Playstation 4 - Xbox 1 demos (neoGAF thread)

category: general [glöplog]
So. Shuhei Yoshida (Sony bigshot) thinks it would be cool to have demos on his PS4. Is it gonna happen? What would it take for it to happen?

Check out this thread on GAF where the same questions are still unanswered. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=671489

It's my first post here, so feel free to delete and kill my account if I'm breaking any rules here. I'm an old Amiga/C64 dude and loves the demos.
To be honest, it again boils down to the much repeated question: is it worth the effort when owners of said consoles can only watch the demo either in video form (in which case it might as well be running on a PC) or by haxoring their console.

Personally I'd love to see console-demos being available to the general public (XNA was a fairly reasonable way of doing it), but I think as long as the market forces are locking the platform down, I don't think there will be much interest towards them other than "I'll be the first one to put a horrible Amiga 500 cracktro throwback on a PS4".
added on the 2013-09-23 14:11:15 by Gargaj Gargaj
Gargaj's post nails it
added on the 2013-09-23 14:14:54 by ferris ferris
Also: finding new platforms to make demos on is honestly not the biggest problem the demoscene faces these days.
added on the 2013-09-23 14:27:21 by gloom gloom
I think Sony was at this years Assembly to have some kind of presentation on PS4. It would be interesting to know what happened there.
There's good demos on all kinds of funky platforms. Lots of them on consoles even. Only a few people will watch them on real hardware, the rest from videos or with emulators. Who cares? And otoh new PC demos like the ones from Fairlight need such high end PC's that no one has one and everyone watches the video instead, how's that any different?

The real question is do the PS4/XboxOne offer anything interesting that a current PC wouldn't? A closed platform that's about it.

And the challenge of breaking the protection of course... Looking forward to the a500 intro throwbacks, get cracking hackers. Beating the system is the main feature, no amount of "artistic direction" will make the demo considerably better. But you can write about the hax0ring in the scroller.

Of course there's not much haxoring going on if you're using some official homebrew devkit. Except that it will be seriously gimped because they aren't gonna want to give people too much access because of piracy issues etc. Which is why it's not gonna be a good thing for demos anyway. But maybe for games with some kind of XBLIG-type service.
Smash/FLT gave a seminar about architectual features of the ps4.. mainly targeted at graphics developers i would say. but afair he did not say anything about demos
added on the 2013-09-23 17:00:49 by v3nom v3nom
btw the last post was about the assembly presentation
added on the 2013-09-23 17:02:00 by v3nom v3nom
how much ¥€$ is a full dev access to have signed demos on it? or should it be some appstore stuff. it's the same cashual concept everywhere. isn't it?
added on the 2013-09-23 17:42:57 by yumeji yumeji
Of course there's not much haxoring going on if you're using some official homebrew devkit. Except that it will be seriously gimped because they aren't gonna want to give people too much access because of piracy issues etc. Which is why it's not gonna be a good thing for demos anyway. But maybe for games with some kind of XBLIG-type service.

To be honest, gimp it all you want, as long as you get basic features like file access + graphics API + sound API, preferably without much overhead, and I as a coder would be more than happy to work on it. Most demos really don't use most of the bells and whistles of the operating system apart from basic high level A/V system access.

That being said, there's another question that I just sorta remembered: both console manufacturers have been notorious about both their technical requirements and their unfriendly certification process that can be taxing for indie titles. While this is not necessarily a particularly important aspect, once you assume you would like to get on the list in some sort of app browser (which I guess would be the chance to let other people watch your stuff legally), you have to pass these things. Combine this with the deadline frenzy of the scene and you might have a problem.

One thing you gotta remember is that given how cut-throat the console market is now, manufacturers need massive incentive to risk investment into creating an environment for homebrew, and for them it'd need to be something that either 1) turns into profit (which it won't because we want demos to be free) or 2) helps advertising / selling the console - and that'd need to be something incredibly impressive. In other words, glenz vectors won't cut it.
added on the 2013-09-23 17:50:13 by Gargaj Gargaj
As I have mentioned many times before, I would love if there was a fixed platform for "highend demos" that would get a real strong scene running.
I dream of people actually coding demos running at a rock solid 60fps on the coders machine, on my machine and EVERYONEs machine.

With modern PC demos my watching experience tends to be something like this:
- Ohh.. a new PC demo by <insert famous group name here>, now that's something I want to watch
- OK, let's see my gfx hardware is 2 years old now. Better drop to 1280x800 instead of native res 1920x1200.
* Demo starts. First scene runs OK... Second scene starts.. single digit stuttering fps. Is it suppsoed to look like this? Probably not. Press escape.
* Start demo again, choose 640x480 this time. Not looking very nice, and still drops frames. Perhaps I need to buy a new 500eur videocard?
At this point, I think many people turn to Youtube and watch some artifical 1080p capture running faster than any real hardware can actually run the demo. What is the point of realtime then?

