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Microsoft Releases First X-Box Screens 341

Yu Suzuki writes: "Microsoft has released the first hi-res screenshots of the X-Box in action. Looks pretty impressive; especially the ping-pong ball demo. Is the X-Box going to be giving the PS2 some competition? "
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Microsoft Releases First X-Box Screens

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  • sORRy hAd tO bE d00N
  • While these shots are very impressive, they don't actually represent any type of gameplay. A butterfly isn't made up of nearly as many polys as a fighter is. I'd like to see some demos with actual charachters making poses or doing whatever. But, the X-Box could seriously give the PS2 a run for its money. I think that if we are to have 4+ game consoles (Dreamcast, Nintendo Dolphin, PS2, X-Box, more?) that several of them will fail leaving 2 or 3 remaining successful. The two most likely to fail in my eyes are MS and Sega, MS since they don't have any experience in the console arena, and Sega since their product is inferior to the competition.

  • Dammit, forgot to hit preview.. that should be "a game with ping pong balls??" .. doh..
  • by mikeylebeau ( 68519 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:10AM (#1039837) Homepage
    It's important to remember that Microsoft is trying to play on people's fears here. "If I get a PS2, will the X-Box come out and blow it out of the water? I don't want to make a bad purchase decision," says the consumer, pleasing Microsoft to the fullest. The X-Box is a direct response to Sony's release of the PS2 and, while the X-Box does look impressive, let's remember it's a _long_ way off and probably even longer than expected knowing Microsoft. They've only announced it to send potential PS2 purchasers shaking in their sneakers.
  • I don't think the XBox will be able to compete with PS2. My main reasoning is that I'm an avid RPG fan, and all of my fellow gamers that I know personally will follow Squaresoft wherever they go, and right now its the PS2. Online opinion seems to generally follow along the Squaresoft line.

    Plus, Sony has a huge base already there, with a gazillion PSXs out there, and quadzillion PSX games, and the PS2 is backwards compatible with old PSX games, even enhancing them.

  • by torpor ( 458 ) <<ibisum> <at> <>> on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:11AM (#1039839) Homepage Journal
    Of course, I'm kinda sceptical of a few static screenshots, just like I was sceptical of the PS2 shots too, when they were released.

    The first few butterfly pictures are pretty nice - I'd like to see the frame rate on that demo. If its smooth, that's quite impressive - though there are plenty of programming tricks that can be employed to boost performance on the butterflies that aren't immediately obvious - yet would give the impression of serious hardware power.

    I'm reminded of early Renderware (remember them?) demo's, though. There's a clankiness to the edges of some of the objects in these screenshots that harkens back to the Renderware way of doing polygon transforms... can't place my finger on it, but it just 'feels' that way. Perhaps some other graphics guru's can explain what they see in those pics from a rendering perspective?

    Overall, pretty impressive. I'll probably be adding an XBox to my setup, right alongside my Dreamcast and (this September) a PS2. The $1000 I'd spend on building a nice PC game system will instead go towards a 3-tier total entertainment, cover-all-bases-take-no-prisoners console 'mini-arcade' for my living room...

    (I bet they hand out those ping pong balls with "X" on them at trade shows.)
  • ...with a slot to put game modules in. I don't see what is so special about that. I bet that there will be game-module cards for regular PCs where you can put your Xbox modules in within a couple of months after launch of the Xbox.
    ------------------------------------------------ --------
    UNIX isn't dead, it just smells funny...
  • Who knows? without a real unit to look at, it's hard to tell - this may have been from a simulation box, not the real thing, in which case the graphics may look different than on the production machine. Then again, MS isn't exactly known for being truthful, so...
  • actually the best that Micro$ could do was render a demo on a SGI, that at best was a variant of the old Boing demo from the Amiga, see what happens when you are Market driven....
  • Is the X-Box going to be giving the PS2 some competition?

    Well, the X-Box is a gaming console. The PS2 is a gaming console. So I believe they will compete. Just common sense here.

    But the competition is going to be more like the upcomming competition between the PS2 and the Dreamcast in the US. You have 2 very advanced consoles, with one already out with a decent lead time. But the new one comming out is more powerful (Hmm, computing equipment getting more powerful as time goes on, thats odd). That point seems to be what people keep forgetting. An Athlon based system today will not beat a Pentium III or IV based system tomorrow in peformance. Same with the consoles in most situations.

  • Does it run Linux?

    Mine will.

    Microsoft selling "loss-leader" hardware. Excellent. I will buy 10 and "repurpose" them. :-)

  • So I guess Microsoft CAN innovate something.
  • It's not the ping pong's the NUMBER of balls. There are a few hundred there, each made up of how many polygons? Then realize that all of those balls are falling, bouncing and recoiling from the snaps of the mouse-traps (atleast that's what they look like to me) which are ALSO bouncing around in the room. That means a lot of physics (figuring the motion for all the balls and all of the traps). I wasn't there but I know that if the industry (take it for what it's worth) made a big deal out of it - there was a reason.
  • This image [] looks suprisingly like a 3D version of the MSBob [] desktop. ;)
  • PSX2 does not enhance PSX1 games.

    *If* the XBox has good RPG's, you wouldn't play them simply because Sqauresoft doesn't make them?

    Oh, and Bleem! may just make a PSX emulator for the XBox, and Bleem! does enhance games.
  • Okay, so it seems the next generation of console gaming is coming, if not already here. What will determine who comes out on top? a couple of things.

    1. system performance
    2. types of games
    3. cost (of system & games)
    Now my vote is for PS2; it's already out (in Japan), they've already got games for it, and they've already got a customer/player/fan base.

    I think that if MS is going to get anywhere in this market, they'd better come up with some really good games (this includes graphics & sounds & playability) AND have a low price for they're sistem.
  • Go to [] and you can see some movies also :)

    These have been around for a few weeks now actually.

  • Did you even watch the demo of the Ping Pong ball mouse trap thing, or are you just knocking it out of ignorance? I found all those moving polygones and calculations far more impressive then anything that I have seen so far on the PS2.
  • we all know they made those images on an sgi computer. if they were able to do these on the real xbox, the thing would already be in production!

    No, they can do it on a Pentium3-600 with a nVidia GeForce card, which is basically what the X-box setup will be.

  • by Dark Paladin ( 116525 ) <> on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:18AM (#1039854) Homepage

    I'm no big friend of Microsoft's, but I have to admit that their doing everything right. I've been talking to some folks about what they think of it, and it's been interesting. One company in particular (I can't say who, but I'll just say "They make sports games" have increasing frustrations with the PlayStation 2, with its incredible level of difficulty to program for. MS has reduced Win2000 to a super small, super tight kernel, no GUI at all, just "load file, run file, close file" type stuff and memory management. Without all of the other 250 MB of stuff, it looks like Win2000 is actually a good system.

    What they've done right:
    Gotten developers kits quickly, and made it super easy to program for. Yes, it uses DirectX and the like. But for PC programmers, it's an easy jump from X-box to PC and back again.
    Lots of built in stuff. Built in hard drive. Lots of memory, good processor, and a graphics chip by Nvidia, the current (if you don't include the $600 Voodoo 6000) graphics chip king.
    Ethernet at the outset. They know that modems are going away, and that DSL and the like is what's going on.
    DVD on the outset. It works for the PS/2, it should work for the X-box.

