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3GS graphics put to rest

02-18-2010, 06:07 PM
#1
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
3GS graphics put to rest

Hey guys, I couldn't find this info definitively put anywhere with Google, so here it is. I care because I'm thinking of upgrading for gaming, and I can't really use a DS or PSP, so...yeah, the 3GS is better, but, is it a "real console" in terms of power?

A big determiner is what kind of PowerVR SGX it has. Well, I was able to confirm that it is definitely the 535.

http://www.glbenchmark.com/compare.j...=true&D1=Apple iPhone 3G S&D2=SonyEricsson U1i Satio

The Satio is known to use the 530. Since the 535 has double the pipelines of the 530, you'd expect it would roughly double the performance. Well, it doubles it over a known SGX 530 user almost exactly.

This means that the 3GS, if used full-bore, has the potential to take on the PSP (the PSP has some advantages despite weaker on-paper specs, but they're too technical to get into) or better. Games nowadays haven't even scratched the surface.

Or have they? Has this already been definitively settled? Can anyone also point me to some pretty screenshots of GS-only games? Thanks!

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?
02-18-2010, 06:48 PM
#2
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: Germany
Posts: 142
I'm also looking forward for more3 3gs enhancememts, but it'll take a while until "only 3gs" games come out.

Some more infos about this chip would be appreciated. Maybe a dev who allready has gained some experience with this new chip?

And i beliebve with 128 mb more than 3g they could also use larger textures.

02-18-2010, 06:51 PM
#3
And it won't take long for the next generation of iPhones.
So, I think, we will never see a lot 3GS only games. Since the next one will be a lot better again. But yes, I would love to see devs going further.

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02-18-2010, 06:54 PM
#4
Joined: Oct 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 771
If you want to buy a 3GS just for gaming, then no. Get a PSP for that.

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02-18-2010, 07:37 PM
#5
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 826
PSP is much faster than iPhone at drawing triangles, but iPhone has per pixel shaders which PSP does not.

I believe the specs for the iPad said it can draw many more triangles per second than the iPhone chip, and it's only a matter of time before more powerful chips find their way into phones.

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02-18-2010, 07:43 PM
#6


I posted that image some time ago in another thread.

Zen Bound 2 is in development and still quite a while from completion, but it does make good use of the 3GS hardware. For a mobile device there's definitely a feeling of disbelief to be looking at graphics that were considered high-end on PC and consoles not so long time ago.

RPGGuy, where did you come across the specs of the iPad graphics performance?
02-19-2010, 03:10 PM
#7
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMario View Post
If you want to buy a 3GS just for gaming, then no. Get a PSP for that.
Firstly, I'd never buy an iphone for gaming, period. I like to talk on my phone sometimes and games tend to be battery hogs. I'm looking at an ipod 3g.

Secondly I noted in the original post that I can't use a PSP.

Quote:
Originally Posted by your personal robot View Post
And it won't take long for the next generation of iPhones.
So, I think, we will never see a lot 3GS only games. Since the next one will be a lot better again. But yes, I would love to see devs going further.
It doesn't matter if the next is a lot better. Right now there is a generational gap; art assets created for an OGL 2.0 pipeline simply aren't usable on an OGL 1.5 pipeline. Once you start using shaders, it's easy enough to use older versions (see: oldblivion, bioshock patches that allow it to run on radeon 9800 level harware...) Since the SGX's has an OGL 2.0 compliant unified shader architecture, just like games for modern PCs, you just scale back the level of detail and effects for weaker hardware. The 3GS bootstraps you into the zone where it doesn't get amazingly better except for more triangles and pixels.

(someone spoke about 128mb more memory)
Yes, let's all remember that the xbox had 64mb memory, the xbox360 has 512mb, and the 3gs has 256. The OS takes about 64. So we're left with about 192mb. Larger textures are good to a point, but there's usually no point in having them much bigger than the resolution of the screen (480x320) except in landscapes etc. Instead it allows for a lot more headroom for bigger, more complex, wide-open worlds.

Is a cortex A8 fast enough? Sure! My developer's speculation is that it could run Oblivion with somewhere between Morrowind and Oblivion graphics. It is aided alot by the speed of the SLC flash inside - loading times are much less than DVD/BD media. However it will come up short in areas like physics. Unfortunately you'll have to have either enemies with pretty bouncing boobies or enemies with brains.

