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Gabe Newell trashes PS3's Cell architecture

Holy insufferable insults, Batman! It's yet another personality who wants to belittle the PS3 and its Cell processor. Valve's own Gabe Newell gave a talk at Leipzig the other day and did their share of doling out insults to both the 360 and PS3, while showering compliments on the PC. When asked how development was coming on the PS3, Newell replied with the usual difficult-to-program-for spiel: "I don't think they spent nearly enough time talking to developers when they were developing the PS3. It's less friendly for developers ... It's a hardware architectural problem. I don't think they thought through the Cell architecture. The hardware is only as good as the software it enables."

That's techno-babble for "the PS3 is only as good as its games," which is true. Just like a child, the PS3 will grow and mature, looking better and better with every passing year. The software are only as good as the developers, you could switch it up and say as they familiarize themselves with the architecture, they'll pull more and more out of the console than they initially believed. Even so, Newell thinks Sony should have followed Intel's multi-core approach to expedite this learning process. What are your thoughts on the relation between the PS3, its games, and developers? Who's holding who back?

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(Page 1)

1. Well it`s not surprising considering that Valve is originally a PC developper. Still, trashing something because you don`t understand it fully is immature, I thought better of Valve.

Posted at 2:11PM on Aug 25th 2007 by Darkdrium777

2. I have only one thing to say to that man. Wear Black, and Wear Layers.

Aside from that, we've seen devs I respect more then this guy say the PS3 is no harder to program for, just something new to learn.

And we've had Devs say, it just takes longer to program for.

Then there is the EA type devs who say its a hardware problem.

The truth, is likely somewhere in the middle, as it almost always is.

Posted at 2:14PM on Aug 25th 2007 by Jldowning

3. Calculus and the other higher mathematics are supposed to be harder than arithmetic. Of course it's harder. It offers more than the basics. But, in any case, there are students who complain it's hard and blame everyone else and then quit. There are students who complain their asses off and blame everyone but themselves and try but still fail. There are students who naturally just whiz by like a piece of cake. And then there are students who struggle night and day and endure hardship and manage to pass with honors. All developers should fall under one or two categories. But then there are developers who mess up on person because they have a secret contract for one year to make all ports as ugly as possible so that MS would have an advantage for a year or so.

Posted at 2:15PM on Aug 25th 2007 by secret

4. Sorry, wanted to add this...

Not to say hes wrong, the PC will almost always be the better choice, if you have that choice to make. I for one cannot wait to upgrade my PC to rejoin the PC gamers. PC/PS3/Wii! (here is to the hope that Fable 2, and Halo 3 don't to long to get ported to the PC!)

Posted at 2:19PM on Aug 25th 2007 by Jldowning

5. Ok, I'm software engineering student and i can tell you that the main difference betwen 360 and PS3 is that the 360 processor is symmetric like most PCs processors so you don't have to worry too much about using every core and balancing the use of each one. You just develop almost the same way as before and the processor itself will distribute the work, but if you want to use all the processing power you must develop just like you would on the PS3. Since the PS3 is asymmetric you must sync and balance every process and data. So at the end they are almost the same. Of course i cannot talk about development kits since i dont have access to one of those.

Posted at 2:40PM on Aug 25th 2007 by Jigzat

6. Looks like he could use the wii fit.

Posted at 2:41PM on Aug 25th 2007 by snwboarderx

7. yes gabe .. the cell is no where near as powerful as all of those hohos you have been scarfing with your google ad word monies!

Posted at 2:41PM on Aug 25th 2007 by sectionz

8. I worked on a simple PC game using the HL engine in college and I have to say is this:

If you can code a PC game, a console game is a walk in the park!

Why? Well because PC games have to account for a laundry list of variables. They have to work with the lowest common denominator and then scale.

If we had no X1300/G8300 the PC gaming world would be more of a marvel then it is now.

