Software and Hardware Limitations
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It's incredible how far we've come in technological advances to be able to play games that are near-on limitless in terms of possibilities at this point. But it wasn't always like that, as we all know.

What're some of your favorite charming/endearing things you remember as normal from generations' past in games that have been either 100% or close to perfection/accurate as possible? Anything that's still a work in progress to this day?

It's strange to think how devs are having to add in fake "loading screens" to their games now to share helpful tips and advice for players, as in the past those screens would be necessary to load the assets of the next level/area and would use that time to teach you things. ROFL
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It's incredible how far we've come in technological advances to be able to play games that are near-on limitless in terms of possibilities at this point. But it wasn't always like that, as we all know.

What're some of your favorite charming/endearing things you remember as normal from generations' past in games that have been either 100% or close to perfection/accurate as possible? Anything that's still a work in progress to this day?

It's strange to think how devs are having to add in fake "loading screens" to their games now to share helpful tips and advice for players, as in the past those screens would be necessary to load the assets of the next level/area and would use that time to teach you things. ROFL
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(May 5th, 2022, 04:29 AM)ShiraNoMai Wrote:
It's strange to think how devs are having to add in fake "loading screens" to their games now to share helpful tips and advice for players, as in the past those screens would be necessary to load the assets of the next level/area and would use that time to teach you things. ROFL
I wonder where developers are going to place those hints going forward when loading screens are just entirely out of the picture. I suppose they could just make hint screens that you can turn off as an option or something.

The first game that comes to mind for me when dealing with limitations is the original Crash Bandicoot. Andy Gavin has a lot of cool insights on challenges with the first game on his website:

Andy Gavin Wrote:
Why is Crash Orange?  Not because we liked it, but because it made the most sense.  First I created a list of popular characters and their colors.  Next I made a list of earthly background possibilities (forest, desert, beach, etc.) and then we strictly outlawed colors that didn’t look good on the screen.  Red, for example, tends to bleed horribly on old televisions.  At the time, everyone had old televisions, even if they were new!  Crash was orange because that was available.  There are no lava levels, a staple in character action games, because Crash is orange.  We made one in Demo, and that ended the lava debate.  It was not terribly dissimilar to trying to watch a black dog run in the yard on a moonless night.
Why is Crash’s face so large?  Because the resolution of the screen was so low.  Some people think we were inspired by the Tasmanian devil.  Perhaps, but it was the necessity of having features large enough to be discernable that caused us to push for the neckless look.  The move made it a little harder to turn his head, and created a very unique way of moving, but it let you see Crash’s facial expressions.  And that was to be very important.
Why does Crash have gloves, spots on his back, and a light colored chest?  Resolution, bad lighting models, and low polygon counts.  Those small additions let you quickly determine what part and rotation of Crash you were looking at based on color.  If you saw spots, it was his back.  Yellowish orange was the front.  As the hands and arms crossed the body during a run the orange tended to blend into muck.  But your eyes tracked the black gloves as they crossed Crash’s body and your mind filled in the rest.
We were wrestling with these design constraints the entire process.  Joe and Charles, with all their talent, were free to do anything that they could imagine on paper.  But Bob and I were the artists that eventually had to ground that back in the reality of calculator strapped to a TV that was the PlayStation 1.
Charles would hand us a sketch and we would start the math:  240 pixel high screen, character 1/6 to 1/4 of the screen height, character 40 to 60 pixels high, proposed hat 1/8 of height of Character, hat 5 to 6 pixels high, hat has stripes.  Striped hat won’t work because the stripes will be less than 1 pixel high.
Take the image Andy posted titled “A Crash that Wasn’t.”  I can tell you immediately that the tail and any kind of flappy strap was immediately shot down because it would have flickered on and off as the PlayStation failed to have pixels to show it.  And that little bit of ankle showing beneath the long pants would have been an annoying orange flicker every few frames around the bottom of his pants and shoes.  Shorter pants would have to prevail.  Crash did end up with a belly button, but it would be about 2x as big.
Source: https://all-things-andy-gavin.com/2011/0...ot-part-2/

Andy Gavin Wrote:
The idea was that the camera would follow along next to, behind, or in front of the character, generally looking at him, moving on a “track” through the world. Dave and I experimented with pre-calculating the visibility and sort (the Playstation had no z-buffer, and hence no easy way to sort polygons) ahead of time on the SGI workstations the artists used. Although painful and expensive, this worked really well. As long as you could never SEE more than a set number of polygons (800 for Crash 1, 1300 for Crash 2 or 3) from any given position we could have perfect occlusion and sort, with no runtime cost. We conceived of using trees, cliffs, walls, and twists and turns in the environment to hide a lot of the landscape from view – but it would be there, just around the corner.
Source: https://all-things-andy-gavin.com/2011/0...ot-part-3/

