Sony claims PS3 was made deliberately difficult to program for.

shadow skill

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I kind of understand where Hirai is coming from. Easy to program for is a somewhat relative term, what he probably does not mean is that they purposely had crappy devkits etc. What he is trying to get at and was unable to, is that the PS3 was not made simply to cater to the lowest common denominator. They made a console that was very different from all of the others and required the use of techniques that are not yet seen even in the desktop PC arena. Like with everything else people do need to think somewhat differently when dealing with a different beast. You think if they had the quality of devkits that a software company like Microsoft has people would have complained as much?

That difference when understood allows the developer to pull off some neat tricks that while perhaps possible on other systems may actually be more difficult to achieve.

Midpipps the one thing I can find that developers consistently complain about is the memory management aspect. Epic games did say that the PS3 is easier to understand if you have experience doing high end PC game development. Heck it seems that game developers do not even do code sharing as standard practice, Insomniac along with Sony has been doing stuff to help facillitate that practice.
 

Rezfon

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midpipps said:
I think the main problem with this thread is no one that is actually a programmer for the ps3 has said exactly what they find harder about it. Alot just say the standard it is harder[ other then like insomniac who seems to really like it from what I have heard(But they also make their own engines and tools for most everything)]. I would really like to attend a conference on the exact things that they find so difficult to program for where are they running into problems how much are they changing to use the cores. I have not found any really good white papers on this subject. which is saddening. This would actually be a good project for a masters paper.
it would be a great help if we could find one, however I remain doubtful one will post a message. Also kind of sad how theres a shortage in programmers
 

midpipps

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Rezfon said:
midpipps said:
I think the main problem with this thread is no one that is actually a programmer for the ps3 has said exactly what they find harder about it. Alot just say the standard it is harder[ other then like insomniac who seems to really like it from what I have heard(But they also make their own engines and tools for most everything)]. I would really like to attend a conference on the exact things that they find so difficult to program for where are they running into problems how much are they changing to use the cores. I have not found any really good white papers on this subject. which is saddening. This would actually be a good project for a masters paper.
it would be a great help if we could find one, however I remain doubtful one will post a message. Also kind of sad how theres a shortage in programmers
I have had e-mail contacts with a few people from a few companies on programming I wonder if I could actually get a little more info on any of this. No harm in trying I will send a few e-mails and see how the responses are if I get enough info maybe I will try and put together a little more of a solid answer on it.

If anyone knows a good company to contact or a good person to get the ball rolling it would be nice if you could pm me. I doubt I will get much response but here is hoping.

And yes it is very sad how few programmers are coming out of the wood work lately. I know the local college keeps getting less and less people in programming classes. The only problem is that most classes that I have been through or read course material on don't really teach what is needed inside the industry it is usually a very basic groundwork. I lucked out in getting a job where I basically was apprenticing for a while and slowly was worked into the programming main body.
 

Zer_

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Feb 7, 2008
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shadow skill said:
I kind of understand where Hirai is coming from. Easy to program for is a somewhat relative term, what he probably does not mean is that they purposely had crappy devkits etc. What he is trying to get at and was unable to, is that the PS3 was not made simply to cater to the lowest common denominator. They made a console that was very different from all of the others and required the use of techniques that are not yet seen even in the desktop PC arena. Like with everything else people do need to think somewhat differently when dealing with a different beast. You think if they had the quality of devkits that a software company like Microsoft has people would have complained as much?

That difference when understood allows the developer to pull off some neat tricks that while perhaps possible on other systems may actually be more difficult to achieve.

Midpipps the one thing I can find that developers consistently complain about is the memory management aspect. Epic games did say that the PS3 is easier to understand if you have experience doing high end PC game development. Heck it seems that game developers do not even do code sharing as standard practice, Insomniac along with Sony has been doing stuff to help facillitate that practice.
The Cell processor's components are a lot less flexible then those found on the Xenon. To put it as understandably as possible a program would call upon certain parts of the processor to carry out an instruction. Now on the Xenon you can tell pretty much any part of the processor to carry out any task without a problem. For the Cell processor this is not the case. Certain instructions cannot be carried out by one part of the Cell, so you have to change your program as a result.

