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Rumour: Next-gen Xbox to be revealed at E3


Floex
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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.

Actually I'm really interested in the use of tech that isn't just "look how many flops we have" to reduce the costs of making certain types of games. Gigapixel images like this are becoming more common. There's the potential for a light airplane or UAV to build up four isometric images like these over days, and LIDAR to create depth and build up textured nets for buildings. A lower resolution video feed and content aware fill algorithms could be used to fill the gaps (like small stuff, people in front of a corner of the building). Stuff like OviMaps uses two stereoscopic cameras and algorithms to replace the depth data from LIDAR because LIDAR is expensive/hard to get the ok for. It'll require a fair bit of tweaking, but much less work than creating it yourself, and you could probably do a whole city for about a million, which seems like a pretty cheap art budget for a new SimCity.

Downsides: no demolition or construction animations (you'd have to have some sort of abstract architects drawing thingy that uses the vertex info for that building), no disasters, no underground (again, would have to be abstract overlays), no changing time of day (well I've stuck to solved problems at the mo, but I'd love to think we could have algorithms that could detect and strip out lighting, for the application of a dynamic model).

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Southpaws gonna hate. Legacy playas gonna hate.

There's always a downside. Maybe fine for shooters (for those who use the new 'standard' controls), but probably poor for any other game type that requires camera control. If that's disputable - then why not put a track ball instead of the left stick as well?

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I assume you're both posting from pc's. You know that input device you're using to move the pointer around the screen with? Well, imagine if you could use that input device to control where you were looking in a 3d gaming environment. Imagine the speed and precision you would have.

I don't know lads, you can neg me and call me a moron all you like. I think I'm on to something here :rolleyes:

Who the fuck uses a trackball?

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I assume you're both posting from pc's. You know that input device you're using to move the pointer around the screen with? Well, imagine if you could use that input device to control where you were looking in a 3d gaming environment. Imagine the speed and precision you would have.

I don't know lads, you can neg me and call me a moron all you like. I think I'm on to something here :rolleyes:

I don't know if I'm alone in the opinion, but I don't really care if I'm on a pad or on mouse and keyboard, as long as I know the other players are playing with the same equipment. People seem to point to how much PC players dominated pad players when Quake 3 allowed people to play PC vs Dreamcast, but stuff like that doesn't really prove anything.
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People seem to point to how much PC players dominated pad players when Quake 3 allowed people to play PC vs Dreamcast, but stuff like that doesn't really prove anything.

especially not if they were all using dreamcast controllers.

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I'd say 99% real, whether it means Microsoft will spoil Nintendo's coming out party at E3 is another matter. The NGP was basically leaked over 2 years before it actually arrived, there is a precedent for very long leaks before product launch.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-psp2-features-quad-core-gpu-blog-entry

David Perry was even claiming the PSP2 would drop the UMD drive back in early 2009, a claim which Sony rubbished at the time.

Neither claim were exactly unplausible (nor was the basic premise of a psp2), plus I would think that companies would typically evaluate several product lines before making any final decision (Sega had two opposing designs for what became the Dreamcast). It's not a leak or secret that Microsoft will be looking at designs and possible components for their next console, but the machine could be at any state of development, it almost certainly won't be unveiled this year in any meaningful way and any "leak" will probably be nonsense. If some dev's get early prototype hardware, it could end up being binned or heavily modified after developer comments - see: eDram.

I don't think Nintendo is Microsoft's main competition, Sony are, and Sony aren't going to announce anything in the next 12months. So I don't think Microsoft are looking to spoil Nintendo's party, they'll be looking at crushing Sony.

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. It's pretty much a dead cert that they'll be pissing all over sony this time round but they'll be wanting to keep it all safe and familiar for the fan base they've built up.

Dead cert? I wouldn't go that far. They have certainly have the advantage for the next round but they still have a lot of work to do before they can claim to have beaten Sony. Despite Sony's cock ups at the start of the generation, the two consoles have sold similar amounts on a worldwide basis. We are now in a period where third party exclusives are becoming less exclusive, but despite all the noise over which version is superior, it rarely affects purchase in enough cases to make any real difference to sales with the possible exception of Live heavy games like FPS. The playstation brand has always been considered a casual machine with hardcore elements, whereas the 360 has a reputation for being a hardcore machine, but there is a casual element which is still developing and will contiue to develop when their is a regular schedule of Kinect games.

