Differences between Xbox 360 and PS3: developers speak.

If you mix a new MP4 with 2 hours of jam every day what do you get? Well, I usually swallow a couple of interesting podcasts (or not, depending on the day)

Yesterday it was episode 15 of Criterion’s Crash FM podcast. Crash FM is the fictional radio station that accompanies us in the games of the ‘Burnout’ saga, and the podcast talks with the developers about it, and most recently about ‘Burnout: Paradise’, the latest installment.

In chapter 15 they interview several people from the team that has just finished the development of ‘Burnout: Paradise’. the guys say interesting things about the differences between consoles, both at the level of development, power, DVD vs Blu-Ray, etc. Here are some interesting summaries:

Differences between Xbox 360 and PS3: developers speak

The development of ‘Burnout: Paradise’ was oriented from the beginning to be the same game on both platforms. The idea was that there would be no differences. Not making an Xbox 360 game and porting it to PS3 or vice versa, but somehow making a multi-machine game that would work identically on both.

The most important issue from the point of view of these types is not the power or architecture of the platform, but that the development tools (editing, debugging, testing, etc.) behave well. The reality initially is that the Xbox development tools are easier to use. The PS3 ones aren’t as great, but it seems that with your feedback, Sony has improved the tools a lot in the last year, and continues to do so.

Differences between Xbox 360 and PS3: developers speak

Many Criterion developers were initially inclined to work with Xbox, but made a significant effort to have the teams well balanced and that both developments were on par. Also, any small changes should be applied and thoroughly tested on both platforms. The idea remains the same: the same game, exactly the same, whether you play it on an Xbox or a PS3.

Currently both machines give an incredible power, both. From a graphical point of view it is true that it is easier to do certain things with the Xbox, but the PS3 can do a lot of the work at the CPU level, since it is much more powerful. This means that in practice, graphic tricks cost the same on one machine as on the other. It’s just that the PS3 pulls more Cell (CPU) than RSX graphics chip (GPU) because it can afford it.

Differences between Xbox 360 and PS3: developers speak

Faced with the insistent question of which machine is more powerful and will be able to give better games, the answer is always the same: it depends on both the power and the evolution in development techniques. The PS3 is more powerful, but the Xbox 360 takes longer, so they will always go hand in hand.

If at any time there is any important difference, any difference that is really noticeable, it seems certain that it will not be in this generation.

Differences between Xbox 360 and PS3: developers speak

Blu-Ray vs DVD and hard drives
Developing a game that has to be identical on both machines, what differences are there between DVD and Blu-Ray?

Regarding the size of the disks there seems to be no problems. Everything you see in the game except for one or two short videos is done with the engine, so you don’t need massive storage space. This is simply because it is easier to move images with the game engine than with a video. I find this more than curious, because I have been thinking for some time that the golden age of beautifully rendered videos has come to an end.

But with disks there is another sticky issue: reading speed. The reading speed of the disks is quite important nowadays, and even more so in a sandbox type game, with an entire city open. If I’m driving from one end of the city to the other, the game has to load content as I go.

Differences between Xbox 360 and PS3: developers speak

In general they have similar speeds, but Blu-Ray has a constant speed and access time independent of the location of the content on the disc. DVD is faster at reading content on the outside of the disc, and slower at reading content on the inside. In the end, the important thing is to know where to put the contents on each type of disk. fine craftsmanship

On hard drives, there is an interesting topic. Both consoles have a hard drive, and a relatively large one at that. This gives a lot of play and is something that could not be done a few years ago. However, and I had already heard this out there, in the case of the Xbox 360 it cannot be guaranteed that a hard drive will exist, and the policy for developing a game is that you can’t force one to be online. Wow, you have a hard drive but you have to program as if you didn’t. what a bummer

conclusion (from the podcast, not mine) When the podcast moderator finally asks the developers which console is better, which one would they recommend to buy, they come up with something like:

Differences between Xbox 360 and PS3: developers speak

“The one your friends have, the one you like the most. If you like Sixaxis, then the PS3. If you like LIVE Arcade, then the 360. It doesn’t matter”

I think they are right.