Revolution Technical Analyst

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Off To The Show

First, some responses to some questions.

NURBS use is really not worth the effort, and is not featured in the Nintendo Revolution. NURBS is one of those things that can be useful, and different, but most of the time the difficulty involved and the changes it makes are not worth it.

As for the system specs you posted revolution_player I believe they may have been the specs posted in one of my past threads. I don’t like to actually comment on the specific hardware being used, as that’s something I feel Nintendo should have control over. I can say those are not the specs though.

I had a couple of calls with Nintendo over the last few days. Whilst majority of the talk was technical and not all that interesting, I threw in a few questions to try and get some information out of them. After all, I am a Nintendo fan.

I asked them if any old franchises could return to take advantage of what the Revolution can do. I was informed that there are a couple of old franchises from Nintendo that are already in game development (Revolution, of course), and was told there would be a possibility of others. These old characters (no, I don’t know who they are) will appear in the new Super Smash Bros. too. Kind of like an introduction, a new slate for them, before their main games arrive.

I also asked Nintendo how powerful they were going to launch the console (I managed to tie this in with a question about development time). I can tell you right now, they are dead set on hitting hard. If the launch is half as good as they were talking to me about it will really make noise. I'm talking big name games, first and third party, and great use of the online service. If I remember correctly, they are also trying to get some bonuses from online during the first week or two of launch. Some free downloadable N64 games and such, I'm really not sure (vague Nintendo, as always).

Well, that’s all from me at the moment. Just letting you know I'm alive, and haven’t forgotten again.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Time, What a Killer

Holy hell, I really let this one die, didn’t I?

It was never the intention, I plain and simply forgot. Then again, having this blog was definitely not a life priority. I do have my work, my social life, and my family. Apologies to those who were expecting something. Actually, I'd be surprised if people still read this, but hey, there’s no harm in posting again.

The reason I've come back was I had recent meeting with a bunch of tech-heads from Nintendo. They were showing me some new Revolution stuff (yes, NEW stuff), and afterwards I was reminded of this blog and how I had left it. Anyway, I'll speak a little bit about what I got to play around with and what I learnt.

I want to touch on the graphics side of things for a minute. In my personal opinion graphics does not equal gameplay, but it can help it. Take Splinter Cell for example; with a terrible shadow engine the game would be less enjoyable. Take all the horror games out there. With blocky boring and highly unrealistic graphics the "scare" would not be as intense. Shooters that require shooting over a long distance require decent resolution. So, as you can see, I think graphics can help and enhance some gameplay, but they are not a defining feature.

The Revolution is not as powerful (tech wise) as the PS3 or Xbox360. It’s that simple, and it is a fact. The difference is quite considerable actually, but the reality is you’re not going to see the latter two consoles being used to their full potential for a very long time, if EVER.

These fellows from Nintendo discussed development costs. The Revolution is massively cheaper to develop for, which in my opinion is a huge advantage. The PS3 and Xbox360 are so stupidly expensive developers are not always going to want to develop the most amazing looking games for them.

During the meeting I actually got to chat with a couple of guys from Retro Studios. They were helping to point out how the console can be used in games. I must say, Metroid Prime 3 is really rather interesting. The controller is being used extremely well, and after their little teaser presentation I was secretly drooling for more.

At the end of the meeting I did pop out some important questions, one of which was relating to the online service and how well the consoles technology is capable of dealing with high bandwidth and such. I can assure you all, from what I know, the online service is pretty much flawless. The perfect gaming service really.

Anyway, I'm incredibly tired, so I'm going to go to bed.

Goodnight bloggers.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Quicky 2.0

Another quick update:

mattias: I don't know what kind of games you develop, so I don't even know if you can answer this question or not. Anyway, do you know whether or not there will be more Role-playing games for the upcoming Revolution, or if its capabilities encourage more RPG-development?

A) I, personally, do not play a 'normal' role in game development. I don’t code, model, texture, or anything like that. I do provide a lot of technical advice and guidance though. The developer I work for is not making an RPG for the Revolution. Because I only work for one developer, and that developer is not Nintendo, I'm really not well aware of any Revolution RPG games that might be in development. Sqaure-Enix are developing a Revolution version of FF:CC if I recall correctly.

The Revolution does not really encourage RPG development more than the GCN does, and that (in my opinion) is not a bad thing. Getting games is more about showing that the games will sell, and that the DevKits are easy to use, or making deals. One thing I LOVE about RPGs is how different they could be. An RPG with some of the Revolutionary aspects included would (if made well) be an automatic classic.

tadashi oshima:
I wonder if Broadway is similar to the G5 or it is special design.

A) The Revolution has a custom CPU.

memphis-ahn:
Is Electroplankton a new genre type? Sure seems like it though.

A) Personally, I'd say it is.

samusa: Just wondered, anyone see the rumor about Zoonami developing a FPS for the Rev. called Guts 'n Glory? It was circulating today. Seemed farfetched, but then, who really knows what Zoonami is up to.

