Sweeney: PCs Good for Anything... But Games

Unreal creator: Tim Sweeney PCs are good for anything, just not games” on TG Daily is a Q&A with the Epic CEO which, as the title of the article suggests, features some negative comments about the PC as a gaming platform. This is actually just the age-old complaint about PCs with integrated graphics, as he says that mainstream PCs are not suited to gaming:
Retail stores like Best Buy are selling PC games and PCs with integrated graphics at the same time and they are not talking about the difference [to more capable gaming PCs]. Those machines are good for e-mail, web browsing, watching video. But as far as games go, those machines are just not adequate. It is no surprise that retail PC sales suffer from that. Online is different, because people who go and buy games online already have PCs that can play games. The biggest problem in this space right now is that you cannot go and design a game for a high end PC and downscale it to mainstream PCs. The performance difference between high-end and low-end PC is something like 100x.
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68 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 2.
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48.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 19:23
Fugazi
 
48.
Re: No subject Mar 11, 2008, 19:23
Mar 11, 2008, 19:23
 Fugazi
 
It doesn't sound like you actually read anything but the title - and you'd rather whine than actually bother to understand what he is talking about.

Umm...I read the article. And when Sweeney says PCs are good for a lot things just not games-he's talking out of his ass. Sorry I offended your sensibilities by not agreeing with the public statements of a developer that cut his teeth on the PC platform. I understand his frustrations, but the continual belittling of the PC as a platform by developers is just going to give publishers more reasons to abandon my favourite platform. I don't want to see the PC die as a gaming platform.
And by the way, I have owned a 8800GTX for over a year now so keep your Intel snipes to yourself-I imagine you're just a little warez kiddie anyway.

The CRTC needs to be destroyed.
47.
 
Traitor
Mar 11, 2008, 17:37
Kxmode
 
47.
Traitor Mar 11, 2008, 17:37
Mar 11, 2008, 17:37
 Kxmode
 
This is coming from a guy whose entire empire is based on a foundation of shareware.

Go to hell Sweeney Tim; you demon barber of "leet" street!

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Game p/reviewer for http://www.gameindustry.com/
"Listen, Peter... with great horsepower comes... the sickest drifts..." - source
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46.
 
We're not returning to software yet....
Mar 11, 2008, 16:22
46.
We're not returning to software yet.... Mar 11, 2008, 16:22
Mar 11, 2008, 16:22
 
Chunks, 12 years ago I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly. I hated the first 3D accelerators, they were constricting, inflexible and yet we couldn't ignore them because they simply did some of the most important things faster - namely rasterizing textured polygons and later, transformation and lighting.
These days, graphics cards are programmable, flexible and highly parallel and taylored to processing 3D graphics in a way a normal processor cannot currently compete with, even multicore chips.
I think that 3D cards/chips/GPUs are certainly here to stay but we may call them something different, perhaps SIMD processors or something. They are perfect a certain class of computing, far superior to a general purpose CPU in terms of performance per watt.
So, unless you're baiting, saying that a 'smart' developer would ignore this incredible computing resource is a little bit naive, IMHO.

This comment was edited on Mar 11, 16:24.
Avatar 20656
45.
 
A smart game developer would...
Mar 11, 2008, 15:24
45.
A smart game developer would... Mar 11, 2008, 15:24
Mar 11, 2008, 15:24
 
A smart game developer would develop games to run on the cpu bypassing the so-called "gpu's" insuring a potential market for his product. Especially now when there are multi-core cpu's with idle cycles just begging to be used... and these cpu's WILL make it into e-machines and other inexpensive systems. Geforce 8800 Ultra SLI's... not so much.

It is beyond ridiculous to expect PC gamers to buy $1,500 worth of new videocards every six months just to be able to play your $50 game.

I remember the old days when Unreal ran on this thing called "software mode" and was the hottest thing out.
Don't forget your roots, Epic.

This comment was edited on Mar 11, 15:25.
44.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 15:16
44.
Re: No subject Mar 11, 2008, 15:16
Mar 11, 2008, 15:16
 
It doesn't sound like they want it to survive at all-they'd rather put out Gears of War 2009/2010 etc. and buy more sports cars.

It doesn't sound like you actually read anything but the title - and you'd rather whine than actually bother to understand what he is talking about.