    What they've done wrong:
    Games. I haven't heard of any games (except for Munch's Oddysee, and that's not a definite yet) that are coming for the X-Box. It doesn't matter how pretty it is, it needs games. MS has been trying to buy up companies (some rumors include Square), but no go just yet.
    Bad image. Let's face it, MS doesn't have the right image for, well, anything. And with their trial going on, this might be a problem. Is this an application or OS? If MS is smart, they'll spin it off onto its own company, Open Source the kernal (to let more developers into building for it), and they'll have a winner. If they try to keep their propriety hands on it, they won't win against big Nintendo and Sony.
    John "Dark Paladin" Hummel
    We don't just like games, we love them!

  • by Seumas ( 6865 )
    Great, now I can find myself confronted with the blue screen of death just as I'm fighting the final boss in some new game.

    I wonder if I'll have to sign an EULA every time I launch a game. Or if I'll have to pay a yearly license for the right to play the game I already bought.

    I wouldn't waste money on a game console -- but if I did, it wouldn't be this one. Maybe once someone creates a clone knock-off...

  • Now I know you feel the need to bash Microsoft but think for a second. Just because they have a developmental unit working doesn't mean it's ready for fullscale deployment. How much is the cost per unit? too much right now - they can't market until it's reasonable (well atleast what MS thinks is reasonable). It does take time for chips to be made and all, and who's to say it's perfect? They have a dev unit up and running some pretty demos and that's that.
  • Who'd win if Lara Croft and Raven picked a fight? Er.. let's throw "Oni" in with 'em. Man.. that's a match. :-) - Carson
  • by Chalst ( 57653 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:20AM (#1039858) Homepage Journal
    Sure, that's their strategy. But people didn't buy Dreamcasts, so they
    could get PS2s; I doubt those people are going to wait again for the X

    Did anyone see the demo at the Game Developers Conference? Any

  • Did you just read the headline on the slashdot home-page, then post? Its seems that way, because there was no game of ping-pong in any of the screen shots. Unless you consider placing ping-pong balls on mouse traps and having them trigger each other, a game.

    Ugh... Powerposter...
  • First of all, a few screen shots of a couple ping pong balls and some butterflies tells me NOTHING about how it will handle hard core gaming. Second of all, take a closer look at those ping pong pictures and check out how horrible that Anti-Aliasing is. especially on the ping pong ball one since there's a lot of straight diag. lines. They're EXTREAMELY jaggie!
  • to the ColecoVision?

    Sorry I can't see the screenshots, but from what you fine folks is saying they does sound nice.

    I'm not one of them serious gamers, but I have been known to shot down a few tanks on my Atari playing Combat. It's the only game I have for my 'tari, but it does me juss fine.

  • by ChadN ( 21033 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:24AM (#1039869) []

    Quicktime format. Not Sorenson codec, but Xanim still won't play it. I booted to Windows...
  • ...and make it so the X-box can run Playstation2 games. :)
  • Well, there are the Raven screenshots, which are exactly that...
  • Screen shots do not prove anything. From the hardware specs. that I have seen, this thing is a PC with a good video card. Color me unimpressed. There are some big questions hanging around:
    What OS is this thing going to have? MS had stated it will be a "windows like" OS but not Windows Millenium or 2000 or CE. With Win2k SP1 and SP2, WinMe's next release canidate, and Win98 and WinCE support and bug fixes I can't see MS making yet another OS. Why don't they make just one good OS instead of tons of horrible ones?
    How much will this cost? The upper limit for gaming systems seems to be around $200-$300. Any higher and it will not sell. Since XBox is just a nice PC, and most PCs that sell below $500 require rebates based on using an overpriced ISP, will XBox be tied to MSN?
  • I'd like to see some demos with actual charachters making poses or doing whatever.

    You mean like this [], this [], or this []? Come to think of it, the third one is labeled "Striking poses"...

  • Your prediction is probably right, but allow me to append to it.

    There will be module slots for the pc that can take xbox games, but they will not be official. They will be pirated hacks that work very well, like the I Opener, or the glide wrapper for nvidia cards, and lawsuits will fly like cows in a tornado. Just like mp3. Just like DVD. Just like DivX (the warez codec).

    This could get interesting.
  • Unlike the PS2, the x-box won't have any region restrictions, unlike the PS2. I think region restrictions suck, so I am going to have to go with the PS2. There are lots of games that are only released to Japan that I want to play, but Sony denys me access to those games. I am going to put my money on a console that gives me what I want. That console is the X-box.
  • by tjwhaynes ( 114792 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:35AM (#1039885)

    Given the current cut-and-thrust in the CPU and GPU markets on the PC platform at the moment, I wonder whether basing a console system on them is such a smart move. Let me explain my thoughts on this.

    NVidia is producing the graphics processing unit for MS. By their own roadmaps, NVidia is doubling the speed of their graphics hardware inside a year. Similarly, CPUs are still following Moore's law of doubling ever 12-18 months. The X-box is supposed to have a 733MHz PIII in it at release, which given that it is probably 12-18 months away will make it about half the speed of the fastest CPUs on the market even if we are being charitable. So at launch, this platform will have a half-speed CPU and a state-of-the-art graphics processor.

    But things don't stand still - so why bother with an XBox. When it comes out, I will probably have a 1.2GHz or better box with a GeForce 2 or better graphics card, so why should I even think about buying this object? It will be 'below spec' for me. Worse still, unless it is extremely upgradable (i.e. rip the CPU and GPU out and upgrade) it will be obsolete hardware when compared with the standard PC of the time only 6-12 months after release. So what is going on?

    My thought on this is that MS is having increasing success in the gaming market, both on hardware peripherals such as game pads and also on the games themselves. But the consoles threaten to dilute this market so in goes MS after marketshare. Nothing wrong with that. The question is will MS move firmly into the XBox market to the exclusion of the PC, or will they ensure that the XBox games get ported back to PC land. The former might turn out to be business suicide against the PS2 and Dolphin platforms, since both MS's rivals are more experienced in this field and have an established fan base. The latter might be the real reason for this Xbox at all - to ensure a free-flowing supply of games to MS's dominant platform and therefore help keep people buying Windows - after all, 99% of the time I spend in Windows at home is playing games and all my real work is done under Linux. If Linux starts seeing lots of games, I shall be buying Linux versions in preference, particularly once I get Xfree86 4.0 and the TNT2 drivers installed. And maybe I'll be able to see my way to shrink that Windows partition down until I finally fdisk it out of existence.


    Toby Haynes

  • I don't quite understand what all the hoopla is about with this thing. The stats [] indicate a P3 733 w/64 MB RAM and an nVidia card. And if I recall correctly, it will be running a modified version of the Windows 2000 kernel. So can somebody explain to me why this is not just A Computer With No Screen(TM)? I can see that MS is far more concerned with simply getting this poorly veiled Internet Appliance(TM) into as many homes as possible than actual gaming performance. What? My xBox comes with 500 free hours of MSN? Wow! I guess I better sign up with them!

    What game developer would write a game that works on the xbox but not on Win98/2000? And if this is the case -- that games will be available on both platforms -- what is the incentive of this machine over a Real Computer(TM)? Price seems to be the only thing; and I guess a kernel optimized for doing one thing and only one thing (games) will have significant performance advantages over a full-fledged OS (cough cough) like Windows 2000, but they're going to have to do some seriously asskicking marketing to beat out the PS2, which has all its hardware dedicated to doing one thing and doing it well. Yeah, MS is working with nVidia on the graphics card, but somehow I think an entire machine designed around one concept (alright, 2, Sony wants to be your Internet Appliance too) is going to kick the ass of a machine hacked together, even if its components are top notch (cough cough).