A) Ahh, that’s one question I can properly answer. Zoonami are a small developer, but they have amazing ideas. I met with Martin Hollis late last year actually, and he's an amazing guy. His attitude towards gaming is fantastic and very similar to Nintendo. Those two are definitely close, even if things don’t seem that way right now. Zoonami will provide Nintendo with one title or another before the end. As for this "Guts 'n Glory"...no chance. Fake, simple as that. It’s literally technically impossible on current and next generation software. Zoonami would not work on something so basic either. Really, all you have there is still a war shooter. Nothing else. Zoonami love creativity, so keep that in mind.

Alright, that’s all for now. In my next entry I should be able to type up something more article like, and less like a FAQ.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Quicky

A quick update for now, just trying to answer some questions. I wont be answering all questions, as I don't feel the right to.

ephidel: hmm... you as an analyst, since you have seen all three consoles, which one in your unbiased point of view is the most impressive? and is revolution really easy to develop for? thanks for taking your time answering these questions....

A)
All of the three consoles are impressive in their own way. Its true, and I have to be honest. Whilst I have the strongest passion for innovation and gaming, I still get excited when having a look at high-tech stuff. The PS3's CELL CPU really is amazing, so I was obviously excited about that. Technically, in terms of graphics and such, I'm impressed with all three consoles. However, the Nintendo Revolution remains my personal favorite simply because of the innovation.

gulpen:
I would like you to comment about some things: I read earlier somewhere that there's a new, more efficient, and faster way to read disks. This involves the lens rotating around the disk where as right now disk‚’s spin inside a cd drive." Also can u comment about the 12cm optical discs being double-sided, i mean two of those lens rotating systems on each side of a disc. And could you also be able to comment about the HVD-Disk format andc about the batteries inside the controller(wireless-power-supply).

A) Disk reading really only effects loading times, and if you think about them they can often be avoided with some good coding. Technology is at a point where increased loading times on consoles make a very small difference, as loadings are either very fast already or happen at the start of a game and never again (or load during gameplay).
I wont comment on the controller, for obvious reasons, but I can assure you there are no major power issues. You wont be changing batteries every 4 hours.

samusa: I've a few things I would like to know. First off, I know all about the flash memory. But, is there any talk of a hard-drive? Maybe an add-on? Also, there has been alot of research done, and most of it points to the Revolution being far easier to develop for. Any comments on that? Lastly, does the Revolution use "in-order" processing? Thanks for what you can answer.

A) Nintendo have always considered the use of Hard Drives, including for the GameCube. The money cost is usually not worth it, or it would seem they think that way. Take the Xbox, it needs a HDD for the extra media support. Will the Revolution have a built in HDD along with the flash memory? No, it wont. Will Nintendo every create an add-on? Well, they're creating a DVD Player add-on,aren'tt they?

arraso: How can "your" developer make a game without a dev. kit?

A) I answered this in my blog note in the previous blog. Iwata said awhile ago DevKits were out there, and Nintendo also said GCN DevKits are useful (to an extent). Believe what you will.

markie: I was just wondering if you could conirm or deny the following specs that were posted by a guy on the 'G4' forums who claims to work for Factor 5 and successfully predicted the X-Box 360 specs: (specs listed).

A)
I wont be commenting on specific spec rumors, at least not frequently or in too much details. I'm in my right to talk about things that could reveal information Nintendo wants to reveal themselves. This guy,didn'tt he also say Nintendo and Factor5 have an excellent relationship, and that Factor5 would continue to make games with Nintendo? I'd find him hard to believe when, if I'm correct, Factor5 recently announced they are practically exclusive to the PS3.

Okay, that's all for now. Gotta go!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Shadow Of Gaming

In this entry I will explain a little about what gaming options I see available with the Revolution.

First I want to talk about a comment that was left in my last entry. This person stated that I shouldn't be giving out Nintendo Revolution secrets. I feel deeply about this issue, so I want to explain my position.

I will not ever give out the big secrets of the Nintendo hardware. People can ask as much as they like, but I wont tell them how the controller looks, what the exact hardware specifications are, or give them a detailed explanation of the revolutionary features (notice I said features ;-).

Why? Because I really do love Nintendo. My job requires me to be non-biased about consoles when writing reports on the hardware, and I am not biased in those situation. But, when it comes to a personal opinion, Nintendo are my favourite developers. I have more fond memories of playing games on Nintendo consoles and handhelds than I do on all of Sony and Microsoft products.

Nintendo will release the big details when they are ready, and I respect them entirely for this, as should all loyal Nintendo fans.

Anyway, as I was saying earlier, its time to talk about the games.

The Revolution, from what I can see, is definitely able to open up some new genres. How new? I'm not talking about cross genres. Not an RPG + Racer + FPS + Card Game. Remember when ID entered the big world of PC gaming with DOOM? Remember when Mario64 stormed the gaming world?

The new genres can be entirely new genres. Not bits and pieces of old genres, but completely new ways of playing games. The feeling you got from playing your first shooter or RPG can be experienced again with the possible new genres. Yes, I'm serious, its possible for them to be that new and innovative.

I don't suspect every game on the Revolution will take advantage of all the features, especially when it comes to cross platform games or ports. I do believe that Nintendo, and any developers that are interested, will attempt to show off the features in the most amazing way they possible can.

