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Ubisoft says their creativity is limited by PS3, Xbox 360 hardware

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 07 Jul 2011 14:37 User comments (42)

Ubisoft says their creativity is limited by PS3, Xbox 360 hardware Ubisoft, the game developer behind blockbuster franchises like Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed has said this week that its creativity is now being limited by the PS3 and Xbox 360's hardware.
Says Yves Jacquier, Ubisoft's executive director of production services at Ubisoft Montreal:

Our challenge with the PlayStation 3 and Xbox [360] is that we're extremely limited in what we can do.

It's a challenge for the engineers to provide nice graphics and nice AI and nice sound with a very small amount of memory and computation time.


Ubi hopes that they will be able to significantly improve on AI with the next-generation Xbox and PS4:

The challenge is that, if you see an AI coming, you've failed. And that's a problem we have to overcome as we create the impression of flawless, seamless worlds. In general the industry expects that graphics will not be a strong feature any more... Obviously, graphics are better for marketing purposes because you can show things. AI you can't show.

We think that the next generation of consoles won't have these limits any more. Games might have more realistic graphics and more on-screen, but what's the value of making something more realistic and better animated if you have poor AI?


Although unconfirmed, reports have stated that Sony is already preparing to launch the PS4 in early 2012.

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42 user comments

17.7.2011 15:52

yet once the PS4 and new xbox come out UBi will release the same below average crap they always have.

with the odd exception of them releasing the same AC game year after year.

27.7.2011 16:49

Can we stop mentioning the BS PS4 rumor? Sony wasn't even expecting a CPU for it to be mass produced until early-mid 2013, so late 2013 would be the absolute earliest a PS4 would show up, and that would more likely be delayed than suddenly be a YEAR ahead of schedule.

37.7.2011 17:31

after the wiiu announcement I reckon E3 next year we will hear of the real next gen not Nins stop gap console

47.7.2011 19:36

They can always develop games for PC...

57.7.2011 21:39

i personally dont believe this. both sony and microsoft have stated there is still years of life left on the consoles, the specs are barely touched ( granted loading time sometimes suck ) but all in all, the main core mechanics of the hardware have just been scratched

67.7.2011 21:49

Any good developer knows you are at your most creative when challenged with circumstances like such hardware "limitations." Sounds to me like an excuse floated to cover an upcoming release they feel will be ill received for lack of creativity.

77.7.2011 22:39

ubisoft needs to stop talking crap I think the current system are good enough.



87.7.2011 22:39

?I thought that their creativity was being limited by the fact that half the development budget went into pissing off legitimate customers with insane DRM?

But they do make a good point here...both systems are insanely outdated (you wouldn't try to play PC games with 256MB of ram).

Originally posted by rpoppe:
i personally dont believe this. both sony and microsoft have stated there is still years of life left on the consoles, the specs are barely touched ( granted loading time sometimes suck ) but all in all, the main core mechanics of the hardware have just been scratched
The main core mechanics of both platforms may be impressive, but that doesn't make much difference if the devices that those core mechanics depend on are not up to the task.

Sure, Sony has said that the PS3 has more life in it, but they said that about the PS2...a month before showing off the PS3. What did they mean? They meant that they would keep selling the PS2 at a low price point, so that it could be used by old people to play games like wheel of fortune and poker.

As for microsoft, it appears that they are looking to take the place of the Wii. It actually makes a little sense...once the WiiU is out the 360 will be the cheapest and least powerful "current generation" console around...and it will have the best motion controls. If they can cut the price to the bone by making a smaller version, then they could take the most profitable part of the market...the bottom.

98.7.2011 7:19
Loeln
Unverified new user

Creativity is never limited by hardware.

Imagine if Orville and Wilbur Wright decided not to try to create the plane because the hardware was too limited.

"Nope, we dont have a turboprop engine, cant build the plane."

Imagine if Miyamoto never created Super Mario or Zelda because the Nintendo didnt have the hardware of Sega.

"Genesis does what Nintendont, so I believe I will withdraw from the video game industry and resign."

Imagine if Team Ico never made Shadow of the Colossus because the ps2s hardware was said to be too limited to support such a graphic and resource intensive game.

