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It's Not Easy Being Green

Vol. 2, Issue 12
February 14, 2000


It's funny, but there's been numerous attempts by manufacturers to redefine our PC inputs, yet we stubbornly stick with keyboard/mouse combo. Has anyone sat down and said, "Why don't we just stick a keyboard and mouse in the box?"

PCs and consoles are becoming more and more similar. At some point, you'll probably see keyboards and mice coming with the console at launch. Right now though, most console developers and designing their games for console gamers. These kids play a lot of RPGs, sports games, fighting games, and platform jumpers, but not a lot of games that require keyboards... I mean, I'm sure they wouldn't mind attracting more PC guys to the console, but its probably much lower on the goal sheet than selling a game they know will be popular.

How do you like programming on the PS2? Is it easier/better/faster than the PC? Than linux?

Programming is programming. I'm not bothered by programming for any specific platform, so much as I'm bothered by things like making sure my NT box and my Linux box and sourcesafe are all working properly. I would say programming for the PS2 is hard in that a PC programmer has a lot to learn about the hardware. A lot of low level code to write. The APIs for PS2 aren't really APIs, they are more like simple tools to help you set up your DMA transfers and such. You write a lot of code that deals with registers directly. Like any new programming task its just learning the new tools and experimenting.

Let's talk power. How much more powerful is the PS2 than the original PS?

I don't know, really. I don't know a lot about the original Playstation's hardware. My understanding is that the power of the Playstation 2 lies less in the CPU and more in efficient use of the vector units. Since I'm not doing any work with the PS2's rendering code now, I've not been pursuing PS2 technology very closely. You might want to ask Tim, but there is a lot of stuff we can't talk about because of NDAs.

From what I understand, the PS2 will be internet ready though it won't be shipping with a modem out of the box. Will you be plugging ´net functionality into the code in preparation for Internet play?

I don't know anything about Sony's plans for network support. I have not seen any APIs on it or heard any information. If we get information on it, we'll support it.

I understand you were part of the Orange Smoothie team. What do you think of their work on Netgames USA?

Its pretty cool. ngWorldStats is a lot of fun to play with, it adds a lot of value to the game. The Net Games guys are really hardcore. They were all professors and research engineers at the University of Kansas and one day they just said "lets go for it." So they quit their jobs and decided to rough it with their gaming company. That's cool. Its funny because I remember Craig Sparks telling me about his idea for the stat tracking stuff and I used to tell him about how I'd work for a game company at some point. Lo and behold everything worked out.

Lawrence, Kansas must have some kind of gaming enchantment cast on it. KillCreek is from there, you know. So is Scott Dalton from Legend. They both went to KU.

That's very cool. Did you help with the agreement to put support for ngWorldStats support into UT?

It was for granted. We worked up an agreement, but was there any doubt? It was a really cool feature and it didn't take much work to add. I think it really helped give UT some extra replay value. Now you can feel like your nightly game sessions have some impact.

I handled all the NetGames/Epic communication and implemented the features they wanted. Mark took care of getting their logo on the box. It was extremely smooth. I still owe those guys a dinner sometime.

I think it's a great feature, except that it shows some of us how poorly we play UT :)

Anyways, just one more question: What's next for you after the PS2 and UT?

Shrug. I don't plan ahead. Takes too much time and its against my nature.

Thanks Brandon!


-Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon is currently exhausting all his free time researching Beer Goggles.


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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Rowan Crawford. This interview is © 2000 Russell Lauzon & Brandon Reinhart. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it biznitch.