The developer I work for is developing one Revolution game, but its only in very early stages. I know, from the designs set and technological advice I've provided, it does not use all of the Revolutions features to the full extent, but it does tinker with a few to expand the gameplay just that little bit further.

Its exciting to see the possibilities, trust me on this. You'll all feel the same way when the time comes. I'm sure will be disappointed or unimpressed, there always is, but I predict most people will be very interested.

Oh, and before I go, I asked around at work about SpaceWorld 2005. Nobody knew anything. None of us are really in a position to know, so it may happen. Nintendo had not spoken to anyone I know about it, but Nintendo are really in no position to need to do this. My guess is SpaceWorld 2005 is not going to happen, but I'd like to be proved wrong.

Until next time, see ya!

PS: Feel free to ask me any questions. I'll try my absolute best to answer them.

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Gears Of (Console) Wars

For this blog I will touch lightly on the technical specs of the Revolution.

As most people are aware, IBM are developer the Revolution's CPU, ATi are developer the GPU, and MoSys are providing the technology for the RAM. The big question on everyone's lips is: How powerful will it really be?

The answer can be found in Nintendo's attitude, and a keen eye and mind will work out how Nintendo work. Nintendo have never ever promoted how great graphics their consoles will be, and yet they always deliver. The GCN is a technological marvel, both graphically and in many other ways. The DS, whilst underpowered in comparison to the PSP, is still a powerful piece of hardware due to its other features (and it was released before the PSP).

What does this mean? It means that Nintendo will be able to deliver graphics, and the Revolution will not be some horribly underpowered machine. Remember that Metroid Prime 3 footage shown at E3? I can absolutely assure that the footage was definitely not an example of the Revolutions capabilities.

Whilst its all well and good Nintendo will deliver, it should also be noted that when Nintendo say high specs are not a focus of their console, they mean it. Nintendo are not going down the same path as Microsoft and Sony, which would simply be pumping out new consoles with more powerful hardware than the predecessors. Nintendo ARE doing new things, so keep this in mind before you jump to the conclusion of the console being the most "powerful" of the three.

The Revolutions technology is actually quite wonderful, and I enjoyed studying it. Its doing some pretty fancy new things, and is built around some new gaming structures. Whilst I don't develop the key aspects of games, such as coding, I can still understand the new doors this technology opens up. Nintendo stated, I believe, that they wanted to create some new genres. The Revolution's technology really does allow this.

Its hard to explain without giving major details away right now, but I'll be able to hit this subject a little harder some time in the near future.

In my next blog I'll explain a little into the gaming options the consoles hardware will open up, and how developers I know of are reacting to it so far.

Oh, and before I forget, someone asked in my old blog if I knew if SpaceWorld would be coming around this year. Unfortunately I do not know. I don't work at Nintendo and therefore do not get details on events, and my job does not require me to know of such events in the first place. However, I will ask some of my workmates if they know anything and see what I can dig up.

For now, happy gaming!

PS: The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess is absolutely amazing.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Avast! Return!

I’ve decided to give the blog one more go. One major change is I now will only be accepting signed notes. Allowing anyone to post brings a lot of unwelcome guests.

This entry will be rather simply, I'll just introduce myself all over again.

I am a Technical Analyst for a game developer, simple as that. My developer is NOT Nintendo, and we are not associated to Nintendo in any second party manner.

My job is to review current and future hardware and give detailed reports to those I work for. The reports help give the developers and understanding of the technology they will be dealing with, the limits it will hit them with, and how things may change in the future. My job also includes working with the core developers of games for the developer I work for, as I am there to provide technical advice and guidance.

What does this mean? It means I get to see technology for both PC and Console very, very early. In almost all situations I get updated constantly through the progress of hardware development. It’s nothing overly special as it’s very important I AM kept updated.

This means I've seen the Xbox360, the Playstation3, and the Nintendo Revolution. I've seen them all and seen what they can do thus far.

Why am I making this blog then? Well, there seems to be mixed opinions on Nintendo's 5th console, and with Nintendo not releasing a whole lot of information they are not helping the situation. I'm not here to spill loads of information, but I am here to provide some details to strengthen the idea that this will be quite a good console.

To put it all simply: I'm here to provide an outside third party opinion on the Revolution in hoping that it helps give people some renewed faith in Nintendo.

That’s it for this entry. I'll come back sometime shortly and discuss some issues relating to the console...

...within reason of course ;).

Back For A Moments time

I took my original blog off for a couple of reasons. One of the larger ones was it attracting some unwelcome guests. I never intended it to be noticed enough to encourage nasty comments, so I erased it. I guess its my fault for allowing comments from everyone.

I've recreated the blog under a different title for one main reason, and that being to expose a possible fraud. My original URL was http://revdeveloper.blogspot.com and now that is occupied by someone else. I'm not sure if they are trying to impersonate me or not, but in respect of those reading it I'd like to assure them that it is not me who writes there.

I'm not sure if I will (or should) continue this blog in tradition to the old one, but time will tell.

Ciao!