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Console vs PC

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Rand    193
Typically, Technical Requirements Checklist - TRCs.

Traditionally though, its the new unique hardware to learn. Since until now, they've been less like PCs, and aren't as powerful as PCs. Learning the architecture and how to get the most out of it. Thats why console games get better the longer the console has been out.

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BrianL    530
Limited memory can have the biggest impact day to day. If you come from a PC backgroud, crashes when you run out of memory can be a big wakeup call.

In current next gen hardware, in order execution is also huge. Simple things like no/restricted branch prediction, high cost of floating point branches, etc can change coding style.

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Nypyren    12074
For Consoles: Mainly watching out for memory usage. Understanding platform specific differences (since many console games are shipped for multiple consoles). TRCs for memory cards are pretty ridiculous sometimes, too (all hail the addition of hard drives / fixed memory in the newer consoles). Insane price of development hardware and software compared to PC development.


-PS2/PSP specific: Dealing with moving a PS2 control scheme over to the PSP.

-PS3 specific: Trying to decide if using those SPUs is even feasible in your existing codebase.

-Wii (multiplatform, not main SKU) specific: Control scheme kludging (depends on what your other systems allow).

- Remember which are big endian and which are little endian. Could affect certain algorithms (radix sort).


For PCs: Having to account for countless different hardware and operating systems that your game would have to run under. Having to support the product after it's shipped (in most cases) for hardware/software configurations that you overlooked.

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eng3d    91
Quote:
Original post by Nypyren
For Consoles: Mainly watching out for memory usage. Understanding platform specific differences (since many console games are shipped for multiple consoles).



While many games are launched for diffent console, usually they are different projects and they are cases with different team. They just share graphics (source images), datas and part of the code (usually a generic enginer).

So, there wasn't needing to known every console specifications cause you will work in only one.




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exwonder    100
Quote:
What are some challenges of console game development versus PC game development?


Mostly expanding on what others have said...

Challenges:

- Memory usage. You have a fixed amount of memory, you don't get more. You suddenly have to start caring about how, why, and where you allocate memory. Memory leaks become a huge problem because there are many cases where your game will be required to run for 24-48 hours without crashing to pass cert.

- Certification. Platform manufacturers have to approve your game before it's mastered. There tend to be a lot of legal issues, but there are also functional requirements your game must pass. In practice, a lot of problems with these sorts of things can be avoided by careful coding, good QA, and not being afraid to ask questions. I think something like 75% of the SKUs I've shippped have passed certification on the first try, but some developers have a lot of problems with it. It can catch you offguard if you're not aware of it.

- Patches. This is changing with new consoles, but still for the most part you don't have the ability to update a lot of console games. You kind of have to get it right the first time.

Benefits:

- Fixed hardware. This is one of the best things about working with consoles. You do not have to worry about whether or not your user's graphics card will support feature X, it just will. There's still some uncertainty with peripherals, but being to write and optimize code for a specific platform is a huge benefit.

- Control schemes. This isn't really a challenge, it's just something that's different. Console control schemes tend to be much simpler than the control allowed by a keyboard/mouse combo. It's very obvious when games aren't designed around a certain control scheme, such as in PC -> console ports. Making a good control scheme can be pretty hard, especially with newer things like the Wii.

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JBourrie    1204
Quote:
Original post by Rand
Typically, Technical Requirements Checklist - TRCs.

Technical Certification Requirements - TCRs :)

(Why can't they all just use the same damn terminology!)

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SunTzu    286
Then there is (or was?) LotCheck, and I'm not even sure what that's supposed to mean, except that it is (was?) the same as TCRs...

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frob    44973
Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
Then there is (or was?) LotCheck

Sony = TRC
Microsoft = TCR
Nintendo = LotCheck Guidelines

It's all the same thing, a list of stuff you need to do (or not do) to prevent people from screwing up your game.

For those who are confused, don't worry. It's basically a checklist of tests to make sure your console part wordings are consistent with everybody else, make sure you can reasonably handle corrupt memory cards and broken controllers, handle stuff being removed while in use, and so on.

Two simple and typical examples are to make sure that sane things happen when up and down are pressed at the same time, and to behave reasonably when somebody ejects your game disc.

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Hodgman    51336
Quote:
Original post by BrianL
Limited memory can have the biggest impact day to day. If you come from a PC backgroud, crashes when you run out of memory can be a big wakeup call.


