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Carmack On the Wii U and PS Vita

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the he's-still-got-a-crystal-ball-right dept.

Nintendo 140

Gamespot spoke at length with id Software's John Carmack at E3 about upcoming FPS RAGE (which is now only a few months away from release), as well as his thoughts on the new console offerings revealed by Nintendo and Sony. He seems optimistic about the Wii U, and rather less so about the Vita. "But you know the technology level on [the Wii U] brings it up to parity with the other consoles, which is nice for us. Previously, the Wii was not a target. Id Tech 5 was just not suitable for the Wii at all. ... now that we're looking at another platform that is eminently suitable for the technology, I'm sure we're going to try and bring it up on there." On the other hand, Carmack and Tim Willits both expressed concerns about whether Nintendo users were the right demographic for id games. Of the Vita, he said, "I wouldn't want to be the executive making the decision to launch a new portable gaming machine in the post-smartphone world. I think that they've picked as eminently a suitable hardware spec as they could for that. ... But of course, by the time they actually ship, there may be smartphones or these tablets with twice as much power as what they're shipping with on there. And a year or two after that, it's going to look pretty pokey."

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Carmack (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397344)

John Carmack would be proud of this man's latest release. [goo.gl]

Parent is NSFW (4, Informative)

Asmor (775910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397354)

Picture of a penis ejaculating. Just FYI. I will say, impressive timing on the shot.

Re:Parent is NSFW (2)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398434)

Anybody from Tennessee wanna click that?
Asmor gets the finders fee, I get the fixer fee.

Re:Carmack (2)

petman (619526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397470)

You're the reason for this [slashdot.org] .

Re:Carmack (0)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397972)

I clicked it anyway, and I must admit I don't think I've ever seen a picture of a penis that big before. (The picture being big, I have nothing to say about the penis itself.)

Is that you masturbating, AC? Or did you have to search for photos of guys ejaculating? It appears to be hosted on Wikipedia, but it's not actually on the wiki page.

Although, I agree, the focus isn't very good but that's some excellent timing.

who cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397368)

carmack is worthless shit.

Re:who cares? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397394)

Oh Romero, you shouldn't be upset, after all of these years, at Carmack just because you got fired for being lazy.

eminently (1, Offtopic)

cheeks5965 (1682996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397374)

i do not think that word means what you think it means

Re:eminently (1)

raulfragoso (790076) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397388)

What !? You mean that it's not a snoopy or notorious white rapper verb ? Damn, I'm so uncultured

Re:eminently (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399956)

Ideally, I think he should use "ideally."

Re:eminently (1)

hobb0001 (989441) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400892)

Are we seeing the birth of a new business phrase? I can't believe that anyone would just happen throw around the phrase "eminently suitable" several times unless it's ingrained. That is, all the suits at the office and VC meetings are throwing around the term so often that he just repeats it without thinking about how awkward it is.

He should... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397406)

..stick to what he knows.

Sony Vita.... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397408)

Now take your security holes anywhere you go!

Hmm (2, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397462)

You know the thing about the Vita... I think I would have been really really excited about it, but man I sure am soured on Sony right now.

This may sound a little counter-intuitive, but I wish Sony would license a bunch of MAME ROMs and create a competitor to the Wii store. I've played MAME on an OLED device before and... you know, there's something about each pixel emitting light... it's like you're actually using a CRT again.

I'm just babbling, but man, I can't believe this machine was unveiled and all I did was make a fart noise.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397480)

I've played MAME on an OLED device before and... you know, there's something about each pixel emitting light... it's like you're actually using a CRT again.

Then... buy a CRT monitor?

Re:Hmm (-1, Troll)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397514)

And then, what, miniaturize it? Smart ass. You should learn how to properly use a question mark.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397546)

And then, what, miniaturize it? Smart ass. You should learn how to properly use a question mark.

Obviously you've never seen a Sony Watchman. Or should that be, obviously you've never seen a Sony Watchman?

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397566)

Ah yes, the OLED quality Sony Watchman.

Re:Hmm (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402598)

A question mark ending an affirmative sentence that is broken by ellipsis is meant to be read as a suggestion spoken in a hesitant tone.

Re:Hmm (1)

Linux Torvalds (647197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398090)

If the answer involves giving money to Sony, then you asked the wrong question.

Re:Hmm (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398562)

I've played MAME on an OLED device before and... you know, there's something about each pixel emitting light... it's like you're actually using a CRT again.

What makes you say that? Most CRTs had worse contrast ratio and a worse colour gamut than any midrange LCD on the market, and these two points are what makes the OLED screen better than LCD. What am I missing that makes you compare the fantastic OLED to the crap from the past?

I have no desire to ever see a CRT again, but man I love OLEDs.

Re:Hmm (2)

Rosy At Random (820255) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398730)

CRTs have a warm fuzziness that smoothed over the lo-res, high-contrast display inputs and made them look washed-out like 70s TV/photography. You can emulate that to some extent on digital displays, but...

Also, I realise that this would have little to do with OLED similarities, except perhaps by association.

Re:Hmm (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400616)

I like LCDs for a number of reasons, but not picture quality. A nice CRT looks much better than a nice LCD, whether for TV or computing purposes.

CRTs were not phased out because of the quality of their picture. That hasn't yet been improved on. They were phased out because they were big, expensive, and clunky.

Wah? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397468)

I thought Johnny Carson died a long time ago. Carmack with him.

How can you game without physical controls? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397484)

I own a DS (and don't have plans to buy a 3DS) but I hardly use it anymore because I rarely find myself away from a PC or TV when I feel like gaming. However, there are the infrequent and brief moments not long enough to justify carrying a separate device where I do try to play a game on my phone. Except, every game I've tried besides the simple puzzle/strategy game had absolutely atrocious controls. I truly don't understand the hype behind the future of gaming on touchscreen phones. How can you play a game where the controls are on the same surface you're trying to view? Regarding accelerometers, they sound great to me in theory, but in practice work rather poorly in the games I've tried too.

