Andy Nealen: Static Console Hardware Is Glorious, Explains The Disadvantages of Iterative Hardware
“For developers, it’s absolutely glorious that they can design for a piece of hardware, and that hardware is the same everywhere.”
Earlier this week Xbox boss Phil Spencer made it clear that they are looking into making Xbox One upgradeable in the future. So instead of different console generations, the Xbox One will possibly have iterative hardware configuration which is somewhat similar to what we have with mobiles and tablets.
But as expected there are some disadvantages with such a hardware model, a problem that apparently exists within the mobile space. Before Spencer announced his new plans for an upgrade-able Xbox One, GamingBolt caught up with Andy Nealen who specializes in computer graphics and is a consultant at Hemisphere Games. Andy also handles his day to day responsibilities as a professor of Game Engineering and Design at NYU Poly.
Co-incidentally we asked Andy about his thoughts about static console architecture against an iterative one. The following was his response:
“For developers, it’s absolutely glorious that they can design for a piece of hardware, and that hardware is the same everywhere. Because, even developing for iOS for example, you have different iOS versions, different sizes of iPhones and iPads, and you have to make sure your stuff works for all of them. Now mind you, this is still not as bad as development can be for PC- or for Android! Don’t even get me started on Android. Android is just a nightmare. Android is just the worse. It is just so hard to make it work. The only reason there is an Android version of Osmos is because we outsourced it to a company. And we’re very happy we did, because obviously it’s been a good success on Android, but we didn’t do it ourselves, because that’s the lowest level of graphics programming that I have ever seen in my life! Where a graphics engineer has to test all these devices, all different graphics drivers, and it’s the most Sisyphean task I’ve seen. There are different graphics drivers! And each driver has its own bugs!”
In short, it’s easier said than done. There will be a lot of challenges if Microsoft plans to go ahead with such a model which includes and not limited to insuring backwards and forwards compatibility, hardware compatibility and maintaining different firmware versions for different Xbox SKUs.
What are your thoughts on this matter?
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