    In the end it will likely come down to marketing dollars because at this point I don't think anything can amaze me, just like 2, 3, 5, 10 GHz does not impress me anymore. I am still in awe of Tekken 3 on PSX and Sould Calibur (?) on Dreamcast. But if there is any company with the resources to go head to head with MS, it's Sony (unlike poor Nintendo and Sega). If nothing else, this should be an interesting battle.

    __________________________________________________ ___

  • Actually, I've heard that X Box is supposed to use the NV-25 chipset for 3d rendering, one generation and a spring update away from current technology.
  • by Vanders ( 110092 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:38AM (#1039889) Homepage
    You've actually left out one of the most obvious, and relevent, Things That Microsoft Have Got Right (TM) : Hardware

    Microsoft Mice & Gamepads are good quality products (We'll forget "Natural" keyboards for now, although some people do genuinly like them, and they're still well built). And how about Microsofts last games-computer, the MSX? The quality was actually very good, and the games support was good too.

    Maybe the XBox will be a good product. Given Microsofts past history of hardware it seems like it may.
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:41AM (#1039892) Homepage

    It is considerably easier for Microsoft to make the X-box nearly bug-free when compared to most of their other products, for the simple reason that the hardware is under their control and the OS is much simpler. Even though Microsoft is going to produce it based on one of their existing OSs (probably NT), the act of cutting out huge volumes of unused and unneeded material and the necessity of supporting only a small amount of hardware, should make this a stable platform.

    The problem with the X-box, however, is the heavily COTS (Commercial, Off the Shelf) design. Using a standard CPU, a standard OS, and what will undoubtedly be a modified version of a standard 3D graphics chip, all save on design cost and would save on production cost if only a small number are produced.

    Yet game consoles sell by the millions, so the design cost is spread over so many devices and the cost savings of using COTS parts largely diminishes, since by the time someone fabricates one million custom CPUs, they don't cost any more than buying 1M comparable CPUs.

    And the performance hit of using a COTS design is substantial. The Playstation 2's CPU is custom designed to the task at hand, able to perform a massive number of floating point calculations/clock cycle. It does not need to run SPEC, it is not an attractive compiler target for high performance code, and it is really 3 CPUs in one.

    Thus, Toshiba's silicon (made for Sony) for the Playstation 2 drastically outperforms what Intel can possibly provide, for the specific tasks involved in driving an effective game console.

    The additional problem with the X-box, again introduced by the COTS nature of the system, is the burden which even a stripped-down Microsoft OS places on the device. The cost of a hard disk and additional memory are potential killers when designing a device which should retail for less than $300.

    A COTS design by Microsoft was undoubtedly chosen so they could hurry it out into the marketplace, but the result will probably be less then spectacular, since Sony's offering will probably significantly outperform the X-box once applications are written which can take advantage of the available computational power.

  • 1) OK, so the XBox is supposed to compete with the Playstation2, but is coming out almost a year later? Does the Playstation2 coming out take back all of the money that Sega has made from the Dreamcast? Christmas is always the biggest time for console systems, and MS is going to miss an entire season. I can understand consumers waiting a month or two to compere two systems, but waiting a year in order to make a more informed decision? That is crazy.

    Actually, The Playstation 2 is losing money with each sale. Profits come from the royalties from games, not from the consoles. Sega still lost money last quarter (though the least money in quite a while), despite the DreamCast's impressive opening here in the US.

  • Yup. Obviously somone at M$ central decided to try & suck up to Bill for extra browney points.
  • BS. As usual, the only thing MS is doing well is the marketing and hype.

    The PS2 movies that were shown MANY MONTHS back were NOT pre-rendered, they were calculated on the fly. The fluidity of the movement was incredible, the resolution, detail were superb.
    The X-Box movies? Lots of "stuff" in the scene, yeah, but the motions suck, and to boot, this stuff is probably running a pre-rendered movie. If it weren't you can bet MS' PR department would be hyping that all over the place.

    To boot, it doesn't look any better than the PS2, while the PS2 is available for sale NOW.

    I'm still not sure MS really understands this market. For the same price, the hardware on X-BOX can't be better than what you can get a budget PC for (not unless MS is subsidizing the hardware!!). And if you can get a general purpose PC, that plays the same games as the X-Box, who wants an X-BOX???
    More importantly, the style of games that works on a console for Joe Average is not the same style of games that works on a PC.
  • Which company would be in control of the X-box?

    The one that produces hardware. So they can build XBoxes, mice, keyboards, gamepads, and other things that Microsoft are actually good at. They could be one of the most sucesful, come to think of it.
  • BSOD? you should see how fast it renders :)
  • by FreshView ( 139455 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @11:48AM (#1039900) Homepage
    You don't seem to understand the issues behind gaming, let me lay out why the X Box is not a PC.

    1) Bus. The video and system memory are shared directly with the video card, there is no bus to go across, therefore moving data from system memory to the video card will be much faster.

    2) OS. Yes, it's a modified version of the Windows 2000 kernel, but it's not the same Kernel, it's incredibly stripped down. I bet it doesn't even include multithreading code. There is almost no OS at all, as far as I know, all the Windows2000 kernel does on the X Box is handle reads and writes, and directX calls.

    3) sameness. Every X Box will be the same, since Nvidia's involved, every X Box will have hardware Transformation and lighting, meaning everything can be moved off of the processor to the video card, allowing for advanced physics and AI, among other things. You could say that current Nvidia cards already do that, but it doesn't matter because programmers can't take advantage of it because not everyone has a T&L video card (BTW, PS2 doesn't have hardware T&L). This is a huge advantage, if you've seen Nvidia's tree demo, you know that T&L can be very impressive when you write directly to it.

    3) sameness, instead of allowing to write directly to the same hardware, this "sameness" point deals with bugs. If there's only one platform, there are fewer bugs (blah blah blah buggy microsoft shit, blah blah), X Box games will generally have fewer bugs than their PC counterparts.

    Those are pretty much the main differences, this is not a PC with no monitor.
  • My brother is a project manager for a Game Developer- he just had a meeting with the "evil empire" [] last week to pitch a project for the Xbox- It sounds like they have some definate advantages. Apparently the PS2 is *not nice* to develop for, and they have a ways to go before the games will live up to all the hype- One of the major problems is that (apparently) PS2 has NO antialiasing capability.. I find this hard to believe, but from what he was saying a lot of the PS2 stuff looked "worse" than the dreamcast. If this is the case, the PS2 may not be the console champ it looked like it would be.

    Since the Xbox is just a PC box, MS has a lot of muscle to get PC games ported (very simple) to the Xbox as well as creating new games, and Dreamcast now has the Playstation emulator [], so there goes the backwards compatibility argument for the PS2. Apparently no console has maintained market lead when jumping to next generation - it'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out.
  • by vitaflo ( 20507 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @12:05PM (#1039907) Homepage
    I was at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) a few weeks ago. Microsoft had an X-Box theatre there to show off these X-Box demo's. Before the Expo I had heard big things about the X-Box, but wanted to see it with my own eyes. Let's just say I was pretty impressed. It reminded me a lot of the PS2 power-wise, at least from what I saw with the demo's.

    I'd like to point out that I think the Raven images linked in this article are of the old Raven footage. That footage was of what the X-Box "might" be cabable of, before they had it actually running on the machine. At E3, they had the Raven demo running on actual X-Box hardware. The graphics weren't quite up to the original footage, but the poly count was still quite high, and still very impressive.