The main thing I remembered was the way levels are rendered to achieve high detail by manipulating the camera and level assets to keep the polygon count on screen under a certain number at all times, but hiding things ahead so that detail could be kept high. I wasn't aware of the things in my first quote, and I'm sure there's a load more things about limitations in the other parts of Gavin's writeup.
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(May 5th, 2022, 04:29 AM)ShiraNoMai Wrote:
It's strange to think how devs are having to add in fake "loading screens" to their games now to share helpful tips and advice for players, as in the past those screens would be necessary to load the assets of the next level/area and would use that time to teach you things. ROFL
I wonder where developers are going to place those hints going forward when loading screens are just entirely out of the picture. I suppose they could just make hint screens that you can turn off as an option or something.

The first game that comes to mind for me when dealing with limitations is the original Crash Bandicoot. Andy Gavin has a lot of cool insights on challenges with the first game on his website:

Andy Gavin Wrote:
Why is Crash Orange?  Not because we liked it, but because it made the most sense.  First I created a list of popular characters and their colors.  Next I made a list of earthly background possibilities (forest, desert, beach, etc.) and then we strictly outlawed colors that didn’t look good on the screen.  Red, for example, tends to bleed horribly on old televisions.  At the time, everyone had old televisions, even if they were new!  Crash was orange because that was available.  There are no lava levels, a staple in character action games, because Crash is orange.  We made one in Demo, and that ended the lava debate.  It was not terribly dissimilar to trying to watch a black dog run in the yard on a moonless night.
Why is Crash’s face so large?  Because the resolution of the screen was so low.  Some people think we were inspired by the Tasmanian devil.  Perhaps, but it was the necessity of having features large enough to be discernable that caused us to push for the neckless look.  The move made it a little harder to turn his head, and created a very unique way of moving, but it let you see Crash’s facial expressions.  And that was to be very important.
Why does Crash have gloves, spots on his back, and a light colored chest?  Resolution, bad lighting models, and low polygon counts.  Those small additions let you quickly determine what part and rotation of Crash you were looking at based on color.  If you saw spots, it was his back.  Yellowish orange was the front.  As the hands and arms crossed the body during a run the orange tended to blend into muck.  But your eyes tracked the black gloves as they crossed Crash’s body and your mind filled in the rest.
We were wrestling with these design constraints the entire process.  Joe and Charles, with all their talent, were free to do anything that they could imagine on paper.  But Bob and I were the artists that eventually had to ground that back in the reality of calculator strapped to a TV that was the PlayStation 1.
Charles would hand us a sketch and we would start the math:  240 pixel high screen, character 1/6 to 1/4 of the screen height, character 40 to 60 pixels high, proposed hat 1/8 of height of Character, hat 5 to 6 pixels high, hat has stripes.  Striped hat won’t work because the stripes will be less than 1 pixel high.
Take the image Andy posted titled “A Crash that Wasn’t.”  I can tell you immediately that the tail and any kind of flappy strap was immediately shot down because it would have flickered on and off as the PlayStation failed to have pixels to show it.  And that little bit of ankle showing beneath the long pants would have been an annoying orange flicker every few frames around the bottom of his pants and shoes.  Shorter pants would have to prevail.  Crash did end up with a belly button, but it would be about 2x as big.
Source: https://all-things-andy-gavin.com/2011/0...ot-part-2/

Andy Gavin Wrote:
The idea was that the camera would follow along next to, behind, or in front of the character, generally looking at him, moving on a “track” through the world. Dave and I experimented with pre-calculating the visibility and sort (the Playstation had no z-buffer, and hence no easy way to sort polygons) ahead of time on the SGI workstations the artists used. Although painful and expensive, this worked really well. As long as you could never SEE more than a set number of polygons (800 for Crash 1, 1300 for Crash 2 or 3) from any given position we could have perfect occlusion and sort, with no runtime cost. We conceived of using trees, cliffs, walls, and twists and turns in the environment to hide a lot of the landscape from view – but it would be there, just around the corner.
Source: https://all-things-andy-gavin.com/2011/0...ot-part-3/

The main thing I remembered was the way levels are rendered to achieve high detail by manipulating the camera and level assets to keep the polygon count on screen under a certain number at all times, but hiding things ahead so that detail could be kept high. I wasn't aware of the things in my first quote, and I'm sure there's a load more things about limitations in the other parts of Gavin's writeup.
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That's very interesting, especially to consider how limitations wound up creating the iconic shapes and designs for characters we know and love.

It's what I love about looking at concept art from older stuff. Like when you consider how Mario originally looked and how he had to be portrayed on 8-bit graphic styles for years before he could even remotely begin to resemble his box art appearances, and the things they had to work with to get it to look even remotely close to that.

