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Wii U Launch Developer Complains of Lackluster CPU

By - Source: Eurogamer | B 48 comments

Developers still haven't figured out how to best utilize the Wii U's CPU, says Dynasty Warriors producer Akihiro Suzuki.

During the Tokyo Game Show on Friday, Akihiro Suzuki, producer of the Dynasty Warriors franchise, complained to Eurogamer about the Wii U's CPU after the site pointed out the performance of the new console's upcoming launch title, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper.

In the report, Eurogamer claimed that the Wii U game wasn't up to performance levels of past Dynasty Warriors titles in terms of frame rate and number of enemies on the screen. The game was even shadowed by Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires, a PlayStation 3 exclusive, which was on display in Tecmo Koei's booth.

Suzuki pointed to the Wii U's CPU – made by IBM and consists of three Power PC cores – for the lack of performance, saying that it's "a bit less" than what's offered on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

"For games in the Warriors series, including Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi, when you have a lot of enemies coming at you at once, the performance tends to be affected because of the CPU," Suzuki admitted. "Dealing with that is a challenge."

The actual hardware specifics of the Wii U CPU still remain unknown, but this isn't the first CPU-based performance complaint dished out by developers. Compensating for the lackluster CPU – which reportedly under-performs when compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – is the console's custom Radeon 7-series GPU provided by AMD, and 1 GB of RAM – double that of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Because of this custom GPU and RAM, Suzuki said that the development team could create better visuals on the Wii U console than what could have been offered on the current-gen competitors. That said, it sounds as if the Wii U provides superior visuals, but inferior performance when there's a lot going on screen-wise.

"Developing on new hardware in itself was a challenge, and also making that launch date was a challenge," he said. "But from a visual standpoint, based on the performance of the Wii U, we knew the game had the capability of having much better graphics than games on PS3 and Xbox 360. Make no mistake, from a visual standpoint, it is able to produce better graphics. So our challenge was to make a higher quality graphics. We were able to meet that."

"While the visuals are great, as is being able to improve them, we had to deal with the lower CPU power and how we can get around that issue," he added. "Actually, we're still working on that. If you see the demo on the show floor and you try it, you'll probably feel it's not up to the PS3 level. But we're working on it!"

Suzuki said that developers are still trying to figure out how to best utilize the console's CPU, indicating that the first wave of games won't fully utilize the console's hardware.

"With the Wii U being new hardware, we're still getting used to developing for it, so there are still a lot of things we don't know yet to bring out the most of the processing power," he said. "There's a lot that still needs to be explored in that area."

 

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  • 23 Hide
    ddpruitt , September 25, 2012 6:26 PM
    Another developer who can't. Sounds like they suck at writing properly threaded apps.

    Optimization is a lost art nowdays. People got too comfortable writing bloated apps, now that they have to deal with limited hardware they're having issues.

    Although this does make me wonder if these custom Radeons that AMD's putting out are part of the Heterogeneous Computing Architecture.
  • 16 Hide
    antilycus , September 25, 2012 6:07 PM
    use a kernel that has the best thread management available (Linux). That will solve your CPU problems. I run clients windows server 2008 on a VM using Debian/Linux kernel and the performance differences is unbelievable. Thread management on WIndows kernels is a joke (xbox 360). PS3(though i cant stand it) had the right Idea by using Linux, it was their CELL that was problem (memory bottleneck and registers bottleneck due to 1 "core" managing all cores).

    I don't know teh O/S or Kernel used in Wii U, but if 3 processors can't get it done, your developers are stuck in 1999. They (like most programmers) need to understand writting threads, not objects.

    The CPU count is plenty high, the complete lack of understanding HOW to write threaded games, is the problem.
  • 11 Hide
    DRosencraft , September 25, 2012 6:35 PM
    Quite frankly there's no point complaining about it now. It was announced a long time ago that the Wii U would have the same basic specs of the 360/PS3. Add to that the demand from the new controller with its screen, which you will eventually be able to use two of, and you'll start sucking out CPU resources.

