While legendary id Software developer John Carmack didn't do somersaults or buy the entire PlayStation 4 team a round of drinks (at least not that we know of), he gave a virtual thumbs up on Twitter after the console was revealed Wednesday night. This is a good thing for Sony given Carmack wasn't quite so thrilled with the previous Cell-based PlayStation 3.
"I can't speak freely about PS4, but now that some specs have been made public, I can say that Sony made wise engineering choices," he said Friday morning via Twitter.
Carmack said last year that he wasn't particularly excited about the next-generation console hardware. He predicted that Sony and Microsoft will fight over gigaflops and teraflops and more, but in the end, their efforts won't make a difference. Bringing a new gaming experience will be the answer as Nintendo proved with the launch of its Wii console. Both Sony and Microsoft tried to mimic Nintendo's success, but both technologies felt somewhat "tacked on" compared to the Wii's native motion-sensing experience.
"In many ways, I am not all that excited about the next generation," he said. "It will let us do everything we want to do now, with the knobs turned up. Take a current game like Halo which is a 30 Hz game at 720p. If you run that at 1080p, 60 frames with high dynamic frame buffers, all of a sudden you've sucked up all the power you have in the next-generation. It will be what we already have, but a lot better. You will be able to redesign with a focus on DirectX 11, but it will not really change anyone's world."
Back in December, he predicted that the next-generation consoles will still target 30 frames per second instead of shooting for twice that amount. Carmack seemingly backed up a comment made by DICE rendering architect Johan Andersson who defended the studio's decision to lock Battlefield 3 at 30fps. He said that "huge levels, lots of players, great effects, destruction, vehicles and varied gameplay is more important than 1080p."
Even Epic Games chose to leave Gears of War 3 at 30fps despite being able to push the framerate further. "Our target is, and shall remain, 30fps," former Epic superstar Cliff Bleszinski said in an interview. "When asked about 60 we always respond that we'd rather have the extra juice to put more on screen and stick with 30."
But that was a "generation" ago. Will developers be more inclined to push tons of content and visual effects at 60fps on the new hardware sets? In the case of Sony, it seems the company has made the right hardware decisions with the PlayStation 4, a far different story than what was heard and seen from developers who struggled with the PlayStation 3's heterogeneous multi-core Cell processor and toolset.