Monday, July 30, 2007

The Wii has more power than you think

The important word for Wii's graphical capabilities is TEV (Texture Environment Unit). Don't forget that. When developers talk about making a game for Wii they never ever mention the TEV unit in the Wii. They only say it can't do some of the things the original Xbox could do, like shaders. They are very wrong though and they need to go back to Gamecube school (or talk to Factor 5's Juilan Eggebrecht) to find out that even the Gamecube could do everything the Xbox1 could do, only with a different method. The Xbox1 worked similar to a PC, so if developers made a game for it they would make it like a PC game. They couldn't do that with the Gamecube since developing a game on Gamecube was completely different. Custom shaders, custom lighting, custom textures - custom everything. Xbox and PC follow a code that most developers know and its not all custom. They have programmable shaders, like Shader Model 2.0 for instance.

The Gamecube has the TEV and that allowed for games like Starfox Adventures and Rouge Squadron 2/3 to have texture compression, Light sourcing and advanced shading for graphics that were considered amazing for the time they were released. Go back and play Star Fox Adventures again and tell me that it doesn't still look awesome, and it was released 5 years ago.

The same applies to the Wii. Developers don't want to have to make a game from the ground up for the Wii when they can just port over PS2 games with PS2 graphics and add Wii controls to make a quick buck. When they release a game on all systems they don't use the 360 version because they can't do it without re-writing the entire game all over again for Wii to make it look similar. It's just too much work for those lazy devs. Using a PS2 engine for a game is a lot more easy since the Wii can do that in its sleep.

The Wii does not have Shader Model 3.0 and it doesn't have the power to run it, but it can produce custom shaders with the TEV that look almost exactly the same but have no name other than "custom". You can see this in Super Mario Galaxy. Basically all you can do is look at the game and ask yourself if it looks as good as high level shaders in other games, I'm sure the answers will vary. Mario Galaxy definitely has the best shaders yet in a Wii game and many people from various sites have said that the game looks so good that its on par with many Xbox360 games.

The Wii has S3 texture compression for incredibly detailed textures on walls and surfaces. Only 2 games on Gamecube used this technique and they were Geist and Timesplitters 2. No games on the Wii use this yet, but they are coming.

The Wii also is capable of the Next-Gen Motion-Blur that is so nice in games like Gears of War and Lost Planet. It remains to be seen how much of this effect we will see in Wii games if it is being used with other effects turned on.

We don't really know the Wii polygon pushing power, but we do know that it has to be more than Gamecube. Remember that the Gamecube was no slouch with polygons, Rouge Squadron 3: Rebel Strike accomplished 20 million fully textured, light sourced and shaded polygons at 60 frames per second in the famous "Escape from Hoth" level. Many people think Resident Evil 4 was Gamecube's limit in power, but I think it really was Rebel Strike.

Here is a quote from an IGN interview with Factor 5's CEO Julian Eggebrecht on the Wii's power and developers being sloppy:

IGN: Resident Evil 4 was a beautiful GCN title. Rogue Squadron was doing things at launch that developers still haven't done on Wii. Why do you think that is? Are studios getting sloppy on Wii?

Julian: Yes. I'm so disappointed knowing exactly what the Wii can do -- and I still think nobody knows it better than we (no pun intended) [laughs]. I really have to say, boy, am I disappointed! They all have finally figured out, five years into the hardware's life cycle, how to do at least basic shaders and a rim light, but that's what everybody does. But I still don't see enough bump and normal-mapping, if any. I still don't see enough post effects, although you would have insane fill-rates with Wii. I don't see any of that. I was digging out Rebel Strike the other day and was looking at it, and we had some people who were visiting ask, "Why isn't anybody else doing this on Wii?" And I am at a loss. I really am.