One of my favorite things I learned about in hardware limitations was learning how Satoru Iwata was brought in to help GameFreak fit the entirety of the new Johto AND Kanto regions into one game cartridge, doubling the game's overworld size with MASSIVE compression.
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That's very interesting, especially to consider how limitations wound up creating the iconic shapes and designs for characters we know and love.

It's what I love about looking at concept art from older stuff. Like when you consider how Mario originally looked and how he had to be portrayed on 8-bit graphic styles for years before he could even remotely begin to resemble his box art appearances, and the things they had to work with to get it to look even remotely close to that.

One of my favorite things I learned about in hardware limitations was learning how Satoru Iwata was brought in to help GameFreak fit the entirety of the new Johto AND Kanto regions into one game cartridge, doubling the game's overworld size with MASSIVE compression.
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Speaking of Crash, I was reminded of a Youtube video series called "War Stories", which is about the trials game devs had to overcome in creating their iconic works. It's actually really interesting the out of the box thinking these people come up with, and Crash Bandicoot came up in one of the videos. See, one of the problems that they had was system memory: there was simply not enough of it to do what they wanted. So, in order to squeeze every last byte they could, they LITERALLY BROKE OPEN the Sony Devkits programming and REWROTE IT so that they could use that memory for the game! The first video is the edited version, with the bit I mention right at the start. The second video is the full interview, with the bit I mention being at 1:01:12




This series is actually really interesting from a historic perspective, because it just goes to show all the weird, minuscule things that can result in the destruction of an idea. While it's slightly off-topic, my personal favorite of these videos is actually the Amnesia one, because that game is basically the game that single-handedly brought Survival Horror back to the mainstream, and it would not have happened if they didn't design the game to LIE to you!

And speaking of "things that almost didn't happen", and again going off-topic, I keep remembering now and again that there is a song that can be considered the most important song of the last 50 years, and I'm willing to bet none of you have ever heard of it. It's called "Tom's Diner", but you probably know it better as "that one intro bit from 'Centuries' by Fall Out Boy". It's a very simple A Capella piece that is literally about Suzanne Vega sitting in a diner, narrating what she sees. And yet, without Tom's Diner, we would not have the 21st century culture of music sharing. At all. No, I'm not exaggerating. See, Tom's Diner was the song that was used to test and refine a new audio compression algorithm back in the early 90s. You've probably heard of it; it's called "MP3". Yeah, in a way, we were all carrying a little bit of Tom's Diner in our iPods back when those were the way to listen to music on the go! Pulling back TO the topic, one of the problems with proper audio files is that they are big. VERY big. Over 1 million bits/second in CD quality big! This is why MIDI was so popular for so long; back in the days it first existed, the best way to store media in a transferable package without shipping a hard drive was on a Floppy Disk, which was only 1.44 MB usually. In an era where space was at a premium, MP3 became a GODSEND, and once the CD-ROM came online, there was finally a medium to use it on! That's why, over 30 years later, it's still one of the most dominant formats for audio! It's a tiny file size, and it's audio quality is close enough for government work (trained ears can tell a difference, as can high-quality equipment, but the average person won't notice or care)! It truly cannot be overstated how important MP3 is to modern-day culture, and it's honestly something we take for granted today!
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Speaking of Crash, I was reminded of a Youtube video series called "War Stories", which is about the trials game devs had to overcome in creating their iconic works. It's actually really interesting the out of the box thinking these people come up with, and Crash Bandicoot came up in one of the videos. See, one of the problems that they had was system memory: there was simply not enough of it to do what they wanted. So, in order to squeeze every last byte they could, they LITERALLY BROKE OPEN the Sony Devkits programming and REWROTE IT so that they could use that memory for the game! The first video is the edited version, with the bit I mention right at the start. The second video is the full interview, with the bit I mention being at 1:01:12




This series is actually really interesting from a historic perspective, because it just goes to show all the weird, minuscule things that can result in the destruction of an idea. While it's slightly off-topic, my personal favorite of these videos is actually the Amnesia one, because that game is basically the game that single-handedly brought Survival Horror back to the mainstream, and it would not have happened if they didn't design the game to LIE to you!

