''t be driver conflicts, etc with xBox (let''s hope).


Hope is a fragile thing, especially when MS is involved. . . .

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quote:
Original post by Vetinari

Stripped down or not, I still stand by my post. In my opinion an OS (no matter how large) is unnescessay complication which only gives more room for bugs, stress, devolpment time, and speed issues. Can anyone tell me the advantages of one for a console? To my knowledge, no console has previously had one...

Mike


They do, but they are proprietary ones. Thus you are able to boot the CD-Based consoles without a game or stick in an AudioCD and you''ll see the result of that --> An AudioCD Player. It''s in ROM, but the system''s API''s are based on something. Thus an OS that allows for the hardware access with an API layer over it. You can''t boot it up and program (thus SDK''s with high end machines), but it''s there.


BeS
It's Da BOMB Baby!!!

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quote:

Stripped down or not, I still stand by my post. In my opinion an OS (no matter how large) is unnescessay complication which only gives more room for bugs, stress, devolpment time, and speed issues. Can anyone tell me the advantages of one for a console? To my knowledge, no console has previously had one...



Hmmm... well, DirectX has to run on SOMETHING doesn''t it? I mean, DOS could be considered an OS right? What does an OS really have to be to be an OS? It''s just an app layer progs can run off of. And since DirectX needs something, I''m sure MS isn''t gonna waste the time designing a new "OS" just for the XBox, so a bare-bones Windows kernel would suffice. yes? no?

And as for patched, I personally haven''t had much trouble with them. Although I do see your point, SkyDruid. I don''t think MS should allow patches. If they do, their console games will just go the way of the PC - developers will release games on time ready or not with the philosophy of "oh, we can fix it later". DARRRRRR....... *SCHMAK*

==============================
\\// live long and prosper; \||/ die short and rot.
==============================

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Eeuuh... I think I''ve read that MS will not put an OS in the XBox, but it will be put on the CDs (or whatever medium) you insert in it.

Forgive me if I''m wrong; I''m not an XBox XPert ;-)

Greetings, CondorWitte

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Consoles up to the Playstation and Saturn have not had OS''s really, just a bios. The SNES and Genesis were programmed completely in ASM as far as I know, and all there was was the bios. The PS had the bios plus a driver layer for the API to run off of, and that was it. The Dreamcast now still has the bios, which you see when theres no CD in the machine, and a proprietary OS (or that WinCE offshoot) loaded from the CD''s, but it''s still very small.

------------
- outRider -

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Guest Anonymous Poster
One great reason not to buy any PSX crap is because Sony is a piece of crap company and everyone should boycott them. Check out www.slashdot.org for the info (you''ll have to look around as the story is a couple of days old) but basically they said they''re going to help out the music industry by developing software and methods of firewalling napster wherever possible: at the napster server all the way on down to the user''s computer. Granted this is a completely impossible claim and just makes them look even more stupid than they already are, but any company retarded enough to make a statement like that AND produce crappy products that break alot needs to be boycotted.

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Hey, I''ve heard from several sources that a lot of developers are working on X-box titles, with the Nintendo Gamecube as second choice, (appently the PS2 is too difficult (read: not cost effective) to develop for unless you''re a huge company that can afford the inital time/skills outlay.

As for the X-box being Win-with-DirectX-Compatible, it''s not going to be, (''ol Bill was quite concerned by this in a meeting). The Directx compatibility is only code-deep, not platform based (much like the dreamcast).

As for saying OS''s are bad for consoles, how many games has the pc got compared to any console? If we all had to code memory and process management functionality for each title, you lose development time on something the console manufacturers can do much better than you. Now, say we stick this OS on a ROM chip in the console, BANG, we no longer have an OS, but a useful set of BIOS functions, aka. the SNES and PSX.

Hey, just my thoughts on the subject.

(X-Box source: EDGE issue #88, interview with Seamus Blackley)

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Ok people, the last thing we need here are more rumors. So let''s get straight to the nuts & bolts of the subject. According to the OFFICIAL Microsoft Xbox website, as well as the Microsoft booth at the GDC; The Xbox will be running a trimmed down version of Windows 2000 and DirectX 8 or 9.

To Question #1: "Why would anyone want to buy a system so you can run the same exact DirectX programs on the same OS and not spend oodles and oodles of cash for it?"