Re:How can you game without physical controls? (3, Interesting)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397530)

I've done quite a bit of playing on just about any portable system you can think of and, in my opinion, the difference is mainly about what types of games you really want to play. I'd rather play Ridge Racer on my 3DS and I'd rather play Back to the Future on my iPad. I actually even prefer BTTF on the iPad vs. the way superior PC version simply because I like to lay down on the couch while I'm playing.

There's a lot of blah blah blah about iPhones etc killing Nintndo's market, but I'm really not sold on that idea for exactly the reasons you've mentioned. I do feel, though, that Nintendo should better embrace the on-line store idea. Changing cartridges is really becoming a nuisance.

Re:How can you game without physical controls? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397676)

I second the notion about playing games on the couch. Which is why I sold my high end PC on craigslist and shelled out the extra bit of money for a laptop with the highest end mobile GPU that was currently available, despite the premium. I find that I have the best of both worlds, I'm on the couch in comfort in front of the tv (usually off unless it's Adult Swim) just like a console player and instead I'm PC gaming. Sure my graphics card isn't upgradeable and it doesn't exactly square up with the very latest from Nvidia on the desktop, but those are the tradeoffs I'm willing to make to sit in comfort on a very comfy leather sofa :)

Re:How can you game without physical controls? (1)

rockman_x_2002 (1791612) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401156)

Second on changing cartridges. A mobile platform should allow you to at least install games to some form of storage memory on the system, whether that be an internal hard drive, SD card, etc. Going to a download service would be a convenience for a mobile platform. Although the PS Vita will also use cartridge-based storage.

That being said, another option would be to include multiple cartridge slots directly in the system. Instead of carrying around a bulky case to house your system and 3-5 games, why not instead have a bay of cartridge slots that would allow you to insert up to three games at once in the system. That would give you a good enough variety to justify needing cartridges while not limiting you down to pretty much just one (unless you want loose carts flopping about in your pocket or having to carry around a bulky storage case).

Re:How can you game without physical controls? (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402448)

what's the idea? Something like 2, 4, or 6 high speed SD-HC card slots? Store the game data on the cards and ship? That makes sense to me. My only concern would be losing the SD-HC card or having the data corrupted on such a card.

Re:How can you game without physical controls? (2)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398614)

Some games:
  - DungeonRaid
  - Sentinel 3
  - Tiny Tower
  - geoDefense

The problem with phone games is that almost all games are aimed at the casuals market. The "core gamers" have no way to find the good games, that are lost in a sea of generic crap for casuals. This also make so people that could have build a game with deep strategy/etc.. create a simpler game for casuals. Is more a information problem than anything else. IF a single website manage to focus on publiciting this type of game over others, then the information problem is solved. The reason no blog/website has focus on that, is that theres very few games on that type, and is very very hard to find, and the fact that even core games enjoy some casual games. A casual game will not fill with joy a core gamers (compare this to DungeonRaid, that can make you lose your job), but is enteirtan enough.
So the whole thing is like a vicious cycle. The hardware is neutral to what you can built in it. But the humans expect some type of soulless simple casual game, and that is what is made.

Re:How can you game without physical controls? (1)

Shark (78448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399276)

I wish there were controls to turn off his ability to say 'on there'. That said, it could make a pretty evil drinking game.

Note that I do not really mean to pick on that verbal tick of his. But I don't think I can help getting annoyed with it anymore than he can help saying it.

Re:How can you game without physical controls? (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401622)

Some game designs work really well with touch--things like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope. It gives a real immediacy of interaction. Most traditional game designs are a poor fit, though, because complex controls are really awkward when the view is also the control pad.

I think what Carmack is seeing is the versatility of the Nintendo U design. The controller can be a private strategy screen for competitive games (e.g. Football plays). It can be a zoom sniper scope for FPS. It can be an always available inventory or spell menu for RPG. It can be a straight touch pad for gesture control. Once again, Nintendo has keyed into the potential for controller design to drive innovation. But to actually sell the thing, they'll need compelling games to demonstrate the potential of the platform to users and to developers who aren't quite as savvy as Carmack.

Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397488)

Smartphones aren't good for gaming for one simple reason: the controls suck. Aside from the Xperia Play, I've only seen one other smartphone that might *sort of* work for gaming and that's the LG Optimus Q with its qwerty keyboard and built in trackball.

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (1)

indeterminator (1829904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397508)

Smartphones aren't good for gaming for one simple reason: the controls suck.

+1 for this.

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36399524)

Wow, I totally wasn't expecting anyone to agree with him!

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (2)

crossmr (957846) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397524)

There are some game styles for which it's okay, but mostly no.. they're terrible. I do game on my iphone, but it's more about convenience and boredom than preference. You know there are 3rd party companies making dock devices for the iphone, a Korean company here makes a DMB receiver that you can plug in to receive TV service in various countries.
I heard there is a GPS device you can get that goes around your iphone. Why doesn't some company make a wrapper than has a D-pad and 4 buttons on it. Devs could make to it as an alternative input, it would be huge. Trivial to carry around if you've carrying a bag, and certainly not any more bulky than some of the other stuff.
You could even combine it with a full wrap around case. so that you could leave it together sometimes rather than always take it apart.
You might be looking at adding what? 1.5-2" to the overall length but not really anything to the width. (yes inevitable spam jokes)

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401052)

Why doesn't some company make a wrapper than has a D-pad and 4 buttons on it. Devs could make to it as an alternative input, it would be huge.

http://icontrolpad.com/ [icontrolpad.com]

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401430)

http://icontrolpad.com/node/22 [icontrolpad.com]
it's not made for general use. They need to make something that's actually supported and usable.
it's also a bit of an overkill on shape. I was thinking of something that just extended off the end, something simpler. This is more of a luxury model.