Microsoft have done a lot of work to eat at Sony's market share, but they still have to press on. Sony have shown they are capable of catching up and learning from their mistakes*, so Microsoft can't rest on their laurels, they especially have to press on at Japan because despite the successful lure of RPG developers, they can't transform that into meaningful sales on a regular basis. Aside from single week spikes, the RPG attraction is entirely for the west's benefit which wasn't the real aim. While the 360 gets a lot of very Japanese games (like Visual novels), it's not helped sales in the region at all. They have a lot of europe to win over as well. The US is fairly safe and the UK has a strong performance for them but it varies elsewhere

*let's be honest here, few expected Sony to catch up in the way they have after that "disastrous" launch

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I was god-awful for about a month until I learned how to use the controller.

I reckon a trackball or something similar would be a massive step up from an analogue stick, aim assist, massive hit boxes and magnetic bullets.

But the general trend in gaming for (say) the last twenty years and significantly over the last generation has been quicker, easier gaming and away from precision/twitch gaming, I just can't see MS going against that trend.

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Yeah, but the tech is pretty much the same. Yes, you have to learn to use a trackball, you can't just come straight from a mouse and be great with them and I agree that they're harder to use. I used to have one growing up on my amiga because of a lack of desk space and once you get used to it, they're great. Prefer a mouse though obviously.

Do you think it would be superior to an analogue stick though, or not?

Fair points sephy, and yes, I forgot about japan :D I think a lot of people in this country have lost faith in sony now though. Rabid fanboys I know that just instantly bought a ps3, didn't even consider the competition have said that they're going with microsoft next time.

I'd personally wait rather than making my mind up beforehand but what do I know?

Basically I'll buy whichever one cave are developing for :D

Please feel free to neg me and say "WHAT. THE. FUCK." but as this is a discussion forum, a few arguments against replacing the analogue stick with a trackball would be welcomed too.

Anyone else have ideas on how the controller could be improved?

There are so many obvious reasons a trackball would be inferior to an analogue stick, they can't even be held in a sustained direction for one thing. I don't want to be taking my thumb off the pad mid-shootout because I've just turned around. It's a terrible idea.

I think one thing we can all agree on is that they should buy NeoGeo's D-Pad patent.

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Yeah, and then you'd need to re-centre your thumb, lest you need to turn around again. As opposed to simply pushing a stick in one direction and holding it there.

It might only take a split-second, but it's a split-second the current method doesn't require.

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But the general trend in gaming for (say) the last twenty years and significantly over the last generation has been quicker, easier gaming and away from precision/twitch gaming, I just can't see MS going against that trend.

Yeah this, I'm always amused by PC gamers talking up twitch skill when the average PC FPS speed is not far off of Halo, and in something like TF2 the character whose whole gimmick is speed is no faster than average movement in Quake.

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It would be like using a mouse, how if you got to the edge of your mouse mat, you'd put it back in the middle :D

It would be like that, except that you can't pick up the mouse and put it back in the middle. Winner!

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I have to come clean and say that I've never used one personally but from what I've heard the wiimote has created many problems and solved none.

You heard... wrong :sherlock:

That's not to say there aren't games with shite or flawed pointer controls out there, because there are plenty (and some of the most recent FPS releases are still Getting It Wrong in different ways), but Treyarch's port of Modern Warfare pretty much did for pointer controls what Halo did for dual analogues. Would that it had been attached to a game with a single-player worth playing...

I can see how some of the control subtleties required for good pointer controls could apply to a trackball if you think of it as a means of quickly pointing to an area of the screen, e.g. dynamic dead zones.

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Who is that? I've not played anything on the wii for over a year, but I can see the potential for it to be the ultimate fps control scheme. It even made cod vaguely enjoyable, myriad faults with the series and all.

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I assume you're both posting from pc's. You know that input device you're using to move the pointer around the screen with? Well, imagine if you could use that input device to control where you were looking in a 3d gaming environment. Imagine the speed and precision you would have.

I don't know lads, you can neg me and call me a moron all you like. I think I'm on to something here :rolleyes:

What?! :lol:

Do I know my mouse?

Can I imagine what it would be like to control a game... with a mouse? :o

Jesus, yeah, that'd be amazing. You should go on Dragon's Den.

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Yeah this, I'm always amused by PC gamers talking up twitch skill when the average PC FPS speed is not far off of Halo, and in something like TF2 the character whose whole gimmick is speed is no faster than average movement in Quake.