    Before people start spewing off that MS will lose the console race I'd like to say that they really are giving game developers something to talk about. The first being using off the shelf components. If you can program for PC, you should be able to program for this thing. Compare that with PS2, which is a nightmare to program for. A lot of the developers I talked to at the Expo thought the PS2 would pull in better numbers than the X-Box simply because of the Playstation name, but that it may be more cost effective to program for the X-Box instead simply because of the ease of coding the thing. There are many more benefits to Microsofts strategy in the console business, but I'm sure you can read about those on any of the gaming sites.

    I'd also like to point out that even though we're talking about technology in the X-Box that may be "obsolete" when it comes out, it doesn't have the overhead of an MS OS running on it. This will be a video game console. It is being marketed as a direct PS2 competitior. Thus, everything Sony does, MS will try to do one better. And so far, I think they're actually doing a pretty good job of that.

    At the same time, they have hurdles to overcome. One being that they'll be launching a year after PS2. It will be hard for them to catch up, especially since the MS name isn't very attractive to the hard core gamer. Another downfall is that they are entering this race as the new kid on the block. I think MS is in for a serious wake up call here, as the console industry is probably one of the most cut throught industries there are. Microsoft will be the underdog going into a huge war I'm not sure it can survive in, even with it's marketing muscle. Sony, Sega, and Nintendo will not give up that easily.

    Make no mistake about it, MS wants to own your entertainment system. It wants to be your Gaming, Movie, Music, and Internet experience. Then again, so does Sony. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.
  • What *IS* the deal? The PS2 is NOT even released in the US yet the X-BOX is already trying to compeat against it?

    Hey people... The DreamCast is already out and i bet the games are many times better on the DC. The graphics on the PS2 are nothing to run home about.. for the same price as a PS2 i can get an 700mhz athlon MB and TNT 2 card and get better results!

    I hate to say it, but please talk about competition with products that are released. The PS2 is Competing against the DC in japan and 5 months from now it will finally be *ABLE* to compete with the DreamCast (which will have 10 million units by then..).

    So when speaking of competition, atleast be real! The Dreamcast, N64 and Playstation are all that are competing in the US. 5 Months from now you will be able to talk about the PS2 competing, until then.. don't dog either product as BOTH or nothing but piss in the wind for US people.

    Meanwhile get a DC and play some real games!

  • Also, there is the Afro Thunder speech [] about XBox.
  • by garett_spencley ( 193892 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @12:09PM (#1039912) Journal
    The one thing that people have to realize is that the PC market is going to cease to exist in the next couple years.

    The pc is steming out into 2 seperate markets: the web pad and the game console. Microsoft realizes this and they're going after both.

    In a few short years everything that you do in the lines of word processing, e-mailing, chatting, web surfing etc. will be done on portable pads that you can take anywhere. All of your applications will reside online, hosted by asps. Proof is msn [], Planet Intra [] etc.

    The only thing that this leaves out however is gaming. Hence the X-Box.

    With MSN and the X-Box Microsoft is preparing themselves for when the PC market is obsolete.

    Garett Spencley

  • by Badassmofo ( 158306 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @12:12PM (#1039917) Homepage
    Hmmm... I've heard this multiple times before, so I guess it's time to clarify.

    How can you everyone the PS2 doesn't have hardware T&L? Does it not have 2 vector processors (operating on 128bit floating point data), with one linked directly to the graphics chipset (one could argue it's a part of the graphics chipset), for the sole purpose of transforming and lighting vertices? Seriously, there is NO WAY the >300MHz MIPS processor can transform the claimed 60 million polygons/second by itself. So, the PS2 *does* in fact have hardware accelerated transformation and lighting.

    The only difference between hardware T&L on the PS2 and on a GeForce is the way it's used. On a GeForce, the D3D/OGL driver takes care of everything for you and hides all the ugliness. You just hand it some vertices and say 'Go.' It's a bit more complicated on the PS2, where the programmer has to write his own T&L engine in assembly.

    By the way, I'd be willing to bet the X-box does support multithreading, as generally sound and I/O runs in it's own thread on both PC's and consoles.

    p.s. To my credit, I am a PS2 software engineer (writing low level graphics routines) at a respectable game studio, with several months experience with the hardware.
  • I can't believe the comments here. MS is showing off a platform that's gonna make PSII look like a Commodore64 against Amiga and every single frigging comment is biased against it. I wonder what sort of response those screenshots would attract if say, Transmeta were behind X-box. Microsoft have always produced quality hardware and a lot of their software starts falling into place (eg. COM/DCOM advancements) and nobody here wants to admit it.

    X-box is going to be brilliant. The idea to use commodity hardware is even better. Writing games that target both the Peecee and X-box should be a doddle. Probably the same source base will do and packaging will be the only difference. Expect to see A LOT of games companies interested in it. Besides when it comes to developers' support MS are more than generous. The online help is extensive and pretty cheap and unlike Linux api's it is consolidated in one place and thus very searchable (MSDN cds).

    Finally schoolboys, X-box is not going to be a repackaged Peecee! Ever heard of UMA? I thought so. Well the UMA stands for Unified Memory Architecture and it is the same technology that gives such a kick to the graphics of boxes like O2 and Octane. So your bleeping 1.n GHz peecee still won't touch the graphics capabilities of an X-box.

    Finally I hate Microsoft as much as everyone else here and I wish that X-box werent going to be a success especially that they screwed AMD with it. BUT let us admit it folks: X-BOX is likely to be a major success. After seeing where they've got with it I'd see the days of PSII as counted.

  • "Before you can play Mechabutteryfly Pong attack you must agree to convert your TV to PAL and use only the MS PAL adapter with your XBox as anti-trust litigation has tied Microsoft's hands and we cannot be expected to make competiting products incompatible anymore."

  • Exactly, so why do you put the weight on the power of the machines. Sega got its games that people want to play right now, plus the on-line network before anyone else. According to the latest report it already sold 2.5M consoles in the USA. And by the end of the year it will be free with a Sega network subscription. So their product is not inferior to the competion, it's ahead of it. Yet it will probably still lose because Joe Sixpack likes a familiar brand and more polys on his screen than pixels...
  • I think the thing people have to remember is that, given a 10mhz 386 with enough disk space for a reasonable amount of virtual RAM, you could render a seen with twice as many pingpong balls. It might take a while, but it could happen. The ps1 for instance easily could have produced that output (though not at that resolution) The point is the framerate more than anything else. By posting the images and labeling them as screenshots, the hidden assumptions is that these are screenshots from something reasonably playable. I think the butterfly demo is cake to render. The pingpong balls look more impressive, but considering the kind of heuristics that are applicable to it, it is a lot simpler (and still we don't know the framerate). It's hard to be impressed until they post more information.
  • The X-Box isn't even scheduled to ship Q3 or Q4 in 2001, right? Is this classic MS vaporware?

    - Scott
    Scott Stevenson
  • by Christopher Thomas ( 11717 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @12:26PM (#1039937)
    Worse still, unless it is extremely upgradable (i.e. rip the CPU and GPU out and upgrade) it will be obsolete hardware when compared with the standard PC of the time only 6-12 months after release. So what is going on?

    The same argument could be made about any other gaming console, and holds. However, the reason why Playstations and Dreamcasts still sell is that they are far, far cheaper than the PC that blows them away.

    For anyone who has a good gaming PC, a console can be argued to be redundant (aside from the little matter of getting all of the console _games_ on the PC).

    However, Joe Average doesn't have a good gaming PC. Joe Average may not even have a PC at all. However, Joe Parent can more likely afford to shell out for a cheap console than for a full computer when their kid finally convinces them to buy a game system.