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401670)

These are available, but such add-ons are never a big success, because they never achieve enough market penetration to get developers to design games that really take advantage of them. Much of the appeal of a phone is that it's so easy to carry that it's always with you; most people are not going to want to carry around a peripheral as well

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (2)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398114)

It's a huge problem. Finger games like Angry Birds are okay. Anything requiring a controller or shooting or responsiveness is bloody awful. I downloaded some kind of Geometry Wars clone for my Android phone. The game was great but it was virtually unplayable because the controls were gimped by the format. The game used two circles on the screen to represent thumbsticks but within 60 seconds you'd find your fingers sticking to the phone and your ship became virtually uncontrollable. It also rules out any kind of emulator play - I have a ZX Spectrum emulator (Marvin) which runs magnificently except for the fact you can't play any damned games through lack of proper controls.

The Experia Play looks interesting and at least it has some hard buttons but I think it needs a broader coalition of phone manufacturers and Google to come up with a reasonable game control specification, one which programmers can utilise if present and for phone makers to implement how they see fit. Perhaps it would have a couple of profiles from the most basic (roller ball / optical thing), to dpad, to analogue controllers. There should even be a requirement for the controller to be part of the phone, it could be a separate bluetooth thingy which meant 3rd party peripherals could fill the void.

So until smart phones get their act together I think there will be scope for the likes of the Vita & 3DS. Personally I expect the Vita to appear in some phone form factor at some point anyway. It's basically a tablet / phone anyway in its 3G format so it doesn't seem a huge leap to consider a hybrid although it would probably have to be smaller and run android or something to be of use in that capacity.

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (2)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398268)

"So until smart phones get their act together I think there will be scope for the likes of the Vita & 3DS."

The 3DS will do fine but the Vita will flop, as has all recent portable game systems released by Sony. Their market now plays games on smartphones while the market for the 3DS are usually too young for expensive smartphones and people will buy it for the innovative 3D.

Smartphone gaming is the future. Apparently you guys have a bit of a problem with touchscreens but hundreds of millions of iOS devices have been sold, the public has spoken. [bgr.com] Call of Duty: Zombies was one of the most popular iOS games of 2010 [joystiq.com] and it features those two onscreen joysticks [youtube.com] you hate so much.

It comes down to this: new game came out, you can either buy $200 portable system and pay $40 for the game or download it to your iOS device for $10. Guess what most people will do?

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (2)

WhirlwindMonk (1975382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398506)

It comes down to this: new game came out, you can either buy $200 portable system and pay $40 for the game or buy a $200 iOS device that will get a newer revision three times before the next portable gaming system comes out and download it to your iOS device for $10. Guess what most people will do?

Fixed for accuracy.

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399058)

The 3DS will do fine but the Vita will flop, as has all recent portable game systems released by Sony. Their market now plays games on smartphones while the market for the 3DS are usually too young for expensive smartphones and people will buy it for the innovative 3D.

Well I've just said why phones suck for games, at least the kind traditional players want to play.

As for the 3DS's "innovative" 3D, it certainly hasn't helped sales which are falling faster than a lead balloon at the moment. Not that the 3D adds much to the experience except headaches which may explain why many people play with it disable or at its minimal setting. Stupid gimmicks only get you so far, it's games that count. If the 3DS doesn't start getting a flow of decent games it will falter and fail.

I have no idea what will happen with the Vita. On paper the hardware looks amazing and vastly superior to the 3DS but I see no reason to gamble with my money for an unproven device. I'll let reviews and the sales dictate whether I plonk down money for one when they actually turn up on sale. p. I also think that Vita could pull an ace out of its sleeve if they implement Kindle like contract free 3G access. Access to PSN and downloads should be completely free over partner networks. An always on device would be a killer feature and networks wouldn't complain because they'd be making money hand over fist by selling internet passes, multiplayer passes, VOIP credits and other services to their captive audience. Of course Sony isn't always known for doing the smart thing but we'll see.

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402554)

Smartphone gaming is the future.

For non-gamers or puzzle games, perhaps. For gamers and action games, no, unless more manufacturers start building proper controls into their devices.

And just LOL at that video. I love how jerky the player is forced to move and how much concentration he has to put on simply moving around because of the lame touchscreen controls. He actually has to come to a complete stop right in front of enemies and then fumble around trying to move his reticle into position even with auto-aim. It's very obvious that he's also making movements that he doesn't intend to, like looking towards the ground and moving too much/too little. It makes it look like he's drunk playing.

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (1)

rockman_x_2002 (1791612) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401288)

I downloaded that Geometry Wars clone as well. It's a game called PewPew. The controls are a little iffy but after playing a while you do tend to get somewhat used to them. Overall it's a good game, and I don't fault the developer for the control issues.

That said, smart phones are powerful enough to handle complex games. We know this. Most have seen the Kal-El "Glowball" demo that came out recently (if you have not, youtube it). It shows off what the nVidia Tegra 3 quad-core can do, and it only goes up from here. But we need controllers. Desperately.

First, though, we need APIs for it. For the iPhone and Android each, we need an API very similar to DirectX's DirectInput. Something that defines a structured set of rules and specifications for controllers and how various controller functions are handled (thumbsticks, D-pads, buttons, etc.). Once that's in place, then you start having companies develop compatible controllers for it, and have a certification system in place. Then, if you're a game developer, if your game needs to use a more traditional control set, encourage developers to support the platform for the system. In other words, make a gaming API that is very tightly integrated into the OS itself (like DirectX is with Windows), and include a rich, highly-functional input API to handle gaming.

