Jump to content

Is the Xbox Series S a "potato" console holding next gen game dev back?


MattyP
 Share

Recommended Posts

5 hours ago, Mallet said:

Huh,

 

The SSD alone tells me it's next gen.

 

PC has had that and faster loading times since 2008 though, not so much "next gen" as 360 gen.

 

I don't think he's wrong on the general point that this is the least impressive leap yet, we're still largely on cross-gen titles after a couple of years and what exclusive titles there are, are largely remakes of generations old titles because old fogey gamers are more interested in nostalgia-pandering than new titles that would take advantage of the hardware.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, RubberJohnny said:

 

PC has had that and faster loading times since 2008 though, not so much "next gen" as 360 gen.

 

I don't think he's wrong on the general point that this is the least impressive leap yet, we're still largely on cross-gen titles after a couple of years and what exclusive titles there are, are largely remakes of generations old titles because old fogey gamers are more interested in nostalgia-pandering than new titles that would take advantage of the hardware.

 

It is the first time consoles have had SSDs though. I know PCs have had them, I bought my first 64GB SSD over a decade ago, but in the PC space we have nothing like quick resume. The Steam deck has suspend and resume for one game and the Deck thread is full of people who love the feature.

 

I honestly believe the inclusion of an SSD is bigger than any graphical upgrade we might get from the current crop of consoles.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, RubberJohnny said:

 

PC has had that and faster loading times since 2008 though, not so much "next gen" as 360 gen.

 

I don't think he's wrong on the general point that this is the least impressive leap yet, we're still largely on cross-gen titles after a couple of years and what exclusive titles there are, are largely remakes of generations old titles because old fogey gamers are more interested in nostalgia-pandering than new titles that would take advantage of the hardware.

 

I’m not sure old fogey gamers had any say in the matter, more a case of Sony plugging their release schedule and getting a bit greedy in the process. Talking about Last of Us Part 1 there in case it isn’t obvious. I think Demon’s Souls absolutely deserved its        remake. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Strafe said:

I used the Yoshi thing to point out - as just a single example - of how that isn’t true. This is because, evidently, they imagined something that they could not yet do with the technology at the time.

 

That technology can limit aspirations does not equal the death of creativity.


Right but the title of this thread isn’t “are games held back by the technology in the top end consoles?” to which the answer would obviously and trivially be yes, developers can’t make things beyond the capabilities of the machines they develop for regardless of their imaginations.

 

The question is whether the S in particular as a lower spec machine is holding back development on the higher spec consoles. And it’s been explained several times why that isn’t the case. Anything you can do on an X you can also do on an S at a lower resolution and/or with fewer shinies. Developers don’t need to limit what they do on the X in order to accommodate the S. The only limit on what they can do on the X is the X itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Darren said:

 Developers don’t need to limit what they do on the X in order to accommodate the S. The only limit on what they can do on the X is the X itself.

That's how I see it the target will be the X and then scaled back to work on the S? At least that's how I expect it works. Perhaps not I guess as I didn't realise there was a mandate that any release has to also have a S version so they have take that into account when developing the game.

 

Suppose in the end in comparison to PCs all consoles are effectively "potatoes" limiting what can be done on them. However in the end potatoes are a staple and mass market. And generate more revenue.

 

Interestingly Sony still have PS4s in production. So wonder if this inter gen console crossover release period is set to continue for a while longer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, Darren said:


Right but the title of this thread isn’t “are games held back by the technology in the top end consoles?” to which the answer would obviously and trivially be yes, developers can’t make things beyond the capabilities of the machines they develop for regardless of their imaginations.

 


I know! I didn’t just shoot that out of left field unprompted, it was in response to Stanley making saying that games are “only” limited by the developers imaginations and I used the first example I knew of to contradict that. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Mallet said:

It is strange we are having this conversation after we just had 2 current gen only releases, A Plague Tale and Gotham Knights, released and neither can manage 60fps on the Series X and PS5 yet the Series S is holding them back?


I don’t think anyone’s said that about those games. It was raised as part of a more general discussion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, dvdx2 said:

What’s all this ‘potato’ nonsense now used in gaming circles? Last time I knew, it was something you roasted and had with the Sunday dinner. I take it that it’s some new teenage YouTube lingo?