Coming into it from an experienced programmer's perspective and programming for the Cell for the first time you will have absolutely no idea why your program does not function as it should. So basically if you coded your program so that certain parts of the program are executed on certain threads, then you try to run that on a Cell processor and it doesn't work, you more often then not have to change the entire structure of your program. This function on part A of the program needs to be executed elsewhere.

"Mere mortals can program the Cell processor but it's a unique experience. A handful of embedded systems developers already have experience programming multiprocessor systems; some have even coded multicore processors. But Cell promises to up the game. Each of the chip's nine individual processor elements is itself a dual-issue machine with complex pipeline interlocks, cache-coherence issues, and synchronization problems. Keeping all eight SPEs fed at once promises to be a real chore. Yet the results are bound to be spectacular. If your application can benefit from sustained high-speed floating-point operations and can be parallelized across two or more SPEs you should be in for a real treat. That is, once you get the code running.

IBM is working on an "Octopiler" that compiles C code and balances it across Cell's eight SPEs. Tools like that, and like the ones described in our companion article on page 18, are absolutely necessary if Cell is to be a success. To take another example from the video game industry, Sega's Saturn console was a failure largely because its four-processor architecture (three SuperH chips and a 68000) was too difficult to program. Developers working under tight deadlines simply ignored much of the system's power because they couldn't harness it effectively. Cell brings that problem in spades. It's an impressive achievement in computer architecture and semiconductor manufacturing. Products based on Cell promise to be equally impressive. But bringing Cell to life will require real software alchemy."
 

Doug

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bad rider said:
Doug said:
And bluntly, harder language == more bugs == poorer quality. But none of this matters, as as I've said before they all use the same high-level languages.
Didn't really confuse them, just tended towards reducing it as much as possible to reduce the amount I had to write. But you see my point?
Edit: Actually I'll rephrase what i have been saying, harder programing = better oppertunity for game developement.
I don't really see that to be honest. I am actually a programmer, and whilst it can occur that a complexly programmed machine ended up performing better, its rarely the case. Bugs, flaws, and so forth tend to occur more as the complexity of the programming increases.

And realistically, the complexity of the programming in a typical XBox 360 game, typical PS3 game, or a typical PC game should be the same, because they will all be programmed in the same language over the same length of time (most games stick to a 3 year turn around, I think last time I looked).

If we assume an XBox 360, PC, and PS3 game all have the same game programmed on them over the same period of time, I'd expect the simplist to program and debug to produce the "Best" (funniest/least buggy/most preferred by graphics whore fans everywhere/etc) to come out on top as a rule of thumb. Why? Because the one with the simplist environment (from a programming point of view) has to spent less time programming in the basics (how to render a room, render a block, render the gun, etc, etc) and more time on content and polishing.

Now, what we come down to now is why I think Sony (or Hirai? was it?) are idiots is because the OP originally stated that they had made the processor hard on purpose - i.e. they had added in complexity to the programming with no hardware need to do so. If Hirai was mistaken or talking rubbish, then my statement is invalid, but as far as I know, that is what he said. Adding in complexity to the programming when its not needed to improve hardware performance is about the same as purposfully making your car use more miles to the gallon without making it go faster.

Mazty said:
Woe Is You said:
Mazty said:
The 360 does have a better GPU, but not in everyway if you compare their speeds in processes such as texel fillrate. Plus how does the bottlenecking occur when the PS3 has 256mb [email protected] and [email protected], and a considerably faster processor. I'm not being retorical, just curious as it's hard to find clear cut information on the workings of either from an unbiased point.
Though I'd have thought with the 360 having less ram, a much slower media format and a non-permanent HDD, that the PS3 has much more potential, especially if games in the future get large enough to fill DVDs.
Hey, you asked whether I know about tech. Then you go about saying how the 360 has less RAM (the combined amount of RAM is the exact same), that the media format is much slower (it's not, the peak speed of the DVD drive on a 360 is higher than that of the Blu-ray drive on a PS3 and on average the speed is about the same). Then the bolded part. There's 2 outright lies and the bolded part, which basically is you admitting that you have no way to tell these things.