Do this, and gaming on mobile devices will soar, and it won't just be touch-based games either. You'll have real, honest-to-goodness traditional gaming the way it ought to be done.

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (1)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398586)

i play solitare on my phone and angry birds on the xoom, but that's it.

touch screen sucks for almost everything else. ever tried an FPS on a touch screen ? it's painfull.

now, the xperia play is the right idea done by the wrong company. if it was from LG, motorola, samsung, i'd might consider it. from sony ? definetly no.

now, if only nintendo would put a baseband radio on the 3DS...

Re:Smartphones do not make good gaming systems (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398718)

The Shadowgun controls look rather competent.

Lead. (2, Informative)

headkase (533448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397490)

Carmack used to lead the 3D Engine sector around. A bit of history, Quake [wikipedia.org] , is the grand-daddy that started it all: first true-3D Game. And it was Carmack. Now, Epic Games went on to win the "licensing" war and that is why practically every game today has a bit of Unreal Engine 3 in it. Carmack however, is still one of the smartest cookies around: he has the ability to keep on pumping out revolution after revolution. And now that Zenimax has folded id Software into it: Carmack doesn't have to worry about those pesky "business" aspects [gamasutra.com] anymore and can just concentrate on where he shines: code.

Re:Lead. (1)

zonker (1158) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397502)

Only problem is I think Carmack is more interested in rocket engines than video games these days. Honestly, I can't blame him.

Re:Lead. (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398968)

If he can for rocket science what he did for gaming I think he'll be leaving the world in better shape.

Re:Lead. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399990)

You mean turning rockets into big fucking guns?

Re:Lead. (2)

imroy (755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397512)

A bit of history, Quake, is the grand-daddy that started it all: first true-3D Game.

What, no Wolfenstein or Doom? They weren't entirely 3D, but they were what started iD Software on the road to success. Oh, and IIRC, the first truely 3D game was Descent [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Lead. (3, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397544)

I distinctly remember playing 3D games well before VGA or even IBM PC was invented. They were mostly a few lines of wireframe 3D, but 3D nonetheless.

Elite. (4, Informative)

headkase (533448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397598)

You are correct, and the most notable one I can think of (one I actually played on my Commodore 64) is: Elite [wikipedia.org] . That game was so far ahead of it's time that computers in it's era simply could not do it justice. It's eerily similar to games like Eve Online [wikipedia.org] today.

Re:Elite. (2)

ld a,b (1207022) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398786)

A 3D T-Rex chased people around on ZX-81s with 1024 bytes of RAM two years before Elite was published.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3D_Monster_Maze [wikipedia.org]

Re:Elite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36399666)

Holly shit I've been trying to figure out what game that was for years!!!! I had Elite on my NES when I was a kid, got the game from my older cousin. Thought the concept was awesome but was too young to really get into the game. When ROMs became popular I searched and searched for this title but never found it. Thank you so much...

Re:Lead. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397888)

Elite has been mentioned. However, there was another game - Driller - which wasn't wireframe.

http://www.lemon64.com/?game_id=783

Re:Lead. (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#36402364)

The early games were 3D in that they had a Z-depth, but the polygons were not shaded. Earlier home computers couldn't do vector transforms and shading calculations fast enough. Descent added polygon meshes, and was able to do 3D shading efficiently because the rendered viewpoint was constrained to a basic portal of cubes. Carmack opened things up in Quake by figuring out how to draw things efficiently by NOT drawing things that weren't visible. Visibility culling made it possible to pre-calculate what needed to be rendered so that only calculations related to relevant polys would enter the pipeline.

Re:Lead. (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397554)

Heheh, sorry: I never played Decent so it's conveniently missing in my memory: first-person shooter for the win! :D Wolf and Doom were previous to Quake but Quake was first with true 3D that's why I mentioned it! Remember, first playing Quake everyone still used the keyboard-only controls inherited from Wolf and Doom: to have mouselook you had to create an "autoexec.cfg" file with the line "+mouselook" to have it persistent. In the game options there was no option to have mouselook permanently on, that came in later games.

Re:Lead. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397984)

Decent is a game I wish still existed. Same with Wing Commander. These games (both space flight/combat) were very fun, and Descent had some very fun multiplayer.

Wing Commander had a good storyline up to WC3, Then once they *spoiler*killed the bigbad of the first two series*spoiler*, Then in WC4 it turned into humans vs humans and I made some frowny faces on the storyline. I never played the 5th game (Prophecy) and from what I heard it wasn't as fun.

Meanwhile Descent completely lacked a storyline (the mission in each was the same, "go blow up the core" and then escape before the location blows up.) However the game play was effectively a FPS game with 6 degrees of freedom. Sometimes very disorienting.

I haven't played any game since that felt as free and fun to play as WC and Descent. There was some close-to-fun stuff in one of the Startrek space combat games, but trying to use capships as space fighters isn't as fun (it's more strategy "target weapons, engines, etc.") Though I believe it could be done much better, the "StarTrek" name is detrimental since startrek doesn't use fighter craft in combat. (Star Wars on the other hand does, but Star Wars games are so pigeonholed to the "StarWars" universe that you don't get any 6DOF here either.)

The only other series "Elite" (which is a space trading game with some combat thrown in, mostly as pirates (WC:Privateer series has some of this) I enjoyed to some extent, but the game I actually played was "Frontier: First Encounters" which was basically Elite 3, and the floppy version was less buggy than the CD version (I had both.) Elite had more in common with StarFlight for the commerce side, which was probably why I played it far as I could, but the game was so broken that I couldn't find the storyline.

It wasn't until Mass Effect till found a "space-centric game" with a decent storyline, but it's a traditional FPS more like DOOM in this regard. Too many humanoids.