This has a fairly simple answer. The Nvidia Geforce cards and all the new Geforce want to be cards are not going to be in every home. There for developers creating games for the PC will have to scale down parts of their game''s in order to make way for people with slower processors, and bad video cards. Most of the time the scaling process is bad for high end users and great for low end users. The Xbox will have a standard set of hardware that developers can program for. They don''t have to worry about if billy joe bob has MMX instructions. Taking this into account the developers can take things for granted and make a game that will run alot better on an Xbox than it will on your home PC.

Onto issue #2: "Stripped down or not, I still stand by my post. In my opinion an OS (no matter how large) is unnescessay complication which only gives more room for bugs, stress, devolpment time, and speed issues. Can anyone tell me the advantages of one for a console? To my knowledge, no console has previously had one..."

Most bugs associated with the Windows operating system can be narrowed down to the incredible ammount of hardware it supports. There are 50 billion parts that are x86 compatible, and not everyone makes quality drivers that work with windows correctly. With the Xbox that will not happen, the system is standardized this will solve 100% of issues related to that. As for no consoles having OS''s previously. That''s incorrect. Dreamcast is a perfect example. These OS''s are normaly hidden from the user and they never see them but they are there.

Like it or not Microsoft has entered into the Console arena. It could give the current console companies the kick in the nuts that they''ve needed. Nintendo, Sega and Sony have monopolized their little consoles, stopping retailers from lowering prices until they say so. Sony takes $10 off each Playstation sale as payment from the developer. On a $50 game that''s 20% profit!!!! Sega and Nintendo have restricted development kits to developers they feel as "Professional". It''s about time some one did something to let great start up developers get into the console arena.


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Alright, sorry the Dreamcast does have an OS, I didn''t know. The rest have BIOSes or something, whatever. My main point is that my money is saying that MS will add extra ''features'' to it''s OS, that we havn''t seen previously in consoles.

quote:

As for the X-box being Win-with-DirectX-Compatible, it''s not going to be, (''ol Bill was quite concerned by this in a meeting). The Directx compatibility is only code-deep, not platform based (much like the dreamcast).


What do you mean by this?

quote:

One great reason not to buy any PSX crap is because Sony is a piece of crap company and everyone should boycott them...


That was one guy, and he''s obviously a complete retard. Sony has issued many statements denying everything he said.

quote:

Most bugs associated with the Windows operating system can be narrowed down to the incredible ammount of hardware it supports. There are 50 billion parts that are x86 compatible, and not everyone makes quality drivers that work with windows correctly.


Please tell me you don''t really believe this. Even if you do, how does this explain the crappy security/memory leaks/etc. I would say most of the problems of windows is the time/money spent to add ''features'' like a fading-in start menu. Mabye I should start blaming my bugs on my hardware...
quote:

Nintendo, Sega and Sony have monopolized their little consoles, stopping retailers from lowering prices until they say so. Sony takes $10 off each Playstation sale as payment from the developer. On a $50 game that''s 20% profit!!!!


Yes, this is how they make money. Each console is sold at a loss, so they need to make up for it somewhere. Most likely, MS will sell XBox at loss also and have a similar scheme. I can''t believe you are comparing the greed of companies like nintendo to that of MS.
quote:

Sega and Nintendo have restricted development kits to developers they feel as "Professional". It''s about time some one did something to let great start up developers get into the console arena.


Yes, MS will allow anyone and their mom to develop for their system becuase quality is their bottom priority. Now I know that a lot of people here root for the small time developer, but you don''t have to know a lot about the game market to be able to list 20+ PC games that never should have made it to the market. I don''t know the exact decision process and it may be too harsh, but I don''t blame them for setting a line somewhere.

Anyways, please don''t follow MS so blindly that you blame software faults on the hardware, and believe that even though MS has had no problems screwing over consumers in the PC market that they won''t also in the console market.


Mike

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I''d reply but it would only continue a completly winnerless argument somewhere between the media''s truths and the real truths. If you dislike microsoft that much then you shouldn''t participate in this conversation as your opinion is completly biased anyway. I will suggest however that you research SONY (Standard Oil of New York) and find out how many things they have their hands into in comparison to Microsoft. I think you''ll find that SONY has the upper hand as far as GREED is concerned.

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Hopefully MS do the right thing by consumers and developers, but only time can tell I guess. Its a bit premature to be commenting on.

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First off let me apoligize for writing that really crappy post (I must have still been a bit drunk). I also get a bit emotional when I see stuff like 'most' of windows problems are the hardware. I also don't know jack about SONY outside of consoles and tried as hard as I could not to imply otherwise (which is why i specificly mentioned nintendo).