So basically the Wii can look very similar to the Xbox360 in terms of graphics in low-res 480p when a game is made by a developer that actually makes the game knowing the Wii's strengths. You can't go into making a game on the Wii thinking that its a PC or an Xbox, because if you do you won't be able to make games look as good as you want. The developer willl come away thinking that the Wii just isn't capable of doing things like Shaders, Normal Mapping, Motion-Blur, detailed textures and Bloom lighting-when it absolutely can. I'm not saying the Wii will look exactly the same as 360 in the future, but I am saying that we haven't seen what the Wii can go graphically by a long shot. The system is capable of every Next Gen effect out there, maybe it can't do all at once but it can do them all to a lesser degree at least.

Look for Super Mario Galaxy to fully expose all these developers when it actually does all things graphically that Third Parties have said the Wii cannot do. Its too bad we only have 1 true game to prove this(Metroid Prime 3 is close) but I'm sure we'll see more in the future. Factor 5 needs to show them all how its done and Capcom needs to bite the bullet and release Resident Evil 5 on the Wii.


ROM said...

Hi. Your Blog always has great info on the Wii's specs. I for one agree that everyone is underestimating the power of the Wii's chipset. I hope developers start to realize what the Wii can do with the TEV. Capcom and Factor 5 can't be the only developers with capable programmers! By the way, your posts sound like you may be in the industry...hmmmmm...

Keep up the good work!

Metaldave said...

Thanks for the complement. Square Enix is also another developer that could push the Wii very far in the graphics department. Developers need to put more effort in their games and really look into what the Wii can with graphics. They may have to learn something new but they should have done that in the Gamecube's lifesycle. Many didn't because even back then the Gamecube was just getting ports of PS2 games....

Anonymous said...

Very much agree, especially with the lazy ports but exclusives should start to roll in now that number of Wii sales can justify the costs of programming all the required custom shaders.

It is frustrating to see games released for the ps2 and wii and knowing it is just a lazy port with tacked on controls. Problem is people are hungry for new Wii games so crap sells and the cycle continues.

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree with you saying that rogue squadron pushing the Gamecube.
Very few games last generation looked as good as that game, and we have yet to see wii games looking that good too, but there is a reason for lazy developers

people know that the wii isn't focused on graphics, if it was it would have had a TEV and lots of high end specs, with high definition.

It doesn't and the people who bought it accept that. Developers know this and don't think about graphics half as much as they do on the PS3 and the 360.
It's sad, I would indeed like to see how far it could be pushed, but I don't think we ever will.

Anonymous said...

they will defo push the graphics on wii they are doing it now look guys the wii is the market leaded or is very soon to be that,which means more focus from devs for the wii than on the other two,then they will push top notch games on wii all day they on it now people sadness so ive heard is like a black and white film amazing graphics and you dont do anything twice that game must be very impressive first of its kind inabit

Anonymous said...

Fucking fanboy! OF COURSE WII´s GRAPHICS CANT BE FUCKING COMPARED TO XBOX360 you fucking fanboy dick fuck.

Anonymous said...

wiis fill rate to resolution ratio is probably on par if not better than x360s FACT

wii is capped 480p buts its gpu has power for greater resolutions pcs with vastly less gpu have done hd for years now

by capping resolution and using effective efficent design you get great graphics

wiis ram is fastest and most sweetly balanced out of all the consoles 1t sram-r is as fast as l2 catch sram

high speed ram capped resolution and loads of compression realtime decompression = massive performance
data comnpression script geomitry compression texture compresion video sound compression low resolutions and no back ground pc like op system= high performance

wii has a deicated sound chip and dedicated sound buz 360 and ps3 have no sound processor at all

wii has a true out of order high efficent cpu clock for clock better than cell

cell and x360 cpu are basic inline chips with loads of threads and overclocked to make up for very basic poor cpu design there no match for a pc cpu

wiis bandwidth and ram @ 480p are clearly comparable to x360s @ 720p

x360s best lookers run at 30 frames a second

prime 3 galaxy and smash bros all have wii leading graphics and all run at 60 frames per second

can 360 fans explain this

wii can run loadscreen free fast data streaming from fast disc and fast flash drive

x360 and more so ps3 stink at load speeds

stop directly comparing a wii to pcs or faked pc cough ps3 cough x360

wii is highly effective and efficent and is pure custom closed system console design

ps2 ports aint wii graphics but sony and bill gates cock suckers are saying that they are wii graphics

please explain eurogamers preview for galaxy if wii aint got graphics

Anonymous said...