"The ps2 specifications indicate that it would not be able to render the world we envisioned, so we will instead wit for a newer, better system. I hear Dremcast hs very fine specs."

Hardware never limits creativity. Only lack of imagination does.

108.7.2011 7:32

They do have a point, I mean 256 MB RAMS? thats getting low spec even for smart-phones now..


:/

118.7.2011 7:43
oappi
Inactive

"?I thought that their creativity was being limited by the fact that half the development budget went into pissing off legitimate customers with insane DRM?" Just what i had in mind.

I haven't bought a single game from ubisoft after they begun using such annoying drm, like 5 installation limit and always online requirements. I buy games for entertainment, not for calling ubisoft that my game(s) wont work.

Also good point with ps2 & ps3.

For those who are mocking developers you should really think about the situation. As Killerbug stated you won't even try playing modern games with pc that had specs of ps3 or x360. If you have 256 memory thats what you have. Sure you can play tricks that reduce the amount of required memory but again if original idea was to have unique characters & items & terrain that would take way over 256 they would have to limit the amount of items and make characters copies of one character etc. Terrain limitations are handled with in-game loadings. Like when you walk in fallout(+3) to a building it usually requires small amount of loading time and visibility area is very limited. So yea you can get by with small amount of memory, but in most cases addition to algorithm optimizations and smart memory usage it affects gaming experience. As a pc component the price of total 8gb of memory isn't that high anymore. for example steam hardware survey states that 50% of computers that use steam have 4gb or higher amount of ram and 95% over 2gb. and it is very interesting to see that every group execpt "5gb and over" is declining http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey . hopefully they realize this and add more than enough memory to next consoles. Memory is VERY bad place to save money.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 08 Jul 2011 @ 11:25

128.7.2011 9:40

Loeln - They actually were quite limited by technology...they were measuring flights in feet. I don't want the video game version of their plane; I want the video game version of a fighter jet...no, I want a video game version of an alien spacecraft, but I'll settle for a fighter jet.

138.7.2011 10:37

I've already complained about this... haven't I? Game developers busting their hump to push the latest technology to its limits only to have their reigns drawn so tight that their heads drop into the dirt; if I may use a horse racing analogy.

Seeing as computer components are purchased by the consumer, their technology will be progress accordingly (sans the scientific & technological base groups). Consoles are built as a whole, so those corporations & their current business model will continue to maximize the minimum, thus the status quo.

Console manufacturers (like used car salesmen) will pitch that lacquered up turd just as hard, fast & long as they can to keep getting those same consoles off the shelf until public & game writers outcry become critical mass. Once they do, they cry like pawn shop owners do about how they spent too much & their taking a loss, but it's for the betterment of the consumer because they care, blah, blah, blah... the checks in the mail & all the girls do this...


148.7.2011 11:42

What an Oxy-moron statement! When will those stupid bastards go belly up so I don't have to here their stupid complaints why they can't make it.

If they were ACTUALLY creative they would figure out how to do what they want with what they have. Resoucefullness is a large part of practical creativity.

When they do go under there will be less chat on this board. Who knows maybe they will be bought up by AOL, Blockbuster or some other perrenial loser.

158.7.2011 12:01

Originally posted by Loeln:


Hardware never limits creativity. Only lack of imagination does.
Then please enlighten us as to why DX11 is not implemented on gaming consoles?

168.7.2011 12:28

@Mez... Not that I want to be too argumentative, but if you were to apply the same 'creativity' statement to the medical field we would still have barbers trying to do appendectomies with shears and a comb while they have you biting down on a piece of leather. I mean let's make do, right?

I would like to think we all want to progress, not maintain the status & stagnate, which is what the console market has done since the home computing market has challenged the gaming industry.

You could say, had it not been for the fact that artists were tired of lugging around tons of plaster for fresco painting & its limited abilities that tempera & oils were eventually substituted as binding mediums for pigments for painting. Did this change make Michelangelo & Da Vinci less creative?


178.7.2011 12:51

Originally posted by Loeln:
Creativity is never limited by hardware.