    That said, Nintendo to me represents an argument that I've long held about video games; graphics are great, but not everything. That's why I don't really care what system a game is on as long as it is a good, playable, game. I don't necessarily care if it has the best frame rate or crispest character renders as long as its fun. That is something that many devs have lost a handle on. So, if they have to sacrifice a few fewer massive hordes on screen, that's all right so long as it doesn't hurt the game or something else good is added elsewhere in the game.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    memadmax , September 25, 2012 6:07 PM
    oh oh, thats not good.
  • 16 Hide
    antilycus , September 25, 2012 6:07 PM
    use a kernel that has the best thread management available (Linux). That will solve your CPU problems. I run clients windows server 2008 on a VM using Debian/Linux kernel and the performance differences is unbelievable. Thread management on WIndows kernels is a joke (xbox 360). PS3(though i cant stand it) had the right Idea by using Linux, it was their CELL that was problem (memory bottleneck and registers bottleneck due to 1 "core" managing all cores).

    I don't know teh O/S or Kernel used in Wii U, but if 3 processors can't get it done, your developers are stuck in 1999. They (like most programmers) need to understand writting threads, not objects.

    The CPU count is plenty high, the complete lack of understanding HOW to write threaded games, is the problem.
  • 3 Hide
    luciferano , September 25, 2012 6:08 PM
    Hopefully, they'll be able to get good performance out of this CPU by launch time or shortly after.
  • 0 Hide
    kawininjazx , September 25, 2012 6:11 PM
    The Wii was the weakest console last generation, and we still got amazing games like Skyward Sword, which I would put up against anything from the PS3 or XBox. I am 85% PS3 / 10% Wii / 5% PC player, and though the PS3 and PC have the high def graphics, the games are usually lacking in gameplay. I have been gaming since Atari/NES, I was gameplay, the current graphics are fine to me.
  • 1 Hide
    alain magnan , September 25, 2012 6:23 PM
    Oh my, bottle-necking on a console... so it's set in stone
  • 23 Hide
    ddpruitt , September 25, 2012 6:26 PM
    Another developer who can't. Sounds like they suck at writing properly threaded apps.

    Optimization is a lost art nowdays. People got too comfortable writing bloated apps, now that they have to deal with limited hardware they're having issues.

    Although this does make me wonder if these custom Radeons that AMD's putting out are part of the Heterogeneous Computing Architecture.
  • 10 Hide
    kewlmunky , September 25, 2012 6:34 PM
    I don't know about their other series, but I know Dynasty Warrior games have always ran like shit. Enemies disappearing when you're right by them, enemies not appearing until you're in the middle of a group of them, and slow downs when things get too heavy in action. Maybe they should consider a different developer for proper input on their hardware.
  • 11 Hide
    DRosencraft , September 25, 2012 6:35 PM
    Quite frankly there's no point complaining about it now. It was announced a long time ago that the Wii U would have the same basic specs of the 360/PS3. Add to that the demand from the new controller with its screen, which you will eventually be able to use two of, and you'll start sucking out CPU resources.

    That said, Nintendo to me represents an argument that I've long held about video games; graphics are great, but not everything. That's why I don't really care what system a game is on as long as it is a good, playable, game. I don't necessarily care if it has the best frame rate or crispest character renders as long as its fun. That is something that many devs have lost a handle on. So, if they have to sacrifice a few fewer massive hordes on screen, that's all right so long as it doesn't hurt the game or something else good is added elsewhere in the game.
  • 7 Hide
    _Pez_ , September 25, 2012 6:42 PM
    PC's FTW !
  • 5 Hide
    slabbo , September 25, 2012 6:45 PM
    looks like someone needs to learn about GPGPU.

    http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Wii-U-GPGPU-Squashes-Xbox-360-PS3-Capable-DirectX-11-Equivalent-Graphics-47126.html
  • -5 Hide
    notuptome2004 , September 25, 2012 6:52 PM
    O the Kevin Parrish get your fatcs more stright it has been confirmed several times by IBM the CPU in the Wii U is a Power 7 chip ther latest generation of chip used in watson supercomputer What the Developer means is