Yes I don't like MS, nearly all of my posts to this board have been on MS. My anti-MS sentiment started long before I read any anti-MS propoganda (it started the first time I used the slow,bulky incredibly inefficient windows 3.0). Mabye my expectations for a 7th or so generation product (win2000) are a bit high. I mean, I expect it to be stable enough that MS would use its own product(according to this: http://www.infoworld.com/articles/op/xml/00/08/28/000828opcringe.xml). My favorite quote being from an ex-MS empoloyee "Internally when Windows 2000 was announced, people were told not to even think about using it for production because it was too unstable".

I will probably have this attitude until MS doens't force me to pay for things that should be bug fixes, and prioritizes fixing fundamental issues over adding worthless code-bloating 'features'. I see no reason why having a bias should prevent me from replying to an obviously biased original post.

And I'm just curious, but if you don't expect MS to follow the standard console scheme, how do you think they will make money?

Mike

Edited by - Vetinari on September 2, 2000 11:14:55 AM

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quote:
Original post by Vetinari

And I''m just curious, but if you don''t expect MS to follow the standard console scheme, how do you think they will make money?



#1: They already have enough money to buy a small country.

#2: They''re making plenty more from PC software.



"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away" --Henry David Thoreau

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Personally I don''t think that the X-Box will change the scope of console gaming very much, because if you look at it, the brunt of the developer support is coming from PC developers. Console only companies are still primarily focusing on the traditional consoles, it''s the PC companies that are mostly being affected by the X-Box. They''re the ones that are excited by the console-like properties of the X-Box, but console companies on the other hand aren''t as excited about the easier development environment because they''re used to having to deal with new and sometimes obscure hardware, documentation from Japan, and a lot of other problems that most PC developers arent used to. Most of the PS2 games coming out in the next little while already show a lot of improvement over the crap from the launch, and if you follow consoles you''d see that it''s a very normal occurance with consoles.

I think the X-Box will probably cut into the PC market, with some games being X-Box only, some being PC only, and some being both. In effect, it will be like having two semi-competing platforms. Just like most consoles have competition from at least one other system during their lifetime, the X-Box and the PC will duke it out, while the traditional consoles go through their usual life cycles, but I doubt that they''ll ever affect each other too much.

------------
- outRider -

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"First off let me apoligize for writing that really crappy post (I must have still been a bit drunk). I also get a bit emotional when I see stuff like ''most'' of windows problems are the hardware. "
thats an often said remark ,true win2000 is very stable ive only had about 10 crashes in the last 6 months , compared to 10 a day with win98. but the thing is i run linux on exactlly the same hardware and its never crashed , apps do also kde does but the os has never crashed in a couple of years.
this is my experience (and i dear say everyones), now when i read posts from ppl saying that the reason MS os''s crash is cause of hardware or driver problems i think hmmmm so cro-magnon still wanders the earth.

i dont think the xbox (why is everything an X nowadays directX mac osX , X window etc) will catch on the reason being is console owners are not gonna tolarate the console crahing on them, if it does they ''ll say f this piece of junk im going back to the psx

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They won't tollerate crashing consoles? Hmm that pretty much takes the Playstation 2 and Dreamcast out of the picture. The playstation 2 crashed every 5 min at the GDC, not at one booth but any booth that showed it off. Now keep in mind this console has been out in japan for months so saying that it wasn't ready is no excuse. And sony's track record for producing a quality console is not very good (how many people have to place their psx upside down in order to get the games to run?). Now with the PSX2 running so hot it needs to be shaped like a car amp to dicipate the heat, that only adds to the problems of the console.

However it doesn't matter how much better one console is over another, but who develops for it. And developers will go where ever the licencing is better. This was proven when nintendo and sega lost most of their developers to sony when the playstation came out. If microsoft offers a better agreement than sony, nintendo, and sega then they will get developers. Microsoft can undercut just about anyone except sony in this picture because the console market is not their sole buisness. They make enough money with their other products to make up for any loss based on attracting developers. Sony can probably hold it's own but it's going to have quite a war on it's hands. Nintendo is pretty content with it's loyalist's game sales. Which is why they realy don't care how many developers they lost to Sony. Pokemon, Mario, and all the other games they have will still sell and most are owned by nintendo so they aren't going to any other console. Sega is keeping alive with it's arcade games, 90% of the money they make isn't based on console sales or game sales, but on all the quarters people stick into their Arcade machines. It's going to be an intresting year as far as consoles go. We'll see how it turns out.

Edited by - evaclear on September 6, 2000 9:06:26 PM

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