Now, *THE DOWNSIDE* to the SGX chip is this - this prettier art, etc., it takes longer to create. Costs more. I wouldn't be surprised if companies are hesitant to develop 3GS level games for the very reason that they are more expensive to produce, with a more limited market. As it stands, investing 30% more development time for a better experience for 10% of players who probably won't pay any more money is counter to profit making.

*THAT* said, Apple has this wonderful thing called planned obsolescence. They plan on the 1g, 2g devices being obsolete quite soon. And by obsolete I mean broken.

I don't know. Personally, if I had to pay $10 more to play NOVA with console-like graphics, I wouldn't. But if I spent $20 to get a NOVA that really WAS like Halo - wide open environments, better AI, etc. - I'd jump at it!

And don't forget games like Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies. It lags to heck on a 2g touch at low detail level, and don't think for a moment that the CPU speed doesn't affect all the people getting dropped. On a 3g s, I hear, you can run max detail level, and it enables some shaders, and it's a lot prettier and doesn't lag. The lack of lag is the best improvement IMO. Once you get up past wave 20 just dodging the zombies and firing your shotgun gets downright difficult. Games that straddle the edge and offer an option to both generations - right there, the casual gamer can go for a 2g touch, but the serious one can use a 3g. I count myself as a serious one with a 2g impediment. I'm in #2-4 (depending on how you sort them) for the online leaderboards for top 3-player games on Verrukt. OrgnlDave, if you want to look. Imagine what I could do with a 3g!

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?

Last edited by writingsama; 02-19-2010 at 03:14 PM.
02-19-2010, 03:29 PM
#8
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frand View Post


I posted that image some time ago in another thread.

Zen Bound 2 is in development and still quite a while from completion, but it does make good use of the 3GS hardware. For a mobile device there's definitely a feeling of disbelief to be looking at graphics that were considered high-end on PC and consoles not so long time ago.

RPGGuy, where did you come across the specs of the iPad graphics performance?
Thanks for the screens. I see lots more shader use, higher-res textures. Zen Bound is pretty but I wish there were more to look at...surely someone with a 3GS must have shots of Zombies running on it!

As far as the iPad goes, it has literally 5.1x the pixels as the 3g s. I would *imagine* that they'd want at least 4x the pixel throughput as the 3gs chip, so I'd then go so far as to imagine that they're using an SGX variant with 4x the pipelines; however, since the shaders are unified, you don't really need 4x the pipes, since you only need enough for the same geometry + extra pixels. This is all just speculation, but I would imagine that 8 or 12 pipes would be a good compromise. If the SGX has a max of 4 shaders per core as I remember, then a 2- or 3-core variant would be logical. (Note that cores aren't the same as for processors: ATI/nVidia cards have hundreds of 'cores'). This would kick the theoretical number of triangles through the roof, but you'd only REALLY be drawing the same number in the same game, with more cores going to the pixel end to handle the higher resolution.

The real question about the ipad is how much RAM it has. It would need 512mb at least to keep up with texture size requirements and be competitive with the 3gs in graphics.

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?

Last edited by writingsama; 02-19-2010 at 03:43 PM.
02-19-2010, 03:50 PM
#9
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 675
I'd like to add that my $.02 is on the iPad being meant for gaming. Gaming was never huge for apple with macs, but since the release of the app store they've raked in literally tens if not hundreds of millions from their unprecedented 1/3 cut of EVERY game sold. They *accidentally* created a real handheld competitor to the big two (DS/PSP)! And it's much more profitable for them than the DS or the PSP are to Nintendo or Sony, because of that 1/3 cut and lack of need for any real extra advertising. If they're not taking gaming seriously now (and the 3GS shows they're at least trying) then they're ludicrous.

Now Playing: , Civilization Rev for iPad, Hero Academy, Sonic Racing, Kingdom Rush, Dungeon Raid, Where's my Where's My Water updates?

Last edited by writingsama; 02-19-2010 at 03:54 PM.
02-19-2010, 04:33 PM
#10
writingsama, the 3GS is a nice device (definitely the nicest mobile device I've ever seen), but your speculation regarding its capabilities is perhaps setting the expectations too high, particularly when misinterpreting its hardware specs. Also the sweeping statements regarding shaders and scaling detail levels are not really aligned with everyday developer reality

(And art assets created for GLES 1.1 work just fine in GLES 2.0 if you aim for similar visual quality. Nobody's mandating that a GLES 2.0 title must have normal maps.)

Neither the 3GS or iPad are gaming devices as a first priority, and the architectural compromises that have to be made to conserve battery life means there is a world of difference between dedicated game consoles and media devices with 3D capabilities, with game consoles usually having a clear advantage in memory bandwidth.