Xbox 360 to be backwards compatible

#24
Sazar said:
You have to remember that all graphics cards have been using similar marchitecture wrt shader functionality for a while. It is not so hard to implement a different API. Just requires a different driver re-write probably in this case and since m$ is going to be the one dealing with it rather than ATi, I don't see much of a problem or a cost over-run.
This may well be, but what about the rest of game(s) that are written for a compeletly different CPU? If you've ever tried to emulate a console on your computer (say something like a PS/N64) you know it takes a fair amount of power to do. I don't see this as an easy task, or the 360 able to play 100% of the Xbox games.
 

Reg

eXperienced!
#25
Xie said:
This may well be, but what about the rest of game(s) that are written for a compeletly different CPU? If you've ever tried to emulate a console on your computer (say something like a PS/N64) you know it takes a fair amount of power to do. I don't see this as an easy task, or the 360 able to play 100% of the Xbox games.
I agree here. It's going to be an undertaking. Love to see Microsoft pull it off.
 

Sazar

F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
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#26
Xie said:
This may well be, but what about the rest of game(s) that are written for a compeletly different CPU? If you've ever tried to emulate a console on your computer (say something like a PS/N64) you know it takes a fair amount of power to do. I don't see this as an easy task, or the 360 able to play 100% of the Xbox games.
Who emultes these? What do they use as emulation tools? What access do these people have to come up with these tools?

Figure that in.

The very company that is sourcing the tools to get people to write for their console is also the one that is going to be doing the emulation and regardless of what anyone thinks of m$, they DO have some of the best programmers and business minds around.

I don't think its accurate to correlate a 3rd party emulation tool with something that m$ is building in-house with complete knowledge of all components and tech and software and tools. It is simply not apples to apples.
 
#27
Sazar said:
Who emultes these? What do they use as emulation tools? What access do these people have to come up with these tools?

Figure that in.

The very company that is sourcing the tools to get people to write for their console is also the one that is going to be doing the emulation and regardless of what anyone thinks of m$, they DO have some of the best programmers and business minds around.

I don't think its accurate to correlate a 3rd party emulation tool with something that m$ is building in-house with complete knowledge of all components and tech and software and tools. It is simply not apples to apples.
Even if written in Assembly I think some modern computers would have a rough time running a PS/N64 emulator, and these consoles are a few generations old. I know these are more made by reverse engineering and specs taken from data sheets on console components but some are fairly close to the real thing. MS is attempting to emulate a closer in power console with a different architecture 100%.

Even though it is "in-house" instead of a 3rd party doing the emulation I think just taking into account the hardware that is going to have to be emulated I think getting 100% out of the 360 for Xbox games. I know MS has some talented programmers, I don't doubt that. I just think they are really going to be using every trick they can think of to get full Xbox support on the 360.
 
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Grandmaster

Electronica Addict
Political User
#28
MS has said that only "top-selling" Xbox games will be backwards compatible on the 360...meaning not all Xbox games are going to be playable on the 360. Not that it matters, I'm not gonna cry because I won't be able to play Kabuki Warriors on a 360 :p

Also, keep in mind MS has had experience with emulation as they own Virtual PC.
 
#29
Grandmaster said:
MS has said that only "top-selling" Xbox games will be backwards compatible on the 360...meaning not all Xbox games are going to be playable on the 360. Not that it matters, I'm not gonna cry because I won't be able to play Kabuki Warriors on a 360 :p

Also, keep in mind MS has had experience with emulation as they own Virtual PC.
I wonder if some of these "top-selling" games will be recompiled to help in the "emulation"?

Also emulating a XP box under Mac (or vice versa) for program use and doing so for games is far different. Apps you can take a hit and still have them usable, games on the other hand people flip out when slow downs/frate rates drop.
 

Grandmaster

Electronica Addict
Political User
#30
Current-gen Xbox games to be "recompiled" for Xbox 360

Following earlier indications that the Xbox 360 will only be backwards compatible with some Xbox games, Microsoft has admitted that existing software will need to be recompiled before it can be run on the new console.

The problem, it says, is down to hardware incompatibility - since the current Xbox uses an Intel processor, but the 360 will use IBM's PowerPC architecture, while NVIDIA's graphics solution is being replaced with an ATI one.

As many commentators have pointed out over the last few months, this means backwards compatibility problems. The solution Microsoft has reached is apparently to recompiled current-gen Xbox games so that they can be played on the 360. First on the list, it says, are the best-selling Halo titles.

The news has raised more questions than it answers, however, as it suggests that game titles may need to be modified somehow before players can use them on their new consoles - but Microsoft has denied that it will ask players to pay for new versions of the software.

"At launch, Xbox 360 will be backward compatible with the top Xbox games," Xbox PR manager Michael Wolf told GamesIndustry.biz today. "Our goal is to have every Xbox game work on Xbox 360. You will NOT need to purchase a new 'version' - your original games will work on Xbox 360."

Sony and Nintendo have already confirmed that their next-gen consoles - the PS3 and Revolution - will play all the games in their respective back catalogues, offering consumers a huge choice of titles at launch.
gamesindustry.biz
:)
 
#31
Other then storing the "new" versions of these "classic" games on the HD or something (or throwing DVD's of them into the 360 box), how are they going to know who has these games?
 
#34
NetRyder said:
Perhaps an exchange program like the Windows XP x64 one, where you exchange your existing copy for the new version at no cost?
Well the last part here makes it almost sound like you can use your old game disc somehow ...
"Our goal is to have every Xbox game work on Xbox 360. You will NOT need to purchase a new 'version' - your original games will work on Xbox 360."
 

