Lair developer all over the PS3 like a fat kid loves cake

While you and I may debate which console is more powerful/easiest to develop for, the true voice of reason is the programmers and such who are on the front lines of this next-gen war.

We should be listening to the people who actually make these things, not play them. So if a developer, such as Julian Eggebrecht, president of Lair developer Factor 5, says tings like the PlayStation 3 has “limitless power” or “If you create first on the PS3, it is pretty easy to port it to the 360,” then we should be paying attention. Interesting quotes from the San Jose Mercury News:

Q: How do you feel about the risks? What were your biggest bets?
A: The biggest risk around Lair is that it is something unusual. As with any original IP, we are layering on top of the usual risk. It’s a new genre. At its core, as a genre, outside of our games, was never a multimillion unit seller.

Q: How soon did you figure out what the PlayStation 3 could do?
A: Will we ever? (laughs). The baseline isn’t hard to figure out. Yes, it’s a harder ramp. … The PS3 has more of the situation where you could go another six months easily and forever. You can get so much more power. RSX is a known quantity. But Cell is pretty limitless at this point.

Q: How do you look back at this point on the differences between the PS 3 and the Xbox 360?
A: You’ll have a hard time if you port without having a PS3 game in mind when you created the 360 version. … The PS3 is all about streamlining about the two different memory pools. They are separate. You don’t have to do tiling because you don’t have an embedded frame buffer. All of these advantages of the PS3 turn into disadvantages if you don’t start making your game on the PS3. Hence the griping. If you create first on the PS3, it is pretty easy to port it to the 360. A lot of companies coming on board now will probably start on the PS3 and move to the 360. The lucky thing for us is we didn’t have to think about the 360 at all.

One more sort of interesting tid bit on controls:

Q: The Sixaxis — this is your first crack at that. How is it?
A: Yes. That waggle. Sixaxis. For me, I am not in the rumble camp. I am in the motion control camp. Give me the choice any day and I will choose it as the next logical evolution. You get more disk space with Blu-ray. You get more CPU power with Cell. The pixel shaders with RSX. What changes about the controller? That’s my one gripe with the 360. It is very nicely done. Don’t get me wrong. On the controls, nothing changed. Sony and Nintendo went the extra mile. Nintendo went the extra 10,000 miles. But Sony said we have to have something fresh in every area. That doesn’t mean you should absolutely have to use it. That is one point that Lair should make. The history of the game shows you can overdo Sixaxis support. At the Tokyo Game Show, we had a version where you could use Sixaxis controls on the ground. That was forcing something that didn’t feel natural. Flight is natural because you have a wider range of motion than you could ever have with a stick. On the ground, you are used to the analog stick.

For us, the gestures came in and that really made it possible to have the physical combat between the dragons. It was all about the physicality of the dragons. If you didn’t have that, it would be a air to ground, seamless shooter. The shooter element is in there and it is fun. But the physicality of the dragons is the big one and that gets enhanced by the Sixaxis controller a lot. When you fly next to a dragon and want to slam into it, you slam the controller. You don’t have to do it like a madman. The Sixaxis is surprisingly subtle in realizing the motion. You get very detailed curves out of it. It works great for the gestures. The gestures are heaven sent. We were starting to double up buttons. And we wanted the 180 move. Somebody came up with the idea of moving your hands up to do the 180. You can also cram to many gestures onto it and people wind up getting confused. You have to balance it. Use traditional controls where applicable and integrate motion control as one more tool. With Lair, we believe you get the complete PS 3 experience which does include Sixaxis.

Robert Summa