So that’s it… after 5 odd years of contracting I’m shutting down Curly Rocket as a company, and joining Lucid Games to see what the future holds. It’s been an interesting few years… full of uncertainty and accountants bills. I’m a little sad to say goodbye to the freelance way of life, but I know I’ll be happier working at Lucid Games with a bunch of really great game developers. I’m keeping this domain open for now, and will hopefully use it more as a personal space… but we’ll see what happens eh ?
‘Mobiles are catching up’ I keep on hearing… and while mobile technology is indeed improving at a breakneck pace, is it really catching desktop technology up, or is it merely being whisked along on the coat-tails ?
I honestly had no idea, which is why I decided to do some digging.
Now what I’m going to talk about here is GPU performance, because that is the area where most of the hoo-haa seems to happen these days. Apple themselves wheeled out some DOTA mobile game with drop dead visuals to show the power of their new hardware. And numerous people will tell you that phones and tablets are as powerful as consoles of not long ago… Lets do some number crunching…
The iPhone 5S has, according to the Internet(tm), got about 70 GFLOPS of raw GPU performance. An awful lot when you compare it to it’s predecessors. Apple claim the 6 has 50% more GPU grunt again… so lets guess that the 6 has 110 GFLOPS…
Lets put this in scale then shall we…
The latest desktop GPU’s come in at around 4000 GFLOPS… ~35 times that on an iPhone 6.
The PS4 has 1840 GFLOPS… ~17 times iPhone 6.
XBoxOne has 1200 GFLOPS… ~11 times iPhone 6.
Lets go back a console generation…
XBox360 (Xenos) has ~240GFLOPS… ~2.2 times
PS3 (RSX) has ~200GFLOPS… ~1.9 times
It’s worth baring in mind that the XBox360 was released back in late 2005, around 9 years ago, and it still has twice the GPU compute power as the all-new iPhone 6.
Now don’t get me wrong… I’m not bashing Apple here. After writing games for Vita, iOS and Android I can tell you that Apple’s hardware is clearly the fastest, and a true marvel when you consider it fits in your pocket and lasts for hours on a charge… but lets not get lost in the PR about mobile devices… The latest mobile GPU’s are about as fast as consoles/PC’s were 10 years ago.
The whole ‘are games art’ debate is a load of tosh. Of course they can be art. Most games are not art though… much like most TV, cinema, painting etc is not ‘art’. Your average mainstream AAA FPS is generic marketing bumf surrounding boring gameplay drenched in graphics.
Any form of pure creation which rises above the noise and shows skilled artisanship is art. And if you don’t believe me, play these games then go away and think about stuff… 8)
Blundering around the internet as I usually do today and I stumbled upon a very interesting game called ‘Factorio’, which is a sort of cross between Minecraft, SpaceChem andTransport Tycoon.
The basic gist is that you are marooned on an alien planet and you have to find resources to build factories. These factories build other stuff and up you go through the tech tree. I’ve only spent a small amount of time with the game but it’s very interesting. The graphics are simple 2D sprites and the whole presentation is pretty primitive, but it seems to have bucket loads of deep gameplay in there.
It’s got an ace intro movie so check it out… https://www.factorio.com/