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Carmack: Sony Has Made Large Strides with the PS4

Posted by Sammy Barker

Legendary programmer fond of next generation system

John Carmack, id Software’s veteran co-founder, has admitted that he’s pretty impressed with the PlayStation 4. Speaking as part of another enormous three-hour keynote at QuakeCon, the Wolfenstein 3D programmer praised the impending console – and suggested that the Japanese giant has done a stellar job of learning from the mistakes that it made with the PlayStation 3.

"It's no secret that in the previous generation I favoured the Xbox 360 over the PS3," he said. "While there are certain things that Sony did well for a game developer, the 360 was a nicer platform to work on. [But] Sony has made large strides. Its development tools came out of the gate much, much better than they ever have. [And] it’s made some somewhat-more gamer-focused decisions in its strategies and architectures."

However, the veteran was unwilling to pick a side in the battle between the PS4 and the Xbox One. “Everyone would like me to come out with some A over B comparison about the two platforms, and, to be completely honest, I haven't done really rigorous benchmarking on them, so even if I didn't have NDA protection, I couldn't give you a really completely honest answer,” he explained. “But they are very close, they're both very good.”

While Carmack was generally optimistic regarding the two new consoles, though, he was keen to point out one facet of the next generation that's already grinding his gears. “It appals me that we still have people targeting 30 frames-per-second,” he sighed. “It was hard to hit 60 frames-per-second on the current generation. There are scars in the code base and on the developers that let us make it to the quality and performance level that we did. But we've got a lot more power now [...] and I think that it would just be much better for people to concentrate on smoother gameplay experiences.”

Carmack has always been a big proponent of 60 frames-per-second, famously pushing the PS3 to its absolute limits in order to maintain the refresh rate in flawed first-person shooter RAGE. Much to the developer's frustration, though, many of the PS4’s launch titles currently run at 30Hz, including DriveClub, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Knack. Evolution Studios has said that it’s targeting a faster framerate for the former, but it’s not making any promises. Do you agree with Carmack, and feel that developers need to step up their efforts? Let us know in the comments section below.


User Comments (10)



Matt_Berial said:

I would definitely want developers to step up their efforts to improve what they do, and to make games as smooth as possible.



Snorky said:

Developers need to stop chattering on about how they think digital only is the best idea. People like physical media, they like having the freedom to lend, borrow and sell, they like being able to collect.



Hokage17 said:

It would seem the developers really favor the PS4 this time around. I've yet to hear a single dev praise the Xbox one. Sony on the other hand I've lost count.



Visiblemode said:

I agree about 60 fps being ideal, but compromises are acceptable in some cases. That said, Carmack has a bit of a spotty record with his support of platforms. He's made a lot of grand pronouncements about ios gaming replacing traditional handhelds. I love IOS, but for so many genres, the Vita demolishes my iphone/ipad. So yeah being a genius coder and industry pioneer doesn't mean you know it all. LOL



irken004 said:

30 fps is fine for the most part, 60 feels more important on pc with a mouse that uses those higher frame-rates for smoothness in control.



MadchesterManc said:

@irken004 I agree with that. Although I use a 360 pad for most of my Gaming on PC lol As long as its a perfectly locked 30FPS with V-sync engaged, I really dont see the fascination with 60FPS. On most other game sites its quite common to come across terms like 'If its not 60fps Im not bothering with it' or 'This next gen is already a failure with no 60fps gauruntee'. Its absurd. Those types of people mustn't play many games with thought processes like that.



jgrangervikings1 said:

Well, if it's the diffrence between having lauch titles for the PS3 or pushing everything back 6 months to a year so that developers can improve the frame rate, my short-term answer is that I want the launch titles, and my long term answer is that I'd rather wait an extra couple of months and play the games when they're at their best. It's a copout answer, I know, but when I look back at all the PS3 games that were pretty good but could've been great with a bit more polish, man, I think I'd rather wait until they're ready.



ShogunRok said:

He's right on the 60FPS thing.I would rather have a smoother experience over graphical fidelity, regardless of the game. If the option for 60FPS was there, I don't know why developers wouldn't take it.

That said, I don't mind 30FPS at all as long as it doesn't drop at points. With the PS4, there's absolutely no excuse for us to go lower than that.



DoublezZ01 said:

Yes developers need to step things up. Its next gen... time to hit 60fps indeed...smootheness is a necessity this time around! PS4 is fine tuned for pprecision. deserves the best games! Besides with all that power I'm sure it can handle graphics and smootheness no prob this time around! =)



BlueProxy said:

Seems to be a bigger difference when your playing quick, twitchy type games, like multiplayer shooters. Would be nice if the ability was built into the PS4. It could throttle-up to 60fps when quick action is on screen, then down for slower moments on story driven games, so it's less taxing on the processor.

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