Imagine if Orville and Wilbur Wright decided not to try to create the plane because the hardware was too limited.

"Nope, we dont have a turboprop engine, cant build the plane."

Imagine if Miyamoto never created Super Mario or Zelda because the Nintendo didnt have the hardware of Sega.

"Genesis does what Nintendont, so I believe I will withdraw from the video game industry and resign."

Imagine if Team Ico never made Shadow of the Colossus because the ps2s hardware was said to be too limited to support such a graphic and resource intensive game.

"The ps2 specifications indicate that it would not be able to render the world we envisioned, so we will instead wit for a newer, better system. I hear Dremcast hs very fine specs."

Hardware never limits creativity. Only lack of imagination does.

^ this +1

188.7.2011 13:04

Just develope for PC.

198.7.2011 15:53

This is nothing new and has ALWAYS been the case since games were being played on PC's. Software manufactures always try and want to do more than the hardware can handle. I can't tell you how many cool games I've bought that didn't play great until several better video cards came out.

I suppose when you suck like Ubisoft does you have to make up some excuse to validate why you suck without pointing the finger back at yourself.

208.7.2011 18:41

Good thing their creativity is being limited! Otherwise these games would cost what? $100?, $120? No wonder people are modifying their xbox's so can make backups of "their own" games. You buy a new game for $60 beat it in a few days...and then what? Take it to gamestop where they'll give you $17 for it?

218.7.2011 21:02
oappi
Inactive

@Mofomac
You do realize that optimizing game isn't free?

as for "Hardware never limits creativity. Only lack of imagination does."
Well thats true if you can't see anything further than you can throw stone. Wouldn't you say that painters creativity is limited if someone came and said to him that he cant paint objects that are that far or there are too many items painted to painting?

@bhetrick
Actually x360 can do tessellation, which is on of the key dx11 features.

228.7.2011 21:37

Originally posted by oappi:
@Mofomac
You do realize that optimizing game isn't free?

as for "Hardware never limits creativity. Only lack of imagination does."
Well thats true if you can't see anything further than you can throw stone. Wouldn't you say that painters creativity is limited if someone came and said to him that he cant paint objects that are that far or there are too many items painted to painting?

@bhetrick
Actually x360 can do tessellation, which is on of the key dx11 features.
Their creativity is limited by the hardware, ABSOLUTELY! Just as a painters creativity is limited to the canvas they choose to use and the paint they use too.

239.7.2011 2:11

Originally posted by oappi:
@Mofomac
You do realize that optimizing game isn't free?

as for "Hardware never limits creativity. Only lack of imagination does."
Well thats true if you can't see anything further than you can throw stone. Wouldn't you say that painters creativity is limited if someone came and said to him that he cant paint objects that are that far or there are too many items painted to painting?

@bhetrick
Actually x360 can do tessellation, which is on of the key dx11 features.
The 360 can do tessellation...but the memory prevents it from getting much benefit from the feature...it can be used as a kind of shortcut for developers, but any performance increase is only due to inefficient methods of doing the same things in other ways.

The PS3 can do tessellation too...there just isn't a way to bypass the other steps that tessellation usually would allow you to bypass, so it really doesn't help there either.

Current console tech is more like telling a painter, "Paint me a series of pictures that look good and have lots of details...I expect 200 pictures and you are not to use more than 500 design elements for all of them". Even at launch, the PS3 didn't have enough ram; a typical household had a single-core PC with 1GB of ram at the time...and here comes a 8-core, 3.2GHZ per core super chip that is still better than the average home PC processor...and it only had 256MB of ram!


249.7.2011 9:45

Originally posted by LordRuss:
@Mez... Not that I want to be too argumentative, but if you were to apply the same 'creativity' statement to the medical field we would still have barbers trying to do appendectomies with shears and a comb while they have you biting down on a piece of leather. I mean let's make do, right?

I would like to think we all want to progress, not maintain the status & stagnate, which is what the console market has done since the home computing market has challenged the gaming industry.