But with that knowledge I know, console programing is straight forward in commands. They work on a linear system unlike PCs.

I call BS on his little complaint. If ID can do it, Valve can do it. Both companies have been around long enough to learn most tricks of the trade.

Posted at 2:44PM on Aug 25th 2007 by railven

9. Well, it seems that it's harder for some developers than others...

Posted at 2:46PM on Aug 25th 2007 by mccomber

10. People are taking this way out of context. "The hardware is only as good as the software it enables". It's more likely he meant that software should not be a pain to develop on the hardware. If it is a pain, then the hardware is poorly designed (not poor in performance). How would you feel as a developer if a company made a piece of hardware, threw it at you and told you to make AAA games without providing you with AAA devkits/documentation/support? The pressure is on the developers and I hate it when people only criticize developers. As of right now, the lack of support and good documentation from Sony to developers are to blame imo (EA excluded, they have no excuse).

Posted at 2:52PM on Aug 25th 2007 by MisterL

11. If he shaved his head, he would be a perfect Homer Simpson.

Posted at 2:53PM on Aug 25th 2007 by phattie

12. Well I've never developed a game in my life but alot of the issues seem to come from trying to port an X360 game into PS3. Sure that may seem quicker to do in the short term but the developer isn't really using the Cell as it was intended.

I can see a point where dedicated PS3 devs will blossom creating truly amazing games while the 'porters' will be left behind and sticking with platform they can program for.

Sadly I think that this will lead to a lack of great games on the PS3, something it really needs after the amazing lead Microsoft and even Nintendo have made with both devs and fans...

Posted at 2:57PM on Aug 25th 2007 by Ieu-ee

13. doesnt the fact that so many developers are complaining about the problems in programming for the PS3 show sony to a certain extent that they made a mistake trying out such a new tech for the console ?

Posted at 3:03PM on Aug 25th 2007 by WTangoFoxtrot

14. The Wii seems to lack games the most. I'm not hearing much hype about any of the Wii games. And any wii mote game can eventually be done with the sixaxis and the Eyetoy thing, whatever it is. Just look at that nice looking girl though in the pic below about the eyetoy.

Posted at 3:04PM on Aug 25th 2007 by secret

15. He looks like he swallowed one too many PS3s.

Posted at 3:10PM on Aug 25th 2007 by Prothean

16. someone quick.. photoshop a bag of doritos or a beer in his hand!

lol yeah, someone buy this guy a wii fit for xmas.

Posted at 3:12PM on Aug 25th 2007 by KiraXD

17. But it's funny how no one talks about the Wii's lack of games. The PS3 has awesome games. I own Ninja Gaiden Sigma, Motorstorm, Virtua Fighter 5, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Fight Night 3, Call of Duty 3, GRAW2, and Resistance Fall of Man. I'm still debating on NBA street homecourt or just to wait for the sequel if it's coming out. I'm currently sitting pretty while MGS4, COD4, Ratchet & Clank, and Grand Turismo 5 (maybe I'll get this one. This one will seal the graphics debate indefinitely as to which console has the best graphics forever once it comes out). If I were to buy the Wii, I'd might buy Zelda and maybe Prime and a few mario games, but then what else? Aren't all those PS3 games mentioned above enough already??? I mean, how many games are people supposed to own anyways? I don't want to waste too much money on things that don't make money. I'd be a fat cow for companies to slaughter and eat like the xbox360 owners are.

What I've read on N4G, and I'm not sure I understand it correctly so I suggest you look it up on that websijte for reference is that one of the secret and unseen power of the PS3 so far is that it's capable of what's called 4d graphics, and not so fast, don't throw up your hands in disgust just yet. What they define as 4d grphics is real life, living and breathing graphics and evolve and grow. Water hitting a piece of wood for intance would cause that wood to decay and rot over time as in real life. Mold would grow in the bathtub on its own over time. Shattered window glasses would reflect less vividly.Light bulbs would grow dimmer as they age. This is all possible and made easier only with the PS3 architecture. It's said that with the 360 limiations, it's would be impossible to practically do.