    For people who don't already have PCs, a console is a good investment. Heck, it may cost less than your PC's next video card.
  • Like the subject says, haven't these pics and movies been oput since before E3?

    Also, the xbox is not that impressive. Let me repeat that, the xbox is not that impressive. Firstly, the system is not scheduled to come out for more than a year, Christmas 2001. PSX2 comes out on October 26. PSX2 will be out almost a year before xbox, look what this did for the N64, Microsoft and Sony are aiming at two diffrent markets. Sony at its installed base of Playstation owners, and Microsoft at the die-hard PC game addicts who wouldn't normally buy a home console. Secondly, these are VERY diffucult promises for MS to deliver upon. No home system has ever been announced this early in its dev cycle, at least not with this many details. The N64 was supposed to ship with the PSX and Saturn(remember that?). It was also supposed to blow the others out of the water with SGI quality graphics and whatnot. It didn't deliver. Personally I don't think that MS can deliver upon all these wishes (the real time demos I've seen aren't that impressive compared to the PSX2 stuff I've seen anyway).
  • OK, so the XBox might not have the most hardware available. However, as any console gamer will tell you: it's not about having the most impressive hardware, but about having the most impressive games.

    And, if you listen to people like Peter Molyneux speak [], it sounds very likely that developer support for the pc will be less and less.
  • No one has said for certain it will be three companies, and obviously Judge Jackson has missed the fact that Microsoft also makes hardware. Unless he has, and has decided to put the hardware production with, say, Operating Systems. Which would be a Bad Thing.
  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @12:34PM (#1039947) Homepage Journal
    Forget it- what you're seeing is essentially conceptual art. No way are you seeing genuine output from the thing- I doubt any exist. These are the same people who faked video testimony IN COURT, and have a long history of stuff like technology demos which crash to the MAC FINDER of all things (I'm not making this up). They are the kings of outright fraud, and this time they're not even in court and are entirely controlling and dictating the presentation. How can you pretend there is anything real about this when you look at the record? It's just crazy to try and make a case that their claims should be taken at face value! Get real! When you can take one home and plug it into your TV, _then_ you can form an opinion.

    Look, I've just invented a game console that plugs into color PalmPilots to generate flightsims! Here [] is actual video footage taken off the PalmPilot's actual screen- this was generated by a PalmPilot in REAL TIME and you'll be able to fly combat missions against your friends on the Internet, while jotting down notes in Graffiti! (Do you believe FNORD! that?)

  • t's not the ping pong's the NUMBER of balls. There are a few hundred there, each made up of how many polygons? Then realize that all of those balls are falling, bouncing and recoiling from the snaps of the mouse-traps (atleast that's what they look like to me) which are ALSO bouncing around in the room. That means a lot of physics (figuring the motion for all the balls and all of the traps).

    The physics, at least, takes a negligeable amount of processing power for only a few hundred balls. Collision detection is the only thing that might be a concern, and there are algorithms that can do that efficiently.

    That leaves the rendering. Now, you could probably render that scene in real-time with multi-polygon balls (you have a graphics card that can render hundreds of thousands to millions of polygons per second). However, if you're being evil about it, you don't need to. Pre-render pictures of the balls with the "X" at various positions, and render them as 2D sprites (texture maps on 2-triangle quadrilaterals). It would only give visual artifacts on shadows _on_the_balls_, which would be uncommon and difficult to see when present for the demo being used.

    They probably rendered this mostly-legitimately, but don't underestimate the power of creative cheating :).
  • Every X-Box is a Linux box too, unless Microsoft intentionally prevents this. In which case they will have some serious explaining to do on the anti-trust front. We should be alert for any signs that Microsoft is planning to restrict the type of OS that can run on this hardware.
  • There are 6 valid reasons the PlayStation2 will fail in the US: high price,

    We'll see what the price actually ends up being at launch.

    no internet connectivity,

    Really? What's the modem for, then?

    shoddy graphics,

    I definitely agree with this. PS2 very well may be a polygon-pushing fool, but where is the anti-aliasing??

    a pain to code for

    Yup. Apparently somebody from Konami (Metal Gear Solid) was on CNBC not to long ago discussing this very issue.

    only 2 controller ports

    It has USB, though, so one could probably plug in a controller expansion unit throught there. Purely a guess, though.

    I have a Dreamcast, btw, and like it quite a bit. However, if Sony screws things up technologically, I don't know if that means everyone will jump ship for Dreamcast. Sega has to get their marketing act together and raise the userbase immensely in the next 4 months. The Dreamcast is free now, which is great, but WHERE are the TV ADS about this? Hello?

    Sony has the advantage of an incredible brand presence and marketing power behind them. PlayStation has been such a consumer electronic phenomenon, that they will sell million of units just by the fact that the thing is called PlayStation 2. Sony also has the advantage of access to tons of third party developers.

    Sony is the 800 pound gorilla on the block. Even if PlayStation2 doesn't live up to all the hype, Sega will still have a very tough road ahead. Look at how many people are still content with PlayStation 1, despite its 486-class graphics. The bigger problem is, if neither Sony nor Sega can really own then grow the market signficantly, then Microsoft will just swoop in 18 months from now and buy its way into the pole position.

    - Scott

    Scott Stevenson
  • Who really cares if the PS2 has no antialiasing capabilities? How much text are you going to really read from your TV screen anyway? ;)

    Seriously, though, the PS2 is the game player's dream console; Sony's doing everything right, and MS is producing what seems to be (at best) an obsolete piece of hardware with no real added value over a top-of-the-line PC.

    BTW, when I say obsolete, I don't mean right now. Obviously, the X-Box wouldn't be obsolete if it came out today- but is it out today? I thought not.... by the time it gets out, you'll be able to pick up a regular PC with more horsepower and more capability for less money. I think this is going to be a BIG mistake on MS's part. I'm not buying one, and none of my friends are either; if we want DirectX, we install it on our PCs under Windows.
  • While this is basically true, they can't write directly to it like for the X-Box.

    Quake3 "uses" Hardware transformations, but barely, you hardly get any performance increase. If you had an API directly for a specific video card, or a 3d library written for a video card, it would be much better than current T&L implementations. Unfortunately this is impossible on the PC.
  • by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @12:55PM (#1039969) Homepage Journal
    Boy, do you have _that_ right. I would make a butterfly out of two polys. Do you know how many polys I'd use to make a ping pong ball? (wait for it)....


    Just get a lot of sprites with that little 'x' facing in all directions, keep track of the 'rotation': if the X shows, choose the relevant sprite. If the X is facing away- always use a featureless blank ping-pong ball sprite.

    Presto- all the ping pong balls can be ONE poly. Don't even waste your time looking at them and trying to figure how many polys it is! I suspect even if the demo is totally rigged the balls are _still_ one-poly cards drawing from a really large selection of sprites: this serves several purposes. One, the entire ping-pong ball load is about as much as one Quake model, and two, if they can get people trying to imagine how many polys make those 'round' ( ;) ) forms, they can get people imagining huge impossible poly counts.

    Sprite cards are actually a damned good way to do 3D game programming- look at Myth and Myth II, the characters in that are all sprites on cards and it lets lots of activity be happening on relatively humble computers with good framerate- and allows more CPU to be used for terrain. However, used as a fraud, it's annoying :)

  • This "PC is dead" crap is pure bullshit. MY setup will always have a BIG keyboard and a BIG screen. That's hard to do in a portable. Furthermore, there will always be usage for the extra CPU as it is developed. Not to mention joysticks, flightsticks, speakers, printers, etc. Are all these GIANT devices going to attach to some walkman-sized PC kept in your pocket?

