Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Wii is more powerful than Xbox: Gamecube equal to Xbox
This interview with Julian Eggebrecht from Factor 5 from 2001 is further proof about the Wii being greater in power than the original Xbox. Basically what Julian is saying here is that the Gamecube could do everything the Xbox could do, developers only needed to program differently. What does this mean for the Wii then? It means again that raw numbers don't tell the story. I don't mean to keep beating this power issue to death, but people still don't understand. Realizing that Gamecube was on par with Xbox is something that needs to be understood since many have said that the Xbox is more powerful than the Wii. Not true.
Planet GameCube: Is Rogue Leader using sub-pixel anti-aliasing?
Julian Eggebrecht: Yes, it’s using the GameCube’s 3-point sub-pixel anti-aliasing and of course the excellent deflicker hardware for the interlaced output.
Planet GameCube: How does Rogue Leader utilize the GameCube's internal clock? Would you like to use this feature in future games?
Julian Eggebrecht: We always try to use as many hardware features in our games as possible, so we early on discussed how we could use the clock. It is quite fun to be surprised by it.
Planet GameCube: Are you happy with GameCube's memory bandwidth? Have you ever had to back-track and maybe trim some effects or textures down due to lack of bandwidth?
Julian Eggebrecht: There never were any problems with bandwidth. It really is the single-most impressive feature about the hardware and makes very reliable predictions about performance possible.
Planet GameCube: How flexible and useful is Gekko in assisting Flipper with custom lighting and geometry? Are you using this feature? Does it compare to the vertex and pixel shaders on the Xbox's graphics chip?
Julian Eggebrecht: Maybe without going into too much detail, we don’t think there is anything visually you could do on X-Box (or PS2) which can’t be done on GameCube. I have read theories on the net about Flipper not being able to do cube-mapped environment maps, fur shading, self-shadowing etc... That’s all plain wrong. Rogue does extensive self-shadowing and both cube-maps and fur shading are not anymore complicated to implement on GameCube than on X-Box. You might be doing it differently, but the results are the same. When I said that X-Box and GameCube are on par power-wise I really meant it.
Planet GameCube: In a recent IGNinsider article, Greg Buchner revealed that Flipper can do some unique things because of the ways that the different texture layers can interact. Can you elaborate on this feature? Have you used it? Do you know if the effects it allows are reproducible on other architectures (at decent framerates)?
Julian Eggebrecht: He was probably referring to the TEV pipeline. Imagine it like an elaborate switchboard that makes the wildest combinations of textures and materials possible. The TEV pipeline combines up to 8 textures in up to 16 stages in one go. Each stage can apply a multitude of functions to the texture - obvious examples of what you do with the TEV stages would be bump-mapping or cel-shading. The TEV pipeline is completely under programmer control, so the more time you spend on writing elaborate shaders for it, the more effects you can achieve. We just used the obvious effects in Rogue Leader with the targeting computer and the volumetric fog variations being the most unusual usage of TEV. In a second generation game we’ll obviously focus on more complicated applications.