So this is what I'd like if someone wants to step up to it:
- 6DOF like Descent that also has planetary/building in addition to outerspace and intersteller combat.
- A storyline that could include war, but only if it's not against "aggressive non-humanoids" eg sentient androids, giant space bugs, zombies, etc are fair game.
(human vs human, and human vs other two-eyed,two-armed,two-legged aliens should be avoided as they are cop-outs for creativity.)
- The spacecraft vs spacecraft should allow 6DOF while in zero-gravity, and take into account gravity fields of planets, stars.
- Hand to hand combat should play like a traditional FPS, but incorporate both physics and environment. (One of things that I didn't particularly like about ME1 was that fighting outside the space station didn't really differ at all from inside, and ammo was unlimited with a handwaved explanation.) eg, bullets and rockets won't fire in a non-combustion environment, and most can't fire underwater.
- Cap ship combat should, at the option of the player, decide if they want to man the fighters, or stay on the capship and use them remotely, or fire the guns on the capship.
- If the game incorporates trade, it should be story and consequence driven (eg opening fire on friendly aliens makes them hostile to trade, but you can bribe them to be friendly as well. ME implemented some of this, but not quite to the level needed to affect the endgame (really if you sat on the fence too much in ME and ME2 you lose some of the storyline.)
- Collecting minerals, lifeforms, salvage, engaging in piracy etc should not be like ME (where ME1's terrain vehicle (Mako) was difficult to use and extremely slow, ME2 just made it stupidly boring by scanning the planet for just 4 minerals, one that was rare.) Starflight2 probably did it better (eg just drive the vehicle up to a point to pick up whatever is under it, ME2 had the hammerhead... which is almost perfect... it could have done without the "try and hold the craft above the X" bit, doing that seemed to just intentionally waste time.

The Wii U could do something interesting with this (think about the HUD needed in flight simulators and space flight sims), though I think it's possible to make an interesting game (eg bridge commander) with this, or even get 3 friends with the touch-screen controllers (be them local or remote) and operate the same ship at their posts. Also the video camera, microphone and speakers could be used for the likewise video communications with other craft.

Re:Lead. (3, Informative)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398290)

Decent is a game I wish still existed. Same with Wing Commander. These games (both space flight/combat) were very fun, and Descent had some very fun multiplayer.

Oh, It still exists. [interplay.com] , now on wiiware... Since the source code [descent2.com] was released, it's been and ported to at least XP (don't know about Vista or 7 -- been a while since I had a MS OSs).

(Wait...What the hell am I doing replying to an Anonymous Coward's wall of text?!)

Re:Lead. (3, Informative)

wildstoo (835450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398780)

I posted a few months ago, waxing nostalgic for 6DOF games and the Descent series specifically. Nice to know I'm not the only one who still wants them.

There are a few Descent and Descent 2 source ports, the best of which is probably D2X [descent2.de]

.

Here's a thread demonstrating some of the graphical features of the port: http://www.descent2.de/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1169 [descent2.de] .

It's still an awesome game.

Re:Lead. (1)

WhirlwindMonk (1975382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398532)

I haven't played any game since that felt as free and fun to play as WC and Descent. There was some close-to-fun stuff in one of the Startrek space combat games, but trying to use capships as space fighters isn't as fun (it's more strategy "target weapons, engines, etc.") Though I believe it could be done much better, the "StarTrek" name is detrimental since startrek doesn't use fighter craft in combat. (Star Wars on the other hand does, but Star Wars games are so pigeonholed to the "StarWars" universe that you don't get any 6DOF here either.)

Might I recommend Freespace [gog.com] and/or Freespace 2 [gog.com] ? Sounds like they might be exactly what you're looking for, and with the Freespace 2 Source Code Project [indiegames.us] the graphics have gotten a very nice upgrade (though both those games still looked good years after their initial release).

Re:Lead. (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399440)

http://www.beyondtheredline.net/demo.html [beyondtheredline.net] is supposed to be a pretty good Battlestar Galactica -themed game based on the Freespace2 engine... it's even available in the Debian/Ubuntu repos so it's pretty easy to try.

I also liked Vendetta-Online back in the day, before they became more EVE-like and added crappy licensing requirements for the bigger ships. I'll have my space combat without pointless grinding, thank you. But it's worth a look.

Sadly, haven't seen anything with true 6DoF physics and gravity, except for some of the more hardcore simulations like Orbiter [ucl.ac.uk] . Quite a bit of a learning curve, and there are a lot of addons (many of them incompatible with each other) that you have to fuss with to make it look pretty and have sound effects, but it's quite rewarding (and unfortunately Win32 only). There's a space combat addon somewhere, but I haven't played with it yet.

Re:Lead. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401692)

Same with Wing Commander. These games (both space flight/combat) were very fun,

*cough* GOG [gog.com] *cough*.

GOG recently (about a week ago) signed up EA. It's currently the only one up there, but there you go.

Re:Lead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36402164)

Wing Commander Prophecy was pretty fun, though obviously not as good as WC1, WC2 or Privateer. It puts you against a new alien threat that makes the Kilrathi look rather tame.

Star Wars: TIE Fighter [mobygames.com] was a great game that played similarly to WC. If you've ever played X-Wing, you'll probably like TIE Fighter even more.

Star Trek: Invasion [mobygames.com] for PlayStation was a nice game along the lines of WC or Colony Wars space combat. You get a Starfleet fighter craft, so you're not trying to pilot huge capships.

Mentioned above, Colony Wars [mobygames.com] was a fantastic PlayStation game. It does put you against other humans, but the story and VERY rich library of historical records in the game is much more interesting than say something like WC4. For the time the graphics were absolutely stunning (you almost get blinded when you turn towards a nearby star) and the soundtrack [coldstorage.org.uk] is some of the best game music ever made IMO.