And speaking of "things that almost didn't happen", and again going off-topic, I keep remembering now and again that there is a song that can be considered the most important song of the last 50 years, and I'm willing to bet none of you have ever heard of it. It's called "Tom's Diner", but you probably know it better as "that one intro bit from 'Centuries' by Fall Out Boy". It's a very simple A Capella piece that is literally about Suzanne Vega sitting in a diner, narrating what she sees. And yet, without Tom's Diner, we would not have the 21st century culture of music sharing. At all. No, I'm not exaggerating. See, Tom's Diner was the song that was used to test and refine a new audio compression algorithm back in the early 90s. You've probably heard of it; it's called "MP3". Yeah, in a way, we were all carrying a little bit of Tom's Diner in our iPods back when those were the way to listen to music on the go! Pulling back TO the topic, one of the problems with proper audio files is that they are big. VERY big. Over 1 million bits/second in CD quality big! This is why MIDI was so popular for so long; back in the days it first existed, the best way to store media in a transferable package without shipping a hard drive was on a Floppy Disk, which was only 1.44 MB usually. In an era where space was at a premium, MP3 became a GODSEND, and once the CD-ROM came online, there was finally a medium to use it on! That's why, over 30 years later, it's still one of the most dominant formats for audio! It's a tiny file size, and it's audio quality is close enough for government work (trained ears can tell a difference, as can high-quality equipment, but the average person won't notice or care)! It truly cannot be overstated how important MP3 is to modern-day culture, and it's honestly something we take for granted today!
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(May 15th, 2022, 05:16 AM)ShiraNoMai Wrote:
That's very interesting, especially to consider how limitations wound up creating the iconic shapes and designs for characters we know and love.

It's what I love about looking at concept art from older stuff. Like when you consider how Mario originally looked and how he had to be portrayed on 8-bit graphic styles for years before he could even remotely begin to resemble his box art appearances, and the things they had to work with to get it to look even remotely close to that.
The most notable example of limitations shaping any character I think is Rayman. Originally he had limbs, but due to memory issues they were removed which resulted in the character we know him as today. Most other characters just had their portrayal in a game altered from their official high-res art in order to be functional in-game, which has really been a thing even into the 8th Gen because of how in-game models are not always used for cutscenes. I'm not even sure if the newest consoles will all be using in-game models for cutscenes or if some of the games are still going to need to use pre-rendered to achieve a higher quality appearance.

(May 15th, 2022, 05:16 AM)ShiraNoMai Wrote:
One of my favorite things I learned about in hardware limitations was learning how Satoru Iwata was brought in to help GameFreak fit the entirety of the new Johto AND Kanto regions into one game cartridge, doubling the game's overworld size with MASSIVE compression.
I wonder what would've happened here if Iwata wasn't able to pull this off? I doubt they'd have split the game across two cartridges like disc-based games were so I guess Kanto would've just been entirely omitted. Hmm

(May 15th, 2022, 06:33 AM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
Speaking of Crash, I was reminded of a Youtube video series called "War Stories", which is about the trials game devs had to overcome in creating their iconic works. It's actually really interesting the out of the box thinking these people come up with, and Crash Bandicoot came up in one of the videos. See, one of the problems that they had was system memory: there was simply not enough of it to do what they wanted. So, in order to squeeze every last byte they could, they LITERALLY BROKE OPEN the Sony Devkits programming and REWROTE IT so that they could use that memory for the game!
I didn't know that, but it doesn't surprise me considering the other things they were doing to find any way to get the most out of the limits they were up against. I feel like I once read that one of the consoles from 7th Gen or later offered or explored offering some of the system RAM to developers by having certain console functions disabled while the game ran, but I expect it'll take me a moment to try and find if that ever happened.

(May 15th, 2022, 06:33 AM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
I didn't know this either, but I also got quickly desensitized to enemies in Amnesia because I started to feel like there was zero threat from them so long as you kept moving after I dealt with a room that was incredibly open with multiple enemies in it and got through it by just bum rushing my way from A to B and outrunning everything.

I don't know if this would be a limitation of software, hardware, or just the medium/genre itself, but I don't really know any horror game that can manage to maintain tension the entire time. I used to think Alien Isolation had perfected it but when I saw the punishment (death) happen one too many times I just stopped being bothered by the concept of being stalked by an enemy that can learn from you. I think eventually the player is going to stop caring about the scary parts of a horror game unless that stuff is doing something that the player just detests, such as @Dragon Lord hating anything underwater due to thalassophobia or @Maniakkid25 hating large bugs or randomized/respawning horror (or was that last one just when it relates to bug enemies and not all horror?).
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(May 15th, 2022, 05:16 AM)ShiraNoMai Wrote:
That's very interesting, especially to consider how limitations wound up creating the iconic shapes and designs for characters we know and love.

It's what I love about looking at concept art from older stuff. Like when you consider how Mario originally looked and how he had to be portrayed on 8-bit graphic styles for years before he could even remotely begin to resemble his box art appearances, and the things they had to work with to get it to look even remotely close to that.
The most notable example of limitations shaping any character I think is Rayman. Originally he had limbs, but due to memory issues they were removed which resulted in the character we know him as today. Most other characters just had their portrayal in a game altered from their official high-res art in order to be functional in-game, which has really been a thing even into the 8th Gen because of how in-game models are not always used for cutscenes. I'm not even sure if the newest consoles will all be using in-game models for cutscenes or if some of the games are still going to need to use pre-rendered to achieve a higher quality appearance.

