I'm sorry, I must've missed something. Or rather, others missed something.

Everyone is freaking out over what Vigil game director Marvin Donald told Eurogamer in regards to the PlayStation 3 being "a pain in the ass to work on." Firstly…no sh**. Really?

It has been a complaint of developers since the original PlayStation launched in 1995. I remember the fallout over the PS2. Designers were losing their minds ; some went so far as to say the new system was just "impossible." It's the reason why, over time, games for PlayStation machines get increasingly better. It's why the PS2 started with Summoner and Fantavision and ended up with God of War II and Final Fantasy XII . Unfortunately, the PlayStations have always been tough on designers.

But I've been reading all this and one thing occurred to me- while I'm sure the PS3 is more difficult to work on than the Xbox 360, I'm also certain the majority of "pain in the ass" comments are due to multiplatform efforts. It's trying to jam the same product onto two entirely different machines. It's trying to keep the exact same design vision intact, all the while trying to offer gamers the exact same experience from a performance standpoint. If the PS3 was such a colossal annoyance, I'm not sure why first-party studios would be so high on Sony. Sure, Sony pays their bills but developers are developers. There's a lot more to this.

All we've ever heard from stellar first-party teams like Naughty Dog, Insomniac, Sucker Punch and Media Molecule ( Uncharted , Resistance, inFamous , LittleBigPlanet ) is how great the PS3 is in terms of potential, and what they might be capable of doing. Either all these designers are the foremost geniuses of the world, continually capable of overcoming the "overly challenging" PS3 where other developers can't, or it's just because they only have to deal with Sony's machine. I can pretty much guarantee all of them would have similar issues trying to bring their products to another platforms.

People are acting like the PS3 is this massive crutch, all the while ignoring the fact that PS3 exclusives are – and I'm sorry, there is no debate on this issue – the absolute cream of the crop. Something isn't gelling, here. And you know, maybe there's a good reason why guys like Kazunori Yamauchi ( Gran Turismo ) and Hideo Kojima ( Metal Gear Solid ) absolutely refuse to bring their franchises to Microsoft or anywhere else. And I'm willing to bet it goes well beyond brand loyalty. The shouts of, "see, the PS3 is too hard to develop for" will continue, I bet.  Just not sure they mean anything.

But whatever. People love inflammatory headlines.

Subscribe
Notify of
126 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
DcIronfist
DcIronfist
9 years ago

Why are we still hearing about this? Thought the smart developers already learned the system.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Yes. The SMART ones did.

sirbob6
sirbob6
9 years ago

Wait… who are the smart devs?

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Naughty Dog, Media Molecule, Sucker Punch, Santa Monica Studios, Irrational Games, 2K, Insomniac, Rock Steady, RockStar, PolyPhony Digital, Valve, DICE, IW, Capcom(to an extent), Kojima Productions etc…

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

I would add Team Ninja to that list, Jawknee. Not only did they convert a highly optimized 360 exclusive to PS3 (NGS2), they made it look more detailed and ran at a higher res too. That's a rarity from multi-plats. Especially when they were ported over from 360. Bayonetta suffered much harsher treatment.

Hayasashi-San also said that any dev who complains that the ps3 is hard to program for should just get out of the business.

manofchao5
manofchao5
9 years ago

even valve started getting better, i forgive them but these other dev leaders need to shut up and just get to work actually programming it right instead of wasting time bitching!

mastiffchild
mastiffchild
9 years ago

Thig about Valve,though, is that up til Portal NT ONE of their console ports had cut it on any console. thye made a hell of a lot of noise about how the PS3 was pnats and the PSN commuity wasn't as good as Live's when asked about L4D coming tio PS3 and happily ignored the FACT that it represents just about thew worst value for money EVER on the 360.

In runs at a low FPS than on PC, it's way below the PC version (compared, say, to the gap between Mass Effect PC and 360 it's WAY behind Bioware's efforts in making the gap as small as possible and it's the same with most multiplat devs)in every technical area, it hasn't got any mod support(and considering the paucity of content on the disc you NEED mod support to make L4D fun after a few days let alone weeks or months) and the actual on disc content is just appalling in terms of value when compared to just about ANY other full price retail game. consider this: I bought L4D on PC and 360 to play with two sets of mates. On PC I paid £18(Steam)and two weeks LATER I paid £45(most expensive console game for me this generation)and couldn't, that week, find it any cheaper without buying used. Then consider the lack of mods,lack of single player beyond light training for the MP/co-opand the lack of reasonably expected quality for a C to 360 port and my FAVOURITE ever developer who'd been making TONS of pro 360 noise seemed, to me, to have let "their" boys down and as I was one of them I was a bit miffed.

