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Hiya fellas, I'm just wondering how the PS3 graphics engine/GPU supports newly introduced and advanced graphics capabilities in some games such as real-time daylight savings and high-modulated physics. The PS3 GPU isn't updating frequently like a PC graphics card; is it possible even so to get the same graphics capabilities?

Thanks.

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Do note that all the game consoles are specialized -- they don't have the burden of needing an entirely separate OS, for instance, which means big fundamental differences on a firmware level. –  Raven Dreamer Feb 11 '11 at 7:27
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How does "real-time daylight savings" relate to graphics cards? –  ChrisF Feb 11 '11 at 10:58
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The big advantage of consoles like PS3, XBox or Wii is that their hardware doesn't change (except maybe disk capacity and other minor things). A game developer can get the maximum out of the existing hardware, because he knows exactly what hardware his game will run on. That is not the case with PC games where you'll encounter tons of different OS/Hardware combinations. This makes it much harder to optimize your game.

The operating system is another big factor. While your typical desktop OS has to deal with lots of situations and tasks, an OS for a console can be optimized to provide an ideal environment for games. For example: If a game runs, there's no need to give any other threads high priority or suddenly swap some memory to disk, while on a desktop OS this occurs rather frequently.

Therefore consoles are on par with most PC titles for a long time, just because the developer environment is stable.

At some point in time the average desktop GPU will outperform consoles, but that is usually also the point where new consoles are being released. Overall, the graphics capabilities is just one factor. If you look at the Wii, they focused on something entirely different and had a huge success.

I doubt that the average user is going to notice if physics are "high-modulated" or there are "real-time daylight savings" in the game. A lot of stuff in games is faked or done in a way that it's fast but maybe not that realistic. Todays games still don't use the "correct" way for calculating 3D graphics, which would be Raytracing...

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From what I know, some games cheat to create visual effects, which look like they are complex but aren't really any more taxing. Screen overlays, detailed shadows on textures and other stuff. I'm sure someone with game developer knowledge can give you a proper answer.

It's the same thing as to why all PS3 games aren't 1080p in my mind. Why are some 720 and some 1080 when they both play the same?

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The full answer is much more complex than this, but what it really boils down to is that rendering a higher resolution requires a lot more graphics memory, and the ps3 only has 256 megs of graphics memory. Rendering the same scene at 720P will use less memory, and will be done at a higher frame-rate, freeing extra resources that can be used for effects and other things that make the game look better. –  AttackingHobo May 25 '11 at 19:37
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