Author Topic: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff  (Read 3274 times)

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Offline FlamingCobra

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Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
The Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 all have their own operating systems, right? They don't have a simple BIOS.

So instead of writing software to emulate a Wii/Xbox 360/PS3, why can't you just partition your hard drive and install that console's OS onto your computer?

Does it have something to do with system architecture, kind of like how Mac was incompatible with PC hardware until recently?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 03:42:30 pm by FlamingCobra »

 

Offline The E

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
The Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 all have their own operating systems, right? They don't have a simple BIOS.

So instead of writing software to emulate a Wii/Xbox 360/PS3, why can't you just partition your hard drive and install that console's OS onto your computer?

Does it have something to do with system architecture, kind of like how Mac was incompatible with PC hardware until recently?

None of the current Consoles (and except for the original XBox, no console in the history of ever) are using a system architecture that is even remotely similar to that of a modern PC. Their operating systems are tailor made for the hardware they're running on, and cannot be ported onto other hardware without emulating that hardware in its entirety. There is no commercially available hardware that has the power to emulate an XBox 360 or PS3 accurately, the Wii may be possible (because the Wii is more like a Gamecube++), but I do not believe there are any emulators around.

The reason why you need accurate emulation of the hardware is that console games are heavily optimized for the hardware they are built on; they can use tricks that PC developers simply cannot use due to the variety of hardware configurations present in the PC environment. Most of those tricks involve exploiting the unique architectural quirks of a given system, for example, most high-end PS3 games are offloading parts of their graphics processing from the GPU onto the CPU, which in the PC world is something noone would ever contemplate doing.
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Offline FlamingCobra

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
what makes the hardware so crazy different, and could it be done in reverse? (I have heard of people running a linux distro on Wii/360)
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 04:11:31 pm by FlamingCobra »

 

Offline Ghostavo

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
what makes the hardware so crazy different, and could it be done in reverse? (i.e. running windows vista/7 on a 360. should be possible, since the 360's OS is a modified version of windows anyway.)

For starters, the ISAs are not x86. Windows can't run on ARM (although Windows 8 seems to) much less in esoteric console ISAs. And no, the Xbox's OS is not a modified version of Windows.

The only "mainstream" operating system that you could run on a consoles would be linux, like some people have done for the PS3.
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Offline The E

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
what makes the hardware so crazy different, and could it be done in reverse? (i.e. running windows vista/7 on a 360. should be possible, since the 360's OS is a modified version of windows anyway.)

...

To start off, the 360 and PS3 both have a main CPU that is radically different from the x86/x86-64 architecture used in normal PCs. There is no way in hell you could get binaries for one architecture to run on the other. Second, the hardware is structured in a completely different way to allow maximum throughput from the various IO components to the CPU, GPU and back again. The internal protocols the various hardware pieces use to communicate with each other are completely different.

And no. The 360 OS is not a "modified Windows". It is a heavily customized OS that was designed to run something that looks like a customized version of DirectX to the developer. There is no way, none whatsoever, to install a standard desktop OS on one of todays' consoles. Also, given that both the 360 and the PS3 are desperately underpowered in the memory department (the 360 has to make do with 512 MB of RAM shared between the OS and the GPU, while the PS3 has 256 MB of RAM for executable code, and 256 MB of GPU memory), there is no reason you'd really want to.

Oh, yes, there was a Linux version for the PS3. Nope, Sony no longer supports it, yes, it was severely crippled by the fact that there was no way to access the GPU, yes, it was only useful for people who wanted to write code for the Cell processor. Which, as it turned out, made a cluster of PS3s a rather well-performing, cheap alternative to a custom supercomputer. Among others, the US Air Force used to have one of them.
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Offline FlamingCobra

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
http://wiibrew.org/wiki/Wii-Linux

http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/30/hacking-linux-onto-your-360-just-got-a-wee-bit-easier/

And you did not discuss Wii, though I would assume that is because it is even more underpowered than PS3/360.

 

Offline The E

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
Well, yes. Using Linux on a Wii turns a Wii into a rather useless brick, while Linux on a 360 is more of a nerdy experiment than something that really works.
Let there be light
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Offline FlamingCobra

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
Well, yes. Using Linux on a Wii turns a Wii into a rather useless brick.

I have seen youtube videos where people took apart their 360 and put all the hardware inside it into a laptop case. Or something. Thus making a portable 360. (with a screen).

So if you did the same thing with Wii and put linux on it, you basically could use linux as your laptop stuff for regular computing purposes (internet, word processing, whatever) and use the Wii part for playing games, which would be weird but it would work.

 

Offline The E

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
Except that the Wii would be pretty crap at that job. Remember that the Wii does not support resolutions significantly higher than what baseline NTSC/PAL are capable of, which is roughly equivalent to trying to surf the web at a resolution of 800x600 on a very crappy tablet that is outperformed by most Android devices.

