August 5, 2008 // 6:39 pm
- Richard Lemarchand
, from Uncharted: Drake's Fortune developer Naughty Dog, has said that he thinks they are probably only using around 30 or 40 percent of the power of the PS3 at the moment and that the PS3 has a great, untapped potential.
To quote: Lemarchand can talk about another interesting subject, though: the prospect that, in the near future, multi-platform PS3 games will outshine the versions running on rival consoles: "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 programmer, 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."
Before proceeding, we need to explain a little of the unique manner in which the PS3's much-admired, phenomenally powerful Cell processor works. Essentially, it contains eight mini-processors called Synergistic Processor Units (SPUs), six of which can be given tasks to perform at any given time. Lemarchand continues: "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."
Here, Lemarchand comes up with an interesting revelation: "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."
Lemarchand also waxes lyrical about the culture of cooperation that exists between first-party Sony Studios: "We have this culture of open communication: we like to trade stories about what we found were ways of doing things that worked, and what didn't. We're always trading war-stories with Insomniac and Evolution and Sucker Punch.
We're just one block away from Sony Santa Monica - the guys who made God Of War - and we get our designers together with theirs for formal lunches, and just talk about tools, design approaches and so on. So there's this town square feeling of everybody trading stories about our best practices, and I think it makes everybody stronger and smarter."