(May 15th, 2022, 05:16 AM)ShiraNoMai Wrote:
One of my favorite things I learned about in hardware limitations was learning how Satoru Iwata was brought in to help GameFreak fit the entirety of the new Johto AND Kanto regions into one game cartridge, doubling the game's overworld size with MASSIVE compression.
I wonder what would've happened here if Iwata wasn't able to pull this off? I doubt they'd have split the game across two cartridges like disc-based games were so I guess Kanto would've just been entirely omitted. Hmm

(May 15th, 2022, 06:33 AM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
Speaking of Crash, I was reminded of a Youtube video series called "War Stories", which is about the trials game devs had to overcome in creating their iconic works. It's actually really interesting the out of the box thinking these people come up with, and Crash Bandicoot came up in one of the videos. See, one of the problems that they had was system memory: there was simply not enough of it to do what they wanted. So, in order to squeeze every last byte they could, they LITERALLY BROKE OPEN the Sony Devkits programming and REWROTE IT so that they could use that memory for the game!
I didn't know that, but it doesn't surprise me considering the other things they were doing to find any way to get the most out of the limits they were up against. I feel like I once read that one of the consoles from 7th Gen or later offered or explored offering some of the system RAM to developers by having certain console functions disabled while the game ran, but I expect it'll take me a moment to try and find if that ever happened.

(May 15th, 2022, 06:33 AM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
I didn't know this either, but I also got quickly desensitized to enemies in Amnesia because I started to feel like there was zero threat from them so long as you kept moving after I dealt with a room that was incredibly open with multiple enemies in it and got through it by just bum rushing my way from A to B and outrunning everything.

I don't know if this would be a limitation of software, hardware, or just the medium/genre itself, but I don't really know any horror game that can manage to maintain tension the entire time. I used to think Alien Isolation had perfected it but when I saw the punishment (death) happen one too many times I just stopped being bothered by the concept of being stalked by an enemy that can learn from you. I think eventually the player is going to stop caring about the scary parts of a horror game unless that stuff is doing something that the player just detests, such as @Dragon Lord hating anything underwater due to thalassophobia or @Maniakkid25 hating large bugs or randomized/respawning horror (or was that last one just when it relates to bug enemies and not all horror?).
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(May 16th, 2022, 11:10 PM)Moonface Wrote:
@Maniakkid25 hating large bugs or randomized/respawning horror (or was that last one just when it relates to bug enemies and not all horror?).


*cough* War Wasps in Metroid Prime *cough* Yeah, no, that's just an "in general" thing.

The thing about tension and horror is that it's a very delicate balance. Kind of like with Hypnosis, if you aren't willing to help it along, it will not work. Once it's lost, it's lost for good, which is why a better system for tension that, actually, I think Dead Space did rather well, is releasing on that tension every once in a while to be able to ramp it back up again. Just like in music, if you sustain something for too long, the audience will get bored, so by putting the brakes every now and again, you give the audience a chance to recover. This is why there are safe rooms in Resident Evil 2 and 3, where no matter what, enemies cannot enter. You have a chance to breathe, and recover your stamina for what comes next.
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(May 16th, 2022, 11:10 PM)Moonface Wrote:
@Maniakkid25 hating large bugs or randomized/respawning horror (or was that last one just when it relates to bug enemies and not all horror?).


*cough* War Wasps in Metroid Prime *cough* Yeah, no, that's just an "in general" thing.

The thing about tension and horror is that it's a very delicate balance. Kind of like with Hypnosis, if you aren't willing to help it along, it will not work. Once it's lost, it's lost for good, which is why a better system for tension that, actually, I think Dead Space did rather well, is releasing on that tension every once in a while to be able to ramp it back up again. Just like in music, if you sustain something for too long, the audience will get bored, so by putting the brakes every now and again, you give the audience a chance to recover. This is why there are safe rooms in Resident Evil 2 and 3, where no matter what, enemies cannot enter. You have a chance to breathe, and recover your stamina for what comes next.
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(May 16th, 2022, 11:25 PM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
The thing about tension and horror is that it's a very delicate balance. Kind of like with Hypnosis, if you aren't willing to help it along, it will not work. Once it's lost, it's lost for good, which is why a better system for tension that, actually, I think Dead Space did rather well, is releasing on that tension every once in a while to be able to ramp it back up again. Just like in music, if you sustain something for too long, the audience will get bored, so by putting the brakes every now and again, you give the audience a chance to recover. This is why there are safe rooms in Resident Evil 2 and 3, where no matter what, enemies cannot enter. You have a chance to breathe, and recover your stamina for what comes next.
Alien: Isolation has breathing moments, but what did that in for me was watching a player die repeatedly in the same spot, which turned the Alien from being something to fear to just becoming a nuisance that sets you back x amount of progress.