You can get very small amounts of electricity from potatoes (and other fruit and veg) to power electronic devices. Like a digital clock in science class. 
 

It’s used in a non-literal absurdist way with computers/consoles to suggest that the machine is so comparatively low spec that it could be powered by a potato.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Strafe said:


You can get very small amounts of electricity from potatoes (and other fruit and veg) to power electronic devices. Like a digital clock in science class. 
 

It’s used in a non-literal absurdist way with computers/consoles to suggest that the machine is so comparatively low spec that it could be powered by a potato.

:) Wondered where the term originated makes sense..

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, MattyP said:

That's how I see it the target will be the X and then scaled back to work on the S? At least that's how I expect it works. Perhaps not I guess as I didn't realise there was a mandate that any release has to also have a S version so they have take that into account when developing the game.


But the whole point is that they don’t have to take this into account at all. The two machines are identical except for graphics output. They do what you said in the first sentence, develop for the X then downgrade the graphics for the S. Doing that second bit makes no difference to the X version which doesn’t need to be compromised to allow it.

 

Perhaps a good analogy would be when people started making colour TV programmes when most people still had black & white tellies. Did the requirement to “run” on a B&W set “hold back” the creation of colour programmes? Not at all, you just send the same signal to a B&W set and it just works, but with worse visuals. Now I know it’s not quite that simple, you might have to create lower res assets etc but it still doesn’t impact in any way on the higher res version.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Strafe said:


I know! I didn’t just shoot that out of left field unprompted, it was in response to Stanley making saying that games are “only” limited by the developers imaginations and I used the first example I knew of to contradict that. 

Arr, I think you’ve misunderstood me a bit too, my attitude towards that remark is that I believe most of what comes from ‘developers’ these days is unimaginative and pretty much the same game we’ve been plying for the last three generations.
 

So I find it a bit galling that anyone would say, for example, Series S, is holding devs back. Because to me the only thing holding them back is the companies who finance them, that’s the bottleneck, not less powerful hardware. 
 

This point runs at a tangent to that of how scalable the Series S is. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well indeed they both use the same Zen2 processors so can't see the game design being limited in anyway. Unless the lack of memory in the S is a bottleneck on the vision/premise of the game that is. But going by the PC gaming market they seem to run on a wide range of machines but I expect the min requirements vary depending on how demanding the game is. Think the S and X are close enough to not cause a major issue but I'm not a game developer.

 

Be interesting to see if this really becomes an issue over the next few years. I expect not.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, Stanley said:

Because to me the only thing holding them is the companies who finance them, that’s the bottleneck, not less powerful hardware. 

I expect this is indeed the more limiting factor. The risk of developing a top end game and having it flop is huge to companies. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, MattyP said:

Well indeed they both use the same Zen2 processors so can't see the game design being limited in anyway. Unless the lack of memory in the S is a bottleneck on the vision/premise of the game that is. But going by the PC gaming market they seem to run on a wide range of machines but I expect the min requirements vary depending on how demanding the game is. Think the S and X are close enough to not cause a major issue but I'm not a game developer.

 

Be interesting to see if this really becomes an issue over the next few years. I expect not.

 

 

The PC versions of games are only as scalable as the developer allows it to be. Unlike the old days when the hidden developer menus were left in the retail versions, nearly all modern console ports enforce hard limits on what you can and can't turn off or reduce so 'scalability' is woeful on modern console ports compared to older stuff which really could run on a wide range of systems, but then again, a lot of those were actually built with PC systems in mind and weren't just console ports.

 

The only thing the 2 Xboxes share are the CPU power which is close enough and the SSD, which is identical. The other important parts are fairly divergent. So you either target the more powerful one and shaft the weaker one, leading to complaints from the budget gamers or you go with the path of least resistance and least moaning, and target the weaker box and not fully utilise the more powerful hardware, so a repeat of last gen and what happened to the mid-gen consoles, which were just higher resolution/more performant versions of the base spec.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, Darren said:


But the whole point is that they don’t have to take this into account at all. The two machines are identical except for graphics output. They do what you said in the first sentence, develop for the X then downgrade the graphics for the S. Doing that second bit makes no difference to the X version which doesn’t need to be compromised to allow it.

