SSX Tricky with DTS!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jens Raethel, Dec 3, 2001.

  1. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

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    I just bought SSX Tricky for Playstation 2 and the sound is amazing in the DTS mode!

    Maybee this is old news for you guys, but I didnt know there were games that used DTS!

    Are there any other games out there using DD or DTS?

    jens
     
  2. ChrisV

    ChrisV Second Unit

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    In game, only Tricky and NHL2002 so far.
     
  3. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    EA was able to find some way to put DTS into their games, even though its supposed to be impossible.

    I'm hoping for this game for Christmas (missed out on SSX then held out for the sequel) so I will get to try out the DTS myself, hopefully.
     
  4. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  5. Kelly Scott Rickards

    Kelly Scott Rickards Stunt Coordinator

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    From what I understand, EA is using the VU0 vector processor in the EE to do the realtime DTS encode, so don't expect lots of processor cycles left over for heavy AI/physics or T&L assist...
     
  6. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  7. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    But i heard EA did a very poor job on making it sound good... how is it? Does it put you in the game like HALO's DD does?
     
  8. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    Another question...what the hell are the vector units and the EE? I read a ton about them but nobody has actually said a lot about them so I am more in the grey (than the dark) about them. Could someone explain why they haven't been used much?
     
  9. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    Very quick & rough outline.

    The PS2 is a multi-processor system. It has one main chip, dubbed the EE which does most of the processing. It has one graphics rending chip, dubbed the GPU, that operates in parallel to the EE.

    That basic system is similar to the PSX (roughly).

    The big addition: it's got two highly specialised lowlevel grunt units called Vector Units, that operate in parallel with it & feed off the main chip. They are very very fast, but very demanding. The VU0 is synced up to the EE, and is used for low level game logic functions like matrix maths etc. The VU1 is synced upto the GPU - you use it for vertex functions & processing graphics before they get displayed by the GPU.

    The vector units are *very* demanding & are the cause of bottlenecks through sloppy coding - to make the most of the paralllel processing, you need to ensure VU0 has enough data to process & that the microcode is written correctly to process it without stalling. You program it in assembler - not C/C++ like the EE - and generally, you need to be a brain at low level stuff like that to make the most out of them.

    The key to good PS2 programming is keeping the VUs working constantly, whilst ensuring your throughput to the GPU is fast enough.

    That's why Sony are pushing things like procedural graphics - the VUs are excellent at the processes involved in repetitive jobs like that.

    That's a *very* simplified view. I'm sure Gary King or someone could give a better 'overview' of the system. The current DTS solutions out there AFAIK all require extensive use of the VU0 unit, which prevents the game from using it. I could be wrong on that, but it's certainly what I've been told.

     
  10. paul h

    paul h Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for that info Brian, interesting reading...i'd like to see what kind of performance the people who actually designed the PS2 can get out of it! I know it's constantly slated as being hard to program for but their must be good reasons why it was designed this way.

    Have you seen or heard anything about the Sony Performance Analyzer for the PS2?, i read that when they run GT3 through it the game was only using something like 30% of the PS2s potential. Just read an interesting interview with Free Radical and they're using the Analyzer with the development of Timesplitters2 (glad to read they are committed to keeping the frame rate at a solid 60):

    CD: The frame rate of the game looks to be running at a really smooth 60FPS. Did you have any problems in maintaining this on the PlayStation2?

    Steve Ellis: Well, we're throwing around twice as many polygons so we had to put in some optimisation to keep it at a solid 60 frames per second. We've used the Sony Performance Analyser and we'll continue to use that for the rest of the project, as there's still some way to go with it.

    KH: High frame rates make the game playable, and dropping frames is not acceptable. We've seen some of the other first person games on the PlayStation2 and some of the frame rates were terrible, and it ruins the gameplay. We're not going to go down that road. It's a high priority.

    DD: Anything in motion looks better at high frame rates, with the character animation, particle effects and everything else…when a game drops frames, the player will never forget it because it's always there and what will happen is it will sporadically get faster and slower. This changes the way you interact with the game.

    SE: When we first got the PlayStation2 we had a look at the specs and said this is the performance we have, let's make sure we divide it between the background, characters etc so that it can run 60 frames per second; let's not set the targets too high. And with this game we've pushed that a bit further as we have the extra capabilities now to handle this.
     
  11. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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  12. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I once saw the PS2 being referred to as not difficulty, but "sophisticated." I think the fact that its so different from everything else makes it more difficult to program for. Had they made it more PC like in its firmware, it might be easier. Nintendo and MS set out to make their consoles simple and powerful (like a handgun...wait, bad analogy) and succeeded. Sony just wanted power, at any expense.

    If they take full advantage of the PS2, I think it could look better than some X-Box or GameCube games. TimeSplitters 2 is looking pretty good...
     
  13. Michael St. Clair

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  14. JonDax

    JonDax Auditioning

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    I think the DTS sound in this game is great! Some have complained that it's only 4.0, but my system images very well so I get a very solid center image. Compared to the regular soundtrack the DTS one compares like a DD 2.0 surround track to a DTS on a DVD. It is much smoother, expansive, and realistic sounding. The sound of the board carving the ice panning from right to left with someone yelling "help!" from the left rear causing my character to turn around and look is great. Quite immersive, I'd say, and I have not noticed any performance hits.

    I hope that there is good feedback, because I'd really like to see more DTS PS2 titles for sure.

    --JD
     
  15. Brad Grenz

    Brad Grenz Second Unit

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  16. Derrik Draven

    Derrik Draven Supporting Actor

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    I finally put together my home theater system upstairs while I remodel downstairs.

    Popped in SSX Tricky to see if the DTS was as lousy as I have heard it was.

    IMHO, it is a BIG improvement over the regular soundtrack but, it IS NOT superior to Halo, as far as surround sound goes.

    If you have a DTS encoder, definitely run 'Tricky that way.

    However; and this is just my opinion, it seems as though the DTS encoding was sort of "tacked on". EA Sports might be great at making games but, I don't think they can hold a candle to those in the movie industry who eat/sleep/breath sound and it's encoding onto dvd's. It seems as though 'Tricky's soundtrack is more of a gimmick because some of the panning of the sounds didn't match what was happening onscreen.

    But, it was their 1st attempt. Give 'em time.
     
  17. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    This is also in real-time, not manipulated sound like in movies. If something happens in a film, they can put it wherever they want, however they want, but in games, its all natural and comes more realistically. If something is wrong with the sound, either it was done wrong, or it was done so good that its too real.
     
  18. Mike Peveler

    Mike Peveler Stunt Coordinator

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    Has anyone noticed that in dts mode that there is no audio prompt when your "tricky" meter is full such as run dmc saying tricky.
     
  19. JonDax

    JonDax Auditioning

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    I use DTS and I get the 'Tricky' soundtrack when my Tricky meter is full.
     
  20. ChrisV

    ChrisV Second Unit

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    Yeah, me too, maybe you have it shut off in the options
     

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