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Microsoft's new X-Box

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Hey everybody, just thought I''d comment on Microsoft''s new console system they announced today at the GDC (go to www.xbox.com if you weren''t there). I have been an avid OpenGL programmer up till now, but with the X-Box coming out in a year and a half I have to wonder about the future of OpenGL. If the console lives up to half of what they say it will it has the potential to completely blow other console systems out of the water. Not only that, PC development will be seriously affected as well. With the X-Box''s only API being DirectX 8, any serious game developers will be pressured to switch to DirectX for cross-platform development ease. Also, some developers may decide to develop only for the X-Box. After all, it is based on the familiar system of Win32 (Windows 200 kernel, actually) and the system is completely known (no more enumerations, yay!). Plus, the specs on the system are so amazing (shadows, reflections, caustics, and more all done on the graphics chip, 64 megs of 200 mhz unified ram, hdtv capable output) that developers may find the X-Box much more able to handle their game ideas than a PC. Just my thoughts, anyone else have any ideas about the future viability of OpenGL (besides cross-platform capability, which becomes unimportant if developers only decide to develop for consoles). Hope I get some strong reactions here, this will be a hot topic for quite some time. Wraith BasketQase Software Current Project: Hollow Point

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I doubt OpenGL will die, but I am really looking forward to Microsoft's console system. I used to tell my friends when Sega Saturn came out that Microsoft would some day blow that away. They said, no way, Saturn is here to stay I've always been a Microsoft fan, so please save the flames Unix(Unimind) people. I like your OS too, but it hasn't opened the doors the way MS has.

Still Learning...

Edited by - frizb on 3/11/00 1:15:25 AM

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Hmm, I''m taking a long shot here, and for those who don''t know what I''m talking about, don''t worry

But...

Wraith from UL?

If not just ignore this post and sorry for the confusion, heh.



~Vlarr
Lead Programmer, Zephyr Studios
Vlarr@darkenia.com
ICQ # 50607306

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Wow, I thought I was the only Microsoft fan in the world.

OpenGL is already down to its last ounce of life. I am not saying this because I am a Microsoft fan, but because OpenGL is not being updated as frequently as DirectX. I also heard that Microsoft was in control of OpenGL.

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I don''t know how you can say that OpenGL is on it''s last ounce of life when one of the most technologically advanced games(Quake III) uses it.
OpenGL is not being ''upgraded'' as often as directx becuase they put plan and thought into their upgrades instead of just hacking something together, and fixing their mistakes in the next release (directX, specifically direct3d). They have a committee (which Microsoft is on) that decides what will go into the next release.
Microsoft does write the openGL code for windows (that''s what I heard), but that does not make them in control of the standard.

Mike

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From what I heard, OpenGL has been already accepted by console giants, Playstation1&2 and Nintendo64 & later? (correct me if I am wrong). It is already established in the console market. These giants will continue using OpenGL, so future of OpenGL has been quite bright.

At the battle to Japanese console makers, X-Box can win if X-box development environment is open. Playstation or Nintendo development environments are very closed, actually their SDK kits are very expensive. Cheaper X-Box SDK kits, more developer will be attracted, and more developers may use Direct3D. If X-Box SDK kit is expensive, then this may not happen.

One more thing: at local stores, many new small PC's have build in AGP video board. These PC do not seem to have AGP video board upgrade capability. So I guess strong sales point of PC "upgradability" may disappear, and most gamers might switch to console.

Now independent developers will have to consider: which API will be useful and has cheaper kit for them to enter the console market. Currently, there is no inexpensive console system for which Direct3D/OpenGL can be used.

James

Edited by - jamesH on 3/12/00 1:04:49 PM

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OK here''s my 2 cents...
Keep in mind that the X-Box won''t be out for another year and a half,so I doubt DirectX 8 will be in that system.Prolly DirectX 10 or something.And Microsoft still has room for improvement.Who knows? They might even decide to support OpenGL after all.I myself am looking forward to the X-Box.If it lives up to it''s hype,then PS2 and Dolphine don''t stand a chance.
What I''m really hoping for is that the X-Box can support CD-ROM games that we use on our PC''s.If that''s the case then this new piece of hardware is going to kick some MAJOR ass.

And I thought I was the only MS fan out there.

Anyway to the point,I would wait till next year to find out more about the X-Box before I make any decisions.I doubt that MS will keep a 600MHz chip in there by next summer. As you all know,chips go obselete in like 6 months or so.I more hoping they''d slap in a 1GHz chip by the time the X-Box is released.But for now we''re just going to have to keep going back to the original X-Box website ( www.xbox.com) and getting all our latest news from there.

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"One more thing: at local stores, many new small PC''s has build in AGP video board. These PC do not seem to have AGP video board upgrade capability. So I guess strong sales point of PC "upgradability" may disappear, and most gamers might switch to console."

How could a video board not have upgradability, all you have to do is take out the old one and put in the new one. right? I know of build in sound cards that are attached to the motherboard but never vid cards. I''m not saying your wrong, just curious. Also if this is only the case with PCs sold in stores, Dell and Micron are the top 2 computer sellers and there''re not sold in stores.

Also, I don''t think that consoles will replace PCs even without upgradability, computer still have many feature that consoles don''t have.

1st computers have high resolution monitors, the equivalent of this is HDTV which is currently too expensive for most people.

2nd computers with DSL and cable modem are now becoming more common, consoles still have 56k modems.

3rd with a computer connected to the internet and you can download addons for games, for this to be done on a console it would have to have to have internet capabilites, a hard drive (not that new), and a keyboard. Making it more like a webtv/gaming system (not really a bad idea ). This is why quake 2 is so popular, imagine playing regular quake 2 deathmatch all the time, with addons you have new levels, new gameplay modes, new player models, new sounds,etc...

