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View Full Version : XBox 360 and ScreamerNet



Darkmoon_UK
02-23-2006, 08:32 AM
Does it occur to anyone that if LWSN or an equivalent were re-written for the XBox 360, Newtek would instantly give Lightwave a massive new appeal for small-mid sized animation houses.

In pure processing bang-per-buck the XBox 360 can't be beaten at the moment, with it's 3 Cored 3.2Ghz chip at 275 (in the UK).

Maybe this is short sighted as same power PC chips will inevitably drop in price - but how soon? A renderfarm of XBox 360s would seem to form an ultra-cheap rendering supercomputer!!!

Please, if I'm wrong, tell me why, because this seems like a 'no-brainer' to me?

doimus
02-23-2006, 09:55 AM
Besides some hardware issues (i.e. not enough RAM), the most important obstacle is licensing.

You can't (at least not legally) just compile and release something on a console. You have to obtain license from the manufacturer.
I doubt Microsoft would grant such a license, and even if it did, I guess the price would be high enough to even the costs between Xbox360 and regular machines.

kopperdrake
02-23-2006, 08:35 PM
That's disgusting, to think they can do you for developing software for their hardware! If I want wide wheels on my car then I stick them on, within safety limits. It shouldn't be up to MS what we put on our consoles, as long as it's not pirated software - whoever passed that needs a good slap!

ercaxus
02-23-2006, 10:14 PM
Some guys are working on xbox 360 linux (http://www.free60.org/wiki/Main_Page) but they are not any close to booting a kernel on 360 yet. Even if they could, NT would have to compile a new version of lwsn for the new cpu, now that would be cool.
When (or if finally) sony releases PS3 it will probably come with linux installed, then watch microsoft cracking its own game console to install windows on it :D

kopperdrake
02-24-2006, 04:01 AM
lol - we can only hope :D

doimus
02-24-2006, 04:47 AM
That's disgusting, to think they can do you for developing software for their hardware! If I want wide wheels on my car then I stick them on, within safety limits. It shouldn't be up to MS what we put on our consoles, as long as it's not pirated software - whoever passed that needs a good slap!


Well, not exactly... as much as I dislike MS for their policies, I actually understand them on this one.

First: MS actually loses money on xboxes and gains profit from game licenses. It's some kind of loan if you like... "We give you the console for less, but you pay us the interests through games later." Xbox costs less than a top-grade PC graphics card.

Second: What would happen if suddenly everybody started releasing different sofware and hardware for a console?
We would have just another PC support nightmare. Everything would start conflicting with everything else!:compbeati

No thanks! Plug and play on console, render and worry on the computer.

lilrayray77
02-24-2006, 05:29 AM
I doubt even if PS3 come with linux, newtek would even think about writing LWSN for it. I remember reading about developing for ps2 (PS3 will prob. have the same liscencing) and I believe it can cost upwords towords $100,000. I just dont think NT would bother with this price.

What would be cool though is if NW marketed a small, inexpensive, render farm computer specifically made for lightwave and has LWSN installed and configured, therefore making a plug and play render farm.

kopperdrake
02-24-2006, 05:31 AM
First: MS actually loses money on xboxes and gains profit from game licenses. It's some kind of loan if you like... "We give you the console for less, but you pay us the interests through games later." Xbox costs less than a top-grade PC graphics card.

I'm afraid I have to disagree with this. Sure, this is what they're saying, but you're actually buying the hardware -a physical product. If Microsoft intend to make their money back on software licences then that's their affair, but to insist that you only buy software they say you can is monopolising a product. Imagine if every manufacturer went down that route. You'd only be able to buy replacement bits for VW (doh - I used a car analogy) at a VW Dealer, only Epson cartridges in an Epson printer, only Indesit washing powder in an Indesit washing machine - the list is endless. Sure, they can all cover themselves with a disclaimer saying you void all warranty by using another company's product in conjunction with theirs, but to insist you use theirs, well, I can't see how they can enforce that.


