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The Future of Microsoft Gaming 29

Posted by Zonk
from the horses-mouth dept.
Ars Technica has an interview up with Matt Lee, a software developer in Microsoft's Xbox division. He's got a lot to say on the subject of the future of MGS gaming. He touches briefly on Xbox Live, Games for Windows, and the powerhouse that is the 360. From the article: "The tessellator in the Xbox 360 GPU is indeed a very powerful piece of hardware, and you're right--most games have yet to take advantage of this. I think you'll see more titles use it in the future. As for procedurally generated worlds, I believe the biggest obstacle to overcome is how to design and build the content for such a system--it can be quite a departure from today's art pipelines. Game studios will figure it out though--it's crucial to generating and delivering ever larger worlds without having to exponentially grow the size of the art team."
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The Future of Microsoft Gaming

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  • by UberMench (906076) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:32PM (#15544508) Homepage
    I do have to say that Microsoft's plan for gaming interCONNECTIVITY is quite impressive. Their press conference at E3 really demonstrated how cool connecting a Vista PC to a 360 to a Cell Phone could actually be. The portability of the GamerTag is truly awesome, but I'm still not sure if it will be enough to take the #1 spot from Sony. (Wii is in a class all its own.)
    • One virus to rule them all...
      • While I can understand where you are comming from, it will be a long time before someone releases a virus that can attack 3 different architectures at the same time. Even viruses that attack two different operating systems on the same harware architecture are rare. One that attacks 3 different operating systems, on 3 different architectures would be very difficult to write at best. Im not saying that it cant be done, but I am saying I dont expect the average virus coder will want to undertake such a challen
        • Hardware won't matter much if the software all acts the same. Files are files are files and if they are using NTFS or FAT, the viruses will be able to use the TCP/IP connection or crawl the network and infect files just the same.

          HOWEVER... you are right in the fact that the different hardware architecture will limit what it can do. But if they all use a similar language to communicate (as I bet they do), it won't be hard to have the virus use the languages built in functionality to exploit the hardware.
      • If only I had mod points. Everyone has seen what Micro$ofts intconnectivity does, and if dotnet moves to all three... bingo.
  • by Roy van Rijn (919696) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @06:54PM (#15544706) Homepage
    The biggest problem is that the user is expecting bigger worlds with more nice stuff to look at every new game. The problem is creating this huge content.

    This is just what Will Wright is solving with Spore for example. What is the thing people like more then watching all this content? Making it! Thats why his games let people create it in a smart way instead of the developers/artists.
    And the biggest advantage is that he is letting people share their content creating a huge repository for people to get all their ideas/content.

    That is (IMHO) the future of gaming, and hopefully for them, the future of Microsoft gaming.
    • Some people like making cotent. Others don't. If they did, the biggest games in the world would be Second Life and A Tale in the Desert.
    • The biggest problem is that the user is expecting bigger worlds with more nice stuff to look at every new game. The problem is creating this huge content.

      I know this is Slashdot, so you obviously didn't read the article. Did you even read the summary, though? This bit was quoted in part right there in the summary:

      The tessellator in the Xbox 360 GPU is indeed a very powerful piece of hardware, and you're right--most games have yet to take advantage of this. I think you'll see more titles use it in th

      • Well true, of course I didn't read the article :)
        And of course I meant its a part of the future of gaming, you can't say what the future of gaming is.

        There will always be people who love creating stuff, and others that don't, but the biggest advantage of Spore for example is that you can easily use stuff made by other people.

        You can already see that in almost all parts of gaming, shooters have map-editors, some just play in those maps, some make them etc.
    • I'd say the biggest problem is the push for better and better graphics, neglecting the gameplay. Some games still manage to produce gorgeous worlds with awesome gameplay, but most seem to neglect the latter. I've enjoyed UT2004 for over a year because the gameplay is awesome and has nice graphics to boot. I was disapointed with Doom3 and HalfLife2 which had arguable much better graphics but lacked multiplayer gameplay. HalfLife2 didn't even come with a CTF mode built in for multiplayer, only deathmatch! Wel
  • most games have yet to take advantage of this. I think you'll see more titles use it in the future.
    all 4 years of it? or will they decide that 4 is far to long for the system and knock it down to 3 years? then the one after that would be 2 untill we are buying a new console every single year! :P
    • all 4 years of it? or will they decide that 4 is far to long for the system and knock it down to 3 years? then the one after that would be 2 untill we are buying a new console every single year! :P

      Well, the 360 is designed to eventually break-even or even make money, which the Xbox was not. So, Microsoft will not be as pressed to get the Xbox 3/720/Next/whatever out in another 4 years. And if all goes well (poorly, that is) with the PS3, Microsoft will be in a much more comfortable position and not ha

  • by ZakuSage (874456)
    From TFA:He's got a lot to say on the subject of the future of MGS gaming.

