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Possession Developer Praises PS3 Development

A weblog by Official UK PlayStation 2 magazine contributor Keith Stuart on The Guardian newspaper's game weblog has revealed a <a href="http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/games/...

David Jenkins, Blogger

January 30, 2006

2 Min Read

A weblog by Official UK PlayStation 2 magazine contributor Keith Stuart on The Guardian newspaper's game weblog has revealed a number of interesting comments made by developers currently working on PlayStation 3 projects. Particularly referring to a preview of PlayStation 3 title Possession produced for the magazine, Stuart describes in some detail British developer Volatile’s experiences producing a game for the format at such an early stage in its lifetime. According to his comments, when he met with the team they were still using an emulator rather than a full dev kit, and yet this was not causing undue problems. Stuart further indicates that Volatile’s lead programmer Lyndon Homewood described the PlayStation 3 as “not as complicated to write for as we've all been led to believe”, with the machine’s use of OpenGL as its graphics API making it very familiar to PC programmers. The use of the Cg programming language was also praised as being easy to use and an improvement on previous alternatives, with the use of pixel shaders also being cited as an obvious advancement over programming for the PlayStation 2. "All of this is already available and won't be a massive leap from what you're seeing on PCs with high-end graphics cards. But obviously on PS3, you've got eight chips to spread the processing cost over - the main PowerPC chip and seven SPE chips. In a PC, there's just one CPU, two in a dual processor machine. Having an eight CPU multi-processor system in your living room is pretty flash”, quotes Stuart. One noted problem, according to the piece, is that the main processor can access all the console’s video memory but the seven SPE processors only have access to their own 256K of onboard memory, necessitating the streaming of some processes through a relatively small amount of memory - a procedure not necessary on the Xbox 360. Also of interest was the idea of assigning specific roles to each SPE - for AI, physics and so on – with the question of co-ordination and copying with spikes in demand in specific areas proving problematic. Volatile’s solution was apparently to instigate a job queue, with the SPEs pulling off a queue entry and processing it whenever they become free.

About the Author(s)

David Jenkins


David Jenkins ([email protected]) is a freelance writer and journalist working in the UK. As well as being a regular news contributor to Gamasutra.com, he also writes for newsstand magazines Cube, Games TM and Edge, in addition to working for companies including BBC Worldwide, Disney, Amazon and Telewest.

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