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Unreal Tournament 3 -- image courtesy GameSpot
Epic's Mark Rein opens the flood gates for a discussion on the latest tech

Game Informer recently had a chance to chat with Epic's Mark Rein on a variety of subjects ranging from Unreal Tournament 3 to Windows Vista to the PlayStation 3 vs. Xbox 360 battle. Rein, never one to bite his tongue, held nothing back in this one-on-one.

Rein first spoke about Unreal Tournament 3, which will be a headliner title for the PS3. It was also recently announced that the game would see the light of day on the Xbox 360 platform. "I think it was the realization that we might be able to sell a few copies on this PS3. We had a little success on Xbox 360, and we might be able to sell a few copies there," said Rein.

The tide then turned rather quickly to Sony as a whole, given its recent PS3 sales shortfalls in Japan and North America. The PS3 itself also came under attack recently by Valve's Gabe Newell when he stated that the console is a "total disaster." Rein balks at such commentary and says that the PS3 platform is alive and well. "They sold more PS3s in North America than Microsoft sold Xbox 360s in its same period of time, and they clearly aren’t going to have the shortage problems that Microsoft had. So as long as people are willing to pay the price for the machine -- and I’m sure lots of people are -- I think they’re hopefully in a good situation," said Rein. He went on to say "There’s not a lot of games on there, but the ones that are there are really high quality, and I’m really impressed with the games. It’s a beautiful machine, it’s a great-looking piece of equipment, so I think Sony’s going to be fine."

Rein also gave his thoughts on the Windows Vista platform. In his opinion, there are too many version of the operating system and it has boiled down to a love/hate relationship. "So, I love the feel of Vista, and I love all the cool power tools that are built right in this time. I love the way it organizes all your content for you. I love all the gaming features," Rein told Game Informer. "I hate the fact that there’s a 32-bit version of it, and I hate the fact that there are versions that can run without Aero Glass."

Rein blames the reasons for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the operating system on Intel. "I think these were compromises they made for Intel, and I think those are mistakes that’ll hold the industry back. There’s no reason why every machine out there shouldn’t be 64-bit now. There’s great 64-bit processors -- AMD has been shipping them for years. Intel was shipping them for years -- and then threw the core processor, the original core processor, into the mix and the Core Duos were 32-bit, and they shouldn’t have."

While it's understandable that Rein would like a swift move to 64-bit computing, the rest of the industry doesn't appear to be ready. The driver support just isn't there and the performance advantages on the consumer side haven't been fully realized yet. Rein, however, will likely get his wish with the next generation Windows operating system.

Game Informer didn't let Rein get away without throwing a Halo 3 question his way. Halo 3 is due to ship later this year, just in time for Christmas. "We’re a long way from Halo 3 still, so it’s not like we’re releasing them in the same week. They’re both complementary. I mean if Gears helps build the audience for Halo 3, then I hope Halo 3 helps build the audience for Gears."



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RE: Transparent windows can stay in the walls
By misbfa1 on 1/30/2007 1:42:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
On the flip side, what is really the benefit of 64-bit, for applications? Being able to address more than 4GB of RAM? What is the real need for that today on a desktop of laptop? I can understand the need for that on servers, it's not really a need for other computers at this point in time.


The benefit of 64 bit is the sophistication of the mirco code. 64 bit allows the developers to create better code in general. x86-64 really is a huge leap foward when it comes to the x86 architechture.

All the benefit is behind the scenes stuff that we won't realize.

64 bit is the future of computing. He would just prefer not to wait for the future (I agree that particular point). Microsoft could have mandated that only the 64bit version be on new machines, and that would have been the end of it right there.

You want to anticipate need and be ready for it BEFORE it is needed.


RE: Transparent windows can stay in the walls
By saratoga on 1/30/2007 1:46:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
On the flip side, what is really the benefit of 64-bit, for applications? Being able to address more than 4GB of RAM? What is the real need for that today on a desktop of laptop? I can understand the need for that on servers, it's not really a need for other computers at this point in time.


Being able to address more then 4GB of memory . Remember, lots of memory is not mapped to RAM, as lots of people who try to run XP32 with 3GB of RAM find out. 64 bit mode makes a lot of sense as soon as you hit the 2GB mark, which is basically where we are. Any higher then 2Gb and you'll run the risk of hitting various bottlenecks.

But really, the idea is just to get everyone onto the same version of x86 as fast as humanly possible. The transition is going to be expensive and annoying. The faster its over, the sooner people can move on and developers can stop worrying about it (and wasting their time on it).


RE: Transparent windows can stay in the walls
By Shintai on 1/30/2007 7:09:20 AM , Rating: 2
32bit can utilize up to 64GB using PAE.
And with the /3GB flag each process can use 3GB memory. And with AWE more. But AWE brings alot of issues, PAE don´t.


By saratoga on 1/30/2007 9:44:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
32bit can utilize up to 64GB using PAE.


x86 can, but XP-32 cannot. If you want to address more then 4GB of physical memory in XP or Vista, you MUST install the 64 bit version.



By TomZ on 1/30/2007 9:29:43 AM , Rating: 2
Most people are running WinXP, and use their computers for browsing the Internet, accessing e-mail, and office productivity apps. Based on this, even 4GB of RAM is way more than is needed.

I understand your drive to get everyone on 64-bits, but my point is that there's no practical reason for most folks to get there. They simply have no requirements of their machine that demands a 64-bit OS. Therefore, adoption of 64-bit OSs will be slow.


By TomZ on 1/30/2007 9:24:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The benefit of 64 bit is the sophistication of the mirco code. 64 bit allows the developers to create better code in general. x86-64 really is a huge leap foward when it comes to the x86 architechture.

As a developer, I can tell you that's not the case. Almost all code written for PC's is written in high-level languages (e.g., C++, C#, Java, VB, etc.), and at this level, whether the computer is 32-bit or 64-bit doesn't affect your abilities at all. In fact, most of these languages specifically abstract the underlying hardware so that your software runs correctly on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems without any modification (C++ being an exception). Basically the only benefit is that it is easier to access really large amounts of RAM, e.g., more than 2-4GB. This is of course far more RAM than any desktop app needs today.


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