This is in line with the PC alliance thing they joined, he is talking about the problems of the platform. Integrated video sucks and a pretty reasonable number of PCs are running them. Most of the people running them can't figure out how to install current drivers much less a new video card (assuming the rig even has a slot for one). He is spot on about this being something that is holding PC gaming back. People can rant and rave about how it isn't piracy and how they can build a gaming PC for cheap and 9000 other things, but they have nothing to do with what he is talking about; increasing the quality of integrated video to up the potential market for more serious games on the PC.

But hey, you rock on with your GMA 3100!

”Not many people know I owned the first radio in Springfield. Weren’t much on the air then. Just Edison reciting the alphabet over and over. “A,” he’d say. Then “B.” “C” would usually follow."
43.
 
No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 15:12
43.
No subject Mar 11, 2008, 15:12
Mar 11, 2008, 15:12
 
So do Epic think that people who want to play their latest [rubbish] can't simply because they have integrated graphics? FFS, Once bought the sales stats are set as no amount of 'it doesn't work on my PC does any good for a exchange/refund.

Epic get real - people are buying less of your games 'cause they're pretty damned dull. Shame but that's the way of a company chasing licenses above games.

42.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 12:18
42.
Re: No subject Mar 11, 2008, 12:18
Mar 11, 2008, 12:18
 
When it boils down to it, the NDP report is just plain wrong because it counts Hand-Held sales as Console sales, and completely ignores the booming market of Digital Distribution. On top of that it ignores Casual sales, things like Peggle, etc. On top of THAT, the report ONLY counts North American sales.

You simply cannot discount so many parts of PC gaming and meld together all other forms of gaming into one category and expect anyone with a critical mind to believe your statistics.


This comment was edited on Mar 11, 12:24.
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41.
 
No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 10:23
41.
No subject Mar 11, 2008, 10:23
Mar 11, 2008, 10:23
 
Intergrated Graphics as stated in that article are so terrible. I remember playing(or rather trying to play) some older ut2004 mod on one of those pcs with integrated intel graphics unit...ouch. I don't remember the cpu specs but it was good enough to get 40-50fps with the right video card, however on the integrated gpu board it was like 4 fps, i literally had to wait a minute or so before quit menu would show up.

"On 2646.215 I myself attacked & destroyed TCS Tiger's Claw in my Jalthi heavy fighter"
Bakhtosh Redclaw Nar Kiranka
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40.
 
Re: Read the article
Mar 11, 2008, 10:04
40.
Re: Read the article Mar 11, 2008, 10:04
Mar 11, 2008, 10:04
 
Prez: You make a valid point and I've often whinged that we don't get enough time to make the most out of current hardware before the next round comes along. The difference is that the PS1 is a console, a fixed platform. With PCs, we're talking about a whole bunch of different machines with different cards: sure, you could insanely optimize for a particular revision of a particular card and probably get really nice results. You could try to by-pass OpenGL and Direct3d, write straight to the metal, do things that the manufacturers never dreamed of like we used to do with the old VGA cards.
You could spend a lot of effort doing this, waste years tweaking for a particular hardware setup only to find that by the time you're done, nobody has the hardware that you're aiming for and the world has moved on. Wasting effort sucks and as I've got older, I've learned to optimize my time, as well as my code.
I should know: I spent years tweaking a VESA mode software 3D engine, intending to write a fantastic game with it. By the time I was finished, nobody would consider buying a software rendered game.
This comment was edited on Mar 11, 10:11.
Avatar 20656
39.
 
Re: Read the article
Mar 11, 2008, 09:45
Prez
 
39.
Re: Read the article Mar 11, 2008, 09:45
Mar 11, 2008, 09:45
 Prez
 
At the end of the life of the original Playstation, there were a few games released that had graphics that no one thought possible on that crappy little console. It went a long way in proving that getting to know how to eek every gram of performance out of an old but familiar system is preferable to having a masturbatory graphical love fest with new hardware. How about developers stop programming for cards and features no one has yet and start maximizing efficient coding for the hardware most gamers have today?
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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38.
 
Read the article
Mar 11, 2008, 09:35
38.
Read the article Mar 11, 2008, 09:35
Mar 11, 2008, 09:35
 
As usual, a lot of people reply without reading the whole article. Tim Sweeney has a good head on his shoulders, and definitely knows what he's talking about. I won't pretend to know whose fault it is that games don't work on crappy video cards anymore. On the one hand, you could argue that it's developers' fault (like Sweeney) for abandoning software rendering once 3D accelerators started becoming the norm. But why should developers be forced to not be able to keep using the same old hardware baseline? Intel could have improved their graphics cards to keep up with games, but they didn't.