Another thing that I just thought of that covers both software and hardware limitations together is emulation. After Sony announced some of the games coming to their new PS+ tiers today, I saw that Ape Escape 2 is listed as one of those titles. That game is playable on PS4 via emulation, and it runs fine there, but when I tried it on my PS5 recently it was awful because every single texture bugged out. I would hope it gets fixed before being added to PS+ but if not, that's just one example of how despite advances in hardware, emulating games that ran on much simpler hardware isn't easy. PS3 isn't even being emulated at all for the new PS+ tiers; all of it is being streamed instead. I know that comes down to the god awful hardware of the PS3, but it also shows how limiting hardware can be when much more advanced hardware can't deal with it properly.

I suspect anyone who plays on PC really notices how limiting software can be, considering how many older games can't run on new OS's without being worked on by modders or companies like GOG, or being run in some form of compatibility mode. I guess no matter how advanced anything in gaming can get, it will always be limited in some way when it comes to backwards compatibility, not just due to things like the format being changed from A to B but just trying to even get digital copies to function on anything that comes out after them.
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(May 16th, 2022, 11:25 PM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
The thing about tension and horror is that it's a very delicate balance. Kind of like with Hypnosis, if you aren't willing to help it along, it will not work. Once it's lost, it's lost for good, which is why a better system for tension that, actually, I think Dead Space did rather well, is releasing on that tension every once in a while to be able to ramp it back up again. Just like in music, if you sustain something for too long, the audience will get bored, so by putting the brakes every now and again, you give the audience a chance to recover. This is why there are safe rooms in Resident Evil 2 and 3, where no matter what, enemies cannot enter. You have a chance to breathe, and recover your stamina for what comes next.
Alien: Isolation has breathing moments, but what did that in for me was watching a player die repeatedly in the same spot, which turned the Alien from being something to fear to just becoming a nuisance that sets you back x amount of progress.


Another thing that I just thought of that covers both software and hardware limitations together is emulation. After Sony announced some of the games coming to their new PS+ tiers today, I saw that Ape Escape 2 is listed as one of those titles. That game is playable on PS4 via emulation, and it runs fine there, but when I tried it on my PS5 recently it was awful because every single texture bugged out. I would hope it gets fixed before being added to PS+ but if not, that's just one example of how despite advances in hardware, emulating games that ran on much simpler hardware isn't easy. PS3 isn't even being emulated at all for the new PS+ tiers; all of it is being streamed instead. I know that comes down to the god awful hardware of the PS3, but it also shows how limiting hardware can be when much more advanced hardware can't deal with it properly.

I suspect anyone who plays on PC really notices how limiting software can be, considering how many older games can't run on new OS's without being worked on by modders or companies like GOG, or being run in some form of compatibility mode. I guess no matter how advanced anything in gaming can get, it will always be limited in some way when it comes to backwards compatibility, not just due to things like the format being changed from A to B but just trying to even get digital copies to function on anything that comes out after them.
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Oh, the stories I could tell you about getting Septerra Core running on Steam before they updated it to 1.04...

Yeah, emulation is notorious for being finicky, with different games requiring different things out of a console, and if it runs on backwards compatibility, sometimes you just have issues. There's actually a known problem with the PS2 emulator for PSX games where Legend of Dragoon does not advance past the final boss of the second disc. As far as I know, the only emulation that is considered true one-to-one with the original system is the NES. Even SNES games can get really finicky really quick if you start bumping settings around, N64 emulation is notorious for not emulating lag correctly, etc. This is why so many games that allow emulators for speedrunning have it set so that emulator is a separate category.
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Oh, the stories I could tell you about getting Septerra Core running on Steam before they updated it to 1.04...