Valve have yet to convince me in ONE single way that they even care about making console games and if we're still waiting for EP3 or HL3 itself BECAUSE of L4D2 which should, no matter WHO they bought to support it's release this week,have been an expansion costing ten quid tops, then it's no justice and massive gravy train with no effort for Valve. There were, and are, better sodding mods than L4D2 ever was if you had the PC version of the original anyway.

Whatever, point is Valve didn't ever care for the PS3 and just because EA wheeled him onto Sony's stage changes little-the've never made a decent value console game in their lives and aren't about to start whikle we pay full price for Portal2 as it's another game, though the quality gap was much more bearable between console and PC versions, with ZERO replay value and little ACTUAL value as a result yet, you guessed it, we paid more for it again on console. Sure, they offered a bonus of the PC game free with it but if you don'town a PC that's BSD anyway plus who'd WANT to replay Portal2 just for better textures or resolution? Once you do the puzzles the game's dead, isn't it?

I guess i'm at a point with Valve where I think that they either need to get enough staff to actually make their games and make them outstanding places other than PC OR just give up with the watery console versions already. Gabe, I love your fat arse and your company and it's games but I hate the way you treated PS3 owners to years of ridicule for ZERO reason(and amateurishly as all hell)and despised the way you coned us 360 owners it thinking you were on "our" side just so we'd support your sub standard(yes, tOB was awful for PS3 but the 360 version was still weaker compared to it's PC brethren than virtually any other PC/360 game released around the same time-look at Gears1 for example)ports without thinking and without comparing them to PC. They even managed t have a lot of 360 fans singing their praises for it too-and that;'swhat broke the camel's back for this angry little gamer.

They're meant to be one of the "good guy" devs and listen to gamers but the whole console thing this gen with valve stinks of making the easiest money they could and being tools about it all the whie to boot. Jus make with the sodding HL Gabe and stop prmising console gamers stuff if you won;'t be bothered making it to a decent standard or at reasonabe prices considering the gap in features they always have to bear.

I wouldn't EVER buy a Valve game for consoles again unless a lot changes and advise anyone with a PC capable of even close to 360/PS3 standards(,most PC these days then)that the should follow suit.vave have to show they care enough about console gamers before console gamers should care about them. Those unprofessional outbursts they made about, not just PS3 but it's GAMERS were really bad and if they weren't even making great 360 games why on Earth did the World turn cartwheels when Gabe was forced onstage with Kaz and Tretton the other year?

I'm sorry but I'm angry because I LOVE Valve and love their games and feel everyone should get a chance to play them but, currently, can't feel happy telling console gamers TO buy them. If iD can ,seemingly, get it right then surely a similarly talented dev like Valve comfy with an engine which doesn't even push hardware on PC these days should cope too, no? If not then why not? I STILL feel that money I dropped on L4 for 360 and what makes it worse is the feeling that Gabe KNOWS how shonky heir console output has been yet still had the nerve to make out PS3 and Sony were the things holding them back-if that's the case then why were their 360 ports so weak? Arggh, sorry I'm that annoyexc I'm ramblng and repeating but, Christ, why did Valve have to make themselves look ike tools over all this?on;'t they get the fact a lot of us on every system were big fans not just of their games but the way they do business and,used, to bother talking to us and even listening sometimes? You get the sense, mind, that the conversation with console gamers was only ever one sided with Gabe,sadly.

Cesar_ser_4
Cesar_ser_4
9 years ago

So what if it is a pain in the arse to develop for? That doesn't seem to stop them from making a mediocre port or PS3 version of the game for that matter…

SoulController
SoulController
9 years ago

Ignorant developers who make comments like this don't even deserve to be in the industry. If you'd rather develop for the easier piece of crap system, go right ahead. What this really means is, our game might suck because were too lazy to start development on the ps3 & port it to the 360.

Cesar_ser_4
Cesar_ser_4
9 years ago

dude the wii doesn't come into place, Ok?, and if you meant the box, that thing is no slouch I'll tell you that.

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

He wasn't mentioning the Wii.

Cesar_ser_4
Cesar_ser_4
9 years ago

@Clamedeus
I know

kevinater321
kevinater321
9 years ago

…i'm confused.