Oh, and those Laptop conversions for the 360? Yeah, they're nice. Very cool semi-portable (because I kinda doubt they have good battery life, if they actually do have batteries) game consoles, but I'd rather use a normal Netbook, or even a smartphone for mobile surfing/word processing than one of those.
Let there be light
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Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
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Offline FlamingCobra

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
True enough. Wii's hardware is crap.

Actually I don't really want to do any of these things. I'm just asking because I know someone who wants to run PS3-exclusive games on his laptop and I'm trying to explain why that won't work and/or finding loopholes to make it theoretically work on PC hardware.

But from the information you have given me, it seems there is no way possible to make them "double up". At this point in time, 7th generation console emulation is totally out of the question.

 

Offline The E

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
Right. In the future, just tell him that he should try and use the google. This is all information that is available with a bit of technical understanding and wikipedia.
Let there be light
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Let there be monsters and let there be pain
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Offline FlamingCobra

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
-snip-

Oh, and those Laptop conversions for the 360? Yeah, they're nice. Very cool semi-portable (because I kinda doubt they have good battery life, if they actually do have batteries) game consoles, but I'd rather use a normal Netbook, or even a smartphone for mobile surfing/word processing than one of those.

Speaking of short battery life, can you replace an electronic device's battery with a hydrogen fuel cell even if it does not natively support fuel cells?

And yes, I already googled this. I googled the **** out of this a while back and never found anything but stuff like "fuel cells may one day/soon replace batteries"

I wouldn't think an electronic device would care what kind of power source it has as long as the voltage is correct.

Also, I've told people to "just Google it" before and the only thing that ever happens is that people end up thinking that I am "stuck up," "an ass," or a "smartass."
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 05:29:21 pm by FlamingCobra »

 

Offline Ghostavo

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
It's all about the connectors...


You could also use a nuclear power plant to power your wrist watch, doesn't mean it's practical to...
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Offline The E

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
It wouldn't. However, making a hydrogen fuel cell that fits into a battery form factor (and there are thousands of those) is nontrivial, and always remember that a Hydrogen fuel cells need Hydrogen to work, which is a notoriously unsafe fuel source.
Let there be light
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Let there be monsters and let there be pain
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Offline FlamingCobra

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
Right. I considered that you would have to make the fuel cell fit your device all by yourself. And make the connectors work.

But there is also a heat issue. Fuel cells generate water, electricity, and heat. Most laptops already have cooling/airflow issues, so I'm thinking the extra heat from the fuel cell would be really bad for it.

 

Offline Nuke

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
i wouldn't want to use a fuel cell for that application no matter how cheap or efficient it is. fuel cells require fuel, and i dont want to have to be constantly putting fuel into my electronics. dont underestimate the power of lithium batteries. some of the high discharge cells ive used on my rc aircraft exploits have been ****ing scary to work with. especially when you had to solder new connectors or leads to the battery. they are very fond of arcing. you also have ultra-capacitors that can do really scary things. a fuel cell is the wrong tech for the job. i can see using it in a car or in off-grid home power, but banks of batteries can handle that job, and probably at less expense. for small scale applications batteries will reign supreme. nobody wants to put hydrogen into all their technology to make it work when they can just plug it in.
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Offline z64555

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
some of the high discharge cells ive used on my rc aircraft exploits have been ****ing scary to work with. especially when you had to solder new connectors or leads to the battery. they are very fond of arcing.

I can back this claim with a permanent scar on my multitool caused by a 11.1V 2200mAh LiPo battery. Plus the fact that every time I connect the battery to my quad, it always makes a faint *pop.*
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
I cannot fathom why anyone would contemplate replacing reliable and inexpensive Lithium-ion battery technology with unreliable and expensive hydrogen fuel cells.  They are not an optimal source of electrical power due to the energy requirements needed to build and fuel them.

There are gasoline electrical generators that are commercially available to the average person that are more energy/economically efficient than hydrogen fuel cell technology.  For the cost and reliability, carrying around a gasoline generator or installing an inverter in your vehicle makes more economic sense than trying to lengthen portable device battery life by improvising a fuel cell.
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Offline BloodEagle

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Re: Not-So-Technical Gaming Stuff
Would someone please remove the 'Deeply Technical' from the thread title?

It's kind of bugging the Hell out of me.

 

Offline z64555

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Re: Deeply Technical Gaming Stuff
I cannot fathom why anyone would contemplate replacing reliable and inexpensive Lithium-ion battery technology with unreliable and expensive hydrogen fuel cells.  They are not an optimal source of electrical power due to the energy requirements needed to build and fuel them.

The same could be said about gasoline engines during the time of the steam age. But yes, fuel cells are an "academic curiosity" for now.
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