Yeah, emulation is notorious for being finicky, with different games requiring different things out of a console, and if it runs on backwards compatibility, sometimes you just have issues. There's actually a known problem with the PS2 emulator for PSX games where Legend of Dragoon does not advance past the final boss of the second disc. As far as I know, the only emulation that is considered true one-to-one with the original system is the NES. Even SNES games can get really finicky really quick if you start bumping settings around, N64 emulation is notorious for not emulating lag correctly, etc. This is why so many games that allow emulators for speedrunning have it set so that emulator is a separate category.
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(May 17th, 2022, 12:31 AM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
Yeah, emulation is notorious for being finicky, with different games requiring different things out of a console, and if it runs on backwards compatibility, sometimes you just have issues. There's actually a known problem with the PS2 emulator for PSX games where Legend of Dragoon does not advance past the final boss of the second disc. As far as I know, the only emulation that is considered true one-to-one with the original system is the NES. Even SNES games can get really finicky really quick if you start bumping settings around, N64 emulation is notorious for not emulating lag correctly, etc. This is why so many games that allow emulators for speedrunning have it set so that emulator is a separate category.
By PS2 emulator do you mean the PS2 console itself had an emulator to run PSX games? I thought it just read the games because they shared the same hardware processor stuff like how PS4 and PS5 do. Unsure
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(May 17th, 2022, 12:31 AM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
Yeah, emulation is notorious for being finicky, with different games requiring different things out of a console, and if it runs on backwards compatibility, sometimes you just have issues. There's actually a known problem with the PS2 emulator for PSX games where Legend of Dragoon does not advance past the final boss of the second disc. As far as I know, the only emulation that is considered true one-to-one with the original system is the NES. Even SNES games can get really finicky really quick if you start bumping settings around, N64 emulation is notorious for not emulating lag correctly, etc. This is why so many games that allow emulators for speedrunning have it set so that emulator is a separate category.
By PS2 emulator do you mean the PS2 console itself had an emulator to run PSX games? I thought it just read the games because they shared the same hardware processor stuff like how PS4 and PS5 do. Unsure
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I'm probably calling it something wrong, but I only called it that because the extended interview of Andy Gavin says that. At 1:02:10, he states that because of his little hacks, they had to customize the software to get Crash Bandicoot to run on later systems. With that said, I don't think the PS2 actually shared any hardware with the PSX? *checks* Yeah, no, the guy who build the system for it calls it an emulator, too.
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I'm probably calling it something wrong, but I only called it that because the extended interview of Andy Gavin says that. At 1:02:10, he states that because of his little hacks, they had to customize the software to get Crash Bandicoot to run on later systems. With that said, I don't think the PS2 actually shared any hardware with the PSX? *checks* Yeah, no, the guy who build the system for it calls it an emulator, too.
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Huh, I never knew the PS2 didn't just natively run PSX games. I thought it was like with say, 3DS reading DS games and such where the hardware is better and basically works like having a beefier PC able to run new and old stuff instead of just old stuff.

Something that came up the other night between @ShiraNoMai and I was how I think that the limitations of storage on CD-ROMs during the 5th Gen resulted in a lot of PSX games having graphical styles that age better in comparison to N64 games. That and the wobbly graphic thing they had going might have also got developers to prefer simpler textures so they wouldn't warp so badly.
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Huh, I never knew the PS2 didn't just natively run PSX games. I thought it was like with say, 3DS reading DS games and such where the hardware is better and basically works like having a beefier PC able to run new and old stuff instead of just old stuff.

