Monday, March 27, 2006

Games don't even use full DVD9 yet, and PS3 programmers avoid PITA work by not using the cell to its potential

Programming "Tiers" for the Cell processor (warning: techy speak)

Most Xbox/360 games to date fit on DVD5 (Single layer)

Luckily, it sounds like the PITA low-level code can be avoided by programmers in relation to the Cell. However, IBM has some work if they can get these high-level spoiled programmers to get the most out of the cell without forcing them to drop a tier (per article above).

I should mention that in the programming world, "low-level" programming is more "advanced" than "high-level" programming. For example, a "low-level" programming language is binary, which is just 1's and 0's. A "high-level" programming language example would be Java. Good low-level programming is more efficient than good high-level programming, because it allows a programmer to work more directly with the hardware instead of having the compiler translate everything to a low-level language.

I guess a quick analogy could be made to human languages. If you don't understand Japanese, then it would take you longer to figure out a paragraph (with a dictionary) than it would if you already knew the language.

As for the article about DVD9 storage, I am aware that there is a note saying the original article had a bad calculation. However, I find this article interesting because it gives perspective to how much space is actually used on a few popular games. I was even surprised at some of the numbers.

In short, the average Xbox game in 2005 didn't even fill up a single layer DVD (4.5GB). Although a few may exist, there wasn't any mention of a game that filled an entire dual layer DVD (8.5GB). Even the Xbox 360 games available now do not fill up a dual layer DVD, but rather only use about half of one!

Personally, this article alludes to the idea that Microsoft made the right decision. If you've read my blog before, I've already said that Bluray and HD-DVD are not really necessary, and both formats will probably fail. With better compression and codecs, DVD9 CAN support HD movies. Even without improvement in those areas, an upscaling DVD player will produce similar HD results with an SD disc.

Blue-laser technology will be great for backups and as a storage medium, but as for entertainment media its days are already numbered. The only way these formats will survive is if the consumer accepts them. Us gamers will have a particularly hard time if Bluray fails. If Sony isn't able to retract their Bluray requirement, then we will end up paying more for PS3 games because they will need to be on the obsolete format.

I'm sticking with DVDs, we'll see what the world does.


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