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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 TomZ on 1/30/2007 5:17:36 PM , Rating: 2
The reality is that, regardless of demand, most companies are not going to release 64-bit device drivers for old hardware, e.g., devices that are more than one year out of production. It is just not economically sound. That is a barrier for users to going the 64-bit route.

In my case, for example, I have a 6-year old Thinkpad - there is zero chance of getting 64-bit drivers for any part of that machine. And yet, since I could load 32-bit Vista on it, I can use Vista on that machine. On my main workstation, I have an Adaptec SCSI adapter and HP scanner that I've had for many years, as well as a webcam that's a few years old. Same story there - if I loaded 64-bit Vista, then I couldn't use those devices at all. Since I had the option of loading 32-bit, I did, and so I loaded my WinXP drivers for all my older devices.

And looking at the other side - the benefits of 64-bit, in my case are zero for me. I have no need for >4GB at this point in time, and I'd rather be able to use my existing hardware rather than buying all new hardware.

I think my case is typical of upgraders wanting to use Vista with their existing hardware investments, both at home and at businesses.


RE: Transparent windows can stay in the walls
By saratoga on 1/30/2007 9:49:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The reality is that, regardless of demand, most companies are not going to release 64-bit device drivers for old hardware, e.g., devices that are more than one year out of production. It is just not economically sound. That is a barrier for users to going the 64-bit route.


Which is why 32 bit Vista is such a bad idea. Now companies have to release a Vista 32 and a Vista 64 driver. If they'd done the Vista and 64 bit switch at once, then ALL Vista drivers would be 64 bit, and the problem you're describing would not exist.

quote:
In my case, for example, I have a 6-year old Thinkpad - there is zero chance of getting 64-bit drivers for any part of that machine. And yet, since I could load 32-bit Vista on it, I can use Vista on that machine.


Actually, if your laptop is using the 32 bit Vista drivers, theres probably 64 bit versions, since I think MS ships all their included drivers in both versions, but I could be wrong.

quote:
And looking at the other side - the benefits of 64-bit, in my case are zero for me. I have no need for >4GB at this point in time, and I'd rather be able to use my existing hardware rather than buying all new hardware.


The real limit is more properly >2-3GB of RAM in XP-32. Hitting 4GB would involve Linux and some good luck in 32 bit mode.


By TomZ on 1/31/2007 12:16:29 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Which is why 32 bit Vista is such a bad idea. Now companies have to release a Vista 32 and a Vista 64 driver. If they'd done the Vista and 64 bit switch at once, then ALL Vista drivers would be 64 bit, and the problem you're describing would not exist.

You're forgetting one little thing, which is that Vista can use 32-bit XP drivers, and that 32-bit Vista drivers are basically the same as 32-bit XP drivers (with some exceptions, e.g., video). Also, most drivers are compiled from the same source code to 32-bit and 64-bit driver targets. So, really it is just a question of the particular hardware vendor recognizing demand for 64-bit, setting up test platforms, and certifying for both versions.
quote:
Actually, if your laptop is using the 32 bit Vista drivers, theres probably 64 bit versions, since I think MS ships all their included drivers in both versions, but I could be wrong.

No, I downloaded XP drivers from the Lenovo web site. As I said, there is zero chance that Lenovo is going to release 64-bit drivers (or any Vista drivers at all) for my laptop. And again, that is what's great about 32-bit Vista - I can use ancient WinXP drivers and it works just fine.
quote:
The real limit is more properly >2-3GB of RAM in XP-32. Hitting 4GB would involve Linux and some good luck in 32 bit mode.

Agreed, the limit is 3GB AFAIK. My laptop is limited to 512MB, so that won't be a problem. On my workstation, I currently have 2GB, and once I decide to go to 4GB, I'll just load 64-bit Vista. Hopefully by then I won't have my legacy hardware and 32-bit drivers.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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