Something that came up the other night between @ShiraNoMai and I was how I think that the limitations of storage on CD-ROMs during the 5th Gen resulted in a lot of PSX games having graphical styles that age better in comparison to N64 games. That and the wobbly graphic thing they had going might have also got developers to prefer simpler textures so they wouldn't warp so badly.
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That may also be due to how games are decoded on each system, and the relative texture capabilities. While the N64 had a higher RAM size, for example (8 or 16 4 or 8 MB, vs the PSX's 2 MB ), because it was technically a higher fidelity system (in classic "bit" misnomer terms, N64 was 64-bit compared to the PSX's 32), the textures often took a massive hit. It also doesn't help that there's simply a humongous size difference between an N64 cart and a CD-ROM: the CD was ~700 MB, give or take a few dozen. The Cart? 64 MB! Yeah, EVERYTHING about the game had to fit into that 64 MB, including stuff we take for granted like decoding video. This is why Modern Vintage Gamer called in the thumbnail of his video on Resident Evil 2 "The Impossible Port": those insane programmers managed to fit 2 CDs of game into a 64 MB cart, with speech, video, and music all together.
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That may also be due to how games are decoded on each system, and the relative texture capabilities. While the N64 had a higher RAM size, for example (8 or 16 4 or 8 MB, vs the PSX's 2 MB ), because it was technically a higher fidelity system (in classic "bit" misnomer terms, N64 was 64-bit compared to the PSX's 32), the textures often took a massive hit. It also doesn't help that there's simply a humongous size difference between an N64 cart and a CD-ROM: the CD was ~700 MB, give or take a few dozen. The Cart? 64 MB! Yeah, EVERYTHING about the game had to fit into that 64 MB, including stuff we take for granted like decoding video. This is why Modern Vintage Gamer called in the thumbnail of his video on Resident Evil 2 "The Impossible Port": those insane programmers managed to fit 2 CDs of game into a 64 MB cart, with speech, video, and music all together.
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Oh, the carts held less? I actually thought they held more for some reason or could at least do something better with data because Nintendo didn't want to ditch them and is partly why Sony and Nintendo never ended up working together. I'm surprised more Nintendo games didn't try to use simpler textures that used up less space and/or could be scaled better then, which was why I thought a lot of PlayStation games I've played had textures that scaled better at different resolutions. Gasp
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Oh, the carts held less? I actually thought they held more for some reason or could at least do something better with data because Nintendo didn't want to ditch them and is partly why Sony and Nintendo never ended up working together. I'm surprised more Nintendo games didn't try to use simpler textures that used up less space and/or could be scaled better then, which was why I thought a lot of PlayStation games I've played had textures that scaled better at different resolutions. Gasp
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Nope, the cart was WAY smaller; that's actually why Squaresoft ditched Nintendo to make Final Fantasy 7 on the PSX; there wasn't enough space to do what they wanted, and making a multi-cartridge game is basically out of the question. But, with clever programming, you can actually get some really good space efficiency on the cartridge, and it has the advantage of basically having zero load times. One has to look no farther than the impressively large maps on Rogue Squadron to see that. It's actually rather impressive some of the games that managed to fit onto that 64 MB storage limit. DK 64, Rogue Squadron, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (ported from the PC!), Majora's Mask (one of three games that requires the 8 MB expansion RAM), it's pretty crazy.
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Nope, the cart was WAY smaller; that's actually why Squaresoft ditched Nintendo to make Final Fantasy 7 on the PSX; there wasn't enough space to do what they wanted, and making a multi-cartridge game is basically out of the question. But, with clever programming, you can actually get some really good space efficiency on the cartridge, and it has the advantage of basically having zero load times. One has to look no farther than the impressively large maps on Rogue Squadron to see that. It's actually rather impressive some of the games that managed to fit onto that 64 MB storage limit. DK 64, Rogue Squadron, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (ported from the PC!), Majora's Mask (one of three games that requires the 8 MB expansion RAM), it's pretty crazy.
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My thinking of carts holding more was because PSX games used multiple discs which made me think that the discs didn't hold as much as a cart because games never needed more than one of those. Logically it would be why you said, because doing multiple carts is expensive and not really feasible, but somehow my mind just doubled down on the space reasoning for any notable differences in how games were on both systems. ROFL

Thinking of the choices for software storage formats, it's interesting to think that a lot of limits in the earlier generations are due to those choices. As we've already been discussing PSX and N64 both went with different formats each with their own pros and cons, and Nintendo decided to choose a format that had less storage for GameCube games compared to PS2 and OG Xbox in favour of not paying licensing fees for using the DVD format and to prevent piracy/copyright infringement of their games. Then when we get to the next generation, where Nintendo chose to stick to their own specialized DVD format but with improvements to it for the Wii, Microsoft stuck with DVD's for the 360, while Sony pursued Blu-Ray for the PS3, which I'm sure all had impacts on how games could look due to the differences in storage capacities (I'm not sure if 360 games with multiple discs managed to avoid this issue or not though).

I wonder how much of a difference it would have made to Nintendo games over the generations if Nintendo had ever chosen a media format that lags behind other options on the market when it comes to storage space? I know the hardware of their consoles also has to be factored in but I just wonder if any games weren't able to be as good as they could be due to the media formats limiting the level of quality because of space. Hmm
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My thinking of carts holding more was because PSX games used multiple discs which made me think that the discs didn't hold as much as a cart because games never needed more than one of those. Logically it would be why you said, because doing multiple carts is expensive and not really feasible, but somehow my mind just doubled down on the space reasoning for any notable differences in how games were on both systems. ROFL

Thinking of the choices for software storage formats, it's interesting to think that a lot of limits in the earlier generations are due to those choices. As we've already been discussing PSX and N64 both went with different formats each with their own pros and cons, and Nintendo decided to choose a format that had less storage for GameCube games compared to PS2 and OG Xbox in favour of not paying licensing fees for using the DVD format and to prevent piracy/copyright infringement of their games. Then when we get to the next generation, where Nintendo chose to stick to their own specialized DVD format but with improvements to it for the Wii, Microsoft stuck with DVD's for the 360, while Sony pursued Blu-Ray for the PS3, which I'm sure all had impacts on how games could look due to the differences in storage capacities (I'm not sure if 360 games with multiple discs managed to avoid this issue or not though).

I wonder how much of a difference it would have made to Nintendo games over the generations if Nintendo had ever chosen a media format that lags behind other options on the market when it comes to storage space? I know the hardware of their consoles also has to be factored in but I just wonder if any games weren't able to be as good as they could be due to the media formats limiting the level of quality because of space. Hmm
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