You could say, had it not been for the fact that artists were tired of lugging around tons of plaster for fresco painting & its limited abilities that tempera & oils were eventually substituted as binding mediums for pigments for painting. Did this change make Michelangelo & Da Vinci less creative?
The medium is absolutely insignificant to the artist. The talent shines through regardless. Da Vinci could create a masterpiece with a stick and mud.

Those first in line to beg for more power, are more often than not those who are the less talented at their craft.

Greater horizons allow new exploration, but to believe Ubi or any other developer has reached the bounds of creativity on current hardware is well, let's just say... quite a bit MORE than naive...

There are always those who are looking beyond (the pioneers,) but those complaining about current systems being a "constraint" simply aren't getting the most out of those systems to begin with. They are being lazy, plain and simple.

259.7.2011 11:15
oappi
Inactive

@pirkster

Yes you can be creative with inferior equipment, but when there are multiple platforms and your main focus is pc it is at least very difficult to bring same experience to all platforms. Not even Da Vinci could make colorful painting with just black and white paint. Still i wouldn't say it is less creative, but if you want to paint colorful painting with black and with painting and you can't do it then you are limited by your equipment.

Don't get me wrong i still play a lot old games just yesterday i played my favorite rpg might&magic VII through (again), but in the games like fallout3 it is annoying that your "views range" is so short. Most annoying part is when it is used against you. Spawning enemies just out side of the range etc. So basically the problem is that they try to make colorful paintings with just black and white paint.

269.7.2011 13:24

Originally posted by pirkster:
The medium is absolutely insignificant to the artist. The talent shines through regardless. Da Vinci could create a masterpiece with a stick and mud.
And from the "get go" you speak from a naive stand point. The medium "IS" ABSOLUTE. Without it what do you have? Absolutely nothing.

Your total argument caves in on itself merely from pure contradiction. You speak of pioneering, yet it is on the shoulders of those who set the pace from discoveries of those previous... You lost the very thread you tried to disprove me on.

Ubisoft may not have a leg to stand on, but don't argue with an art historian about the naivete of medium and its absolution to the artist.

Da Vinci would create a masterpiece from mud because he chose the mud as his medium, not because the mud was of a masterful work. By the way, it was called Fresco at the time... They got tired of working with it, so they invented tempra & oils. I.e., expanded beyond the limitations of their medium, their constraints & grew. We now have acids, lacquers & synthetics; all because of the limitations of the original. Naive...? Please...
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Jul 2011 @ 13:26

279.7.2011 15:04

Way to go Russ +10!

I had a friend years ago that was so creative he thought he could levitate and bragged about it continually. The truth was he could never levitate and never did in front of those he boasted so much in front of. Does this ring a bell for anyone?

289.7.2011 15:12

Good lord I hope it wasn't me!!! I've been known to hit the sauce a few times... and there was this Floyd concert series I was supposed to have worked back in the day that I never remember doing... But I swear I'll admit I was just talking out of my ass & it was just to impress this one chick...


299.7.2011 15:30

Funny but not directed at you of course. I think I was at that Floyd concert too and I must say with extra help one might think they were levitating however once I came down reality hit. LOL

309.7.2011 15:35

Wuuuh... don't mix the reds with the yellows... don't mix the reds with the yellows...


319.7.2011 16:06

Now you tell me! LOL

329.7.2011 19:29

Anyone remember a home computer called the Commodore 64 that came out with over ten thousands games (ok, granded that only a few thousand were actually GOOD) with a maxumum use of 64K?

They can make good games. The only limit is their imagination.

339.7.2011 23:21

I loved the color 64 but as to being limited, Yes, they were extremely limited.

Just because you enjoy something does not mean there are no limitations. Your argument is lame.

I also loved the Intellivision, Atari 2600, Atari 800/400, Sega Genesis, and so on but again that doesn’t mean shat at the end of the day.

3410.7.2011 4:47

Originally posted by LordRuss:
Wuuuh... don't mix the reds with the yellows... don't mix the reds with the yellows...
Oh no...I just ate a handful of orange ones!

Originally posted by sting8166:
Anyone remember a home computer called the Commodore 64 that came out with over ten thousands games (ok, granded that only a few thousand were actually GOOD) with a maxumum use of 64K?

