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Miyamoto Comments on PlayStation 2


The legendary father of Mario and Link shares his thoughts on the PS2's polygonal abilities.

If you've been following the recent PlayStation 2 holiday hype, then you've no doubt heard the claims made regarding its unprecedented polygon crunching power. And indeed, the PS2 is quite a polygon beast, but perhaps some perspective is called for. And who better to clear things up than Nintendo legendary designer Shigeru Miyamoto?

Recently Mr. Miyamoto commented to the Japanese media about the recent claims made by Sony regarding the ability for the PS2 to render polygons. Below is what he had to say on the matter:
Shigeru Miyamoto: "Polygon movement is essential in the creation of 3D games. Therefore, we are taking various steps to simplify polygon movement. Namely, this includes calculation of polygon display, properly shading and lighting the polygons, and applying the textures.

"Whenever new hardware comes out, the manufacturer always talks about how many million polygons it puts out, but never mentions that when textures are applied only half that can be handled. Then when you do the lighting calculations, that number halves again. So the actual number of polygons is half of half, or about 1/10th of what they say. So if the specs say the machine can do 80-100 million polygons, that really translates to roughly 5-8 million.

"Polygon-pushing power isn't enough; game machines have to be able to handle things like terrain and collision detection too. When the CPU handles these tasks, it can't do much else. With the Gamecube, we've divided the tasks up as much as possible to eliminate bottlenecks. If you simply look at the documented specs for existing systems, they may seem to be the latest and greatest things at the moment, but in a year or so they'll already be outdated. On the other hand, looking at the Gamecube, I think it will have a shelf life of many years. We wanted to make a piece of hardware that would free developers from worrying about technical stuff like polygons or bottlenecks."


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