Freelancer [mobygames.com] was a really good game. It had human vs human combat, but the storyline also includes aliens later on. It's sort of like Privateer where you can explore freely, upgrade ships/parts and trade.

You might also check out Terminal Velocity [mobygames.com] and Forsaken [mobygames.com] for games that are similar to Descent.

Re:Lead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36398128)

Wikipedia says no. (Backed up by other sources)

Descent: Release date March 17, 1995. (Some mention of the Shareware version being available in December 1994)

Quake: Release date: June 22, 1996.

Descent had mouse control from the off. (You needed it to fly the thing. Mouselook was not optional)

Re:Lead. (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401188)

How do you play Descent with a mouse? I always played it with a full-sized, twisty-handled joystick. Use the stick for rotating, the hat-switch for strafing and assign two of the base buttons to forward/back.

Re:Lead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397874)

What about Ultima Underworld? System Shock huh?
Carmack really invented nothing...

Re:Lead. (1)

hkmwbz (531650) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397840)

It's too bad that Carmack seems to think that tablets and phones are goig to replace dedicated gaming consoles. Dedicated consoles will always be around, because for a lot of games you actually need those dedicated gaming controls. Touchscreen gaming, frankly, sucks most of the time.

Re:Lead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36398212)

Descent appears to have come first. And if it's not a true-3D game, neither is Quake... (People suffered motion sickness and I've seen the odd player subconciously crane their neck as they move their ship around)

Re:Lead. (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399850)

A bit of history, Quake [wikipedia.org], is the grand-daddy that started it all: first true-3D Game

What about Ultima Underworld? 4 years before Quake, and it was fully 3D, except for monsters/NPCs which were sprites. But so were the monsters in System Shock, and nobody would argue that's not a 3D game.

PS Vita... (2)

Sollord (888521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397562)

The PS Vita is basically a 5 inch tablet in a gaming friendly frame given it's touch abilities there no technical reason for Sony not to have an app market beyond the basic ps store for games

Re:PS Vita... (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397592)

That's what the Xperia Play is for, isn't it?

Re:PS Vita... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36398076)

Didn't Sony mention that the NGP (at the time) would support PlayStation Suite and that PSS would allow approved non-gaming apps to be included?

While not the best Android-like solution, it's probably in Sony's best interest to allow a lot of innovative apps to appear on the console through that app system. Sony have continuously shot themselves in the foot due to them not being able to catch up in terms of app-like features for the PS3 and PSP, so why not allow outside developers to fill in the gaps with paid and free content?

Re:PS Vita... (1)

WhirlwindMonk (1975382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398550)

Sounds like a fantastic feature for them to remove a few years down the road when a security hole allowing all homebrew and custom firmware is discovered!

The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (1, Interesting)

Leo Sasquatch (977162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397564)

An on-rails shooter in a vaguely Mad-Max style world, with a colour palette of grey and brown, and a small selection of identikit, cookie-cutter mooks as enemies. They all have the same faces, the same hairstyles, the same body-armour, like they were stamped out of cardboard, and they all act in the exact same fashion. They're all combat robots, who give up only on death and are 100% combat-effective until that point. None of them will run away after being wounded, none of them will try to crawl away after being legshot, none of them will beg for mercy. Doors you're not supposed to go through will be made of impervium, and react not at all to your strongest explosives. Two oil drums piled up will provide an immovable barrier that you'll have to find an alternate route around.

So it's Doom with pretty graphics. Whoopee-fricking-skip.

Just like every other FPS that's come along in the last 20 years. I know this guy had a hand in creating the genre, but it's like he had one really excellent idea 20 years ago, and he's been milking it dry ever since. I can't fault him for that; if there's people willing to keep paying his wages to do the same thing he's always done, but with 5% more shiniez than last time, good luck to him.

It's just after all the hype about this damn game, and a development cycle only slightly shorter than DNF, I was expecting something a bit different. But why bother actually doing something different and clever, when Big Guns, Shiny Metal 17 will sell just as well for a tenth the actual effort, especially if it has Carmack's name on the box.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397756)

Seeing Rage demoed back to back with Fallout 3 freshly in our minds, Borderlands having been released three months prior and New Vegas looking shiny and new at E3, there was a bit of buyer apathy when we saw YAPAOWG (yet another post-apocolyptic open-world game).

Rage simply exists to fund the engine it's built around. It's nice when you develop a new engine for the next 3-5 years worth of games, and can pay for all of it's development in a single title. Everything after that is pure profit.

Bethesda has iDtech, EA has Frostbite (and others), and then there's always Crytech and Unreal, but it's nice to have an inhouse engine for use with your other titles.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (2)

Trilkin (2042026) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397834)

This [penny-arcade.com] is as relevant now as it was then...

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (1)

Crag (18776) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400290)

Bethesda has iDtech, ...

Did you perhaps mean Gamebryo [wikipedia.org] , which is what they used for the Elder Scrolls and Fallout 3 games? Or did you mean Creation Engine [wikipedia.org] , which they developed in-house for Skyrim?

There's no reference to Bethesda on the id Tech [wikipedia.org] wikipedia page.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (4, Insightful)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397928)

As opposed to what? The latest Bioware RPG, where you have three dialogue options (Angelic, Satanic, and Snarky), act as a glorified FedEx courier, and use extreme violence to solve every problem you face? Or maybe you prefer the latest indie puzzle game, which is a direct ripoff of either Tetris or Sokoban (apparently the only two puzzle games to ever exist, although there are rumors of a third archetype called "breakout"). Or maybe you prefer Civilization X, which is just like Civilization IX, except it has Morocco as a playable civilization this time! Or there's always SimCity, where you build a city. Again. Just like the rest of the SimCity games. Let's not even get into racing games, which haven't evolved since the very first generation.

