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Developer: "consoles couldn't possibly handle" Star Citizen

by Mark Tyson on 15 July 2014, 13:45

Tags: PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacgnz

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Star Citizen, not for consoles

Cloud Imperium Games developer Eric 'Wingman' Peterson recently talked to Italian site PC Gaming about the hardware required to enjoy a game of the upcoming crowdfunded blockbuster Star Citizen. Peterson said that while a high-end PC isn't a requirement of the game, those with such systems will be able to take full advantage of them. He also said that even the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 'next gen' consoles have no chance of handling the game, so it won't be coming to those platforms.

Often indie developers have console ambitions, reports PC Gamer, however Cloud Imperium aren't courting such intentions it seems. Peterson is reported as saying specifically on this point "First and foremost, consoles couldn’t possibly handle a game like Star Citizen." He went on to talk about how Star Citizen will make the most of what PCs have to offer, for a change; "…in the last few years we had the feeling that PC had been pushed aside, with most games coming out as mere console ports with graphics that didn’t really exploit the power of PC… Gaming PCs right now are formidable, with powerful CPUs and GPUs. Even next-generation consoles cannot be compared, their internal components are already older than what I could add to a gaming PC today."

This interview reinforces Cloud Imperium's stance on PC gaming. In 2013 founder Chris Roberts insisted that Star Citizen would never be "dumbed down for a lesser platform."

Something about Star Citizen is definitely inspiring a lot of support. Yesterday the crowdfunding pledges collected by the game developers crossed the $48 million mark. With this stretch goal reached, players will now enjoy the experience of the Retaliator spaceship, pictured above.

Elite: Dangerous, coming to consoles?

Keeping with the space game theme the developers of Elite: Dangerous were also in the news recently for taking what seems to be a contrasting view to the one above. Head honcho David Braben told Eurogamer that "we would be stupid not to support other platforms, including console". However he was keen to point out that this statement doesn't constitute an announcement of intent.

Currently the game is confirmed only for PC/Mac platforms and Braben insists that "we're very focused on delivering a great PC game." After that Mac development starts and the team can start to think about other platforms.

On the topic of whether consoles have the power to run Elite: Dangerous, Braben seems positive. He points out that PCs are so diverse in hardware and software that it's hard to put a minimum spec on things. In console land developers can further fine-tune things for the specific hardware on offer. Braben also pointed out that as the PC version will support the Oculus Rift the PS4 version might offer similar functionality thanks to its Project Morpheus VR headset.

Elite: Dangerous is scheduled for PC launch this year and ports aren't expected until 2015.



HEXUS Forums :: 33 Comments

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While I can't see myself buying a next gen console anytime soon and PC-exclusives do peek my interest....I find it very odd that a dev would say consoles couldn't handle it.

If 8GB RAM, 8 cores and a DX11 GPU part cannot play it, I doubt many PCs will.....yet he says that it will run on lesser PC specs. I smell something unpleasant.

Won't run or cannot be bothered to get it to run? Either way, for a crowd-funder project, they are missing out on a potentially gigantic revenue stream.
Elite: Dangerous on console wouldn't be particularly surprising - they (mostly Ian Bell, as far as I can tell) managed to hack the original Elite onto the NES*, which is a pretty impressive feat. I kept an eye on the kickstarter and some of the videos on there (of them testing early dev code) showed them playing with gamepads, so I'd be surprised if, although they targeted PC first, a console port wasn't in mind fairly early on.


*Ian Bell has said in the past that the NES version was his favourite 8-bit Elite. An emulable version is available on his website, if anyone's interested in googling it up...
shaithis
While I can't see myself buying a next gen console anytime soon and PC-exclusives do peek my interest....I find it very odd that a dev would say consoles couldn't handle it.

If 8GB RAM, 8 cores and a DX11 GPU part cannot play it, I doubt many PCs will.....yet he says that it will run on lesser PC specs. I smell something unpleasant.

Won't run or cannot be bothered to get it to run? Either way, for a crowd-funder project, they are missing out on a potentially gigantic revenue stream.


8Gb shared memory, most new gaming PCs have over 8Gb of system memory and 16Gb has been the low to mid level for a couple of years at least, right now 32Gb isn't unusual and 64Gb is starting to be seen on high end systems. Not to mention dedicated video memory is 2Gb these days and rapidly increasing. To put it in perspective a PC with 16Gb of memory a good i5 faster than in a PS4 with twin GPUs and 2Gb of video memory will get you low settings in SC. That still looks great but it barely runs so a PS4 has no hope as it just doesn't have the processing power and memory to keep up. Not to mention SC is going to capitalise on DX12 and Mantle.
shaithis
While I can't see myself buying a next gen console anytime soon and PC-exclusives do peek my interest....I find it very odd that a dev would say consoles couldn't handle it.

If 8GB RAM, 8 cores and a DX11 GPU part cannot play it, I doubt many PCs will.....yet he says that it will run on lesser PC specs. I smell something unpleasant.

Won't run or cannot be bothered to get it to run? Either way, for a crowd-funder project, they are missing out on a potentially gigantic revenue stream.


8GB RAM - it's shared between the GPU and the CPU. CPU get a much smaller amount of memory, but it's *very* fast on the other hand.
8 core - it's a low end AMD CPU at around 1.6GHz. It doesn't even compare to what we can get for desktop's - or even laptops. A mobile i3 would run rings around it. However on the other hand games made for these consoles probably make more efficient use of multiple threads in order to maximise all cores
DX11 GPU - The PS4's GPU is comparable to a AMD HD 7870 (roughly slightly below a Radeon 270X) but apparently even the XBOX One struggles to do a full HD resolution for games?

Console's advantage in hardware is that it's a fixed target, so devs can make specialised code to maximise the hardware to its full potential, but this take time and technology wait for no-one.

I would think that for Star Citizen to not be able to run on console is perhaps down to amount of memory and CPU rather than the GPU. Just a guess really.
JGJones
... Console's advantage in hardware is that it's a fixed target, so devs can make specialised code to maximise the hardware to its full potential ...

... I would think that for Star Citizen to not be able to run on console is perhaps down to amount of memory and CPU rather than the GPU. Just a guess really. ...

more like they can't be bothered to do the first bit - i.e. optimise the game for a known target hardware specification.

Don't believe the hype about how slow the Jaguar core is - sure they don't have a lot of straight line speed, but that only matters for a DX11 game - where one thread handles most of the graphical work and (potentially) slows down the render. 8 jaguar cores at 2GHz (which was the target speed last time I checked) should handily beat most mobile i3s in well threaded loads - look at Athlon 5350 reviews and if you double the score for tests that scale well with threads - cinebench or wprime, for instance - you'll see 8 jaguar cores would be right up there with desktop i3s, let alone mobile ones.

Then, of course, coding closer to the metal in consoles means you can potentially get even more out of both the CPU and GPU - so if you know you're targeting 8 slowish threads, 1280 GCN shaders and 8GB of shared ultra-fast RAM, there's no good reason you can't implement your game within those restrictions. Anytime I here someone say they can't do something with a set of restrictions, I always take it with a health handful of salt... ;)