With something like the PS4 (or other fixed platform) I would actually get to watch the demo at the intended framerate/resolution that the creator made it for.

Still, after the Sony debacle with the OtherOS, I doubt we will be getting any homebrew access on the next gen consoles.
added on the 2013-09-23 18:32:48 by Sdw Sdw
Perhaps I need to buy a new 500eur videocard?

Yeah you're right. Better buy the 500eur console instead ;) (GF560 is a 3 year old card that still fares pretty well for demowatching today, $200 range.)
added on the 2013-09-23 18:41:43 by Gargaj Gargaj
I actually have a GTX560, and it is at least not fit for watching FLT demos, that's for sure... ;)
added on the 2013-09-23 18:45:21 by Sdw Sdw
If you remove FLT demos from the pool (which are admittedly often aimed for the next gen), what else do you have problems with?
added on the 2013-09-23 18:58:31 by Gargaj Gargaj
Well, come to think of it, when it comes to demos and running really slow, most of the examples I can come up with has FLT involved in one way or another.
Damn Smash, he thinks everyone has access to the latest gfx hardware as (I guess) he has... ;)

Then there is some raymarching stuff in 4k intros for example that also tend to run quite slow sometimes, but then I guess it is more expected, it's hard to write both speed-optimized and size-optimized code.

Anyway, back to the original topic, I still think it would be cool to have a fixed hardware that is "alive" for 5 years or so, and see how demos would evolve as more optimizations and good-old-fake-trickery are discovered.
I know we will never get something like the C64, but looking at games for the PS3 for example, it is still evident that during its lifespan coders managed to squeeze more and more out of that fixed hardware.
added on the 2013-09-23 19:20:48 by Sdw Sdw
what sdw said.
added on the 2013-09-23 19:50:17 by comankh comankh
@sdw how much of good-old-fake-trickery you think you can squeeze out of a console these days? imo the sole trick is performance analyzing and improve the timing of the multiprocessing. it's much too high level. you really wanna dive into graphics driver and do hardware trickery? this works on our lovely old consoles, but i don't see that happening on a ps4. ;)
added on the 2013-09-23 20:33:30 by yumeji yumeji
imo the sole trick is performance analyzing and improve the timing of the multiprocessing.

Yeah. Tell us more about your programming experience.
added on the 2013-09-23 21:13:45 by Gargaj Gargaj
Well, I'm not really up-to-speed with the current graphics technologies really, but I'm thinking that compared to "generic game engines" a console demo could employ a lot of special-case/faking stuff.
I mean, we know exactly what scene we are showing, how many lightsources we have, which angles we will run the camera through etc. Surely there could be a lot of optimizations/precalc you could do compared to a generic engine.
Also, since I'm a full-framerate freak, you could actually sit and tune scenes to get that perfect 1920x1080p @ 60 fps. Dropping a frame here and there, well, let's just move the camera back one tiiiiiny bit and suddenly we have a few less polygons to render and we are back at 60 fps or something like that.
Ie. the same thing I do when I code for oldschool platforms "OK, I need to drop the dotball from 384 to 360 dots since with this music playing I use a bit too much rastertime some frames".
I'd love to see that kind of attention to detail on newschool platforms.
added on the 2013-09-23 21:18:47 by Sdw Sdw
Experiencing demos on a fixed system is perhaps the main reason why I want new consoles to be a part of the scene. My interest died a little after PCs became the main platform.

A great idea, and perhaps a little step forward, was just posted in the GAF thread I linked to in the OP. How about Sony (and I guess MS) giving away devkits as prizes at parties? Sony are giving away 100s of devkits to big and small devs already.
i'm sure some folks are conspiring to do a ps4 demo as we speak. it'll eventually get finished and released regardless of what sony big heads decide.
added on the 2013-09-23 23:34:46 by psenough psenough
steambox could be a fixed and more open platform.. i heard it will be announced this week
added on the 2013-09-23 23:46:26 by v3nom v3nom
what's the point of watching a demo on ps4 or any other real hardware if it's not interactive in any way?
added on the 2013-09-23 23:52:29 by bonzaj bonzaj
Because interaction is for ADHD people.
added on the 2013-09-24 00:02:03 by Gargaj Gargaj
he he how does this answer my question :)?
added on the 2013-09-24 00:16:13 by bonzaj bonzaj