SPeedY_B

I may actually be insane.
#36
Xie said:
Well the last part here makes it almost sound like you can use your old game disc somehow ...
It doesn't say your original disc will work, just games. Microsoft seem to like the exchange strategy when it comes to these things so they may go down that route, although I think that would be rather costly considering it could be a multitude of gamers per-person they would need to exchange.

As Omar says though, there's no more details been disclosed as of yet, so we'll have to wait and see :)
 
#37
SPeedY_B said:
It doesn't say your original disc will work, just games. Microsoft seem to like the exchange strategy when it comes to these things so they may go down that route, although I think that would be rather costly considering it could be a multitude of gamers per-person they would need to exchange.

As Omar says though, there's no more details been disclosed as of yet, so we'll have to wait and see :)
Yeah I guess all we can do is wait and see. Right now it sounds like it's going to be much harder for MS to turn a profit on the 360, something I thought would be a consideration after the original Xbox.
 

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
#38
OK, a coupla things. First off, I would atest to many of the limitations in emulation, as I have used MAME (multi arcade machine emulator) in the past, and know rather well the perofmance hit this incurred. Intel's emulation of x86 code on their IA-64 processor is another such example, where Merced, erm Itanium as it came to be known post production wasn't a real performer when it came to running x86.

Emulating one platform on another, simply isn't as efficient as running it native (regardless of what programmers one has out there, or what one thinks of them)... One is essentially having to emulate one ISA (instruction set architecture) on a CPU designed with another in mind. All said, straight out emulation might not be what they're doing. See end of post...

All said however, some level of performance can be achieved. I'm not wholly unfamiliar with FX! 32, as back in the late 1990s I knew some people who built DEC Alphas, Intels, and Sun UltraSPARCs... Alpha NT (back in the winNT 4.0 days when Alpha NT was still developed and supported) with FX! 32 wasn't an uncommon platform for them to sell amongst their Alpha customers. By accounts, FX! 32 was able to get about 80% of the performance that would have been possible had the app been run native under Alpha NT...

A performance loss? Yes, though given the raw processing power of the Alpha processor (against the Intels at the time) a 20% drop in performance wasn't really an issue. When I was down there one time, they had an Alpha NT computer setup in the other room, and Fred let me play with it a bit too, so I did have some hands on...

There was a limitation however. 16-bit code that runs in real mode on the x86 CPU could not be emulated, so any 16-bit DOS or win3.1 programs were out. Any programs that followed the way of win95 (mixing 16 and 32-bit code) was also out, as some games I bought in days past had done...

In the case of something like MAME however, I also have a friend who's parents used to own an arcade. As part of managing the arcade, his father also had to service the arcade machines from time to time as well. This friend (himself with a degree in computer programming if that's of interest to some here) was telling me that some aspects of the arcade machines (aka what was in their ROM) couldn't easily be emulated on a PC. Reason is, many of the machines didn't do all by electronics, but also some things were produced mechanically (some sounds for instance), by reverberating sounds off the side of the case (a resonance chamber like effect if you will), and the like... Needless to say, some issues that would affect MAME, need not come up with the X Box...

Assuming Microsoft still goes with a winNT variant (such as win2k or winXP), they don't currently have a Power PC version of their latter systems, but they once did (NT 4, and perhaps the early win2k beta, though I'd have to look back again, before it was dumped). It would require a new hardware abstraction layer (one really does not want to emulate the OS), as well as some other components (the scheduler I seem to remember is a part of their micro-kernel which is written straight out in assembly language, as was the HAL and a critical portion of .dll files (though the source for this wasn't more specific on which portion of .dlls)), and then the rest of the OS would have to be recompiled. They have done it before...

All said, I wouldn't expect it to necessarily pose better performance then was achieved with FX! 32 (if this is what they're basing it off of), though FX! 32 wasn't bad for emulation. I think FX! 32 might have essentially re-written many of the .dlls to code which did run native on the current platform (Alpha NT) so it wasn't all straight out emulation. Part of it emulated (first time run, or that which couldn't be replaced), part of the code replaced (what I remember sounds like real time re-compilation of some of the code) with the native equivalent, there was also a governing module (or something like it) that kept this all working together... Fred (who had been a computer engineer since the 1950s actually) was telling me the mechanics of how it worked many a year ago.

BTW, and no offence saz, but if FX! 32 is what they're basing this off of, it was the highly skilled engineers who worked for Digital that came up with this idea... Microsoft would, more have borrowed it, then been the engineering talent behind it's inception...

BTW, if they are doing what FX! 32 did, doesn't surprise me a hard drive would then be required...
 
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Electronic Punk

willalwaysbewithyou
Staff member
Political User
#39
Still stuck whether I want to go with the xbox2. Isn't a case of not owning one, but aren't I too old to be playing computer games? :)

The xbox will do more than what I want in terms of media which was a big plus point when I got it as I didn't have a standalone dvd player and my pc rig (at that time) couldn't do DTS, Dolby and it obviously looks nicer on the TV than on a monitor.

I don't think I could purchase an entirely new console (keeping in mind the xbox was my first ever console purchase) just to play newer games on it, when my pc will soon surpass it in terms of power.
 

Tittles

Dabba Dooba
Political User
#40
Well who really honestly played there ps1 games on ps2? I dont know anybody that did. I don't think many people will play there xbox games on xbox360 but then again graphics were good and there are alot of good games that people still play. I could careless if it is backwards compatible because i dont have an xbox anymore since i did something to it lol and if i still had it and got a 360 and wanted to play a xbox game i would just use my xbox.
 

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