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Rumour: Next-gen Xbox to be revealed at E3

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Well, not really. Unless people really think packing in a complex and brand new CPU architecture with an anaemic and out-dated GPU is a good idea.

The PS3's GPU was pretty nippy when it came out. Mid-range by the PC standards of the time, just like the Xbox's. Sony shouldn't be let near a console's CPU again and the PS2's GPU was a disaster but at least they understand important things like cooling.

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I think Sandbox games could be the next fps - obv. depending on trends.

We're not far off really. Many games are arena based and its only for fact you end up in different countries or different viewpoints (like COD) that sandbox isn't used.

Crackdown was another good example of this. It doesn't have to be huge, but far bigger then the sealed arenas we're used to in FPS games.

That is the one genre which would benefit from throwing more power at the problem, current generation powered sandboxes are better than last generation attempts, the $$$ needed would be the only barrier, but as the arguement goes, that's a barrier which may prevent it going to the next level.

The sandbox/openworld is potentially a catch-all type genre anyway, you can suck out the best bits from all the purebreed genres and stuff it into one mammoth game to rule them all.

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That is the one genre which would benefit from throwing more power at the problem, current generation powered sandboxes are better than last generation attempts, the $$$ needed would be the only barrier, but as the arguement goes, that's a barrier which may prevent it going to the next level.

The sandbox/openworld is potentially a catch-all type genre anyway, you can suck out the best bits from all the purebreed genres and stuff it into one mammoth game to rule them all.

I think sandbox is actually one of the genres that could best deal with new computing power. People seem pretty pleased with the graphical fidelity of current environments and characters, and sandboxes would be very tolerant to simply reusing those assets repeatedly on a large scale. Doing GTA with double characters seems more plausible than doing MGS4 with double character fidelity.

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Elite and Mass Effect have hinted at where we could go - making every planet explorable for example would be amazing.

Surely this has nothing to do with power, the limitation is disk space and time. I dread to think how many more man hours it would take to fill the extra areas with the sort of content that makes visiting them worthwhile in the first place. Even with DLC I think there will always be a content limit between what is feasible before you have to move to subscription based models.

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Surely this has nothing to do with power, the limitation is disk space and time. I dread to think how many more man hours it would take to fill the extra areas with the sort of content that makes visiting them worthwhile in the first place. Even with DLC I think there will always be a content limit between what is feasible before you have to move to subscription based models.

Yeah, this.

The number of sandbox games this generation that have dropped sidequests in favour of telling a linear narrative in an open world, like Mafia 2, or added a grind to "unlock" the next mission, or seen a proliferation in cheap-to-create content like "races" has me believe that they're struggling a bit this gen (Rockstars seem to have enough money to be immune to this, but there's still loads of people moaning that they're a shadow of their self). I'd put them on the list as one of the first genres to turn into scripted third or first person shooters (or MMOs) next gen.

I haven't played a game with the scope and scale of San Andreas this generation, and think that it's probably getting less likely going forwards.

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Imagine a sandbox city title like GTA4 with the destructibility of Red Faction.

I've not actually played the new Red Factions so when you say that I'm basically imagining GTA4 with the destructibility of "Quake-II-most-of-the-time".

It's pretty destructible now though, I hear. That must be nice.

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Red Faction has a vibe so very like Total recall. Its partially the destructabilty, but it has this errie, lonely vibe you don't really get in sandbox. All this would be improved.

(given the destruction can kill AI and the like its very good fun).

Don't really get the linear scipt thing of sandbox. Most sandbox games have a linear script - which binds them together and immerses you in their world. There are exceptions but it makes no difference.

On a new machine, sandbox games would improve no end.

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The PS3's GPU was pretty nippy when it came out. Mid-range by the PC standards of the time, just like the Xbox's. Sony shouldn't be let near a console's CPU again and the PS2's GPU was a disaster but at least they understand important things like cooling.

The PS3's GPU was based on (but with half the memory bandwidth) the not terribly well regarded 7800GTX which was already well over a year old when the console was launched. The Xenos shares a lot in common with the X1950XT (the x19x0 range of cards were released after the 360 launch) which was a far more capable part. I remember saying at the time that the 360 would more than likely have a GPU advantage over the PS3, even though it had already been on the market for a year.

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I've not actually played the new Red Factions so when you say that I'm basically imagining GTA4 with the destructibility of "Quake-II-most-of-the-time".

It's pretty destructible now though, I hear. That must be nice.

GENERIC MONTAGE HOOOOO!

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That is the one genre which would benefit from throwing more power at the problem, current generation powered sandboxes are better than last generation attempts, the $$$ needed would be the only barrier, but as the arguement goes, that's a barrier which may prevent it going to the next level.

The sandbox/openworld is potentially a catch-all type genre anyway, you can suck out the best bits from all the purebreed genres and stuff it into one mammoth game to rule them all.

Something like ODST was a step in this direction. A single city with a free world to roam in. Far Cry 2 is the other one. Are there any other FPS that have a single location and allow you to roam at will in them?

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The PS3's GPU was based on (but with half the memory bandwidth) the not terribly well regarded 7800GTX which was already well over a year old when the console was launched. The Xenos shares a lot in common with the X1950XT (the x19x0 range were released after the 360 launch) which was a far more capable part. I remember saying at the time that the 360 would more than likely have a GPU advantage over the PS3, even though it had already been on the market for a year.

Oi, you take that back, I had a 7800GTX, I bought it on the day COD2 came out. Yep, that's how outdated it is fact-fans!