Last edited by kevinater321 on 7/20/2011 12:16:12 PM

SoulController
SoulController
9 years ago

@Caesar I didn't mention the wii. At this point in the genration who cares about the wii…

Kevin, what is there to be confused about?

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

No the Wii doesn't come into this because the said games aren't on the Wii.

Soul, I still like the Wii. 🙂


Last edited by Jawknee on 7/20/2011 12:44:33 PM

Cesar_ser_4
Cesar_ser_4
9 years ago

Geez, is everyone so uptight that I can't even make a joke? I know he wasn't talking about the Wii.

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

I don't think anyone had any idea what you were talking about.

GuernicaReborn
GuernicaReborn
9 years ago

Whats a wii?

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
9 years ago

Guernica, you should get out more.

Wissam
Wissam
9 years ago

Some of multiplatform games are better on PS3. and that what distinguish a good from a lazy developer. like Castlevania los. and FFXIII.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

This? Again? Oh good grief.

Look folks, I've been working in computing for 25+ years, and I've programmed on so many different platforms I've lost count, but this is just total BS. The PS3 is not a pain in the…. to deal with, nor is it inherently harder than the 360 or the Wii, or for that matter the PS2 that preceded it.

It is however different from both the PC and the Xbox360. It seems to me that numerous western developers have this very PC/Microsoft centric focus that basically labels anything that does not fall into that classification as a pain in the a$$.Whatever you want to say guys, the truth here is that you're lazy and ignorant if that is truly what you think.

The fact is that when moving a game from the 360 to the PS3 there is a lot of effort required to do the port because the two are completely different architectures both in hardware and software. The 360 development environment uses the PC dev standards as a crutch to let PC devs quickly transition to the 360. It's no coincidence that as Microsoft essentially controls that environment on the PC, they can do the same on the 360, and no you won't find that on the PS3, because MS owns the dev environment it uses and won't license it to Sony.

But this really is complete trash. I am really shocked that any self respecting software developer would say this kind of thing, because if they are really competent developers they know enough to know that their comments are rooted in the difficulties in porting a game from one platform to another when you are not experienced with the new target platform.

There is nothing inherently difficult about the architecture or the software environment with the PS3, the difficulty is that you have to re-think your game engine because unlike the 360 where you have three cores all the same and can just rely on the compiler and hardware to assist in dispatching multiple threads and processes, the PS3 has 1 PPC core and 6 available SPUs which use their own instruction set. They are hugely powerful, but you actually have to plan on using them. You can still rely on the compiler to an extent, but you have to change your game engine to stop relying only on the PPC core (as it would on the 360) and push some of that work out to the SPUs. However because the PS3 is designed to offer the maximum performance, the hardware allows the developer more choice in how to allocate tasks and processes, but the price for that flexibility is that the developer has to be more attentive to laing out how the tasks and processes should be allocated and/or dispatched at run time, they cannot simply rely on the compiler and hardware to do it for them.

But really, at the end of the day, all of this talk is just avoiding one simple thing, when you start working with a new platform that you have little to no experience with and are porting a large piece of software from a very different platform under tight timelines, you are going to feel the squeeze, and the learning curve is going to be steep. That is true whether you're going to PS3 from 360 or to 360 from PS3. Though, going from PS3 to 360 is a little easier, you are not able to tap as much performance from the platform.

But, yet again, we have a whiny developer who's not able to instantly learn the PS3 and complaining. God, it reminds me of the freshmen at university trying to figure out how to access an code for the university mainframe.

Ah well, no real surprise here since the story comes from Eurogamer – a publication not unknown for it's blatant bias and controversial headlines to generate hits. Sometimes it seems that such stories emerge at about the same time as something good happens for Sony or PS3, almost as if someone was trying to muddy the waters with some good old fashioned Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD).


Last edited by TheHighlander on 7/20/2011 12:09:28 PM

Cesar_ser_4
Cesar_ser_4
9 years ago

My friend you just got yourself an award, Not sure what category. But man that was an awesome rant.

Ignitus
Ignitus
9 years ago

In Eurogamer's article, the developer had a hard time fitting the game in the PS3's memory. That was it.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

That's fine, but it doesn't excuse their comments.

Him
Him
9 years ago

Seriously, what would we do without you Highlander. You really are the coolest member here. Keep it up man.