    To use an analogy - if you took the applications from 8 years ago - you might conclude that the PC would be dead in 2000. After all, what could you do 8 years ago on a PC that can't be done on a cheap portable?

    Applications however do not stand still. Video display, video caputure (PC TV/VCR anyone?), 3D, multiple screens, networking, massively complex games with AI opponents, speech recognition/interpretation (more big CPU crunch), automatic security surveillance. Am I leaving anything out? Yes about a million things.

    Sure, everything I do today can be done tomorrow on some piece-of-shit portable. Big whoop.
  • I believe it is the other way around. NVIDIA uses a method by which the GPU renders each frame at some multiple of the resoluion (I think between 1.5x and 2x) and then scales down. 3dfx uses a supersampling technique. Each pixel is rendered either twice or four times, with .5 pixel offsets. Then the VSA-100 processor(s) blend them. I believe that at 2x (1.5x for NVIDIA) 3dfx and NVIDIA are about the same, but 3dfx has the definite performance advantage. However, at 4x, a level that NVIDIA cannot offer, the image quality is far better than either implementation of 2x. Check out more info here []
  • by FoulBeard ( 112622 ) <chrisx AT speakeasy DOT net> on Monday May 29, 2000 @01:04PM (#1039977)
    This is disgusting! I not am avid supporter of flamebait but this is annoying, and I feel that I must retaliate. Yes Microsoft is big, yes it has a marketing department with big yellow, nasty pointy teeth.
    But take a moment to think about the hardware engineers, and coders who stay up all night behind deadlines trying to sqeeze a few more frames per second out of the hardware. Did you see how many butterflies there was on the screen, or how many ping pong balls there was? Or how fine the polygons where on the Raven models.

    Now I like bashing M$ as much as the next guy. Its easy to do, they have made silly mistakes in the past, but this demo I can respect. Slasdotters always complain about the FUD, or try to turn everything into FUD. Have you ever thought about the hardcare coders, and hackers at M$? Oh yes.. they are there. Microsoft has some of the most dedicated and hardcare techies out there.

    You know what I think is happening. I think that you see these amazing and beautifully renders screenshots, and you know that its good, you just dont have the balls to admit it. That said, I work at a major telecom company that *cough* *cough* (created UNIX). I love Linux/FreeBSD I use them at work and at home extensively. Just because I love UNIX doesnt mean I cant see the beauty in other things. The words of Socrates come to mind.

    I went to a man who was reputed to be wise, thinking that there, if anywhere, I should prove the answer wrong. So I examined the man -- I need not tell you his name, he was a politician--but this was the result, Athenians. Then I conversed with him I came to see that, though a great many persons, and most of all himself, he thought he was wise, yet he was not wise, though he fancied he was. By doing so I mafe him indignant, and many of the bystanders. So when I went away I thought myself, "I am wiser than this man: neither of us knows anything that is really worth knowing, but he thinks that he has knowledge when he has not, while I, having no knowledge, do not think I have. I seem, at any rate, to be a little wiser then he is on this point: I do not think that I know what I do not know."
    Socrates - The Apology

    So I ask of you dear Slashdotters, tell us not that the XBox blows, but also tell us your reasoning behind so we may become clear in the truth.

  • by Eil ( 82413 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @01:53PM (#1040011) Homepage Journal

    Okay, folks...

    a) These screenshots are not new. I have seen magazines at the newsstands with these exact same screenshots. M$ probably pumped them out to the print media months ago. I've seen them online in various places also, though not in high-res.

    b) Demos tell you nothing about the power of a system. I saw screenshots of demos for the Sega Saturn before it was released... a complete human skeleton with all 200-some bones dancing to hip-hop. It looked nice and was running on actual Saturn hardware, but nothing like that would ever be in a game due to practicality.

    And the Nintendo 64, (back when it was the Ultra 64) had demos running on SGI workstations that had 2 to 3 times the power of the actual N64 today. As a result, Nintendo wowed the public enough to keep interest in the system. But those demos, amazing though they were, were far more impressive than the actual N64 at launch time. Thus, don't expect hundredes of butterflies in your video games when you bring the X-Box home.

    c) Microsoft mentioned that these demos do not run on the actual X-Box hardware, as none exists yet. Their graphics designers were told to whip up some demos while trying to conform to the theoretical specs of the X-Box. That's why you have high-res screenshots.
  • My guess, again, is one (1). I think the balls are single-poly cards with round pingpong balls drawn on them.

    I saw the quicktime movie earlier and didn't see any significant evidence of shadows and light on the balls- lighting was very even, which also suggests use of one-poly 'balls'.

    If I wanted to be really evil I'd draw _polygonal_ ping pong balls on the one-poly cards :) it's just a question of how subtle, and how evil, these guys were willing to be. If you draw the things perfectly round it's _obviously_ sprites. Making it a little polygonal would be elegantly misleading :)

  • I can't believe the comments here. MS is showing off a platform that's gonna make PSII look like a Commodore64 against Amiga and every single frigging comment is biased against it.

    They're showing a mockup of performance they hope to get, from an assumed platform that may be produced within the projected timeline.

    I wonder what sort of response those screenshots would attract if say, Transmeta were behind X-box.

    This happened, just a few months ago. Transmeta showed real applications running on real silicon.

    I think any company showing canned mockup demos deserves to be slammed. Now, whether Transmeta would have been treated the same way is anyone's guess. But they had the good sense not to try it.

  • PSX2 does not enhance PSX1 games.

    Oh yes it does. It adds bilinear filtering to the textures, and other improvements such as a higher resolution depending on the game. I've seen it in action... no more huge texels whenever an object gets close to the camera.

    *If* the XBox has good RPG's, you wouldn't play them simply because Sqauresoft doesn't make them?

    This is something a non-Squaresofter would say. But in general, you are correct. We are a devoted bunch and have noticed that Squaresoft always picks the system that is going to do best in the marketplace and proceeds to make kick-ass games for it. Happened with the SNES, and it happened with the PSX. Why should we start doubting Squaresoft now?

    As for Bleem!, I've tried it and it is shit. The only emulator that I can trust to give me a good gaming experience is ZSNES, which emulates a (drum roll) SNES. If SNES emulation just recently (within the last few years) got to a high-quality standard, then how long before PSX? Sure, the N64 has UltraHLE, which is pretty good, BUT the game compatibility is suck.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @02:22PM (#1040024)
    > Let's just say I was pretty impressed. It reminded me a lot of the PS2 power-wise, at least from what I saw with the demo's.

    Take MS's demos with a salt mine. Years before they started faking courtroom video "evidence", they used to fake a Mac-like windowing system for DOS, which was always coming out Real Soon Now. It took them years to deliver it, and of course you already know what a piece of crap it was when they finally did deliver.

    Demos, for Micorsoft, have always been part of their vaporware strategy of laming the competition before MS itself even had a product in the field. "Don't spend that money - you can get our really good stuff Real Soon Now!!!"

    Perhaps this time Micorsoft really will get it right and soar with the eagles, but since they haven't done anything else right in living memory, I wouldn't bank on it. Nor would I buy version 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, or 4.0, no matter what they bundled with it. And especially, I wouldn't pass up a known-to-be-reliable product from an established maker, in order to wait for reality to condense out of the vapor.

  • Hey people... The DreamCast is already out and i bet the games are many times better on the DC. The graphics on the PS2 are nothing to run home about.

