Ever come to the conclusion about something while not really thinking about it? I did just yesterday. I realized that my current PC might well be the last PC I ever buy. Sure I might still upgrade it a couple of times but what do I need more power for in my PC? Games. Now given the next generation of consoles all do some fine resolutions with some astounding graphics and, hopefully with wireless, support some keyboards and mice why do I want to continue playing games on my PC. Currently strategy, RPGs and FPS are all that I really play on my PC. Now FPS are already ported to consoles and the line-up for the next generation consoles suggests this practice will continue. I'm quite certain that with a resolution capable of showing text clearly and the falling price of persistence storage to write save games it will be well within the interests of people who develop strategy games to produce for the console market, even including those hard-core games that wouldn't normally appeal to the console audience.

Of course game development is a moving target and though the next generation consoles seem impressive now, they probably won't compare to a PC when we are looking at the next console cycle. However I'm becoming less and less impressed with incremental graphics updates and I'm not sure that the possibility of doubling the resolution on my PC monitor would appeal to me when I could put that money into a HDTV instead.

So if I remove games from my PC, and I'm not saying with the ever improving market that this will hold true, that pretty much leaves game development as the only thing that keeps me on an upgrade cycle. If there is one thing that requires more power than games it is generally the tools that are required to build for that game. Whether or not I'll find my current PC good for this purpose or not remains to be seen. I suppose maybe I'll get into video editing one day and realize that I'll have to bump up my machine for that. For checking email, listening to music or writing a document though there is going to have to be a hard sell as to why it is worth my time to upgrade.



Like most gamers I follow many of the announcements of E3. Also, like most gamers, I'm not actually there. This leads me to rely on those shaky-cam videos that you see splattered over FileRush. I noticed that Nintendo actually released their videos rather than them being taped. This is a good thing. The way I see it the fans want to see what the future might hold and will download these videos. If the videos are of poor quality then I find that I'm left with a not overall great impression.

I think, as we approch a much higher resolution image in games, that the thumbnail videos that you used to get aren't really worth squat in our broadband world. I'm sure most of the game companies are reaching this conclusion as well but I felt it was worth mentioning. Vision Gran Turismo looked great, more importantly it didn't just look like a revision of the graphics; if you look at how many cars are on track: that's a good use of technology.

What else? I watched the second Final Fantasy: Advent Children trailer and it made my mouth drop. Sure it is non-interactive, but it looks like everything Spirits Within should have been.

I'm sure, like all the other people who have game related blogs, will talk about the big 3 consoles at some stage.


Time to bring out the PHP scripters

I noticed that the XBox 360 games preview screens on 1up.com all looked odd, until I clicked for a larger version. Namely because the are all 16:9 and the site has obviously been designed with the assumption of 4:3 pictures. I expect this is the case with many game sites who are currently getting their designers back in to rework the code. Well it humored me a little.

Since I'm on the topic of next generation consoles (well one of them anyway) I was reading in GamesIndustry.biz about the expected increase in costs to develop games for the next generation platforms (I've lost the link now though) is probably going to jump from about $2-3 million to about $10 million. This, of course, will have a great deal of impact in investor willingness to commit to a somewhat risky project. I find it worrying to think the future of gaming will (even more so than now) be just sequels to successful games and the latest year's sporting update. I think the increased cost of development along with a more mainstream market may lead to the more creative peripheries being forgotten about. Still saying all this the upcoming XBox 360 releases do look very interesting so maybe I'm very mainstream or that isn't going to happen.


Sky Captain and the High Definition World of Tomorrow

I read The Hookup on High Definition TVs altering the scales in consoles of the future. It argues with the consoles of the future offering high definition, widescreen, games then those people with the technology will get an advantage. The principle being that the higher resolution will mean those with the technology will be able to see objects with greater clarity and widescreen will provide a better field of vision.

Now I'm ok with that. I would prefer to think that people who have invested in their TV get the most out of it (my TV is neither widescreen or a HDTV), if that gives them an advantage in a game then so be it. I don't think games companies should worry about trying to put balances and checks in to try and even the playing field.

I'm a big fan of the way that consoles don't force you to upgrade constantly to even stand a chance of playing a game well. I have to say after upgrading my graphics card on my PC I found the Waterways in Half Life 2 much, much easier to complete with a more responsive framerate (not to mention that it looked better to boot). Even still I know that a few months down the line I'll be looking at a game and wondering if it will run in an acceptable manor on my PC; or whether the game will look anything like the screenshots that I've seen.

On the other hand people who develop for consoles know the system they are developing for. I know there is, unfortunately, a tendency in modern console games to actually have framerate drops and such seen as acceptable. I'm hoping that this practice, along with the increasing acceptability of bugs, is dropped. I fully understand the pressures facing the company and there are bound to be technical compromises made when you are developing a game cross-platform. My current fear is this will all change in the PS3. I'm not sure how much developers will use the scaliblity of the cell processor but I worry that we'll see, Recommended Specs: PS3, 4 free cell processors, 512Mb of off-PS3 RAM. Though I'm pretty sure that Sony will insure that a game runs on just the PS3 they will almost certainly try and promote developers to use scaling; especially if that scaling means that they can say, Runs in 780p or 1080i if you have a Sony Vega HDTV with inbuilt Cell. I want to not see the upgrading I need to do on my PC also apply to consoles.