I like Bioware, Firaxis, and Maxis as much as the next guy, but... seriously... what are expecting? You can tear down any genre, and in those genres there are always going to be the complicated/innovative and the streamlined/derivative games. id makes mindless, uncomplicated action games, where you kill everything that moves. Don't like that? Don't play it. Some of us like that kind of gameplay. It sounds like you're more demanding, and that's fine. I love complex, deep games, but when I play an FPS, I generally just want to blow shit up and/or shoot people in the face. I don't want to deal with any complexity beyond that, when I'm playing an FPS, because it just draws time away from blowing shit up... and, frankly, the idea of someone begging for his life or limping around sounds disturbing to me. I like shooting at pixels, not humans. Anyway, why would I want wide open worlds to explore, enemies that beg for their life or limp, or AI when I'm going to be playing multiplayer deathmatches 99% of the time? Scratch that. 100% of the time. It sounds to me like you want a wholly different genre... some kind of console game, where you play solo, solve puzzles, and explore the world. That sounds boring as fuck to me, but, then again, I like FPS games.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (2)

wildstoo (835450) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399360)

I agree with some of your post, but this line is ridiculous:

Let's not even get into racing games, which haven't evolved since the very first generation.

Bullshit. There has been as much (or as little, as you seem to think) innovation in that genre as in any other. There are racing sims, rally sims, arcade racers, combat racers, sandbox racers and further sub-genres of each one, with almost every vehicle imaginable represented at some point. Every aspect of racing games has evolved greatly over the history of racing games; the physics, the graphics, the interaction with other cars and the environment, the organization and structure of the events, the realism. Go and read the Wikipedia article on racing games [wikipedia.org] and then tell me there's been no innovation. If you still don't see it, it's because you're choosing not to.

I suspect that you're just not a fan of the genre, and your justification for saying that it hasn't evolved will be along the lines of "but after all this time they're still just driving around a track!", when of course driving around a track is exactly the point of most racing games. What do you expect them to become? On the one hand you complain that there's very little innovation in games and on the other you cite that the simplicity of the id-style FPS is something that appeals to you.

What do you really want?

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397938)

Those are all staples of the genre -- not because no one ever thought "hey, let's try something different", but because they work.

The bad guy behavior you describe is generally what you would expect of 'enemy' entities in a FPS, and works perfectly fine as an obstacle which the player can overcome within the game-provided framework. That this is not a realistic way for humans to behave is about as much of a problem that it is that asteroids wrap around the edge of the screen. The same goes for the rest of your list -- most titles do not aim at hyper-realism, and can benefit from the player's understanding of genre conventions.

Not to say there's not value in going outside established convention, but you don't have to challenge every trope of the genre in every title. In terms of making the game fun to play it is just as important to explore the gameplay mechanics. Despite the superficial similarities you list, it does not appear to me that Rage will play just like Doom did.

I wouldn't expect a long development cycle to have much correlation to the originality of a title, either. If anything, the more out there titles tend to be smaller projects. Rage took a long time because they're id Software, and they're making a next-gen engine along with it.

It's funny that you complain both about the long development cycle, and that they're spending "a tenth the actual effort" of whatever you'd like them to be doing.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398040)

On-rails? You do realise you're talking about the iPhone version of the game, right? Which is innovative simply for bringing that kind of graphics to a mobile platform.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36398094)

It's not innovative when its inevitable.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398208)

Why is this rated interesting? Or being modded up at all?

The parent post couldn't be further from interesting or considered close to a rational thought.
Tons of assumptions, false claims, and ignorance abound.
1. It's not on rails.
2. It seems the parent hasn't even seen video of the gameplay. (considering characters react to where you shoot them in realistic ways)
3. Having not played the game the parent has already written it off as similar to every other FPS.
4. It seems the parent thinks Carmack is the game designer, which has never been the case.
5. Mega Texturing is a bit more than clever.

In conclusion,
Bad mods, stop doing that!

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36398504)

Cynicism sells. It makes you feel intelligent and wise without the need to know anything about the subject.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (1)

tixxit (1107127) | more than 3 years ago | (#36400800)

Carmack demo'd a version of Rage running on an iPhone that was shooter on rails. I think he is somehow confusing a tech demo showing what the engine could do on a phone (which WAS impressive) with the game they are developing.

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (1)

FlynnMP3 (33498) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398406)

*stands up tentatively*
"Hi, my name is Mike and I'm a disenfranchised video gamer."
[rest of room, which is packed] "Hi Mike."

I've played my share of FPS and deathmatch multiplayer. It was super fun at the time, but I was never good enough to be competitive at it. The general attitude of the players now is not something I want to associate with. I only want to have fun, they seem to want to lock horns and piss in each other's faces to establish some kind of online social order of dominance. The third person ensemble piece games (Mass Effect, Dragon's Age) are fun, but I've exhausted nearly everything novel out of them. Minecraft enjoyed a big mind share for a while, and I'll likely return to that quite often like an old friend, but it doesn't capture my attention much anymore. Popcap games are fun for a 30 minute diversion, but have no holding power.

The one genre I really REALLY enjoyed, the Splinter Cell series, was killed by their masters and the overzealous DRM releases. Sigh. I've tried to pick up and enjoy Metal Gear Solid games, but it just isn't the same. What I need to do is get really drunk and try again, wipe the brain pan of any coherent memories of Splinter Cell to give Metal a solid shake (double pun intended).

I'll play Mass Effect 3 when it comes out and I have really low expectations, so I'm hoping to be surprised there. Diablo 3 looks too much like an isometric version of World of Warcraft for me to get excited about it anymore, that and Battle.net isn't my idea of a good thing at all. Games used to be about connecting gamers together to play games. Now everything has to be "social" while I broadcast my gaming habits to the world. That and Mr. Bobby Kotick pisses me off just on principle.