    You obviously haven't seen the latest batch of PS2 games in action. Believe me when I tell you, the games I saw (and played!) at E3, BLOW AWAY the DC games I saw. True, the first generation games were simply on par with what the DC has to offer, but the titles looking to arrive after Christmas are simply amazing.

    A perfect example of this is Metal Gear Solid 2. Konami played an MGS2 movie every hour and on that hour everyone in attendance went to watch this game. It raises the bar so high on video games I was in awe. You really have to see it to believe it. Screen shots are really doing less and less to get an idea of how a game functions, because so much is going into the presentation of the moving images now days.

    MGS2 will change the way games are made, trust me. This is just a start to what we'll be seeing from PS2. I'm seriously wondering if DC has the power to measure up to something like this. That's not a knock on DC (I own one). That's just a reality from a development perspective.
  • Perhaps this time Micorsoft really will get it right and soar with the eagles, but since they haven't done anything else right in living memory, I wouldn't bank on it. Nor would I buy version 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, or 4.0, no matter what they bundled with it.

    This is exactly the hurdle I was talking about. Simply because it's MS, a lot of people are going to instantly no trust it, and not want to buy it.

    What we need to realize is that taken in a gaming console context, Sony, Sega and Nintendo are really no different from Microsoft. They ALL blow smoke up everyone's asses and promise things that they never deliver. In fact I would say Nintendo is probably the worst offender of this I've ever seen (even more so than MS). But this is just how the industry works. Half the skill in this business is just trying to see past all of that.

    And because of that, I actually think MS fits right in with the others. But like I said, it's going into war with 3 other companies that play hardball just as much (if not more) than MS does. I think MS seriously has it's work cut out for them. As as such, I think they're going to need to be VERY upfront with developers. They ARE the underdog in this whole deal.
  • Just get a lot of sprites with that little 'x' facing in all directions, keep track of the 'rotation': if the X shows, choose the relevant sprite. If the X is facing away- always use a featureless blank ping-pong ball sprite.

    Nice idea, but you're talking 256 color sprites, at least 256 different sizes (1x1 -> 256x256), each in different rotations - say 51471 different pixels (centre spot coordinate for the largest of the images). And that's not including all the ones where less than half of the X is visible. Soooo....

    Currently I get 3.2Gb needed to store all the different positions. I've not seen the moving demo, so I can't tell you how valid my estimate of the number of different images needed is. However, even for not-so-smooth motion (100 different angles), you'd need 6.4Mb to store all the data. Which is not only causes cache-coherency problems, it's also more than most video cards can handle in terms of textures.

    Not to mention that it wouldn't be perspective correct, which those balls appear to be.

  • by Spoing ( 152917 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @03:24PM (#1040048) Homepage
    Here's another version of an old joke. The common version usually puts Bill Gates in the title role, but the original didn't;
    1. A software engineer dies and goes to Heaven. "Well," says Saint Peter, "Looking at your life, you've done some good things and some bad...and to be honest, it's just too close for me to pass judgement on which way to send you. In rare cases like these, we let you make the decision -- Heaven or Hell."

      The engineer, weary of design trade-offs and wary of uninformed decisions, asks for more details. "Sure," replies the gatekeeper. "Here is the elevator. You can ride up to see Heaven and down to see Hell. Take your time and make your choice.

      So, off the engineer goes taking the elevator up to Heaven. He sees the angels playing on their harps and blissfully flitting back and forth among the clouds.

      "That looks about like what I expected, but it doesn't look ... well, exciting" he says to himself.

      So, off he goes down the elevator to the floor labeled "Hell" to look around. He finds sandy beaches, beautiful women, snowcapped mountains, and parties going on all over.

      Returning to the gates, he has no problem informing the gatekeeper of his decision. "Heaven looks fine, but pretty boring to me. Hell is what I have always dreamed of! Let me in."

      The gatekeeper hands him an entry pass and the engineer goes back down the elevator to take his place in Hell. But, to his surprise, he finds none of what he saw before. Instead, he finds himself in a pit swarming with vipers, fire and brimstone.

      "Wait! What happened to the beach parties, fun, and sunshine I saw before?" "Oh," replies Lucifer. "That was the demo."

  • Not running existing software is a problem *FOR MICROSOFT*. Microsoft has never, ever, competed effectively without network effects. Not once. Every time they've sold products, it's been because they worked with other products that were already out there. Once the PC shipped with DOS, they were set; they just kept shipping things that ran DOS software, and started selling things bundled with the OS, and it went from there.

    As to the stability thing, the same argument would imply that WinCE PDA's would be very stable, but they aren't. They're unstable and bloated. The "variety of hardware" thing is a traditional Microsoft excuse. Ever wonder why Linux systems with a variety of hardware don't crash all the time?

    Without network effects, Microsoft is a joke.
  • Are you mentally deficient?

    Are you rude?

    I don't mean to insult you...

    Yes you do.

    ...but, it's not like you can run anything but Nintendo's OS on the NES, or SNES.

    This isn't Nintendo. This isn't SNES.

    Same way that Apple won't get in trouble by not letting other people make os's for their hardware, because, it is THEIR hardware, it's proprietary.

    Microsoft is a monopolist. That is a fact, not an opinion. Monopolists must play by different rules than other companies. That is what anti-trust law is all about.

    They can do what they like.

    No they can't, at least not after final judgement is entered. This may be news to you, but Microsoft is going to jail.

    I stand by my original comment: if Microsoft attempts to tie their OS to this product, they are in deep doodoo.
  • Even so, once people figure out how the hell to program for the Playstation 2, it's going to blow the hell outta the x-box.

    The P3 doesn't even begin to compare to the Emotion Engine

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
    It's not what it is, it's something else.
  • MS has been trying to buy up companies (some rumors include Square)

    As if that will ever happen... come on, get real. Microsoft may be one Big Ass Multinational Corporation (TM), but Square is also one Big Ass Multinational Corporation, and they're NOT going to be bought out by MS.

    They probably won't be even programming for the X-box seeing as there's already 3 confirmed Square games (that I know of, The Bouncer and FFX and XI) for the PSX2...

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
    It's not what it is, it's something else.
  • Nothing short of a miracle would allow the X-Box to play PSX2 software. Do you have any clue how different the architectures of the two systems are?

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
    It's not what it is, it's something else.
  • Ok, they're good and they work 60,70 hour weeks-so what? Does that change the fact that their employer has consistently turned out bad products and FUDed all good products? I think not. MS is still bad no matter who works for it. I'm kind of surprised people with talent and intelligence work for them, instead of for a company that focuses on quality rather than market share. What do MS employees have to say about this?
  • Bobo takes screenshot.
    Bobo loads screenshot into Photoshop to add IGN logo.
    Bobo saves screenshot from photoshop to put on web.
    Slashdot Reader loads screenshot into Hex Editor, sees "Photoshop," and thinks "conspiracy."

    I believe the word you're looking for is "DUH."

    Look here [] instead, for some videos. But don't be surprised if you see "Quicktime" near the beginning of the binary stream.
  • I was explaining to a friend of mine why I wasn't interested in becoming a freelance PC consultant. It might be fun for awhile, but long-term prospects aren't good... and here's my reasoning:

    PCs will always be around. In 5-7 years, I think they'll be mostly for geeks. In 10-15 years, they'll be mostly for uber-geeks, like the amateur radio guys - a real niche.