Anonymous said...




Iacono said...

dude great read, i want that silver skin

Anonymous said...

mario galaxy prime 3 smash bros bwii all have gorous graphics.....

and the latest previews of 3rd party offerings are getting much better MOH heroes 2 wii seems a much bettter game than moh airboarn on ps3

example ps3 MOH 30 frames a second and standaerd done to death gameplay

wii MOH heroes 60 frames a second not 30
3 modes of play
arcade zapper on rails light gun mode...

campain true nunchuck and wiimote fps controls with mouse matching speed....and prime 3 levels of polish according to ign and
zapper fps combines both controls into a zapper based gun/fps vr experiance

i think wii have it in the bag ps3 is OBSOLETE

TMac said...

Great comments here. In the end, consoles have their fans. The one thing that made the Wii most interesting to many new Nintendo users (this is my first Nintendo since the Super) was the controllers. And this is what developers are most interested in as well. The new Lucas Arts game focuses on this as well, and the graphics may suffer as well.

Anonymous said...

Well, I know this is late in coming, but that was a great blog, and I'm very glad someone finally opened up something for people to think about.


Anonymous said...

You are amazing...

Unknown said...

You should write about this to nintendo. Putting it to blog will not change anything. Good info I hope that they will realize wii power and graphics are good.

Anonymous said...

I hate when gamers call game makers lazy. Making games is a very risky business and most of the projects fail. That's why platform holders should do everything they can to streamline the game making process so that every game could reach its potential within financial and time constraints. Many Wii games fail technically because the hardware isn't a very good fit for modern game engines that rely heavily on textures and shader effects. Nintendo can't possibly expect that every developer would write a new engine just for Wii, can they?

Anonymous said...

To the guy who said sumthing like tis on 13rd december 2008...

"I hate when gamers call game makers lazy. Making games is a very risky business and most of the projects fail...."

1st) Do you noe that Nintendo selling Wii itself achieved 2.04 million of sales in November 2008...

2nd) Besides calling developer lazy,wad else can we say when they make straight ports from PS2 games...and many Sony fanboys out there claim that Wii isn't capable of good graphics(take a look at mario galaxy to noe wad Wii is capable of)

3rd) Did i mentioned that Wii is the best selling console among PS3 and XBOX it wouldn't be any excuses for developer to do a little research...(when FACTOR 5 already figure out the best way to do sumthing with the TEV for Wii gud graphics)And of coz they will make more money with Wii...

Anonymous said...

mario galaxy graphics are average.
they maybe good for Wii but they
are farcary from current generation
also note that mario galaxy doesn't
have very detailed environments, where many things take place at once.
compared to 360 orPS3.
when theres little to render the CPU and the ram can be pushed to increase the quality on textures.
besides didn't the wii fanboys said graphics not important.
I guess you are starting to see the fact that it is an important compliment for a good game.

Dv8thwonder said...

Wii has always been outnumbered but never outgunned.Lazy developers should be exposed for the frauds they are and wannabe PC owners should keep their elitist mouths shut.Great blog!As I type Nintendo has the foot on the throats of their so-called competiton.

Anonymous said...

@4:35 PM, February 24, 2009
"besides didn't the wii fanboys said graphics not important.
I guess you are starting to see the fact that it is an important compliment for a good game."

it is especially important when there are people like you who bothers about raw graphics. =D
WE obviously don't bother much about the graphics since we are already on the Wii. For you, in order to make you understand, yes MAKE YOU, graphics is the first step. duh. please grow.

Kiloran said...

