A week or so ago, I wrote an article questioning the validity of some of the criticism coming from some members of the PC crowd towards the PlayStation 4. Since that time, I’ve read hundreds of comments (from this website and many others) and articles on the matter, and none of them offered any real convincing reasons as to why they think that the console will be trash. The reoccurring theme stemming from these comments was that “technology will keep moving forward, and the PS4 will eventually fall behind.” Something that Captain Obvious himself would roll his eyes at before removing his hat for a face palm.
Fast forward to today; we now know even more about the PS4 and the changes it will bring to the console gaming. I was always of the sentiment that one of the main things that held gaming back this generation was the very predictable and, at times, dumb AI that plagues so many games. xaitControl will now put this issue to rest as it is now available to developers on the PlayStation 4. For those of you who are not aware of what it does, “xaitControl gives you runtime libraries and graphical tools to model advanced AI character behaviors with a probabilistic, hierarchical finite state machine. It also includes a graphical, real-time debugger. By drawing states and graphically connecting them with transitions, you can efficiently give your NPCs realistic behavioral options for any given situation.”
PhysX and APEX
The PlayStation 4 will now also support NVIDIA’s PhysX and APEX. PhysX is already widely used in games and other applications; it is a real-time physics engine with features including discrete and continuous collision detection, raycasting and shape sweeps, solvers for rigid body dynamics, fluids, and particles, as well as vehicle and character controllers. APEX on the other hand, is a multi-platform, scalable dynamics framework, which puts the artist into the driver seat to quickly create dynamic interactive content. Just imagine a game where most, if not all, of the environment is destructible. Something that very few games could accomplish on the PS3.
Substance Engine and more…
The PS4 will also support the Substance Engine which will provide for better textures but also decrease the load time that is normally associated with them. Other tools and engines that will be available on the PS4 are: Enlighten (think Eve Online), Morpheme 4, Unreal Engine 4, SpeedTree etc..
We know that there are many more unannounced surprises coming our way between now and E3. But even going by what we know so far, it is safe to say that the PlayStation 4 is an absolute beast of a control. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But it’s downright impressive especially when you compare it to what is currently available on the market as far as Next Generation is concerned.