It was shit

Something like ODST was a step in this direction. A single city with a free world to roam in. Far Cry 2 is the other one. Are there any other FPS that have a single location and allow you to roam at will in them?

The Stalker series.

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Dont worry, cdproject have a sub hd low settings version of the witcher 2 coming for nextbox. Confirmed to run at 15fps an everything!

emeBc.gif

I think frames must be fattening. All those extra ones you pc boys have seem to go straight to your hips.

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Surely this has nothing to do with power, the limitation is disk space and time. I dread to think how many more man hours it would take to fill the extra areas with the sort of content that makes visiting them worthwhile in the first place. Even with DLC I think there will always be a content limit between what is feasible before you have to move to subscription based models.

The only way to achieve this is when there are libraries of assets in place that are shared by all developers. So when you want to populate a certain area with architecture or terrain you do a search on your criterai and drop that in. You could then tweak as you see fit.

We surely need to move towards that as processing power increases to make ambitious projects scaleable that they are actually financially feasible to take on.

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That would definitely make sense as we move towards photorealism. In those games aiming to realistic at least, you don't need your artists to recreate every car from scratch for example. You just drop in a middleware photorealistic model of a car (perhaps car manufacturers could provide them as a spot of advertising etc). The natural argument to this is that every game will look the same, but when you're going for genuine photorealism that's sort of what you want.

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That would definitely make sense as we move towards photorealism. In those games aiming to realistic at least, you don't need your artists to recreate every car from scratch for example. You just drop in a middleware photorealistic model of a car (perhaps car manufacturers could provide them as a spot of advertising etc). The natural argument to this is that every game will look the same, but when you're going for genuine photorealism that's sort of what you want.

Indeed. For your GTA sandbox type games it makes perfect sense.

For more linear sci fi FPS such as a Halo, not so much. But then those environments are never going to be as large or troublesome to create the man hours for as the above.

Ideally some company would model all the major cities in full 3D and make that available. Then all you would have to do is put it through graphical filters to make it fitting to the style you want. Cars, clothinhg, house hold objects could all be done also. There is a fortune waiting to be made right there for sure.

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Indeed. For your GTA sandbox type games it makes perfect sense.

For more linear sci fi FPS such as a Halo, not so much. But then those environments are never going to be as large or troublesome to create the man hours for as the above.

Ideally some company would model all the major cities in full 3D and make that available. Then all you would have to do is put it through graphical filters to make it fitting to the style you want. Cars, clothinhg, house hold objects could all be done also. There is a fortune waiting to be made right there for sure.

oh yeah, we'll just knock together a scale model of New York - shouldn't take that long or be that heavy, will it? nah - run it through Sketchup - piece of piss.

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It wouldn’t be THAT big an undertaking. It would be something that would constantly be added to in terms of detail. We have things like google street view that I am sure could be run through various programmes that would get the initial shapes and scale all in place automatically.

As for boring, well maybe, but I am only touting this for games that wish to use a realistic setting. As I say, the assets could then be tweaked by the developer to make them suit their style of game. All you need to do is look at racing games side by side these days on the same track and you can hardly see any difference (think I can seen one recently with Shift 2 and GTIV that illustrated this pretty well) All I am suggesting is that the next natural step for this would be the same for games based in the same city.

Also you wouldn’t need to make it a realistic setting, you could just mix and match the library assets to come up with something more unique.

It makes perfect sense, why should developers spend their time reinventing the wheel when they could be spending their man hours doing the real creative stuff.

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The speed with which you can create assets and the detail you can achieve has also greatly improved, in the xbox, ps2, gamecube days you had to place foliage by hand and poly model your environments whilst being as efficient as possible. These days the level editors just allow you to pick an area and have sliders to add in all the plants with the option to just grab some and shuffle them about a bit allowing you get much better results in less time.

Texturing applications like zbrush allow you to create incredible lifelike textures very quickly and efficiently which is a long way from the pixel by pixel days.

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It's not just a question of creating "incredibly lifelike textures", if the task at hand is to recreate the details of a real city. Just using some procedurally-generated arbitrary textures kind of defeats the point, surely. You could just write a good city-generating algorithm instead.

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Yep, write a good algorithm for creating different buildings using asset library photorealistic textures, windows etc, then fill it full of asset-library photorealistic objects and pedestrians etc. Recreating a city would be painful, but generating one wouldn't be so bad. You'd then set about crafting certain areas for certain encounters, or editing it as you saw fit. I saw a really good video of this cutting-edge city generating tool recently, I can't bloody find the video now. But it's being developed with this kind of thing in mind.

Obviously as soon as you start going for a particularly strong art style you can't do this, unless you simply applied shaders and post processing over the photorealistic rendering. And of course you could fill it full of aliens and sci-fi nonsense as well as believable everyday objects too. But you could always employ the techniques used now to make TV shows look unique, such as colour casting, using different virtual lenses to get different effects in different scenes etc. There's no reason why you couldn't make one photorealistic game (even if you had no sci fi/fantasy elements whatsoever) look very different from another, and that's before you take into account the setting and time period. It would be like saying film sounded boring because everything looks the same.

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That would definitely make sense as we move towards photorealism. In those games aiming to realistic at least, you don't need your artists to recreate every car from scratch for example. You just drop in a middleware photorealistic model of a car (perhaps car manufacturers could provide them as a spot of advertising etc). The natural argument to this is that every game will look the same, but when you're going for genuine photorealism that's sort of what you want.

I'm in favour of that happening in due course, because there'd inevitably be a backlash and counter-movement towards more abstract visuals in videogames. To some degree. :)

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