The end result is that while the installed user base for PCs is very high, only a small fraction of that user base has gaming-grade PCs. Sweeney is absolutely correct that gaming PCs cost far more than they are worth, and that the price makes the point of entry artificially high. Hardcore gamers know that it's possible to build a good gaming machine for under $1000, but the average computer buyer doesn't know that. They think you have to spend $2000+ to get a good gaming machine (probably from Alienware). Console gamers, on the other hand, don't need to know anything about their platform. They simply buy the console and can play any game out there (of course, there are a few exceptions that require specific addons). In a way, the hardware enthusiast market (combined with manufacturers like Intel putting crappy graphics cards on their PCs) is keeping casual PC users from playing hardcore games, which some of them might do if their PCs were capable of it.

It will be interesting to see what happens as an end result if console gaming continues to take the market away from PC gaming. If it becomes strictly a niche market, maybe hardware prices will finally start to become realistic. I don't think PC gaming will ever die, but there might come a day where publishers stop bothering with ports and all we get is indie games and casual games.

By the way, did anyone else read about Tim Sweeney's computer? I'm guessing he never runs low on memory when he's developing... 16 fucking GB of RAM!

This comment was edited on Mar 11, 09:36.
37.
 
No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 08:35
Fugazi
 
37.
No subject Mar 11, 2008, 08:35
Mar 11, 2008, 08:35
 Fugazi
 
I am tired of hearing these guys whine. UT3, which I bought, is pretty crap. The UI alone is enough to enrage me. Couple that with Windows Live and I wish I could return the game. Epic has started to become like id-increasingly irrelevant except for making game engines.
I'm so glad that these rich babies are part of the alliance that is trying to "save" PC gaming. It doesn't sound like they want it to survive at all-they'd rather put out Gears of War 2009/2010 etc. and buy more sports cars.

The CRTC needs to be destroyed.
36.
 
ok.
Mar 11, 2008, 08:31
36.
ok. Mar 11, 2008, 08:31
Mar 11, 2008, 08:31
 
ok. this is coming from the guy who wrote a Text Editor For dos and turned it into ZZT (A Game) That started epic games. yeah remember ZZT a completely ANSI Graphic based game?

I think he is completely wrong. I have a lot of friends who are main stream pc owners. who like to play Flash Puzzle games, hold em poker. simple 2d games.

RPG Maker XP (VX) and game maker communities are huge. same with Mame. and for some reason same with Runesword.
proof that 2d games are still alive and even horrid 3d graphic games are doing way better then unreal Tournament 3 on the pc.

get it epic? Make a 2d game that people care about and it will sell.


35.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 07:56
35.
Re: No subject Mar 11, 2008, 07:56
Mar 11, 2008, 07:56
 
EPIC is doing a great job of alienating themselves from the PC gaming community...

When Sweeney and CliffyB stop supporting high end PC gaming it's because there's more money in console gaming. Sweeney compares PCs to consoles saying that there's a difference of 100x, which is true if you try to use your Internet box to play UT3. PCs aren't consoles, they are computers. They a heck of a lot more than consoles can.

There are Internet all in one PCs, and there are GAMING PCs. What Sweeney is really saying is that

"There's more Xbox 360s than high end gaming PCs, and we aren't in this for fun anymore. We go where the money is."

34.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 07:28
34.
Re: No subject Mar 11, 2008, 07:28
Mar 11, 2008, 07:28
 
alittle off-topic maybe, but this is a great read from the stardock guys

http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/post.aspx?postid=303512

33.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 07:01
33.
Re: No subject Mar 11, 2008, 07:01
Mar 11, 2008, 07:01
 
LMN8R

Well said. I can't beleive all the BS coming out of EPIC!
Sweeney if you where selling toaster, cars or even chairs you would have a business plan that would include marketing. Not only that you would make sure your new products are an improvements on previous ones to motivate people to buy. Well UT3 was the worst UT released to date & waiting for the PS3 version to be ready to lauch a half baked maketing plan did not help. Get a clue EPIC...stop making interviews ...sit down & look at your work...

The original STALKER with all it's bugs was light years ahead of UT3 & even GEARS of WAR.


Keep making lame excuses to justify low sales we all know the truth & thank the lord that investors do not read bluesnews or they would bail on your sad company!