We're three years in. We have no way to tell whether the 360 has really peaked (we heard the exact same thing about the PS2 in the last generation around 2-3 years after release). Killzone 2 looks really pretty, sure, but I have no reason to believe that both consoles won't have better looking titles, say, three years from now. And really, we have no way to tell whether the Wii has really peaked. Checking the history of consoles, assuming any of the consoles has peaked at this point is just sheer brainlessness.

I really don't see why anyone would have a reason to defend Kaz's stupid remarks here.
The 360 has the same amount of RAM, but it clocks considerably slower, and the speed of the Cell is considerably faster.
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3773/new_better_more_epics_approach_.php
That about sums it up. I'd rather have a state of the art processor that's a pain to use, but is simply a matter of time, rather than be in the situation of the link above.


Was it a stupid comment by Hirai? Yeah, pretty much. He should have explained why it was difficuly, as in why they chose to use the Cell over normal processors. Anyway, seems that his idea worked and less naff games have found a place on the PS3 than the other consoles.
To be honest, I've seen graphics that good on a PC. And even so, graphics does not make a game good (see "Crysis" which was "Ok" but not "Great"). For example, I love "Sins of a Solar Empire", but its not the most graphically advanced game.
 

Zer_

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On the topic of memory:

"The XDR RAM used is designed by Rambus and is based on RDRAM. For anyone who remembers RDRAM, it had more bandwidth than the parallel DDR modules used at the time, but the latency was very high. So high in fact that it negated any speed advantage it had over DDR, and was eventually phased out. While XDR is improved, it still has higher latencies than the GDDR3 memory used on the 360."

Hell I even covered this before. Higher clock speed =/= performance.
 

bad rider

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Dec 23, 2007
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Doug said:
bad rider said:
Doug said:
bad rider said:
Doug said:
bad rider said:
Doug said:
bad rider said:
Doug said:
johnman said:
bad rider said:

Pretty much sums it up.
Oh my god a chart!!! It must be true!!!
Wait, its Metacritic...nevermind ;)
Hey if you ignore user reviews their site isn't bad, in fact whats wrong with it. All it does is get a mean score of what people say to show an "unbiased" score.
It assumes all reviewers are equally strict about their range of scores - i.e. most reviewers go from 7-10, whereas some use the whole range.

As for metacritic's user review scores, the amount of fanboy "attacks" renders any well known game's rating as ineffective.

Add to that, the graph hides 1 important fact - according to wikipedia at least, the PS3 has about 450 games available for it. The XBox 360 has about 900. The PC has...well, a hell of alot. So, yes, there is more crap on average on XBox, but the amount of games is higher, hence the amount of gold on it is higher too.


In fact, lets have a look at another graph:

Ok I get that, the correlation graph isn't the greatest indication, good point. (Great graph but it turns up everywhere) Now can you list sites that use different scoring system so i can check to see if it's relevant. Now the graph dosen't hide the fact there are 450 games for the ps3, because this is for 2008. Thanks for reading the graph properly. Yes your right it's more than likely games have slipped through the net, but it is still a large and varied sample for the consoles, whereas on a Pc with the amount of games meta critic is likely to have only taken reviews from good games/big brand name games, as the rest are pointless reviewing..

So well done you pointed out correlation graphs aren't great unless you can prove there is a link between the two. In this case Quality of games and difficulty of programing tend to be a bit more linked than pirates and global warming. (Yes i get it that graph was funny years ago when it was produced, hilarious, now let it die.)
Erm, HOW? World of Goo, simple game, uses mid-ware throughout, result, great fun game. This idea that "difficult programming == quality" is plainly ridiculous. The correlation simply implies that PS3 games are better than XBox 360 games. What difficult programming does is make developers spend more time dealing with basic programming than on stuff, like oh, I don't know, Gameplay, Graphics, plot, or simply releasing it earlier.

And if its simply the one's released in 2008, thats not really valid then. You're trying to say that, because PS3 games happened to beat XBox 360 games in 2008, that automatically makes "hard programming == good games"?
Ok lets take a step back here, there are two extremes to this super hard programming, that no-one will touch and so basic it only allows you to walk up and down. Yes there will be fuckk all games produced on the extremely hard to use one but a dedicated developer will use that to make a stunning game with as much implemented as the system can hold. Whereas on the simple one you can get a hundreds of games that even a child could produce, however all of these will be crap. So yes there will be games with good and bad concepts, but if you put programming down as a factor the harder tends to = better quality in 8/10 cases. Yes there will always be sparks like world of goo thats creative and funny, but there are a lot more halo 3's and kill zone 2's.
You seem to be confusing "graphical quality" and "framerate" with "Game quality". The game quality is wholy a mix of gameplay, story, interface, and yeah, presentation (sound and graphics).