They can make good games. The only limit is their imagination.
Yes, incredibly limited. How many of those 10,000 games were FPS games? What about online MMORPGs?

Can you imagine doing a game like GTA4, Fallout 3, Gran Turismo 5, or even something as basic as Doom on such a platform? No. If fallout (the extremely old first release of fallout) had been on the C64, it would have been a text game.

Think about a game like Fallout New Vegas...there is one mini-mission where you have to make peace with some military types that are having a disagreement with the locals (located in freeside). I don't want to post any spoilers, but there are a bunch of people shooting towards each other from the ground and from a platform, and there are several special characters that you can talk to and there are flaming barrels with smoke plumes too. Playing this mission on PC it is just a normal mission...it lags for a second or two in one spot, then goes back to 60FPS. Playing this mission on the PS3 results in the framerates dropping to 1FPS as the system completely runs out of memory and has to start doing everything from the hard disk. This is one case where creativity was not limited by technology, but it should have been. This level should not have been in the console versions of the game, not because it wasn't a good level, but because consoles just can't handle it, not even after multiple patches.

Just to be clear, I don't think Ubisoft is being limited by anything other than the fact that most of their development budget now goes to operating DRM servers...but I do agree that technology allows you to do more, or at the very least, to do the same amount, but to do it better.

Yeah...the Write brothers flew without aluminum tubing, and DaVinci came up with a peddle-powered aircraft, so their creativity was there...but DaVinci never got airborn and the Write brothers only did a little bit better than DaVinci...making a powered aircraft that didn't fly as far as a glider. Even today there are serious technological limitations to what can be built...we can't even emulate a human brain using a computer the size of a football field...surely that is limiting the creativity of those who want to make true AI for video games.


3510.7.2011 7:44

=0)

3611.7.2011 16:16

Sounds to me more like their creativity is limited by their ability to copy others.....


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

---
Check out my crappy creations
http://zippydsmlee.deviantart.com/

3711.7.2011 17:07

Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
Sounds to me more like their creativity is limited by their ability to copy others.....
You really out did yourself this time!

Though killerbug's last post was the most complete. Yes, you can do a lot more with a more robust platform. UBsoft are just a bunch of babies. If they don't like the platform don't write software for it.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 Jul 2011 @ 17:17

3811.7.2011 17:51

Originally posted by Mez:
Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
Sounds to me more like their creativity is limited by their ability to copy others.....
You really out did yourself this time!

Though killerbug's last post was the most complete. Yes, you can do a lot more with a more robust platform. UBsoft are just a bunch of babies. If they don't like the platform don't write software for it.

Oh rly? :P

Realy tho P.o.P has gone down hill since they can not reinvent the wheel, Assassin's greed is stuck in the mud the rest are either cheap knock offs or cheap knock off shooters. They are so afraid of losing money they can not be creative!

Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Lets renegotiate them.

---
Check out my crappy creations
http://zippydsmlee.deviantart.com/

3912.7.2011 7:52

I think, as usual, the work environment repells anyone that is creative. You can't encuorage creativity much but it is easy enough to kill.

4012.7.2011 11:05

Originally posted by Mez:
I think, as usual, the work environment repells anyone that is creative. You can't encuorage creativity much but it is easy enough to kill.
Now that I can definitely attest to! Nothing better to knock the old creative dork in the dirt than a 'crack o the whip' of the corporate bean bagger making sure there's a hostile work environment.

I still don't think it's a good excuse for shoddy workmanship, but 'creativity'; sure, you can see where that would start to take a back seat.

4113.7.2011 4:58

How can anyone except quality products from a company that spends so little on development? The DRM server budget is coming out of the development funds, and they have made their games so that they need constant connection to the DRM servers, so the DRM server budget is huge.

I can certainly see how people would get discouraged when half the team is removed to save money, and then their salaries are spent on promoting piracy. Sure, it might put you in the right mindset to write a game like BioShock...but Ubisoft wouldn't let their people write something like that anyway...not when they could be writing, another RockBand, Ass Creed, or Driver.



4213.7.2011 9:50

It wouldn't matter if they did as anything they make simular sucks, they just are not good at what they do.

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