August 9, 2008

Driver Coming to PS3

Posted in General at 1:44 pm by playstation3

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Ubisoft has announced that Driver, the racing game developed by Ubisoft Reflections (ex-Reflections Interactive), will be available via PSN on August 14th for €4.99. Driver puts you in the driving shoes of Tanner, an undercover cop tasked with infiltrating an illegal syndicate through his impressive driving skills in a variety of cities across the globe.

PS3 developers only using 30% of the machine’s power says Naughty Dog

Posted in General at 1:42 pm by playstation3

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Threespeech has just posted an interview with Naughty Dog designer Richard Lemarchand, in which he talks up Sony’s new low-level programming tools, aimed at encouraging coders to employ the machine’s SPUs, or Synergistic Processing Units. This array of mini-RISC processors can be utilised to carry out simultaneous number-crunching tasks – the idea is to provide a more efficient computing architecture, but until recently most developers weren’t touching them. Lemarchand reckons Sony has come up with the answer:

“There’s a set of tools called Edge that were developed on the Naughty Dog premises, actually, by a group of very, very senior games programmers, some from Naughty Dog and some from elsewhere. I think it’s tremendously visionary of Sony to make these tools, which are largely low-level libraries.”

“It’s code that runs on SPUs, and it’s to do with things like animation compression, generalised compression and rendering optimisations. These guys are really old-school programmers: guys who are always looking to shave another cycle off an operation. And part of the skill of developing for the PlayStation 3 is getting the GPU to farm jobs out to the six SPUs – seeing which SPUs are idling and can take up some of the slack in a frame-to-frame kind of way.”

“That’s why we think we’re probably only using 30 or 40 per cent of the power of the PS3 right now, and there’s this great, untapped potential. All third-party developers can get the Edge libraries for free and are going to be able to use them in their own ways, to get more and more and more out of the PS3 over the years.”

It’s interesting that Lemarchand talks about distributing tasks depending on which SPUs are idle. There are two ways to employ the SPU array – lobbing out jobs to whichever unit is free (which is what Lemarchand suggests), or attributing specific tasks to specific SPUs; for example, put one aside for AI, one for physics, another for character animations. It’s the latter that most developers seem to have gone for, despite the possibility that it’s the least efficient method. It’s ironic that, if studios really are only getting at a third of the machine’s power, it’s the parallel processing array designed to speed up calculations that’s holding them back.

Apply for PS3 Home Beta Access with Free Download

Posted in General at 1:41 pm by playstation3

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As Sony prepares to launch the public Home (PS3) beta this year, the company has revealed plans to ramp up the closed beta test at the end of the month.

To apply for the latest round of testing for Studio London’s online social-networking software, North American PlayStation 3 owners simply need to download the free PlayStation Home theme that will be available in the PlayStation Store later today.

“We will be using a variety of criteria including activity on the PlayStation Network to determine eligibility for the Beta community,” director Jack Buser wrote on PlayStation.Blog, noting that current beta testers will be included in the rollout, and that SCE Europe will be contacting active PS Network users for beta participation.

The Godfather II for February 2009

Posted in General at 1:38 pm by playstation3

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Electronic Arts Friday confirmed the upcoming release of Godfather 2, which promises open-world action and bird’s eye strategy.

Similar to the first game, Godfather 2 features an original story using characters from the movie, with events unfolding in 1960s Florida, Cuba, and New York.

But rather than resting on its GTA-clone laurels, Electronic Arts is introducing an additional strategy element to the game called “The Don’s View,” which allows players to oversee the entire world from afar as they grow the family business.

“Running an organized crime family in a world defined by family loyalty is something that we felt could introduce a new strategic element to the genre,” said executive producer Hunter Smith. “That is what the ‘Don’s View’ is all about — it’s so unique, it could fundamentally change the rules of open-world games by blending action and strategy to create something entirely new.”

The Godfather II is scheduled for release on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC next February.

August 4, 2008

Rumor: Left 4 Dead Headed to PlayStation 3

Posted in General at 5:41 pm by playstation3

According to a brief aside in the latest issue of Official PlayStation Magainze, “Left 4 Dead is coming to PS3, but EA will be taking on development duties in-house.”

At present, Valve’s cooperative-focused zombie-killing shooter is slated for to hit PC and Xbox 360 on November 4. Valve’s last PS3 release, The Orange Box, was ported by EA UK and was oft-criticized for performance issues not found in the PC and 360 releases.

It’s not the first time that media outlets have mentioned PlayStation 3 version of Left 4 Dead, with listings having previously appeared via publications GamePro and EGM.

Following the last round of rumors, project leader Mike Booth denied the claims, telling fansite Left4Dead411 that “Left 4 Dead is not currently in development for the PS3.”

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PS3 firmware v2.42 causing issues with some consoles

Posted in General at 5:40 pm by playstation3

Last week Sony released the v2.42 firmware for the PS3. It was a minor update that “improves the playback quality of some Playstation 3 format software.” Unfortunately, while it has affected PS3 software, it hasn’t been in a good way.

PS3 owners are reporting a variety of issues ranging from discs not playing to not being able to get online functionality to work. Unfortunately there hasn’t been any response from Sony thus far.

If these reports are indeed accurate (there are enough of them to make me think so), then that makes the second update in a row that Sony botched. The 2.40 release was heavily bugged, which prompted 2.41 getting released shortly after. Looks like we’ll need yet another patch.

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Final Fantasy 13 PS3 Demo Coming in March

Posted in General at 5:38 pm by playstation3

A playable demo of Square Enix’s long-awaited RPG Final Fantasy XIII will arrive with the Blu-ray edition of the Final Fantasy VII-inspired CGI flick Advent Children next March, the studio has announced.

While a North American release for the Blu-ray disc and the accompanying demo have yet to be confirmed, Japan and North America share the same region coding for Blu-ray discs, meaning the movie itself will be playable on North American PS3s.

Though developers are able to lock out game content on a by-region basis, examples of region-locked PlayStation 3 games are extremely rare, as the bulk of downloadable PS3 demos and games will run on any PS3 worldwide with no issue.

In addition to the playable FF13 demo, the Blu-ray release of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children will pack new trailers of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which the company affirmed as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, and the now PSP-bound mobile FF13 game, Agito.

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