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
9 years ago

This director is making comments regarding the PS3 because of what he hears from his team. What we don't know is how talented or knowledgable his team is? So PS3 gets drug through the mud by this guy according to comments his team members make because of the PS3 *shortcomings*, when the truth may well be his team members are the ones with the *shortcomings*.

packersfan66
packersfan66
9 years ago

I'm just going to make an educated guess and take all the developers' (who have complained over the years) word over TheHighlanders..

StangMan80
StangMan80
9 years ago

Your have to be the best on this site. I don't understand the down thumbs you got.
maybe because they are to lazy and thought your comment was to long. I read all of it and loved it.
Keep it up TheHighlander!

Ludicrous_Liam
Ludicrous_Liam
9 years ago

Have you actually programmed in a PS3 enviroment though? These guys are still developers at the end of the day, they've dedicated alot of time & effort to get to where they are; they know what they're talking about. Pretty sure every developer said that the PS3 was hard to programme for at one point or another (albeit most at the start), even overally so. Wether theres any truth to that I couldn't say, but then I've never worked on the PS platform.
So no offense but if you indeed haven't worked on the PS3, then how are you to judge if it is harder or not to work on? I know your smart so maybe I shouldn't accuse you of not knowing, but… yeah I'll wait for you to answer first 🙂

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

No, I'm not a PS3 developer.

No, all developers have *not* said this. These kins of comment have come from third party developers with PC/360 backgrounds porting games to the PS3. Seeing a theme there?

Helghast
Helghast
9 years ago

Im sure the Xbox fanboys will always try to make a big deal out of the fact that the PS3 is harder to develop for than the 360, but I stopped caring what the fanboys think years ago. People that hate the PS3 will always hate the PS3, and people that hate the 360 will always hate the 360. PS3 is my console of choice because I like its exclusives, its reliable, even the quality of multiform games that use PS3 as the lead platform, and I like the free online, and even just the PSN community over the Xbox Live community. I have my reasons for choosing the PS3, and I really don't care what people think of my choice, it's MY choice, not theirs.

Ignitus
Ignitus
9 years ago

Well said. I agree with your post. My 360 is now my second choice when it comes to living room gaming.

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

Amen.

Oxvial
Oxvial
9 years ago

Yes those fanboys talking like if they were making the games and hate the Ps3 because it makes them work more xD

jdt1981
jdt1981
9 years ago

I thought this was 2011 not 2006/2007… You're telling me there are still some developers crying about how "difficult" making games on the PS3 is?

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Funny thing is of course that none of us have developed a single application for the ps3 and basically have very little idea of what we talk about.

Neither have I of course, but it *may* be that they do have a point. Especially if your software engineer education is based on a very different platform (presumably PC). If the ps3 differ a lot from what you know and what you've got practise on then I can easily understand how that might be a pain in the rear.

Just my 5 cent…


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/20/2011 12:39:56 PM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

That's hardly the point.

The best of the best is on the PS3. That's the only statement the machine needs to make.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

Indeed Ben. Indeed.

Cole
Cole
9 years ago

It doesn't matter how difficult something is initially. If you work hard and put some real effort into it, you will improve over time.

These devs complaining about how hard it is to work with the PS3 are most likely just inexperienced. Look at Valve.They said the same thing before they even worked with the console. But then they made Portal 2 and it turned out to be one of the best multiplats on the PS3.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I understand how it might be a pain too if you are untrained, but the best way to slit your own throat is to complain in this manner about a system your game is on. Nobody's gonna buy it for PS3 now.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@World: If you mean untrained on this specific platform we agree. And the more it differ, the more pain it will be to write effective code. This may be why some multiplats runs best on the xbox (afaik).

@Ben: That may or may not be so but regardless, that's the reward. It may still be a pain to develop for.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/20/2011 12:59:01 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Beamboom,

I know the Cell architecture pretty well, I'm not a PS3 developer, but I feel that I can categorically call BS on this idea that the PS3 is a pain in the… to develop for, or so very much harder that it's a huge penalty.

Every architecture I have ever learned to program on felt like a pain in the… for the first weeks or month, the more different the architecture, the more severe the culture shock reaction. but after that reaction, you realize pretty quickly that it's just another architecture, and you start exploiting it properly. Given – as Ben points out – the clear difference in quality (positive) when looking at PS3 exclusives vs multi-plat titles, you have to concede that competent programmers familiar with the environment can make it sing. But truly, these comments about things being too hard or a pain, are the kinds of immediate and emotional reaction people have when they are learning something new that is not immediately obvious to them.