 

Perhaps a good analogy would be when people started making colour TV programmes when most people still had black & white tellies. Did the requirement to “run” on a B&W set “hold back” the creation of colour programmes? Not at all, you just send the same signal to a B&W set and it just works, but with worse visuals. Now I know it’s not quite that simple, you might have to create lower res assets etc but it still doesn’t impact in any way on the higher res version.

 

Are you speaking from actual experience? Because as much as I believe the S is fantastic and it isn't a problem there is real cost to making it work.

 

Every pound you spend on those lower res assets or tuning to make sure it does run well is one you're not spending somewhere else.

 

I don't think that is bad or a problem but it can cause the top end to be less shiny that it might be for those that care about that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, MattyP said:

I expect this is indeed the more limiting factor. The risk of developing a top end game and having it flop is huge to companies. 

It’s why indie games are so great these days, lower level of investment, way more imaginative, generally, and rarely limited by hardware. 
 

It’s also why it’s so refreshing to see a game like Returnal; indie sensibilities but big budget production. It shows us how things could be if designers were given more freedom. Of course then Sony had to fuck it all up by charging £70 ;) at least it’s in PS+ Extra now so more people can try it. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 23/10/2022 at 16:33, thesnwmn said:

Every pound you spend on those lower res assets

 

 

No pounds?  Titles already have assets at various levels of detail for performance reasons.  There's cost in optimising when and how they're used but I'd be very surprised if anything is specifically created for the S version of a game  eg.  There's not going to be a special S version of a bush.  They'll be a bush at various LODs.  The S might switch to the highest quality version later/never or have few bushes in a scene.  Or shadows that draw in later / lower res on foliage etc.

 

For textures, these are either created with various mip levels if develops are using something archaic or the game uses virtual texturing, making texture size irrelevant.  It doesn't matter how complex the scene is, the texture budget per frame is consistent as it's only retrieving what it needs to draw. 

 

Nanite for UE5 is doing the same for geometry too.  It doesn't matter how complex the source geometry is, it's only taking up around 750MB in memory on any platform and only drawing around 20m polygons.

 

I'd be surprised of other developers don't implement Nanite style geometry clusters in their engines.  Why wouldn't you?  (and the S handles the tech just fine)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, thesnwmn said:

 

Are you speaking from actual experience? Because as much as I believe the S is fantastic and it isn't a problem there is real cost to making it work.

 

Every pound you spend on those lower res assets or tuning to make sure it does run well is one you're not spending somewhere else.

 

I don't think that is bad or a problem but it can cause the top end to be less shiny that it might be for those that care about that.


No, I’m not a developer, I’m just applying the logic of what we’ve been told about these two consoles.

 

And I’m not sure the “every pound” point works that way in practice. Another way of looking at it is that you develop a game for the X only for a certain budget, and on that platform you expect sales of a certain number. Then the S offers a very cheap and easy option to port the game to “another console” for just the cost of producing lower res assets and from that relatively small extra budget you expect a certain number of extra sales. You’re not taking budget from the original development, you’re making extra budget for the port.

 

Edit: and based on what @monkeydog says above that extra budget is practically zero anyway!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Stanley said:


 

This point runs at a tangent to that of how scalable the Series S is. The only thing holding developers back is their own imagination


Ok. I mean, 3 pages for you to remember you meant something else with very specific font use but sure.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Darren said:


No, I’m not a developer, I’m just applying the logic of what we’ve been told about these two consoles.

 

And I’m not sure the “every pound” point works that way in practice. Another way of looking at it is that you develop a game for the X only for a certain budget, and on that platform you expect sales of a certain number. Then the S offers a very cheap and easy option to port the game to “another console” for just the cost of producing lower res assets and from that relatively small extra budget you expect a certain number of extra sales. You’re not taking budget from the original development, you’re making extra budget for the port.

 

You don't get a choice to port to the S. You have to. MS won't let you publish without it. So of course it comes out of your budget.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, thesnwmn said:

 

You don't get a choice to port to the S. You have to. MS won't let you publish without it. So of course it comes out of your budget.


I know, I’m just trying to present it from a different angle to show what that means in practice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Strafe said:


Ok. I mean, 3 pages for you to remember you meant something else with very specific font use but sure.

 

 

I didn’t mean something else, and no one else seemed to struggle with it. It’s called discussion. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Use of this website is subject to our Privacy Policy, Terms of Use, and Guidelines.