The speed at which you walk has nothing to do with the speed at which you can flick your cursor onto the nearest forehead and click. Twitch refers to aimspeed, not movement speed.

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I think it's because you seem to be talking out of your arse. I mean, if you seriously think the current 360 controller is 'ham-fisted' and will actually be improved by adding a fucking trackball to it before stating that you've never used the pointer function on a Wiimote but heard it only adds problems you don't really come across as the sharpest tool in the box.

Clippa confirmed for mad chisel.

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Neither claim were exactly unplausible (nor was the basic premise of a psp2), plus I would think that companies would typically evaluate several product lines before making any final decision (Sega had two opposing designs for what became the Dreamcast). It's not a leak or secret that Microsoft will be looking at designs and possible components for their next console, but the machine could be at any state of development, it almost certainly won't be unveiled this year in any meaningful way and any "leak" will probably be nonsense. If some dev's get early prototype hardware, it could end up being binned or heavily modified after developer comments - see: eDram.

I don't think Nintendo is Microsoft's main competition, Sony are, and Sony aren't going to announce anything in the next 12months. So I don't think Microsoft are looking to spoil Nintendo's party, they'll be looking at crushing Sony.

Richard Leadbetter, better known as DigitalFoundry, posted his musings on the possible innards of the NextBox, he pointed out the original specs of the first prototype X360 dev kits, nowhere near as powerful as the final design :)

The Power Mac G5 tucked into the corner of an AV room of a highly respected UK games developer looked like it had seen better days - by the time I saw it back in 2008 it was already obsolete and gathering dust. But this was a machine with history: three to four years prior to my visit it first arrived at the office under heavy NDA - this was one of the first Xbox 360 developer kits.
So if Microsoft hasn't finalised the design for its next gen hardware, how can it possibly be in a position to despatch dev kits at all? Well, the answer lies in the make-up of that neglected Power Mac G5 I spied a few years back. The original Xbox 360 development hardware consisted of a dual core G5 IBM POWER4 CPU married up an ATI X800 graphics card, replaced at some point with a card from the X1800/X1900 line that more accurately represented the performance of the final production Xenos GPU. While there are similarities in the core architecture, this set-up had a great many differences compared to the final production hardware.

The Xbox 360 Xenon CPU has three cores at 3.2GHz just for starters, and while the ATI cards Microsoft supplied in lieu of Xenos were of similar ballpark power, they didn't utilise the eDRAM configuration found in the final console. This requires special care and attention from developers: elements like predicated tiling would have been challenging to emulate on the prototype hardware.

In short, Microsoft built up a hardware mock-up of its console that attempted to approximate the make-up of its final design using off-the-shelf hardware, presenting clear compatibilities that would make development easier. However, the differences between the dev hardware and the production console was such that there was little chance that any of the actual launch games would really be using anything like the true potential of the hardware.

The predicated tiling issue certainly had an impact: game-makers worked on the presumption that anti-aliasing would come for free with Xenos - indeed, one of the most important TRCs from Microsoft was that games should run at 720p with a minimum of 2x multi-sampling anti-aliasing. AA is indeed free on Xenos, but with the 10MB eDRAM limitation, certain launch games such as Perfect Dark Zero and Project Gotham Racing had to run at sub-HD resolutions in order get that boost to image quality.

We also need to consider that Microsoft was forced to rush to market with Xbox 360 in order to get its head start over PlayStation 3. At E3 2005, mere months before the console launched, most of the games on display were still running on the Power Mac G5 developer configuration. Indeed, it is rumoured to this day that one of the most impressive games on show actually required some deft overclocking to the dev kit's graphics core to get the game looking fast and smooth enough for presentation at the event.

Things are different this time. Despite the arrival of Project Cafe, Microsoft is under no real pressure to launch its next generation of console, likely to arrive in 2014 (though some rumours suggest that the platform holder may be ready to go one year earlier). There is certainly nothing like the crazy rush to bring a new machine to market in the way that the company was effectively forced to when it became clear that the original Xbox was finished.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-in-theory-the-next-gen-xbox

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Imagine a twin-stick shooter with a fucking trackball. Imagine using a trackball to look around you in a driving game. Now imagine popping the ball out and throwing it at clippa’s head.

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Clippa at the time of writing you've only got three rep points left. Another false move and you'll have to put another 50p in.

(I used to think a track ball instead of the right stick would be a good idea too)

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