"Shit," I say with sudden realization, "I finally grew up."
*sits down*

Re:The innovation on display in Rage is staggering (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398440)

"Shit," I say with sudden realization, "I finally grew up."

Then you, too, are ready for "International Mapouka Challenge" - So, Nintendo, when are we going to see it? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWXHYfMO4l0/ [youtube.com] [NSFW]

Specialized interface is a big deal. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36397584)

Vita will do fine. Smart phones are largely ghettoed off to puzzle games because they never have the tools needed to interface with the machine like a gamer would want.

Re:Specialized interface is a big deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36398112)

The advent of the Xperia Play forced the inclusion of explicit button input functions within Android 2.3, including a layout that surpasses what the Sega Saturn had (i.e. extra buttons can be mapped). The problem comes from the manufacturers not wanting to make phones with gaming buttons on their systems.

Rage != Rail shooter? (1)

uofitorn (804157) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397736)

Perhaps someone can set me straight, I've watched a few videos of Rage and it does not seem to be a "rail-shooter" at all. The player looked like he was free to move about in the x-y-z dimensions untethered. Am I missing something?

iPhone? (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397772)

Perhaps you mean the iPhone version of: Rage [engadget.com] ?

That one is a "on-rails" shooter as the iPhone compared to a PC is a limited device. But, the upcoming full-release for the PC and consoles is a full not-rails game.

Re:Rage != Rail shooter? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398514)

Some people are confusing it with the iPhone version which is on rails and was released a few months back.

Regarding Wii U's projected demographic (1)

Lysander7 (2085382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36397830)

Absolutely right about Nintendo not marketing to a cohesive demographic. On one hand, the graphics will be significantly better, which will appeal mostly to "hardcore" gamers, but on the other, they have a bulky, expensive controller which is the most un-ergonomic piece of crap I can think of, appealing more to trendy demographics and families seeking a more interactive approach to casual gaming. Considering the recent /. thread regarding the average gamer age being 38 (I personally think it's in the twenties, but the point I'm making is still valid), Nintendo is seriously missing out on the "hardcore" gamer demographic, especially with the fact that even the well-established games with potential such as Zelda cater to preteens with the storyline and level of difficulty of the fighting system and puzzles. Wii U's attempt to appeal to everyone is going to consequently appeal to no one - the family demographic being off-put by the cost resulting from the increased processing and graphics, and the "hardcore" gamers being off-put by the controller. And if that post itself was not cohesive, my apologies. I'm drunk off my ass.

Brief Summary - All You Need to Know (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36398018)

"As well as... his [Carmack's] thoughts on the new console offerings revealed by Nintendo and Sony"

GS: Have you had any chance to look at the Wii U at all?

JC: ... No ...

GS: Speaking of touch screens, did you get a chance to look at the PlayStation Vita at all?

JC: No...

Wii U Remote for PC Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36399306)

I would love to have a tablet to use at home to be surfing while I'm watching my big screen tv in the living room. The reason I haven't bought one yet is they are too expensive and underpowered. I would only use the device while at home. When I go out, I go out to get away from my electronic gadgets. I love my PC, but between work and the coding I do at home that's plenty for me.

So for me a Wii U Remote like device that I could connect to my PC would be perfect. It wouldn't need a hard drive, ram, nvidia tegra 2 processor, 3g, 2 cameras, ... It would use my powerful desktops quad core cpu, nvidia desktop graphics card, 2 TB hard drive, 8 GB ram, and just have the 1024x768 image wirelessly sent to it from the desktop. This would solve both of those problems, it would be cheaper since it wouldn't need all those components and it would be as powerful as my desktop.

I would love to see a manufacturer make such a device.

Vita vs Galaxy S Wifi 5.0 (1)

guidryp (702488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36399410)

I was thinking of getting a Galaxy Wifi 5.0 as a portable internet/app/gaming/media device. (Smartphones/contracts too expensive IMO).

So when I saw the Vita specs and price I was quite pleasantly surprised.

It is amazing HW for the price.

But having something that is locked down pretty much defeats the purpose so I will go for the inferior device that I can run anything on.

I just need some kind of controller attachment like the http://icontrolpad.com/ [icontrolpad.com] .

Or I need the Vita to be more open. I think I will have a better chance of getting a controller for the Galaxy Wifi.

Portable Gaming (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 3 years ago | (#36401646)

I wouldn't want to be the executive making the decision to launch a new portable gaming machine in the post-smartphone world... But of course, by the time they actually ship, there may be smartphones or these tablets with twice as much power as what they're shipping with on there.

Y'know, I hear people say that a lot. They wouldn't dream of buying a PSP when they could just use their phone instead. But there's a huge difference.

I've spent some time with the likes of Angry Birds, etc (mainstream games that would be worth a damn) on an iPhone, and the touch screen is well-suited for that. But for other games that try to be platformers with virtual on-screen joypads and action buttons, it just doesn't work well. I need to have real buttons. The PS Vita has a set of physical buttons because it is trying to be more than a casual bird-slinger. Games that can utilize this style of input tend to have more depth than what could be done with tapping and swiping.

Rage HD is an excellent example of ID Tech 5 running on strictly touchscreen hardware. It's enjoyable, looks great, and makes masterful use of the hardware. The developers were careful not to overuse onscreen buttons. However, at the end of the day, it was only ever meant to be played casually and thus it doesn't have the dept of, say, Rage (upcoming). The same can be said for Infinity Blade, which implements Unreal Engine 3 on iOS devices. Fun, well-made, though it borders on the edge of tedious when you either miss or accidentally press on-screen buttons.

If you only play casual games with your phone then the PS Vita is probably not for you. If you're interested in having portable games comparable to full-length console games, then the phone will probably disappoint you.

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