    The Wii U does not run @ 3.2ghz but a lower clock speed the chip tho the lowest end Power 7 chip is a quad core chip running 2.4ghz with 4 threads per core
  • 4 Hide
    notuptome2004 , September 25, 2012 6:56 PM
    notuptome2004O the Kevin Parrish get your fatcs more stright it has been confirmed several times by IBM the CPU in the Wii U is a Power 7 chip ther latest generation of chip used in watson supercomputer What the Developer means is The Wii U does not run @ 3.2ghz but a lower clock speed the chip tho the lowest end Power 7 chip is a quad core chip running 2.4ghz with 4 threads per core




    to my above post

    Nintendo would have to really go out of there way to even remotly finding a CPU that underperoms that of the Xbox 360 xeon chip a Power 4/5 chip and the Cell in the PS3 not to mention the huge amount of $$$ involved for therm to have a chip made from older tech to be manufacturer after being discontinued meaning the older Power PC cores before the Power era of CPUs
  • -5 Hide
    robochump , September 25, 2012 6:58 PM
    New Wii U setup is too complicated for the average user/gamer and kids. Sadly I see this failing big time. Original Wii as well as XBox Kinect and PS3 are much easier thus will do well.
  • 10 Hide
    back_by_demand , September 25, 2012 6:59 PM
    Quote:
    With the Wii U being new hardware, we're still getting used to developing for it, so there are still a lot of things we don't know yet to bring out the most of the processing power


    Funny, that sounds a lot like

    Quote:
    We don't know what we are doing, the processing power is there but we don't know how to use it


    I vote the title of the article should be edited to

    Quote:
    Wii U Launch Developer Complains of Lackluster Programmers
  • -1 Hide
    notuptome2004 , September 25, 2012 7:00 PM
    robochumpNew Wii U setup is too complicated for the average user/gamer and kids. Sadly I see this failing big time. Original Wii as well as XBox Kinect and PS3 are much easier thus will do well.


  • 3 Hide
    therabiddeer , September 25, 2012 7:09 PM
    antilycususe a kernel that has the best thread management available (Linux). That will solve your CPU problems. I run clients windows server 2008 on a VM using Debian/Linux kernel and the performance differences is unbelievable. Thread management on WIndows kernels is a joke (xbox 360). PS3(though i cant stand it) had the right Idea by using Linux, it was their CELL that was problem (memory bottleneck and registers bottleneck due to 1 "core" managing all cores).I don't know teh O/S or Kernel used in Wii U, but if 3 processors can't get it done, your developers are stuck in 1999. They (like most programmers) need to understand writting threads, not objects.The CPU count is plenty high, the complete lack of understanding HOW to write threaded games, is the problem.

    Because 10 years of programming on triple core x360 and the many core PS3 clearly havent taught them anything about threading... right. It is totally the developers fault and not actually just a weaker cpu.
  • 1 Hide
    therabiddeer , September 25, 2012 7:11 PM
    back_by_demandFunny, that sounds a lot likeI vote the title of the article should be edited to

    No console ever peaks its performance in the first generation of games. Compare a launch title to one that is released near the end of the consoles life and you see significant changes despite the hardware being the same. It has been this way for years upon years.
  • 1 Hide
    bustapr , September 25, 2012 7:12 PM
    that sucks. strategy games was one of the strong points I saw in the wiiu. now that a renound developer is saying that enemies on screen have to be limited, its not looking so well. hope in this console is going down fast for me. the fact that the cpu is holding back the game quality of a strong genre for the console is a very bad thing.
  • 10 Hide
    Pinhedd , September 25, 2012 7:21 PM
    antilycususe a kernel that has the best thread management available (Linux). That will solve your CPU problems. I run clients windows server 2008 on a VM using Debian/Linux kernel and the performance differences is unbelievable. Thread management on WIndows kernels is a joke (xbox 360). PS3(though i cant stand it) had the right Idea by using Linux, it was their CELL that was problem (memory bottleneck and registers bottleneck due to 1 "core" managing all cores).I don't know teh O/S or Kernel used in Wii U, but if 3 processors can't get it done, your developers are stuck in 1999. They (like most programmers) need to understand writting threads, not objects.The CPU count is plenty high, the complete lack of understanding HOW to write threaded games, is the problem.


    Virtualization doesn't work like that.

    Each virtual processor exposed to a virtual machine runs as a hardware isolated process on the host machine. Inside of that hardware isolated process the thread management is performed by the virtual machine's kernel and not the host kernel.

    This is not the first time you've posted this incorrect information and this is not the first time I've had to correct you on it.
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