I only skimmed the article because it's so technically jargoned, but you might want to sift through it to make sure I'm correct or not. But I'm sure it's sometihng that only the PS3 can do well at the moment.

And most people don't realize it, but he PS3 is about graphics and details that people don't see -- like small cracks inside cracks on a wall. When people say the grpahics look better and so on for another console, they're mainly praising the artists style and not the technical powers of the system subconsciously. Drawn well in style, the Wii or the 360 can have a tree with only 500 leaves and a sharp edged blocky trunk, but everyone will say it looks much better than the PS3 even though thte PS3 has nearly 100,000 leaves per tree with more trees int he scenery and rounded realistic trunks because it's either taken for granted or just not drawn well artistically or held to a much higher standard. Look at the snow in Lost Planet versus the snow in Ratchet and Clank or Resistance Fall of Man. People should give credit where credit is due. Look at the blocky hair and oversized tiles and bricks and blurred out walls in Gears of War and Lost planet compared to the millions of individual bricks (one by one) for each building in resistance fall of man and hte rubbles in MGS4. People don't pay attention to these small details and then complain. It's so small that no one notices that Gears has four big blurry slabs of bricks while Resistance actually has every single brick of a full size building shown. No one pays attention to that stuff. Of course, I'm exaggerating to get my point across though....

Posted at 3:21PM on Aug 25th 2007 by secret

18. he would destroy a wii fit. it wouldn't stand a chance.

still looking forward to the orange box. they better be making love with the cell processor before it comes out--i want to team fortress running at 60 fps please.

Posted at 3:27PM on Aug 25th 2007 by GRANTED

19. Cell is new and one of it's kind. Rare at the moment. Like learning anything new, it's going to be hard -- OBVIOUSLY. Remember how Algebra used to be hard? How hard is it now? It's a piece of cake...!!!!!! AND now it's a foundation of everything else.

Like in learning tennis for the first time. Remember how hard it was? The way they force you to hold the thing and demand you to swing in a certain way. Boy, everyone was complaining. After a while, you're hitting balls 60 to 100 mph. Remember how hard it was when you first tried learning how to ride a bike or learned how to swim the first time around. That's so freakin obvious. How long has the Cell been around in gaming? Since when is learning new things fast and easy and don't require much work.

Posted at 3:29PM on Aug 25th 2007 by secret

20. Of course the PC is easier to develop for, when the consumer has to spend $1500 for a decent one. You don't have to worry about optimizing much, since your audience will be more than happy to upgrade as long as you promise more features.

Consoles have to make a lot of compromises to sell a decent system at a reasonable price. The 360 compromised by putting in more transistors than it could cool, and even then it compromised by using a multi-core cpu (developers HATED multi-core when the 360 was announced). I think you'll find a lot of 360 games mainly use the one core, unless the developer purchased some middle-ware that uses the other two.

The ps3 compromised by putting all the transistors it could into registers for actual calculations, as opposed to memory management, forcing developers to handle memory management IF and ONLY IF they wish to use the Cell's spus. Developers are free, as with the 360, to simply use the main PPC core. The result won't win any awards for graphics, but it'll be much easier to port. And slowly, there's various middle-ware solutions that use the spus so the devs don't have to, including Sony's Edge tools, which are free.

PC developers always seem to complain whenever they're forced to deal with something different. They bitched when sound cards came out ("different hardware to support"), they bitched when 3D cards came out ("different hardware, plus all games would look alike"), then they bitched when Windows made it so all the different hardware would use one API ("The API sucks!" okay, I'll grant that one), then they howled when multi-core cpus came out. I think the only change game developers liked was the 32-bit flat mode of Dos4gw. And the original vga hardware as used in DOS... that was good too.

Posted at 3:30PM on Aug 25th 2007 by apease

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