There was a good interview with Shinen (Nano Assault Neo U devs) yesterday but the site decided to break it up into many annoying segments for clicks. It also meant most of their headlines were out of context too.

‘Wii U Specs Fit Perfectly Together, GPU Several Generations Ahead of Current Gen’

"The Wii U GPU is several generations ahead of the current gen. It allows many things that were not possible on consoles before. If you develop for Wii U you have to take advantage of these possibilities, otherwise your performance is of course limited. Also your engine layout needs to be different. You need to take advantage of the large shared memory of the Wii U, the huge and very fast EDRAM section and the big CPU caches in the cores. Especially the workings of the CPU caches are very important to master. Otherwise you can lose a magnitude of power for cache relevant parts of your code. In the end the Wii U specs fit perfectly together and make a very efficient console when used right.”

This was mis-interpreted by most people as they don't understand that they are talking about GPU generations not console generations. GPU generations are much shorter and are mainly about new feature sets. It's also interesting because they are saying your engine layout has to be different which helps to explain why you cannot just port 360 code across and expect it to just work. They are also pointing out that you can lose an order of magnitude of power for parts of your code unless you master the CPU Cache - that means a huge loss in performance if your code is not right. And it's relevant to the CPU which Criterion described as an apples to oranges comparison vs 360/PS3.

Shin’en on the Practical Use of Adaptive Tessellation, Upcoming Games

"We learned a lot with Nano Assault Neo. For one of our upcoming games we will use all that and will unlock more of the ‘Wii U’s power.’

‘Tessellation itself is not resource heavy on recent GPUs but it depends on actual usage. Although even previous consoles had these features you saw it only very rarely used. People often think of it as an easy way to get free ‘level of detail’. That doesn’t work. It’s because of certain visual problems associated with adaptive tessellation.

We already tried various tessellation ideas and it is a very handy tool for certain situations.’

‘We think FAST would certainly deserve a sequel because it had a very fresh take on an age old genre. However, we can at least confirm that we currently work on two Wii U games that will be announced after this summer"

So FAST Wii U sequel confirmed, they also in a different interview that they were using tessellation for their next game. Tessellation is usable in some degree on PS3 and 360 but it's very inefficient so the inference here is that the Wii U's rumoured tesselation unit is in the box.

Wii U Has a Lot of Power to Unleash, Power for Years to Come

"We only know that you need to treat the Wii U differently than other consoles, because of a very different and in our view more accessible architecture. There is a lot of power to unleash in the Wii U. Enough power for many years to come, at least from our point of view.

‘We know many people see us as Wii U experts. That is because we got a lot of technical praise for Nano Assault Neo but it’s not well deserved. Only very tiny bits of Nano Assault Neo took advantage of the Wii U architecture. We had the game from start in 720p at 60fps. We drew the complete game world twice for TV and GamePad. We had tons of overlays, special effects and even camera streaming and still had no GPU or CPU problems. So we simply had no reason to dig deep into the architecture. We didn’t expect to be seen as the spearhead of Wii U graphics as it is undeserved, when looking at what the Wii U can truly achieve"

Again pointing out the architectural differences, sounds like Wii U is going to be like the GC to program for and you're going to have be hardworking and knowledgable to make the most out of it.

Next Gaming Revolution is in HOW We Make Games

"I think the next revolution is in HOW we make games because as an industry we still solve problems since 20 years in the same way, by throwing more and more manpower at games. This makes games more and more expensive and doesn’t allow experiments or even mistakes.

Martin Sauter our Art Director started drawing graphics pixel by pixel on the Amiga. Then he moved on and created stunning 3D models for our Nintendo DS games. On that machine you were able to draw only 2000 polygons on the screen and your textures were usually 32×32 or 64×64 pixels large. Textures were not even interpolated at all. However, our games usually ran at 60fps and looked pretty crisp, when played on a small screen like the DS


Today on Wii U we have 1000x the power of an DS but I don’t feel like our graphics look 1000x times better. They certainly improved but as more power we received as less visual benefit we got back. This doesn’t mean we should stop using better hardware but it’s only natural that the improvements in the visuals get less noticeable. A good example are special FX in movies. Look at a Blockbuster Movie that is ten years old. For me the special FX already looked perfect at this time although they certainly improved their tech since then a lot"

Size of Games and Graphics Quality Not in a Linear Relationship

"Most people think that data size and the look and feel of a game are in a linear relationship. Beauty is not a function of data size. You can create beautiful words in 4kb that are hard to match by multimillion dollar games that are delivered on a 50gb optical medium.

We tend to keep our data size small because it simply allows to have much quicker iteration time in our games development. Smaller downloads are also a big benefit for our customers. We don’t really think about how to make our games as small as possible, it’s more a natural byproduct of how we approach games development"

For Shin’en Multimedia, Working Around Limits is a Base Philosophy

"Nano Assault Neo was especially designed as a Wii U launch title. It was also a perfect project to make our technology compatible to the Wii U.

Shin’en: Most artists in the past century did their best work while they had to overcome many technical and intellectual constraints. This was also true for game developers in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s when there were so many limits that you had to find creative solutions to critical sections of your game. Working around these limits injected a lot of creative energy into your game.

We still believe in this special spirit. For us it is very motivating to find new ways to overcome hurdles for our games. Interestingly the biggest problems are not really technical ones but how to produce games that feel perfect but with only a fraction of budget, staff and time compared to grand 1st Party games.”

Bonus Interview: It's better than Xbox 360 - sorry, it is better

"Of course the Wii U is not the big leap hardware power-wise but it is a big leap to the Wii and to be honest I think we've reached a point where we don't need so much more hardware power - we need better games. For every game you can make it look so good that it's good enough for everybody and I think the Wii U is a good compromise between price point - because don't forget you have a tablet controller, you have a great hardware base and it's much better than everybody reads. It's better than Xbox - sorry, it is better - and you can squeeze lots out of it, but you have to really work hard on it and I think you can make great games with it.