Second: What would happen if suddenly everybody started releasing different sofware and hardware for a console?
We would have just another PC support nightmare. Everything would start conflicting with everything else!:compbeati


It would never get that bad. PCs are made up of several components and are intended to be an amalgamation of various bits from various manufacturers. Microsoft's attempt to stamp their 'Certification' on software and hardware is their attempt to try and regulate a market that was never theirs to regulate from the start - they are, after all, just an OS on top of hardware, supposedley. Agreed, in theory it's a good idea to have some sorty of authentication that the soft/hardware you're buying is certified by MS as being compatible with their OS as it's one less potential pitfall along the line, but it's not a mandatory thing - anyone can put anything on their PC.

As far as XBox goes, it should be the same. If it's an enclosed system and you need to doctor it in order to add a new piece of kit, then there's the little 'void if removed' sticker to show MS you've tinkered with it. Your warranty is in your hands and rightly so. But to insist that you never take it apart and add stuff to it...plain daft. I'm not even sure how they'd make it stand up in court if it came to it, but I'm not a lawyer so I've no idea. Same goes for software. I believe, anyone correct me if I'm wrong, that *anyone* could write something for an Xbox and distribute it, it just wouldn't have the MS stamp of approval on it. However, if MS charges you for the necessary toolkits to develop on their boxes then that's a different matter, and perfectly within their rights.



No thanks! Plug and play on console, render and worry on the computer.

Oh, I agree on this one ;) I just like the idea of cheap renderfarms :D

mattclary
02-24-2006, 12:22 PM
This old discussion again? How many times did we see this with the original X Box?

From what I have read, the 360 and PS3 are incredibly powerful, at least on paper, but developers are saying it's incredibly difficult to write code that fully exploits the hardware.

When talking bang-for-buck, you have to include the cost of writing the code. You can build a cheap AMD 64 X2 3800+ for a render node, probably wind up costing not much more (if any) than a 360.

cc3d
02-25-2006, 04:36 PM
Microsoft didn't invent this model. Ninetendo, since day one, has required all games meet their standard before shipping and pay a fee for each release and per copy royalty also. Same model for PS 1,2,3, Gameboys, PSPs. It's the way they make their money.

It's just like printers and cartridges, all they want to do is get you the platform so they can sell you the consumables (if games can be the consumable in this case).

Captain Obvious
02-25-2006, 06:05 PM
The Xenon CPU might not be entirely appropriate for these things. Don't let the "zomg 3.2GHz three cores" hype fool you. Those three cores are very crippled compared to the G5 or what have you. The Xbox 2 technical demonstrations were run on dual 2GHz Power Mac G5 systems, so that should tell you something...

cclephane2
03-01-2006, 03:15 PM
Consider this:

Don't we all play games on our X-Boxes while our computers are tied up with rendering?


What will we do for fun when all of our X-boxes are all tied up rendering as well?



:)

kopperdrake
03-01-2006, 03:41 PM
Ah...that's the clever bit you see...

"But darling, I *need* to buy this latest and greatest X-Box 1080 as all of my X-Box 360s are now earning us money with which to buy your new shoes with".

Works in my head anyway ;)

Amadeus0
03-01-2006, 09:42 PM
Those 3x3.2Ghz cores are in-order issue. That means that it's about the equiv. of a 800Mhz Out-of-Order core. OOO cores are what intel/Motorola/IBM/AMD/VIA and so on have been building (or trying to build) since the original Pentium.

In other words: XBox360=3-800Mhz cores rendering in 512MB of ram. Much better/faster/cheaper to build a current PC then use one of those.

Also there's the issue of Newtek porting their stuff to a PPC that runs Windows.

Not worth it. Not to mention what the others have talked about for getting the correct permissions from MS to make that happen.

ercaxus
03-02-2006, 04:47 AM
If ps3 comes with linux installed on it, as the rumors say it will, there shouldn't be any problem for NT, just a recompile, but it's just too good to believe.
BTW I mean only the screamernet, lw in linux is just wayyy too good to believe. :)

mattclary
03-02-2006, 08:42 AM
If ps3 comes with linux installed on it, as the rumors say it will

Doesn't TiVo use Linux too? The PS3 would probably be just as useful as a render node. ;)

Amadeus0
03-03-2006, 10:00 AM
The PS3 has 1 in-order 3.2Ghz core with 512MB of ram. That means you would be using 1-800Mhz CPU to render your scenes, for $500-$800. THAT REALLY doesn't make sense.

