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Console Dev vs. PC Dev - Difficulty

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I was wondering what everyone one's thoughts were on the difference between dev for consoles and PCs. I have been thinking that game dev for a console would be much easier technologically speaking because of the unified hardware of a console. QA for a PC is difficult because you have such a wide variety of hardware that you need to support. What are your thoughts?

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more or less 6 of 1, 0.5 * 12 of other.

Yes consols are consistant. They are also far more obscure. PS2 can be a real chalange. (And any one saying that the PS2 is no longer relivant, has no idea.)

360 is fun, very simmilar to muilty core PC's, but still in MHO should have more ram, or a standard HD.

where as PC, you dont really have those 2 limitations. Differance in Harde ware are a pain, but if your hobbying, its not really a problem. You make it work on yours and your friends PC's, your more or less set.

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It's true: PCs have different hardware configurations.
But there are high level APIs (C/Cpp functions, OpenGL, DirectX, FMod, ...) that unifies the development and allow you to write your application in an abstract way.

An immediate example:
It is simple to use a cpp stream to read a file and you dont have to know if this file is on a 500GB HD or a DVD or a CD-ROM or a pen-drive.
This can seem natural but if we think about, it is a great semplification!

A part from DirectX (but they are supported by XBox) these libraries are portable on different OS (Windows, *nix and MaxOS) with small changes. If you use cross-platform layers (like SDL) or Game Engines (like Ogre) you can reduce the changes drastically and port your code into different OS.
I dont think that exists a "cross-console library" that let you to port the same code on PS2, PS3, Nintendo, XBox, ....

Obviously if you plan to use high-end PC graphic card features (for example the second generation shaders) you need to add scalability to your application and let the user choose the settings. But if the card supports OpenGL and/or DirectX (as every decent video card does) you have not to worry about the card model.

So in my opinion PCs, strictly from a developer point of view, are more unified and less "obscure" (obscure: I agree with Armand :-D ) than consoles.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Quote:
Original post by nihonlvr
I was wondering what everyone one's thoughts were on the difference between dev for consoles and PCs. I have been thinking that game dev for a console would be much easier technologically speaking because of the unified hardware of a console. QA for a PC is difficult because you have such a wide variety of hardware that you need to support. What are your thoughts?



dude i know why you asked this question ;)

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I personally like developping for both, because it forces me to design my programs better and cross-platform. Plus, it gives me a kick to get a program working on different platforms.

At home I develop for PC(Linux and Windows) and Nintendo DS. At work I do PC and PS3 development(in the beginning also PS2).
As a gameplay programmer for PS3, I don't really have to bother much about the PS3 API, only about how much CPU time the code takes(and there's lots of CPU time, so I don't have to complain). The API that I use for the game code is already cross-platform, so that makes it easy for me to develop a console game.

At home, I like to keep occupied with the other stuff(to get some differentiation in programming). There, I'm actually doing something with the platform-specific code and create my own platform-independant system and graphics API's.

What I like about PC-only development:
- It compiles fast
- Tools are easily available
- Easy to get support
- Doesn't require additional hardware (or modifications for homebrewn)
- It's cheap
Dislikes about PC-only development:
- Varying hardware specs
(my likes and dislikes of console development are more or less the reverse of what I've written here)
- A flooded market(for commercial games)

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Quote:
Original post by CandleJack
A little bit off topic, but I have only done development on PCs. How does one get into developing for consoles? Do you need to purchase special harware or software?


It completely depends on the platform that you want to develop for.
For example, if you want to develop homebrewn software for the Nintendo DS you need:
- devkitPro (http://www.devkitpro.org/) (compiler + libs + tools)
- a Nintendo DS that is flashed with a special BIOS
- a way to get your own games on the DS: if you want to send them through Wifi, you need a network card with a certain chipset and driver. If you want them on a memory card, you need a GBA memory card.

If you develop commercial stuff through Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo, you need a devkit(special version of console you develop for) and possibly licenses for the compiler.

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Quote:
Original post by CandleJack
A little bit off topic, but I have only done development on PCs. How does one get into developing for consoles? Do you need to purchase special harware or software?
Outside of PS3/PS2 Linux and the Xbox360 XNA kit, you must purchase special hardware after becoming approved by the console manufacturer. Sony expects certain things: a given corporate income, secure and large office space, generally a previously published game, and a lot of NDAs. And that's before the money, which is substantial.

Don't bother with it. It's not worth the cash or the time.

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