The reason articles like this are inaccurate is because you left off one very important point about the Wii: while the TEV can mimic Shader model 3 shaders and texture effects, it burns through a lot of it's horsepower doing the calculations done on the GPU on video cards that support it (as well as the Xbox). That's the primary reason you don't see a lot of shaders ingame.

Anonymous said...

monster hunter 3 is a ps3 game with good ps3 graphics even when 30% done, but he fan boys have to bite the fact that it got ported to the Wii with no graphical downgrade because of production cost of the ps3. Plus some of the fan boys have Wii games for X- box 360 games before, so why can't they face it?

mfessenden said...

To the guy above me: that didn't even make sense, and I don't care how good Monster Hunter looks on the Wii, it isn't a PS3 quality title, and nowhere did Capcom claim that it does.

MetroidJunkie said...

They really don't have an excuse anymore. Now that High Voltage has their amazing TEV-based graphics engine for sale, a great looking Wii game is only one investment away.

vintology said...

i got tired of all wii fanboys saying crap like

"graphics doesn´t matter

Anonymous said...

Well, there is a game that seems to use displacement mapping on Wii, is called Zangeki no Reginleiv,

as for Wii Hollywood, I would say that is between an ATI Rv610 and a Rv630 due to the die size, the power consumption and features like: Wii can do HDR+antialaising, something possible starting from the ATI R520 thanks to their new architecture design and new technology that employs floating point units, can use tools like Havok FX(check in gamasutra), which takes adventage of the gpu for gpgpu purpose like physics, but this is only possible starting from ATI R520, and finally, the ATI R600 series, in contrast to the R520, include thiongs like a command processor(in the Wii Hollywood would be the ARM9 or starlet) for improving the gpgpu tasks.

As for the Wii Hollywood, the secret technique talked in the displacement mapping patents is called vertex displacement mapping, which is done through the use of gpgpu software. Just look a little closer and you will find things like vertex texture fetch and command processor.

Wii games with HDR+AA
Monster Hunter 3
Silent Hill
Resident Evil Dark side chronicles

Best graphics seen:
Zangeki no Reginleiv
Resident Evil(good physics too)
Cursed Mountain
Monster Hunter 3
Dead Space Extraction(impressive physics)
Call of Duty Modern Warfare

There is still much room for improvement if more games start to use gpgpu tools like Floodgate from Gamebryo Lighspeed tailored for Wii, of course that maybe ATI stream could be used too or opencl, but the thing is, Wii was made this way in order to make it cheap console, thats why it doesn´t have a very powerful cpu, since the gpu was intended to be the key of the power, of course that that requires the use of new languages like Floodgate, and gpgpu is also more difficult than typical programming, gpgpu is like programming kernels that run hundresd of threads inside the gpu through the vertex shaders or the stream processors; a gpu since R520 can have above 40 stream processors and can run up to 512 threads in parallel.

through gpgpu things like vertex displcement mapping can be achieved in the Wii(just check one of the displacement mapping patents of revolution and you willl surely read something about vertex texture fetch, command processor, etc)

One more thing, HDR
cannot be achieved without progammable shaders.-
OpenGL fixed - functions cannot be used for HDR.

The programmable pipeline must be used to achieve HDR lighting effects.

HDR is achieved in OpenGL using a fragment shader, written in GLSL or Cg.


Due to this ATI Hollywood is a lot different to Gamecube Flipper, since HDR requires a lot of power and programmable shader, something that wasn´t present in flipper, even Zelda twilight princess faked HDR, but if you want to see true HDR just look at Monster Hunter 3 screens, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, xenoblade, etc.

Havok FX, used to run physics on the gpu instead of cpu through gpgpu, cannot be used in platforms that don´t have at least the power of shader model 3, Wii makes use of an api very similar to opengl called GX, and they don´t use shader model, they use shading language, but as long as the shading language version is comparable to the shader model version, it´s fine, check Wii Havok FX in gamasutra.

