A-Men dev: you won't see PS3's texture problems on Vita
Vita RAM pushes handheld closer to Xbox 360.
You won't see the texture issues that plague the PlayStation 3 versions of some multi-platform games on Vita, one developer with experience of both platforms has said.
The Vita's impressive amount of RAM means it's better able to produce stable, high resolution textures than the PlayStation 3, the creator of Vita launch title A-Men told Eurogamer.
Vita has more RAM than PS3. Vita has 512MB of RAM and 128MB of V-RAM, compared to the PS3's 256MB of system RAM and 256MB of video RAM. Vita also has the advantage of not having to reproduce HD visuals.
"This is great," Bloober gameplay programmer Jakub Opoń, who worked on Vita launch title A-Men, told Eurogamer.
"This is the main drawback for PS3 versus the Xbox 360, because the Xbox 360 has half a gigabyte of RAM, so the texture quality is better in games on the Xbox 360. You can see when you compare two games.
"Vita won't have this problem. This is a really good solution. It tells developers not to think so much about really hardcore optimisation. They can focus on making the game, and not strip the quality of the assets. This is really important.
"Our artists made some really good effects and we have no problems with game speed."
Bloober's A-Men is a downloadable 2D platform strategy game inspired by Blizzard's Lost Vikings and Lemmings.
It is the Polish developer's Vita debut, but is has worked on a number of platforms, including WiiWare, DSi Ware, PlayStation Portable, iPhone, iPad, and, more recently, PS3.
Opoń said despite Vita's RAM advantage over PS3, it is not as powerful as the PS3, which, through the Cell microprocessor, is a heavyweight when it comes to physics, simulations and AI. "It's not as powerful as PS3, which you can see with Uncharted, which is a great example to compare the hardware power."
But: "Vita has so much power in this small device, every player will be satisfied with the things you can do."
Bloober creative director and vice-president Piotr Bielatowicz added: "There is much more computational power in PS3. Obviously you've seen how Uncharted was supposed to look like, and during the development how it begins to look like."
While Vita's power is attracting programmers to the system, Sony has also tried to make making games for it as easy as possible - certainly easier than it was with the difficult, complex PlayStation 3 when it launched in 2007.
"Vita is very easy to develop for," Opoń said. "It's much easier than Sony's previous platforms. The hardware is much more popular. It's the same type of hardware you can find in iPad 2, but twice as powerful. The core mechanism of working on the platform is the same.
"Sony provides a great SDK [software development kit/devkit]. The documentation is really good. Basically, we came up with a port of our engine in three months. It's fast, rapid development on the platform.
"It's easy even to set up the machine on your computer. You just start the installer. I can't say the names, but on some other consoles it takes a whole day, or two days, even, to even set up or build the game.
"For some devkits you've got three USB cables just to plug into your computer. You've got three cables that connect the same two machines, which is crazy.
"Now we get this beautiful console, which is small, and only has two cables. The only problem is you don't have the battery for that [on the Vita devkit], so you need to use the adapter.
"In all other aspects, it's the best we've worked on until now. The easiest one, the fastest one to start just making the game, not struggling with the hardware, with the software provided."
For Bielatowicz, Vita marks an important change in approach to third-party development at Sony, one that moves away from former Sony Computer Entertainment boss Ken Kutaragi's philosophy when he launched PS3.
"It's great now to cooperate with Sony," Bielatowicz said. "When Kutaragi was in charge it was very technologically oriented. It was, 'we create the best possible hardware and deal with it. Figure out on your own how to program it.' For PS3 it might take two weeks for a programmer to just compile a demo. It was so hard in the beginning.
"Now, I believe Sony is more developer oriented. They reach out to us. They organise seminars to train us, to teach programmers and designers features like Near. The support is very swift. The communication is very good. I would say, at the moment, Sony is by far the nicest format holder to work with."
Vita launches in the US and Europe on Wednesday, 22nd February.