I will concede that there could be some features of the development environment that are inferior to MS' environment, just as I expect you would probably agree that there may be things in Sony's environment that are superior to MS' one. The point is that the underlying architecture and the concepts at work in PS3 are really rooted in the PS2. The PS2 featured a main CPU core with twin vector processing units that could be programmed separately or together. The PS3 extends on that concept. Hell, if anything the Cell CPU is an architectural facsimile of the Cray supercomputer systems of old, only on a single chip instead of a computer room floor. The architecture has great pedigree and is very powerful, but if you are not familiar with breaking workflows out and identifying things that can be done in parallel, you are going to have problems transitioning to the PS3 until those concepts are bedded into your mind.

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

I think the exclusives are the cream of the crop because the first party developers only know playstation hardware. Naughty Dog for example is no stranger to all 3 Playstation platforms, so in a sense they could have a "1 up" on other multiplatform developers- or developers who are used to the PC.

I know nothing about programming, so I'm not going to speak to it, but that was your point, wasn't it Beamboom?

Ignitus
Ignitus
9 years ago

The developer wasn't bitching about the architecture, the cell or something like that.

It was that they couldn't fit the game in the PS3 available RAM.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@Highlander: I agree in all you say about how one react to things that differ too much from what you are experienced with. Isn't that essentially what they say anyway?

But creating software with multiple, independently running threads (that's how I understood your text) is immensely more complicated than a more linear approach to problem solving.
Drifting off topic now, but if there is *one* argument to use Java versus C++ programming, it's Java's memory and thread handling.
Multiple threads are, simply put, a *major* pain in the ass.

@Ignitus: That makes sense to me – it *is* a pain when the memory is a bottleneck. But how do Xbox differ in that respect?

@Jimmy: Well, yeah something like that 🙂 If you know the ps3 architecture well (and obviously, if you are owned and sponsored by Sony you will) then sure things are easier. But in the large picture that's just a tiny fragment of the entire developer pool.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/20/2011 1:19:27 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Of course it's more complex to develop multi-threaded applications, but in truth, no reasonably large application being built today is a single threaded application. Games are no exception.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Highlander: No of course, but having threads running independently on separate cpus (please correct if I am mistaken), and not child processes running their own threads (that's what I mean by more "linear" approach, maybe "hierarchical" would be a better choice of words) sounds like a *major* pain to me!
(NB NB! I know *nothing* about writing software for the ps3. I am only able to relate to this subject purely from a traditional programming perspective. I just want to re-state that.)

But regardless of the finer technical details (*lovely* discussion High, but I feel we're sliding beside my main point here) the bottom line is that I just want to voice the idea that maybe, just maybe they *do* have a valid point.

In a console world that seems to become more and more multi plat it's not *always* an advantage to create a platform that differ too much from the norms.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/20/2011 1:34:23 PM

Deathb4Dishonor
Deathb4Dishonor
9 years ago

They really shouldn't be crying at this point… maybe at first they could bc it was a new tech but it's been a few years now and if they haven't got a handle on how to use it by now then they are either morons or lazy…. Simple as that

Ignitus
Ignitus
9 years ago

@ Beamboom.

Though the 360 and PS3 on paper have the same amount of RAM (512MB)in the real world the story is different.

On PS3 you have two separate memory pools of 256MB each. One for graphics and the other for main memory. The problem lies in the OS memory foot print.

The PS3 OS memory foot print is around 48MB that is stored in the main memory pool. So that leaves around 208MB of available main RAM memory, plus 256MB of graphics RAM equals 464MB of available total RAM, though on two separate memory pools that you must manage in you code.

On the 360, there is just one 512MB memory pool and the OS memory footprint is around 32MB, so the available RAM memory is 480MB.

As you can see the difference between the two lies in that the xbox has more available RAM than the PS3 for developer use and it is simper to manage because it is just one memory pool instead of two.

This is the reason more developers are using the PS3 as lead platform.

If it fits in the PS3, it will surely fit in the 360. That's the reason moving a proyect from PS3 to 360 is easier than moving from 360 to PS3, in PS3 there is less available RAM and you must go thru the aditional effort of managing two separate memory pools.

I hope I explained myself.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

Well Beamboom, as a professional studio, it's their personal responsibility to adapt to whatever technology is out there.

If the staff in place is still struggling with the PS3, perhaps it's time to bring in some PS3 experienced personnel.

You don't need a degree is software engineering to exercise business sense.