The only way Newtek could take advantage of the Cell vector units would be to COMPLETELY re-write the render core and ALL plug-ins to run on that CPU.

Given the trouble of moving to Xcode and Mach-O binaries I don't think that this would happen anytime soon.


That said IBM/Sony/Toshiba want to take Cell and make it an add-on DSP for x86 boxes, and sell workstations with this core. After Newtek goes Xcode it should be MUCH easier to port LW to the Cell running Linux, but it would be dog slow. No Vector optimizations.

AFTER THAT then Newtek would have to spend about $1,000,000 in Cell programmers (all 2 of them) to make it sing when rendering on that CPU. Given the Altivec Optimizations that Newtek did/didn't do I doubt that this fictional port would do them much good for a few years.

(Except give us a Linux Version, which I would be Very Happy to have.)

AmadeusZ.-

lilrayray77
03-03-2006, 07:39 PM
hmmm, fom what I read, PS3 is about 2x as powerful as 360, but I guess if the arcitecture doesnt take advantage of lightwave then it is not of much use. Also 500-800 is high in price; I read 300-400.

ercaxus
03-03-2006, 08:04 PM
Actually as long as I get a linux version of LW I don't care what it's running on, x86, ppc, c64, oven, tv, bookshelf, anything :)

Amadeus0
03-03-2006, 08:53 PM
I want a Linux Version as well. 64-bit (drop 32-bit), on x86-64, without the Intel cheat.

jburford
03-05-2006, 06:50 AM
hmmm, fom what I read, PS3 is about 2x as powerful as 360, but I guess if the arcitecture doesnt take advantage of lightwave then it is not of much use. Also 500-800 is high in price; I read 300-400.


Hmmnn, that is news to me! I have not read anywhere that the PS3 is 2 as powerful as the 360, in fact, the PS3 is not even available Yet!!! The 360 is.

And all the power in the world does not matter if the software programmers are not able to get the power from it......

lilrayray77
03-06-2006, 05:53 AM
Hmmnn, that is news to me! I have not read anywhere that the PS3 is 2 as powerful as the 360, in fact, the PS3 is not even available Yet!!! The 360 is.

And all the power in the world does not matter if the software programmers are not able to get the power from it......

I read about the power on one of the PS3 sites. It could very well be a roomer. But we won't know untill it comes out. And your right about getting the power out of it. I think LW will need to take andvantage of GPUs befor anything like this is even remotely worth it.

Riplakish
03-06-2006, 08:15 PM
I doubt even if PS3 come with linux, newtek would even think about writing LWSN for it. I remember reading about developing for ps2 (PS3 will prob. have the same liscencing) and I believe it can cost upwords towords $100,000. I just dont think NT would bother with this price.

What would be cool though is if NW marketed a small, inexpensive, render farm computer specifically made for lightwave and has LWSN installed and configured, therefore making a plug and play render farm.

There are cheap PCs in the market place, starting at $206 w/256MB of RAM, according to
Pricewatch (http://www.pricewatch.com).

Rendering itself is about CPU and memory, so bump this to a gig for < $400 (total cost), and you're ahead of the Xbox price. Load FreeBSD or Linux, install Wine, and run the windows version of LWSN.EXE with all the Windows plugins natively. Graphics cards, huge drives, and glow-in-the-dark-cases just don't matter.

If you could then sell a few thousand of these systems at $450-$500, you might actually make some money. :)

-R

lilrayray77
03-07-2006, 05:49 AM
I was looking into a render farm (and I actually just ended up using my home network), but I found a dell optiplex (a little old) with a P4 2ghz processer,256 mb ram, and comes with windows 2000 for 279. You could easily upgrade the ram to 1-2gb for a cheap price. But whats really great about this PC is it is small. Here it is if you want to check it out:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1827294&Tab=2&NoMapp=0