Square-Enix demoed their scalable, next generation engine at E3. The engine is ludicrously impressive – and the fact that assets for CGI can be carried over to real-time means the transition from cut-scenes to gameplay won’t be as jarring. It also might mean the return of disc-swapping – but that’s a separate issue. the problem is that though it’s scalable – it might not be fully utilised on next generation consoles; not unless they’re packing a whole lotta RAM.
Square-Enix Creative Director and Senior Manager Takeshi Nozue has said that the real-time Agni’s demo (running on Nvidia’s GTX 680) was a challenge due to the amount of RAM available.“Memory size is the biggest challenge,” Nozue staid in the latest edition of Edge Magazine. It makes me wonder; it’s running on a Pc where RAM is cheap as chips and usually available in abundance. Most hardcore PC gamers run at least 8 gigs of the stuff. How in the dickens will consoles cope?
Of course, PC’s run with a large overhead; there’s the operating system, drivers, api’s and all manner of obstacle to overcome. It should be easier to fine-tune it to the specific hardware you’ll find in consoles – but the next gen’s still going to need a ton of memory.
“The texture quality in the Agni’s Philosophy demo is an enormous drain and it’s clear that the next-generation consoles will have to carry a fat wedge of RAM if they’re to support Square’s tech,” says the magazine.
Epic, who motivated Microsoft to include 512Mb of RAM in the Xbox 360 to support Gears of War (instead of the 256 it was intended to have) certainly wants the next generation of consoles to ship with a ton of RAM, a sentiment shared by Battlefield developer DICE and soon to be Free-to-play developer Crytek.
If recent leaks are to be trusted, Nintendo’s Wii U – which might not have exhibit the disparity between “next gen” consoles from Sony and Microsoft as you might expect – will have 1.5 to 2Gb of available system memory…which is probably not enough.
Last Updated: July 5, 2012