    What's going to kill PCs for the masses? Two things:

    1) Static RAM hard drives, or whatever you want to call them... flash card hard drives, whatever. As soon as we ditch mechanical hard drives, we kiss a lot of problems goodbye.

    2) Combine the above with the i-Opener of three years from now and a broadband connection. The thing won't ever need service from a hardware standpoint (and if it does, it's a factory kind of thing), and all software updates can be done over the wire. The processor will be, what, 3 to 5 ghz or something, which should be plenty for speech recognition and photorealistic 3D graphics, so the "obsolete" thing should not be a big deal for all but the most hardcore gamers, and even so, since it only costs $100 or $200 or something it's not a huge investment anyway.

    If it's not the i-Opener per se, then the PS2 or the Palm 2005 or who knows what... the point is, Joe Consumer is going to honest-to-god truly plug and play this thing and he's not going to be calling us geeks to come fix it because his hard drive puked or Windows is fubar'd.

    And sometime around then someone will make a business version that connects to a network (but is NOT an NC, notice), and the PHBs are going to be all over it.

    I compare computers and cars a lot, and the way I figure it, we're at about 1933 in car years. Cars are mass-produced and reliable enough not to require daily maintenance and futzing around, but they still require some degree of training and knowledge to operate... and the roads are mostly in place, but there's no superhighways yet. I think, allegorically speaking, the leap from the cars of 1933 to the cars of 2000 is going to happen in the next 5-10 years for computers.

    And I don't know if all y'all have noticed, but people generally hate monkeyin' around with their PCs. They hate how unreliable and confusing they are, and I don't blame them. Us geeks will always enjoy it and probably always have the option, but I gar-awn-tee everyone else is going to be more than happy to kiss their PCs goodbye. In fact, they'll be goddamn THRILLED.

    The death-of-the-PC meme may be especially trendy right now, and I agree it's a little too soon to be trumpeting it, but be aware... it's actually going to happen. Maybe sooner, maybe later, but count on it - 10 years from now our mothers aren't to be e-nagging us from a PC!
  • Nothing short of a miracle would allow the X-Box to play PSX2 software. Do you have any clue how different the architectures of the two systems are?

    He knows exactly how different they are. That's why he said team up with Bleem!, who have a retail Playstation emulator. Bleem is porting their emulator to the Dreamcast as well. Currently it runs on PCs, and performs admirably well on my K6-2 333 with a Voodoo3.

    The problem is emulating the rest of the chips in the PS2.

  • by Badassmofo ( 158306 ) on Monday May 29, 2000 @06:22PM (#1040097) Homepage
    "No, the PS2 does not have onboard T&L."

    Okay, I'll try to do this again, without breaking the NDA :) The PS2 has 2 vector processing units. One is directly linked to the EE, designed for use with relatively simple transformations (ie collision detection) and other vector math. The second vector processor is directly linked to the GS, is more advanced than the first, and the preparation needed to take advantage of it are such that it's only use is for T&L for the rasterizer right next door.

    "It does not have a processor specifically designed ONLY for performing transformation and lighting calculations."

    BZZZZT. Wrong again. There's really no way for me to argue against this without going into detail on the instruction set of the vector units (which would be violating the NDA). Why else would you stick a vector processing unit, perfectly fitted for processing 128-bit (4x32-bit, the size of a vertex) floating point data, directly next to the GS, with a number of instructions dedicated to communicating with the GS? If that's not custom design and integration, I'm really not sure what is.

    "A spare high-precision FPU certainly helps, but it hardly counts as a part custom optimized for T&L."

    As far as it not being a "part custom optimized for T&L," its sole intended purpose is in fact for transformation and lighting. This CANNOT be argued, as it is plainly stated in the VU users manual.


  • Was I the only one to notice that? Look closely on the book in that image [] An NT server 4 book as a desk toy!
  • Um, I haven't really looked at their balls closely (um, that sounded strange...), but one thing is certain: if it's done with sprites, you don't need to store different sizes of them, since the hardware can texture a polygon with a single texture, regardless of how large that polygon is on-screen. If the polygon occupies more pixels than there are texels in the texture, the texture will be magnified. If it occupies less, it will be minified.
  • It's simple: Microsoft (and their graphics processor supplier, NVIDIA) is simply awaiting the onslaught of HDTV. That's why they make such a fuss over building a console that can handle resolutions which'd make an ordinary TV catch fire. ;^)
  • While it's probably just the logo (like other people have mentioned) I wouldn't put it past MS to go up to the menu and hit ``smooth'' or whatnot. MS certainly has experience doctoring up photographs, and if they'd do it in a court of law I'm certain they'd do it for an advertisement.
  • Nope. The current generation is the NV15 (aka GeForce2 256 GTS). The next generation for ordinary desktop use will be the NV20. Depending on who you ask, the Xbox uses a design based on either the NV20 or the NV25, which would be the next-next generation. So, it's not between the current and the next; you need to add at least one generation more. Then again, the Xbox is scheduled for release during fall 2001, and NVIDIA might be able to squeeze out three generations on the PC side until then. Swell!
  • Sure, that's their strategy. But people didn't buy Dreamcasts, so they
    could get PS2s; I doubt those people are going to wait again for the X

    And then there are the REAL gamers who have a Dreamcast, a Playstation, an N64, a Super Nintendo, a Regular Nintendo, a Game boy, and will have a PSX2, a Dolphin, and an X-Box.

    I mean, come on, why buy just one when you can buy all 3?

  • but they're just demonstrating the graphical processing power. As has been mentioned before, the collision detection is putting minimal strain on the processor. What matters is whether or not they can *do* anything with it.

    There are a few things they've got to do right in order for this whole thing to work:

    • Deliver on time (without cutting corners or having to release Xbox SP1). This problem has carved up Nintendo to no end, and with Dolphin's continued delays... there's a hole to be filled.
    • Have great games at launch. Not Q3A ported over, and you don't have to have 80 games either. Just something that people will gawk at. The Japanese Playstation 2 launch suffered from this problem. People had seen the tech demos, but when they games came out, people were extremely underwhelmed. (People thought the DC looked better...) That's not deadly to someone with Playstation's marketshare, but could be detrimental for a newcomer.
    • Create great games. In the US, Dreamcast has the most processing power by far of any console, but I can count on one hand the number of cool games for it, and the future isn't looking all that bright. On my Playstation, I have dozens. Same with my N64.

    Probably we all know this already, and MS should too. My main point is that a few tech demos don't mean dinkus. Let's see how they do once they come up with an addictive game, great AI, destructable poly models, and all that jazz that we've seen in our favorite actual games. (Go watch the preview for Metal Gear Solid 2 at - tape your jaw to your head first).


  • Folks, please try to remember that what really sells consoles is what games it plays. I wouldn't buy any console that doesn't play the games my family wants to play (Old Fart Alert), and for my kids, that means Pokemon. That's why we have an N64, and not a PS or DC box.

    If in 2001 it sells with whatever game it is that my kids are screaming over, we'll buy one. Otherwise, forget it. (Unless it sells with a really rocking version of Mechwarrior V, in whihc case I'll get it for me. ;-)

  • Konami, Capcom, Bungie. Need I list anymore developers? Bungie have always been major Mac backers and in case you're a retard, Metal Gear is published by Konami.
  • Why thank you. I did indeed have an idea of how different they were. :)

    I'm not saying it would be possible (due to emotion engine or whatnot) but if it was, how better to help a fledging new console than to be able to play games for the other hot console on the market?

The relative importance of files depends on their cost in terms of the human effort needed to regenerate them. -- T.A. Dolotta