And bluntly, harder language == more bugs == poorer quality. But none of this matters, as as I've said before they all use the same high-level languages.
Didn't really confuse them, just tended towards reducing it as much as possible to reduce the amount I had to write. But you see my point?
Edit: Actually I'll rephrase what i have been saying, harder programing = better oppertunity for game developement.
I don't really see that to be honest. I am actually a programmer, and whilst it can occur that a complexly programmed machine ended up performing better, its rarely the case. Bugs, flaws, and so forth tend to occur more as the complexity of the programming increases.

And realistically, the complexity of the programming in a typical XBox 360 game, typical PS3 game, or a typical PC game should be the same, because they will all be programmed in the same language over the same length of time (most games stick to a 3 year turn around, I think last time I looked).

If we assume an XBox 360, PC, and PS3 game all have the same game programmed on them over the same period of time, I'd expect the simplist to program and debug to produce the "Best" (funniest/least buggy/most preferred by graphics whore fans everywhere/etc) to come out on top as a rule of thumb. Why? Because the one with the simplist environment (from a programming point of view) has to spent less time programming in the basics (how to render a room, render a block, render the gun, etc, etc) and more time on content and polishing.

Now, what we come down to now is why I think Sony (or Hirai? was it?) are idiots is because the OP originally stated that they had made the processor hard on purpose - i.e. they had added in complexity to the programming with no hardware need to do so. If Hirai was mistaken or talking rubbish, then my statement is invalid, but as far as I know, that is what he said. Adding in complexity to the programming when its not needed to improve hardware performance is about the same as purposfully making your car use more miles to the gallon without making it go faster.
If we assume all the games where developed over the same long period of time, then the Ps3 would win out over the 360 (in my opinion)due to being able to perform more complex interactions. as for the rest, I guess it's opinions only. The only person here who can have real credit with answering this debate is a developer who has extensively worked on both the xbox 360 and the PS3.

(I didn't add the Pc as programming for it varies too much.)
 

neostronghold

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I still think that you don't have to make it "difficult" to program for to make truly great games. You can still make things easy whilst still being in-depth if you put the time and effort into streamlining how it is used.
I still can't believe that one excuse has been that it is to put companies off developing terrible games quickly and cheaply by making them take the time to figure out the complex programming for it. What ever happened to judgement and reason. If you are trying to avoid terrible games getting onto your console then stop publishing any old rubbish! All sony have done is succeeded in putting off the "quick buck" developers who make garbage, whilst at the same time pissed off every other developer. Make an easy platform to develop for so that dedicated development companies can concentrate on the game and produce A+ software and just tell the developers of terrible games where to stuff the disk.
If you've got weeds in your orchard you don't torch it!!! Okay it'll kill off the weeds but it'll probably give your apple trees a bit of a hard time too. Put some time and effort in and get your frigging lawnmower out!!!!
 

SinisterDeath

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From everything I have read on the ps3, and its components, its harder to program for, Because they have to Code The game, FOR the ps3. You can't program it for the 360, and 'compile' it for PS3, you can't just hit a 'magic button' and convert a 360 game into a ps3 game. It just don't work that way. And even there 'software' that does do stuff like that, (but not so litterally) they have to manually go in and code the bugs.

You can program the ps3 in a similar way as you do the 360. And yes, its going to look like shit. Because your going to be only using the Main CPU in the ps3! Your effectively programming a game for a single core cpu, with 512 ram, and a shitty video card.

In order to put the cell to full use, you have to escentially program a game, to run for that specific hardware. You have to say 'this' is going to be run 'here', and 'that' is going 'there'.
360/pc the only real 'division' is dividing the resources between cpu/gpu/memory. Ps3 you got an added 'division' with the spe's (or is it ppe's? I can't remember).
The main point I was getting from that article is this.


Division of Labor.

360, uses 3 guys, making a table. one Making the Legs, one making the top, and one attaching them.
the PS3 uses 9 guys.