    Yeah, Guns of the Patriots is going to rock! :P
    • He's got a lot to say on the subject of the future of MGS gaming.

      He does, but how much of it will turn out to be accurate?

      I tried to read the article all the way through, but kept getting distracted by something that was in the first couple pages. Matt Lee got his Masters degree in 2001, only five years ago. And he's already the go-to guy for pretty much the entire Microsoft gaming platform as far as graphics optimization goes, at least going by his description of his job duties.

      Even if he is a technologi
      • I do agree...

        but you also get the flip side where the real gurus become stuck in their ways and/or wont touch a 3D workstation unless its SGi.

        I wouldnt buy an xbox.... but then I'm a Nintendo fanboy and hate large conglomerates (sony, microsoft) trying to monopolize all the pies... but this guy with his lowly five years commercial experience could bring a new twist to the world where a guy with 20 years experience might have went stale 10 years ago.

        I'm not trying to diss the experienced here at all... if an
  • by SirSlud (67381) on Thursday June 15, 2006 @09:24PM (#15545655) Homepage
    http://games.slashdot.org/games/04/04/15/1239203.s html?tid=127&tid=186&tid=204 [slashdot.org]

    Under 100kb of code creates a fairly rich, neat demonstration of procedural game content.

    Procedural is definately one way the industry is leaning, but its not the end all be all. Testing collision related bugs in games that has procedurally created collision requires some concessions to be made in terms of the game design. Its tough to create a game where content is created dynamically, but doesn't create situations where the player can get stuck, or produce other similar 'progression stopper' kind of bugs.

    SpeedTree works in wide open environments, but indoors, in tight quarters, procedural content is a whole different bag. I think the biggest potential is in creating procedural textures that ensure no two places look exactly alike. But as with any new approach, procedurally generated content provides a whole new set of challenges and cons.
    • While there are problems now It can only get better the more it gets used and more techniques and tools become available.

      If anything I think it works best for ORGANIC items. That is to say it might not be the best idea to make a building; though a procedurally generated texture layer to generate a weathered effect on the shingles might be cool. Then you could use the same small generic repetitive texture for all the shingles and simply procedurally generate the effects that make them look unique. Procedu
    • You know, it's extremely possible. In fact, it's been done [nethack.org].
      • Jesus, you have to be kidding me.

        Not to take anything away from nethack, which is cool and fun and was groundbreaking, but are really comparing creating 'collision' in the form of a 2d small-res grid with creating fully 3d worlds with collision including jump, crouch, object interaction, varying other mechanics that may include riding horses, swimming, climbing, etc?

        What do expect me to say? Oh shit, nethack! I guess we might as well go home and wait for BF2, Quake, Oblivion, etc to stop selling because cle
  • by Anonymous Coward
    sounds.
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Friday June 16, 2006 @01:16AM (#15546656)
    (Realtime) Tesselation was a feature in Ati cards since the 8500. How many games made use of it and how many don't look ugly when they do? Tesselation reduces the artist's control over the mesh and only makes sense if you have a severe bottleneck in the system preventing you from having models use this many polygons right away without any post processing beyond what's found in the file. From what I heard the 360 does suffer from bottlenecks like the relatively slow DVD drive, overall tesselation is not the future, it's a workaround.
    • you seem to be the first person i found thats agreed with me on the subject.

      its a workaround. a workaround used to speed up the development process. if time were not a factor, they would still require procedural content. in a perfect world the artists would have control over all content and asset minutiae. due to the increasing focus on deadlines and the limitations of the hardware, this is basically the only way the x360 can advance.

      due to the space constraints of HD material on DVD9 and the lack of abilit
  • The article talks about procedurally generated worlds and even references Speed Tree used in Oblivion as a pseudo example. When Oblivion came out I was impressed with the graphics but quickly I realised that this game had been dumbed down for the Xbox. First, I kept reading reports of Xbox users having fps problems when riding the fastest horses. Second the whole world was rendering far below my PC's abilities. So I tweak the game out, maxed out draw distance, increased the tree count, and retextured the la
  • that procedral gaming was the future. Imagine if GTA generated it's own cities for example, and countryside inbetween etc. it would be really cool. This sort of thing would really open up the exploration aspect in games.

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