Anonymous said...

hay gpgpu guy iv read your stuff in forums etc im wiiboy101 iv posted a fewq posts on graphics above im very much a actavist in educating people to truth over lies and how nintendo is disrupting sony away into nothing by clever mainstream (blue ocean thinking) and disruption im a sean malstrom activist lol he is 100% correct nintendo is destroying the industry for its own sake so it can be reborn into something better

i understand starlet is a arm9 BUT WHATS THE CLOCK-SPEED is it 243mhz to match the gpu or is it 729mhz to match the cpu CONFUSED,i thought starlet was a function cpu i.e wifi/op system/bios etc leaving the broadway to do high performance work

iv noticed you call broadway weak WRONGGGGGG its a out of oreder cpu ps3 and x360 have basic in order designs and lack ieven basic out of order abillitys if the broadway was 3.2ghz like the other two even as a single core it would kill those cpus 1tsram is 10x faster than dram both the cpu and gpu feed of 1tsram it helps ring those processors of all there juice as the data gets there 10x faster than ps3 x360 so to speak another fact you miss ps3 and x360 have no sound processor its done on main cpu

wii has a main cpu a starlet back up cpu and a dedicated sound processor so were ps3 has a cell all hd work sound workm and a bulky op system same goes x360s cpu

wii is ran far more game console centric no bulky op system plus it has a dedicated sound processor and a arm9 starlet to help out

your calling broadway weak because you dont GET IT

2x cpu 1x dedicated sound chip vs do it all on a cpu = ps3 x360

- HD clearly the wii can mimmick all the ps3 and x360 abillitys

add little things like bbc iplayer running quicker and better on wii than ps3

netflix running quicker and better and smoother on wii than ps3

clearly wii is no slouth

-HD native resolutions wii can do what the other 2 do AND WITH FASTER LOAD-TIMES AND NO INSTALLS REQUIRED

i like what your saying and agree with command processor stuff etc

but fliper wasnt fixed fuction ether both flipper and hollywood have very fast fixed function but flexible accessible so programmers can tinker with it plus TEV has always been programmable a shader its fliper aswell as hollywood YOU SEEM UNABLE TO SEE THAT STATING FLIPPER FIXED HOLLYWOOD NOT =INCORRECT fliper high performance flexible fixed plus programmable TEV

hollywood looks to be a tweeked fliper thats more programmable than before but still fliper/TEV based

im trying to find out how powerful starlewt is and clock speed i think ur right buddy but a bit cofused about FLIPPER

arm9 as a gpu cpu would help unlock hollywoods power as a fully programmable side-kick i agree and hollywood itself a better version of flipper


i think 3DS and wii 2 will still be gamecube lsi based

imagine a hollywood gpu with say 24mb 1tsram edram instead of 3mb's and lets say a 1ghz clock speed that would be insane performance add a dualcore arm a9 cpu as main cpu @ say 2ghz and a arm 11 command chip at 1ghz matching the gpu all on the same chip PRESTO a ps3 killer that has no heat or power sucking issues and can fit inside a box about the size of a dsi xl

nintendo knows what she is doing im going to look for your email like what you have found

Anonymous said...

ok, but where are the good looking games from factof5/eggbrecht? where?
it needed 5 years to get *cool* grafics on wii, today, some 3rd know programming the wii (look at dead space extration, goldeneye, conduit1+2,monsterhunter tri, and so on). there are very nice looking games, but the wii can do better. im sure. its only lazy devs. look at star wars force unleashed 2: where are the infos/vids from lucasarts? and so on.
red steel2, is great, for example. grafics are good,60fps (!), controls are superb. why cant devs realize, that the wiicontrols are the best for shooters? i own a ps3 too, but shhooters, i prefer them on my wii. i would spend a lot of money to play deadspace, re5, bioshopck with nunchuck and wiimote...but back to grafics: i think, there are plenty more 60fps titels on wii than on all other consoles, not?
for me: factor5, make a grafic superb game on wii. make it. you will find a little publisher , conduit made it too. factor5, not only talking about, do it !

Anonymous said...

Sonic Colours : an window on what can do the Wii.