The PS3, you have 4 guys making the legs, 3 guys making the table, and 2 guys putting it together.

The 3, 360 guys are pretty good. They are fast, and strong.
The ps3 guys, Well, they aren't anymore faster then the 360 guys, nor are they just as strong. But at peak efficiency, they'll ultimately beable to out-produce the 360 guys table for table.

The problem is, It takes a bit more work to train 9 guys to split the task up. They have to know how to do there task, and do it well. They also have to not get into each others way to maintain peak efficiency. If they are trained improperly, or not even set up correctly. You could be having 1 guy making allt he legs, 6 making the table top, and 2 putting it all together. It wouldn't make sense, they'd be getting in each others way.


The reason the early ps3 ports sucked, Is 2 reasons.

1. 360 was out a year earlier, so developers switched to the 360, everythying was already being made for the 360 years before hte ps3 was released. So when they ported it to the ps3, the 'code' challanges began. You can't just take a game designed to work on a 3 core system, where information can be automatically distributing it to the 3 cores.

And expect that code to be easilly converted to work on one Dedicated CPU, and 6 ppes.

The early ports sucked. They were all run on the single CPU! they didn't even touch the ppes, till well. Uncharted. And that game looks AWESOME.

Its harder to program for, because the hardware is more complex. But that complexness allows it to have more potential. If they went for the simple hardware, it maybe easier to develop for, they maybeable to produce more games. But when your talking about a company that is devoted to the 10 year life cycle. They'd rather have its full power unlocked and expanded upon near its end life, then at the beginning. PS1, PS2.

The first games sucked graphically. But as developers learned them, got used to how you could program it. They were able to make the games look better and better. Using various methods and 'tricks'...
 

CrafterMan

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Fraught said:
They're trying to say that the limit of the Xbox 360 has been reached, but PS3 still has a lot of room for advancing.

Although, I think that when they would've made it easier to program for, it should've used weaker hardware, which in return would've brought the PS3 to it's limit quickly, which would've meant that they would have to release a new console too quickly.

It's pretty definite that while Microsoft churns out another console, other people (owning the PS3) don't have to waste money, and can still play with the PS3, which (unlike the Xbox 360) hasn't reached it's limit.

I mean, read what Kojima said a few years back. The PS2 was one of the hardest systems to develop for, but look at how very, very much longer it has been on the market than GameCube and Xbox.
I agree with this.

I say that the ps3 was built for staying power.
 

GyroCaptain

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*Pulls crank on Gaming Industry See 'n' Say [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/See_%27n_Say]
"The Kaz Hirai says 'Durrrrr'."

Up next, the Peter Moore!
 

veloper

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SinisterDeath said:
Its harder to program for, because the hardware is more complex. But that complexness allows it to have more potential. If they went for the simple hardware, it maybe easier to develop for, they maybeable to produce more games. But when your talking about a company that is devoted to the 10 year life cycle. They'd rather have its full power unlocked and expanded upon near its end life, then at the beginning. PS1, PS2.
I doubt that is what sony wants. The life cycle of a console is only half of the 10 yr life span you mentioned and extra unlocked power by the time they're selling the next console won't do sony any good.
The timeline:
ps 1994/1995
ps2 2000
ps3 2006

So the life cycle is only 5 to 6 years, with the ps3 being late to the competition.
Hardware depreciates fast. We're almost halfway through the life cycle of this gen.

If the PS3 is ever going to flex is mucle it has to do so NOW. Fortunately with KZ2, the PS3 does make a good showing.
Unfortunately for sony, if I build only a mainsteam PC today with a phenom II x3 and a 9800gt I can run prettier games already (crysis). Next year a cheapo pc can do that.
 

EzraPound

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Credit where credit is due, he has a point. If you make things difficult to program for your options get larger and more varied, whereas simple programming = simple options. That said I think Sony tends toward the extreme instead of going for the middle ground. But hey, they wanted to build a big powerful behemoth and thats what they are built.


Pretty much sums it up.
Uh, not at all. Because the PS3 hasn't sold much and is difficult to program for it's got a larger proportion of big-budget titles that critics wet their pants over.