Yep. "new" and "malloc" actually fail on consoles!

Even if there is enough total free memory available, "new" might still fail, because the memory is too fragmented and there isn't a large enough contiguous block available.
This is when you realise allocators and memory pools and the like are actually important!

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SunTzu    286
Quote:
"new" and "malloc" actually fail on consoles!


They fail on PC too...

Quote:
"new" might still fail, because the memory is too fragmented


If anything this is less of a problem on Xbox/360 than PC due to the UMA.

Quote:
Nintendo = LotCheck Guidelines... It's all the same thing


Yeah, I know what LotCheck is, but I don't know what it's short for... I'm assuming it's short for something?

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Hodgman    51336
Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
Quote:
"new" and "malloc" actually fail on consoles!

They fail on PC too...

Sorry for not using my </sarcasm> tags... I meant that most people are used to not having to worry about new/malloc failing because PCs have lots of memory (and VM) these days, whereas on consoles (or at least last-gen consoles) this can be a common occurrence.

[Edited by - Hodgman on April 5, 2007 12:29:00 AM]

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frob    44973
Quote:
Original post by Svitlana
Could anyone give a tip where I can fin Sony's TRCs and Lot Checks for Nintdendo?


If you are a licenced studio or developer you will have access at their web sites. Also, they are included in the sdks for the platforms.

If you aren't a licencee, you won't find them -- I believe they're included in the all-encompassing NDAs and scoured from the public Internet.

It isn't anything you should be concerned about, as I described above. They are all just common sense safety checks.

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honnyjopper    134
Quote:
Original post by frob They are all just common sense safety checks.


they're not all common sense ... :) some of them are stupid, some are pedantic and some are just plain obscure.

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frob    44973
Quote:
Original post by honnyjopper
Quote:
Original post by frob They are all just common sense safety checks.


they're not all common sense ... :) some of them are stupid, some are pedantic and some are just plain obscure.

Perhaps a few seem stupid at first blush, but if you really stop to think about their reason for existence you can find good reasons for them all.

Sure it might seem stupid to explicitly state (for example) "The title boots and runs correctly when ...", but seeing as how the various versions of production devices work slightly differently than the assorted testkits and devkits, it makes sense that they require people to check that it actually runs on all of the release devices.

Do you have a favorite stupid, pedantic, or obscure check you want to discuss?

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SunTzu    286
Dunno if it still exists but there used to be a Nintendo one on Gamecube about the game still behaving correctly when (for example) pressing both left and right on the D-pad at the same time. If someone can do that, either their controller is broken or they're deliberately trying to cheat (by having deliberately broken their controller). Either way, they're just not going to get a good or typical game experience and there really isn't much that can be done about it.

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Promit    13246
Or, you know, they hooked up a dance pad to the cube. Get a couple of high school kids and a bit of alcohol together and they'll happily use the dance pad to play games.

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frob    44973
Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
Dunno if it still exists but there used to be a Nintendo one on Gamecube about the game still behaving correctly when (for example) pressing both left and right on the D-pad at the same time. If someone can do that, either their controller is broken or they're deliberately trying to cheat (by having deliberately broken their controller). Either way, they're just not going to get a good or typical game experience and there really isn't much that can be done about it.

That's still there on multiple platforms, and I believe they do check it with broken controllers.

But isn't that still just a common sense check?

What happens on your PC game if someone hits right and left at the same time?

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exwonder    100
Certs fall into... I dunno... let's say three categories. Ones that ensure your users don't get pissed by stupid functionality, ones that have to do with technical limitations or idiosyncrasies of the platform, and ones that have to do with legal issues.

It's easy to call the first category common-sense checks, and often there are many different ways to go about meeting the requirement. The second category strays from common sense a bit, such as the controller thing mentioned. The third category... well... pretty much no one could call it common sense except lawyers, and they'd be wrong.

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eedok    982
Quote:
Original post by SunTzu
Dunno if it still exists but there used to be a Nintendo one on Gamecube about the game still behaving correctly when (for example) pressing both left and right on the D-pad at the same time. If someone can do that, either their controller is broken or they're deliberately trying to cheat (by having deliberately broken their controller). Either way, they're just not going to get a good or typical game experience and there really isn't much that can be done about it.

seems perfectly reasonable when playing with a dance mat. Don't want the game to crash because I stepped on both side arrows at the same time.

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