4th you have to wait for a few years for a console with the newest technology to come out, a computer with the newest technology will be out the next day. A nice option for someone buying a new computer.

5th in terms of programming, consoles have expensive kits(unless MS changes this).

6th computers can be used for other things besides games. why bother paying for a computer and a console when the computer can do what the console can do.

7th everyone wants the x-box to support pc games, but remember it will only be d3d games, no opengl games.

8th RTS games are easier to play with a mouse.

I''ll stop there. My point is that computers will still be used for games even with consoles around. I will still use my computer to play games, but i do understand that many people like consoles because they are easier to use, no setup, no upgrading drivers and rendering api, no complex OS, etc.

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Hey, just wanted to add to that last post that, yes, video boards are sometimes attached to the motherboard. In fact, I have an old Compaq Presario (4546) that has motherboard video.

Martin

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Whoops, forgot to add that although *some* PC''s come with on-board video, this does not hinder upgradability at all, as long as there is at least an open PCI slot. Any computer with an AGP slot would utilize this instead of using motherboard video.

Martin

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obviously it''s DX users and not OGL users forcasting the demise of OGL. If the X-box doesn''t support OpenGL, then all i see that doing is leveling the field between OGL and DirectX, it by no means would kill OpenGL. That is, unless suddenly the only consoles left in the world are X-boxes, and the only computers Windows machines..

and this is how i see the future of the console/PC war:
i see the two, along with television (mass media in general), being consolidated together. i know it''s not a terribly original idea. but as the world gets more and more connected through technology, the most feasible solution is see is to have one high powered, efficient communications infrastructure, where cross platform will lose all meaning, because everything will be compatible with everything else.
i think microsoft also sees this, and is looking to be the force behind it. i think it''d work better if it was set up more like the internet, and the specs of internet protocols, though, otherwise of course you''d get one monopoly running it all (microsoft''s goal, though not in a negative way, i think)
i''m rambling and not making any sense.. humor me..

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Computers I saw were made by Compaq and E-machines (right name?). On the front of these computers, string "AGP video board" was written, and I looked at the behind, the graphic connector directly came out from the motherboard, not from one of slots. So I guess we cannot replace AGP video board for these computers.

There are a few open PCI slots, so probably a PCI video board can be added, but I wonder if a new video card is compatible to already attached AGP board. It will depend on its video driver, of course, but compatibility is uncertain.

James

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AA_970, if you look at my post way up at the top, you''ll notice that most of your points are covered.

1. The X-Box does support HDTV, and by the time it comes out HDTV will be much cheaper (although probably not enough to make invalidate your point).

2. The X-Box will have an ethernet card, with the idea being that most internet services will have moved past using modems to connect by the time the console comes out.

3. It has a hard drive, internet capability, and support for a keyboard.

4. You''re absolutely correct on this one =)

5. There probably won''t be much of an SDK for this console, as it uses Win32 and DirectX.

6. You''re right on this one too.

7. Yep, but I never thought it would support pc games.

8. I believe a mouse can be bought as an add-on.

Note that I''m not saying I really think this is all a good thing, I''m just saying that from a programmer''s point of view programming for the X-Box is much preferable to programming for the PC or other console systems, and it has the capabilities to rival every other system. With the X-Box OpenGL programmers would have to learn DirectX, but they would gain all the advantages of knowing exactly what the hardware supports and writing specifically for it. No more scaling content based on the user''s machine, no more having to reduce polygon counts to support more than just gamers with the highest level of hardware. I sincerely hope that Microsoft will decide to support OpenGL in their console, but I do not think that is very likely.


Wraith
BasketQase Software
Current Project: Hollow Point

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Hi, everyone!

OpenGL - I''ve never used it, but I would not predict any sort of demise just because the X-Box console does not support it.

Microsoft''s X-Box is going to have to compete with Sega''s Dreamcast, Nintendo''s future offerings, and Sony''s Playstation 2. Think these companies are going to take Microsoft''s competition lying down? I think not! In order for the X-Box to make a negative impact against OpenGL, it must first become a successful console - not easy to do in the current market.

Don''t expect X-Box to displace the PC either. Sure it has nice specs for a console, but by the time it is released I assure you that it won''t be so great. Advances in RAM, processor, motherboard, video, and sound technologies for the PC will always be one step ahead of the consoles - and many developers love being able to exploit technological advances as soon as they can - pushing the new hardware to its limits (ie. Freespace 2). The X-Box does not posess this advantage. While giving the X-Box certain PC capabilities (ie. mouse & keyboard attachments) is nice, remember that placement of peripherals is critical when gaming. Computer desks are fine when gaming on a computer, but when you hook up your console to the HDTV in your living room (assuming you even *have* one) how are you going to position the mouse so that you can use it comfortably? You''d need to put a table in the middle of your living room - not exactly practical considering the other things that you will probably use your living room for. Console games, as a general rule, have always been better using game pads. In addition, console games have been traditionally more expensive than computer games. Also, computers simply excel at certain types of games. Believe me, nobody wants to play Alpha Centauri or Homeworld on a console - no matter how good it is. The only way the X-Box could even come close to usurping games from the PC is by becoming as much like a PC as it can... in which case, people don''t need it because they already have one.

Having said that, I think that it''s fully possible for OpenGL to become a very prevalent development standard. Why? Because as long as the PC remains a desired gaming platform, we can expect more games in Linux - which DirectX doesn''t even support. If Linux does catch on as a platform, then maybe OpenGL''s future will be very bright.

- Peregrine

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