Is Gears of War as good as it gets?

"We pushed the 360 to the limits," Gears of War QA manager Preston Thorne told Siliconera at last night's Hollywood launch party. While obviously an inflammatory remark, there could be some truth to the statement. After all, it was Epic that allegedly convinced Microsoft to bump up Xbox 360's RAM to 512 MB -- and Epic still maintains that 256 MB would not be enough to run Gears in its current state.

So does that mean PlayStation 3 couldn't handle the game? When asked, Preston skillfully dodged the question, but implied the answer was "no."

All console hardware has limits. Has Epic hit Xbox 360's? Does it matter? With the boundaries of the playing field defined, won't developers focus less time searching for the lines and more time experimenting with what's inbounds?

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GamerX24472d ago

Since Epic is working with the PS3 hardware and the Xbox 360 hardware could Gears of War ever work on the Playstation 3? “256 MB of RAM makes a huge difference. There is no way we could ever do Gears of War on 256, we had trouble fitting everything on 512MB. We pushed the 360 to the limits.” Another member from Epic’s team chimed in with the fact that there are currently more Playstation 3 programmers than Xbox 360 programmers. “It (the PS3) is in our future. We always had plans for the Playstation 3 and an engine already runs on it.”

kmis874472d ago (Edited 4472d ago )

The ps3's gpu can also access a full 512MB, so let's stop with all this "ps3 only has 256MB" crap. And, no, Gears will not be as good as it gets for either system. This is only a second gen 360 game, and it will probably have sequels that overtake it, as well as Halo3 on the 360. The ps3 will have games like MGS4 and Final Fantasy XIII as its second gen titles, so we'll see how they stack up. This is only the tip of the iceberg for the seventh generation.

zypher4472d ago

i myself am no technical buff, but i've heard time and time again how the PS3's RSX is capable of accessing PS3's total ram of 512 MB, negating any qualms a developer would have with RSX's 256 MB of ram. UT2007 should be proof enough that GOW is possible on the PS3...both games look identical.

in any regard i don't see why any fanboy (PS3 or 360) would take it as good news that GOW has pushed the envelope of 360's graphical prowess. that would leave no room for improvement, no progression of graphical quality to look forward to in the coming years. there was a steady progression of graphics in PS2 games from 2000 to 2006, and even XBox games from 2001 to 2005. if developers have maxed the 360 already, and GOW is the system's absolute best, then be prepared to buy XBox 720 in 2008. my personal opinion? this developer is just trying to hype GOW. expect games to look better in the coming years on both systems.

big_tim4472d ago

They definitely haven't maxed out the machine. I think what he is implying is they maxed out their programing capabilities as to the here and now. Given more time, research and development they will produce an even better product in the future. Just like you referred to with the previous consoles.

beans4472d ago

I agree with you also and remember the exact same remark coming from GRAW were someone said they were pushing 360 to it's max! I honestly don't think that any games will fully utilize the the strength of 360 or PS3 for a good while! And although GOW and Motostorm look good they will eventually get passed and look like old news!

eques judicii4472d ago

that the rsx can access the system ram... although i haven't heard that it can go the other way (system cpu accessing gpu ram like the 360 can) but the 360 has much more bandwidth between the gpu and cpu and thus the unified ram in the 360 is just like having 512 on both... however, the rsx has reduced bandwidth and even though it can read and write on the system ram it cannot do so as quickly as the 360 thus limiting how much a developer can actually utilize the ram.

kmis874471d ago

The 360 has around 22GB/sec to share between the cpu and gpu. The ps3 has around 48GB/sec between the gpu and cpu.

eques judicii4471d ago

The PS3 has 22.4 GB/s of GDDR3 bandwidth and 25.6 GB/s of RDRAM bandwidth for a total system bandwidth of 48 GB/s.

The Xbox 360 has 22.4 GB/s of GDDR3 bandwidth and a 256 GB/s of EDRAM bandwidth for a total of 278.4 GB/s total system bandwidth.

Why does the Xbox 360 have such an extreme amount of bandwidth? Even the simplest calculations show that a large amount of bandwidth is consumed by the frame buffer. For example, with simple color rendering and Z testing at 550 MHz the frame buffer alone requires 52.8 GB/s at 8 pixels per clock. The PS3's memory bandwidth is insufficient to maintain its GPU's peak rendering speed, even without texture and vertex fetches.

The PS3 uses Z and color compression to try to compensate for the lack of memory bandwidth. The problem with Z and color compression is that the compression breaks down quickly when rendering complex next-generation 3D scenes.

HDR, alpha-blending, and anti-aliasing require even more memory bandwidth. This is why Xbox 360 has 256 GB/s bandwidth reserved just for the frame buffer. This allows the Xbox 360 GPU to do Z testing, HDR, and alpha blended color rendering with 4X MSAA at full rate and still have the entire main bus bandwidth of 22.4 GB/s left over for textures and vertices.

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big_tim4472d ago

You should actually comment on the article and not just quote it.