This comment was edited on Mar 11, 07:04.
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32.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 06:50
32.
Re: No subject Mar 11, 2008, 06:50
Mar 11, 2008, 06:50
 
No disrespect to Sins, it looks like a great game and I'm looking forward too trying it out but lets face it - space is easier to render quickly than a lot of other things due to the large amount of reasonably uniform black. Not all games can be space based RTS games - for many titles we now rightly expect a certain visual fidelity to convey immersion, just as 1930s special effects wouldn't go down too well with movie goers.
You can achieve a scalable engine with most hardware out there (I could enjoy oblivion on my 64mb laptop ATI card), except most Intel chips. Maybe the latest ones will run some games but I've had such a bad experience trying to get even the simplest of graphics to render quickly on their chips that I'm afraid I have a bit of an Intel prejudice - I'm happy to be proved wrong but any newer, better chips won't cause all the extant rubbish out there to spontaneously combust.
This wouldn't matter if they were a minor player but they are not - their damn chips are ubiquitous.

This comment was edited on Mar 11, 06:59.
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31.
 
No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 06:44
31.
No subject Mar 11, 2008, 06:44
Mar 11, 2008, 06:44
 
Actually I think he's just complaining that some retailers don't give a lot of info to customers, so somebody with little or no PC knowledge could go into a store and buy a cheap PC, expecting to play Crysis at full res on it.

I think he's a little confused though, because he thinks that anyone wanting to play online games wouldn't suffer from the same thing.

But overall, if you squint at it enough and look at it from a certain angle, he's raising a valid point. When some games developer designs the next high-end game, he doesn't know what my system is, and he needs to figure out the best level to pitch the game at - high end or low end? High end and the game will look awesome but you don't get the cheap-PC market.

To get a proper gaming PC can mean a lot of research and work up front, particularly for the non-geek, and that most likely does harm sales for a lot of PC games. People want to be able to plug in and go.

But the PC does have the advantage of variety - many games available on the PC simply have no viable counterpart on the consoles. Anyone think we'll ever see Medieval 2 on the 360? And often, when they do appear on the consoles developers and gamers find they have to compromise and battle with the controllers.

This comment was edited on Mar 11, 06:47.
30.
 
Re: No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 06:44
30.
Re: No subject Mar 11, 2008, 06:44
Mar 11, 2008, 06:44
 
Reading that entire article, I feel I can summarize it as follows:

"Waaaaaaaaaaaah! Making games for PCs is HARD! I want a cookie and a nap!"

Most of you are probably too young to remember hardware names like ATi Mach32 and Western Digital Paradise. Coding for games on hardware back then was incredibly hard as you didn't have neat little unifying APIs like Direct X. You had DOS and direct access.

I think a large majority of the problem really lies with the fact that when "big name" developers started, they started in a niche market. They know how to make those niche games but they don't know how to make good games. Knowing how to make a good game allows you to make any type of game.

Only knowing how to make a niche game means you can keep up with technology but not with the demands of your audience. While FPSes are popular, they are beginning their waning phase. Just like space sims, flight sims, RPGs and the like did at their heydey too. However, instead of seeing these companies keep pace with their target audience's needs, I see them begin to wax melodramatic about the death of their chosen platform and how consoles are the new frontier because they're easier, insert other excuse here.

It's a shame that there's not more transparency in to the development of games, because I think a lot of people would be surprised to learn that making a game for a console market isn't always "easier". In fact, sometimes it becomes harder due the the extremely limited resources of the system and the ways in which you can give the player the ability to interact with their environment.

Suffice to say, the PC platform is far from dying and while the Intel cards aren't the greatest, they are still capable. There's a lot you can do with your target system requirements when you're not trying to render everything in photorealistic 3D. If anything, I think the current market trend shows us that only a small percentage of people actually want photorealistic 3D environments. What they all want, almost universally, is something fun that doesn't require a Masters in Electrical Engineering to play or get running on their boxes.

"Just take a look around you, what do you see? Pain, suffering, and misery." -Black Sabbath, Killing Yourself to Live.

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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29.
 
No subject
Mar 11, 2008, 06:10
29.
No subject Mar 11, 2008, 06:10
Mar 11, 2008, 06:10
 
Speaking of Sins...it runs on my crap-tacular laptop with an Intel onboard chip and look spectacular on my desktop. Seems like 100x is working just fine there.

Maybe if Epic didn't make crappy games that removed content that was present in previous games (Unreal Tournament 3), then they wouldn't sell so poorly.

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