I'm not sure if a much more powerful PS4 will produce much better looking games. We've reached a point where good games will sell and I think the steps will be much much smaller in the next generation."

So why should you listen to Shinen? Well they came from the demo scene which is a group of hardcore guys who meet up in universitys and try to push systems to their limits. They also "code to the metal" avoiding middleware and eek out as much juice as possible. They are making Jett Rocket 2 at 60 FPS in 3D on 3DS a feat no one else has managed that I know of and they make games whose graphics rival bigger companies with only 5 people and a tiny file size limit.

Posted by gamingeek Thu, 30 May 2013 12:51:50 (comments: 12)
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Fri, 31 May 2013 13:00:29
You know what's kinda sad about this story? How the big sites don't pick up and report on it. They are all too eager to post Insomniac saying "We see Wii U as more current gen" or 4A games saying it has a "horrible weak CPU" (devs who don't even develop on the platform) and yet they pretty much avoid posting this or any positive Wii U tech related information. You know they have seen this because they always pick up stories from GAF and the thread was all over the front page. They also check the likes of Gonintendo and Nintendolife and have used stories from them before. Sites also didn't republish or report when Frozenbytes said that the Goblin Menance required considerably more power and how it would have to be downgraded on PS3/360.
Sat, 01 Jun 2013 03:02:41

It's because Shinen are nobodies, even when compared to 4A games. But do remember that a few years ago 4A games would have been laughed at making a statement like that because 2033 didn't look good enough for them to get away with their terrible optimisation ability and ridiculous technical problems. Both of which have improved with Last light I suppose.

Sat, 01 Jun 2013 05:01:51

Moral of the story:  The U is a competent machine but it ain't going to get any games unless Nintendo commissions them or makes them themselves.

Sat, 01 Jun 2013 06:48:31
bugsonglass said:

Moral of the story:  The U is a competent machine but it ain't going to get any games unless Nintendo commissions them or makes them themselves.

So pretty much like all Nintendo consoles since the SNES.

Sat, 01 Jun 2013 06:53:58
Iga_Bobovic said:
bugsonglass said:

Moral of the story:  The U is a competent machine but it ain't going to get any games unless Nintendo commissions them or makes them themselves.

So pretty much like all Nintendo consoles since the SNES.

True, but maybe even more so than before.  With (one hopes) the possible exception of small self-published indie games on the e-shop.

Actually  in fairness the Wii did build up a great collection of 3rd party games(even if most of them didn't sell well enough), you played many of those yourself.

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 11:03:05
bugsonglass said:

Moral of the story:  The U is a competent machine but it ain't going to get any games unless Nintendo commissions them or makes them themselves.

It's more than competent, but "you need to treat the Wii U differently" with your code. Some people on major message boards are under this self delusion that the machine was somehow tapped out at launch and will never get better. We know from Criterion that the toolset was horrible till at least a couple of months post-launch.
Sun, 02 Jun 2013 11:26:10
Foolz said:

It's because Shinen are nobodies, even when compared to 4A games.

The internet news sites didn't report the Criterion interview either. Only Eurogamer - the source of the story did. I post news a lot so I see sites picking up the same stories daily and repeating them like a virus. When it comes to "Wii U is weak" they insta-post, when the news is "the hardware is better than you think" it's like tumbleweeds drifting across a barren landscape. I believe it's deliberate selection. Once I tested the theory and emailed CVGs' news editor the Michel Ancel story -

" I think the console is quite powerful. Surprisingly powerful. And there’ a lot of memory. You can really have huge textures, and it’s crazy because sometimes the graphic artist – we built our textures in very high-dentition. They could be used in a movie. Then we compress them, but sometimes they forget to do the compression and it still works! [Laughs] So yeah, it’s quite powerful. It’s hard sometimes when you’re one of the first developers because it’s up to you to come up with solutions to certain problems. But the core elements of the console are surprisingly powerful. “And because we’re developing for Wii U, we don’t have to worry about cross-platform optimization. “We can push what the console can do; push it to its limits. And of course, we have a new lighting engine"

Did CVG post it? Nope.

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 11:29:56

Here's what Yerli from Crytek had to say - "My opinion of the Wii U is very high. It’s just that we don’t have a business case unfortunately that justifies us making a game for it.

“It doesn’t mean that the CryEngine 3 doesn’t run on Wii U – it actually runs beautifully. In fact, there actually is a game in development from a respected developer that we’ll be announcing. I’ve seen the game running and it looks really great."

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 13:18:11

Did many post the Crytek comments? They were spamming Crytek comments when they said Crysis 3 wouldn't be on Wii U.

Sun, 02 Jun 2013 13:45:59
Foolz said:

Did many post the Crytek comments? They were spamming Crytek comments when they said Crysis 3 wouldn't be on Wii U.

They did and the Gearbox praise but with the way gamers and sites work they pretend like these devs never praised anything. The narrative went from good to weak and then anything contrary to that is rubished. All that praise was mostly pre-launch. Crysis 3 and Aliens -said to feature higher resolution textures not possible on current gen- never released so we never saw proof in the pudding. Criterions' game did - but it's not enough to offset the launch game comparisons, where U ports were outperforming Ps3 versions but about 5 fps below 360 versions (usually the lead sku). There's an audio program widely used called Wwise which you can use to measure performance - a dev on GAF found that it's performance since launch on U has multiplied by a few orders of magnitude on many aspects. We're talking 3x, 5x better in some cases so the view that U was tapped out on day 1 is fairly ignorant.
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