Anyway, I am confused as to why these fanboys and biased developers keep bringing up the 256 mb ram thing. If I am not mistaken the PS3's RSX can access all 512 mb of ram. This would make the Epic guy's statement irrelevant. They both have 512 so it could be done. I like how the other member who is not as biased jumped in and said they had more developers on the PS3. Any answers?

TheMART4472d ago

First off, the PS3 has 512 MB devided over 2 x 256. There are statements with a workaround it can be used together, but it isn't unified easy as the 360 memory.

Furthermore, the typed above is not what's in the actual article.

"“256 MB of RAM makes a huge difference. There is no way we could ever do Gears of War on 256, we had trouble fitting everything on 512MB. We pushed the 360 to the limits.”

Ofcourse they will say this right before the game goes on sale. Just to push it on marketing terms. There has also been stated that they used about 40% of the 360's power. And I bet Gears of War 2 will look double as good. Look at the games at the end of the last gen, I'd never had thought they would reach that when I stepped in in 2001!

big_tim4472d ago

"There are statements with a workaround it can be used together, but it isn't unified easy as the 360 memory"

Every site that I have seen states that the RSX can use all the memory. How could this be a problem? How does the unified 360 memory benefit over the other? Wouldn't it be a simple programing command?

A side note: The Mart, how did you come up with your screen name? Or what does it mean? Just curious.

specialguest4472d ago

his name is most likely Marty. like Marty McFly from Back2theFuture.

right McFly?

TheMART4472d ago

Big Tim, read into the memory use of the PS3. It uses a workaround in programming. And you'll see some problems with games. Although they can do tricks.

Same with 4 x AA and HDR at the same time. The PS3 can't do it. The 360 can. The 360 is just more optimalized for games period.

Well Big Tim, why are you called Big Tim? You may be curious, but only close friends of mine know why it's TheMART.

And specialguest, you're not that special I guess. You're 'jokes' are getting old and cheesy.

And the best part of this story is: Gears of War is the most anticipated game of this new gen at least this Christmas. Nothing like it out there and EVERYONE knows it.

Exclusive, Gears of War 2 will be there in a couple of years and in between the next big thing is also on 360: Halo 3 after that Halo Wars. Don't forget Bioshock...

Mhhhh it's good to be a 360 owner

big_tim4472d ago

Well obviously my screen name is derived from reality. I am big and I go by Tim. I just didn't want to think that you were a K-MART or Wal-MART manager or junkie. Or owned a Porn-MART, see where I was coming from. As for Marty that would make sense. There was no enmity in my question. Just curious.

I get your argument as to the 360 being more optimized. I just don't think that a good developer with the right attitude would have any issues with this. The guys behind GOW have a pissy attitude as if they hated developing for other platforms. I could understand the attitude if it were coming from a first party developer but not a third party one. As a developer you want to make as much money as possible. By programing for all systems and not trash talking them, it would earn more money. Of course there is the argument that it is easier to program for the 360, but why not double or triple your install base by developing for the others. It is simple economics. It seems like they are shooting them selves in the foot with this attitude. This negative attidue makes me think that what ever they put out on another system will be garbage.

Antan4471d ago

"Our target resolution for Heavenly Sword is 720p with 4x MSAA, which we've already achieved. The frame rate target is not something completely set in stone at this time. Though our E3 demo was running at over 30 frames per second, I'm willing to bet the final game will run at 30 FPS. Hopefully this will allow us to push even more effects on screen".

The main idea behind NAO32 is that we want to trade shading power to regain memory space and bandwidth (very precious resources on a console). So instead of encoding our HDR colors into a FP16 or FP32 frame buffer, we devised a scheme to use RSX pixel shading units to convert an RGB color in a CIE Luv color that only requires a common RGBA8 frame buffer (4 bytes per pixel, half the space of a FP16 pixel) to be fully stored.

The quality of this format is really outstanding. Even if it uses half the space/bandwidth of common HDR rendering solutions, it really makes no compromises at all in image quality.

"There's no magic here: HDR rendering costs are shifted from memory to shaders, and so our shaders are a bit longer now (between 3 and 5 cycles). We believe it's a very good trade-off. Furthermore, it enables HDR rendering and multisample anti-aliasing on GPUs that do not natively support AA with floating point render targets such as FP16 and FP32".

"PSINext: As previously discussed, beyond it's high quality one of the primary reasons for the use of NAO32 is that it saves bandwidth in a bandwidth-hungry environment. In the future do you feel RSX will be at a disadvantage to Xenos when it comes to framebuffer effects due to the 128-bit bus and lack of eDRAM?

Marco: Not at all; in fact for many framebuffer effects I believe RSX will have an edge over Xenos. Don't want to go into details, but let me just point out that RSX is connected to two seperate buses, not just one".

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Marriot VP4472d ago

no game pushes the hardware to the limits. This statement is to sell copies of GOW. Although I wouldn't mind if that was as good as it gets. It's definately the best looking game this year.

Marriot VP4472d ago

meant to say "no game pushes the hardware to the limits in the first year."

Islandkiwi4472d ago

The graphics on this game are fantastic! If this is as good as the graphics get I'm not going to complain, provided the games run silky smooth. At the end of the day I just want great games.

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