Aside from which, a chart like that doesn't mean anything. I wouldn't buy a Wii if Super Mario Galaxy was the only game on it, but if it was it would pwn the PS3 with a meta average of 97!

Anyway, this whole argument is frickin' noobish. Sure, PS3 may have all this wonderful untapped potential, but if its hardware deters developers Sony's market share is marginalized and less good games get put out for it. And no: Sony obviously didn't set out to create their worst-selling console intentionally.
 

D_987

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So hes saying the PS3 is difficult to programme for so they only get quality games...?

What has he been playing?
 

McClaud

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CrafterMan said:
Fraught said:
They're trying to say that the limit of the Xbox 360 has been reached, but PS3 still has a lot of room for advancing.

Although, I think that when they would've made it easier to program for, it should've used weaker hardware, which in return would've brought the PS3 to it's limit quickly, which would've meant that they would have to release a new console too quickly.

It's pretty definite that while Microsoft churns out another console, other people (owning the PS3) don't have to waste money, and can still play with the PS3, which (unlike the Xbox 360) hasn't reached it's limit.

I mean, read what Kojima said a few years back. The PS2 was one of the hardest systems to develop for, but look at how very, very much longer it has been on the market than GameCube and Xbox.
I agree with this.

I say that the ps3 was built for staying power.
I agree. It was built to be the better machine and out-run the XBox 360. As was the PS2. But at least the PS2 (when we put together the *ugh* payment system for FFXII) wasn't God-awful in coding terms. Harai can bite me if he thinks that this is some sort of genius test.

Here's a good example, and one that I noticed is one of the reasons for people having issues with staying connected in KZ2 or other online games (and mind you, this is the basest explanation ever, since I don't want to lose people):

The routine and system running the connection to PSN sends a call-to-server every 10 seconds for every application running on the PS3 at the time you're doing whatever it is you are doing (translation: actively being used). Depending on your ISP, the traffic can get backed up or even interrupted more often than if you were using your PC or XBox 360. Why? Because the 360 interrupts a majority of XBL's applications to run the main game, and doesn't call to the server to check everything in the background. The PS3 does not turn down applications, unless you tell it to.

Gabe from Penny Arcade is my best example - as he's playing KZ2, his machine slowly suffers from too many connections running all at once. I notice that he's suffering from more and more lag like instances. KZ2 then crashes on him, he loses everything he earned, and he throws the controller against the couch very hard. On my end, when he reboots, he shouts very loudly and angrily at Sony, hurting my ears. Then I tell him how to get around the PSN problem and everything's fine - until he quits and comes back the next day.

Now, this was also happening with the debit card system. The routine checking constantly for server updates and system patches was checking outgoing traffic from a person's PS3 to PSN when someone was trying to buy a downloadable. Did Sony tell me this would happen? No. When I asked Sony to explain to me why this was happening, did they inform me of how it worked? No. Did the two techs that I called at Sony help me in any shape or form? No. The answer I got once was, "We don't do information sharing." I had to get the O/S source, crack it open myself, and see what was happening when connected to PSN. I had to write a patch that tells the PS3 to ignore checking the outgoing transaction so it doesn't check it four times in 10 seconds, causing the system to time out. Thus getting a "your transaction was declined, please try again later," message.

I explained to Sony that it would be highly beneficial for them to rewrite that poorly designed piece of crap they call the PSN server and the portion of the O/S that connects to it. It would be an easy fix. But no, Sony said that it would cost them money, and that developers can figure out how to get around it on their own. Since PS3 owners get the PSN for free, there's no money. Although, that's going to change soon whenever Sony taps me to write the application for a PSN subscription (it's inevitable - at some point).

Screw you, Sony. Screw you. And shame on you for making this harder than it has to be for developers making games for online play. That's only ONE problem out of many, and if you'd actually just made the architecture simpler, I wouldn't have lost a month of my life.
 

Syntax Error

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bad rider said:
Another point all together, is this why Final fantasy is being ported to the 360 instead of developed. So they can just downgrade quickly instead of tweaking it up from the 360? (which is respectively more difficult in my opininon)
This is the entire opposite of what's happening with Tekken 6. The guys at Namco are finding the conversion from PS3 to Xbox 360 very tough, and they're saying that the whole "this game can't fit in a DVD" argument is not their main concern.