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Topics - Demorgora

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Spore: General / Do we really need another Sim game?
« on: May 15, 2005, 11:13:55 am »
The whole concept has been done time and time again. They should simply scrap the whole design and turn it into an FPS.

Everything Else / Extropianism
« on: May 14, 2005, 06:11:33 pm »
Who here is an extropian/transhumanist?

Console Games / Xbox 2 Specs
« on: May 12, 2005, 10:49:15 pm »
May 12, 2005 - "Silicon," said Todd Homdahl, the designer of Microsoft's custom chipset for the Xbox 360, "is the biggest lever in hardware." For a company that's been through its first round as a console manufacturer in the videogame industry and lost a lot of money on its first console, Homdahl's words spoke volumes. The chief chip designer sat down with us early last week at Microsoft, unveiling the chipsets, the architecture of the upcoming Xbox 360, and the blueprints of the chips themselves.

"We want to design the most powerful, elegant and useful design for developers to create games with Xbox 360," said the impressively tall, lanky Holmdahl. "With the Xbox we had a merchant semi-conductor relationship. With Xbox 360 we have designed and own the chipset, so we can go to whomever we want with it. We're not paying Intel and Nvidia this time," he explained, referring to the exorbitant price paid out each time an Xbox was manufactured.

The heart of Microsoft's new system is the CPU, a triple core of 3.2 GB processors, each capable of running two threads simultaneously, meaning the CPU can generate six threads at once. This power enables, among other things, programmers to give an immense amount of commands to the Central Processing Unit without strain. It also provides programmers with the ability to invent new algorithms in the future, giving them a healthy flexibility in the way they code games. The CPU memory bandwidth is 5.4 gigabits or 5.4 GHz, 32 lines or 4 bytes, with 21.6 gigabytes per second on the frontside bus connecting the CPU and the GPU.

The CPU is an amazing piece of technology, as it's built with 165 million transistors in it, many the size of mere nanometers. IBM had three plants working on the development of the chips.

The CPU is joined by the GPU, the Graphic Processing Unit, which handles the graphic output of the system (and which has 150 million transistors in it), the Southbridge, which enables all of the Ethernet and controller issues, and the TV encoder, which handles resolution issues, such as progressive scan, interlacing and other TV related issues.

The GPU has the ability to generate 48 shader units using an advanced shader language. In the standard PC, you have both vertex shaders and pixel shaders, each working individually. In the Xbox 360, the Shader units can do either, meaning you can have scenes with only a little bit of geometry and a tremendous number of effects, such as a fightng game with only two characters on screen (like Dead Or Alive 4). Or you can deliver tons of geometry with fewers effects, such as a a 100-person action online game (such as Possession or Huxley). It has 512 MB of main memory with a 10MB framebuffer. And it's got 10MB embedded DRAM.

In discussing the design of the chipsets, Holmdahl's very focused conversation included elements we weren't aware even took part of console design. "We worked with wind tunnel companies to decrease the noise and sound of the system." All computers have fans or cooling systems to keep the silicon from melting, and the Xbox uses a combination of both. It has a built-in, air-tight coolant system that looks like a miniature water heater. It sucks the hot air out of the core chip area and passes it through a carefully engineered wind tunnel to exit it out of the system. Other chipsets use miniature fans to keep the heat down. "This system will be quieter than Xbox 1." Which is saying something, considering how loud the PlayStation 2 is in comparison.

Official Specs:
# An IBM PowerPC based CPU with 3 symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each, packing the most-advanced artificial intelligence and physics processing available
# A custom ATI Graphics processor and more than 512 MB of memory for high definition games and entertainment applications
# All games optimized for 16:9 aspect ratio, HD Output (720p and 1080i); multichannel surround sound output
# Detachable and upgradeable 20GB hard drive to download demos and trailers along with new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins, community-created content, and more; to rip music for playback and to listen to custom play lists in every game
# A wireless controller with Microsoft-patented wireless technology; Xbox Guide Button on every controller, the launch pad that instantly connects gamers to their games, friends, and music and to power on or power off Xbox 360 without leaving the couch
# Gamer Profile software that remembers what players have achieved in games
# Instant, out-of-the-box access to Xbox Live, including: a built-in Ethernet port for connectivity; Xbox Live Marketplace for downloadable content; a Message Center to receive voice and video messages from friends; ability to talk to friends, even while watching movies or listening to music; and an Xbox Live Headset
# 3 USB 2.0 ports for Xbox Live Camera peripheral; to plug in wired game controllers that are also common for Windows PCs; to stream media from any portable media device, digital camera, and Windows XP PC
# Progressive-scan DVD movie playback out of the box; DVD and CD music and photo playback out of the box; support for DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, WMA CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD
# Windows Media Center Extender built in to access recorded TV (including high definition) and digital movies (including high definition), music, video and photos stored on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PCs through any Xbox 360
# Support for up to four wireless game controllers and an optional Universal Media Remote with Windows® XP Media Center Edition Button for Media Center Edition functionality
# Support for Xbox 360 Wireless Network Adapter via 802.11b, g and a
# Interactive, full screen 3D visualizers
# Two memory unit ports to save data on portable memory units, starting at 64 MB
# Detachable Face so each console can be personalized
# Parental Controls to restrict the games and movies that are played; Xbox Live controls to manage Friends List, voice and video communication, and Gamer Profile sharing

Everything Else / Gravity Chambers
« on: May 12, 2005, 01:03:55 pm »
Does anyone know of a gravity chamber that increases the effects of gravity on a person?

Console Games / Winning Eleven 8
« on: May 08, 2005, 09:27:14 pm »
Has anyone played this game? How would you compare it to FIFA 2005?

Spore: General / Steve: Your thoughts on Will Wright
« on: May 07, 2005, 12:47:23 am »
What do you think of him as a developer and speaker? Does he seem to hype his game up a lot like Molyneux or is he laid back and professional?

Spore: General / Steve and Plants
« on: May 06, 2005, 04:45:40 pm »
In one of your podcasts, you commented on the possibility of plants being able to contribute to evolution, but quickly denied it. Why do you feel this way? Personally, I think it is simply the logical thing to do in a game based on evolution.

Console Games / Romance of the Three Kingdoms X
« on: May 05, 2005, 06:00:55 pm »
Is anyone else looking forward to this game? I pre-ordered and I'm waiting here very impatiently for its release.

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