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Colossal RAM Could Lead to Lazy PlayStation 4 Programmers

Posted by Sammy Barker

No need to be clean and tidy

While the confirmation that Sony’s next generation system will include 8GB GDDR5 RAM was met by rapturous applause during February’s big PlayStation 4 jolly-up, a laundry list of developers have hinted that the gigantic offering could lead to ‘lazy’ programming in a report published by VideoGamer.com.

"It could happen, I have to admit," said Eidos Montreal's Stephane Roy, who was keen to stress that younger developers are likely to be the biggest culprits. “Let's say you're a kid and you start on [the PS4], I have to admit that it's going to be really tough to convince them to be technically clean when they work, and optimisation and stuff like that.”

On current hardware, developers have been forced to optimise their code in order to get the best out of the relatively limited performance available. But with the shackles of the PS3’s comparatively laughable 512MB memory – divided between system and video – removed, programmers will be able to be a little more slapdash with their code. This, according to Avalanche Studios’ Linus Blomberg, is not necessarily a bad thing.

“It means that games that [don't] need to push technical boundaries will be easier and quicker to develop, for instance, most indie productions,” he explained. “For us, as a AAA open-world games developer, however, we must be very careful not to become sloppy. It's both a risk and an opportunity, depending on what kind of games you develop.”

Blomberg’s sentiment was mimicked by Just Add Water’s gaffer Stewart Gilray, who added that the same issue occurs at the start of every new generation. “We had the same problem going from PS1 to PS2, from 2MB to 32MB, then from 32MB to 256MB in PS3, and then on Vita you had 512MB, you know?” he said.

Gilray concluded that the best performance will come later in the generation, when developers are forced to optimise in order to improve their titles. “The first [method of] getting something out there, they say, 'How do we do that? Okay, we can make it better the next game.' And the more games that come out look better and better,” he concluded.

It’s certainly an interesting topic, and it makes you wonder just how good the visuals are going to look on Sony’s next generation system in a few years' time. For example, we never expected to be playing anything close to Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception back when the PS3 first launched, but iteration allowed Naughty Dog to squeeze every last drop out of the hardware. If the base is Killzone: Shadow Fall, then colour us extremely excited.

[via videogamer.com]

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User Comments (7)

Epic

#1

Epic said:

Sounds legit why waste effort in compress all the data when the system can run it
but those lazy developers should know well you can't stop progress one must keep improving to make its self different from the competition those that take their extra months working are going to be the ones that prevail.

Scrible

#2

Scrible said:

Don't see this as a problem, look at the much better looking pc games

3Above

#3

3Above said:

I dont see this being a real problem. Even if devs are lazy at first, once the likes of Naughty Dogg embarrass them with what they can do they will step up their game.

Gemuarto

#4

Gemuarto said:

What I really can't understand is why games on Vita sometimes load slower than games on PSP. And I think the main point of 8GB ram is to force developers to make games without loading screens. Not to make them lazy.

KALofKRYPTON

#5

KALofKRYPTON said:

@Epic It's not about compression. It's about optimisation. It's the difference between something working, and something working efficiently. And ultimately the difference between run of the mill and ground breaking.

@Scrible It's a legacy issue. Would you rather lots of competent dev's able to wring the best out of a system or just a few like we have with PS3. PC gaming is all about optimisation, making the best gaming experience you can have depending on your hardware set up utilising scaling tools provided by the developer. Since consoles are fixed hardware, this is totally down to the developer. Also, since PS4 is as close to 'off the shelf' parts as PlayStaion has come-and is similar architecture to a PC, there ought to be massive amounts of optimisation and good management of assets. PC Games aren't 'better', they just come with the tools to make use of better hardware.

agalex

#6

agalex said:

No the limitation of the bandwidth of GDDR5 will force programmer to use it wisely. This is not a problem for experienced parallel programmers. Its actually like CUDA programming, you either learn the tricks or you suffer from poor performance.

charlesnarles

#7

charlesnarles said:

I feel like they're already kinda lazy with even recent PS3 games. I often go exploring and find weirdly shaped boulders etc. in AC3... Not like its a big deal now, but it's a good point to look forward to when the standards will be sky high and think about keeping all that data organized.

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