Dawnguard's PS3 problems may not be solvable, Bethesda says

PS3 players were not happy when it was announced that Xbox 360 would get the Hearthfire DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim before they got their version of Dawnguard. Now Bethesda has admitted that the problems it is having with the PS3 version of the vampire lord DLC may not be fixable.

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Some PS3 players were not happy when it was announced that Xbox 360 would get the Hearthfire DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim before they got their version of Dawnguard. Now Bethesda has admitted that the problems it is having with the PS3 version of the vampire lord DLC may not be fixable.

In a post on the official Dawnguard forums, Bethesda admitted that the huge amount of resources needed for such a large add-on as Dawnguard has made the "issue" one that is difficult to solve, despite numerous attempts. The post didn't elaborate on what the exact problems were, but it concluded: "This is not a problem we’re positive we can solve, but we are working together with Sony to try to bring you this content. We wish we had a more definitive answer right now. We understand the frustration when the same content is not available on all platforms. When we have an update, we will certainly let you know."

It is likely that Dawnguard is suffering from the same issues that plagued the PS3 version of Skyrim after it launched. Bethesda has said that the development of Hearthfire has not further delayed Dawnguard on PS3.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 31, 2012 7:30 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Dawnguard's PS3 problems may not be solvable, Bethesda says.

    PS3 players were not happy when it was announced that Xbox 360 would get the Hearthfire DLC for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim before they got their version of Dawnguard. Now Bethesda has admitted that the problems it is having with the PS3 version of the vampire lord DLC may not be fixable.

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      August 31, 2012 7:32 AM

      Bethesda needs a new engine.

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        August 31, 2012 8:52 AM

        Nooo.... Sony needs a system architecture that isn't so arbitrarily different from EVERY OTHER SYSTEM on the planet. Game developers must build their engine to support the PS3 at great expense and aggravation. It's a beautiful system that is a serious pain in the ass to develop for. It's easier to port from 360 to iOS than it is to PS3. That's kind of insane, if you think about it.

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        August 31, 2012 9:07 AM

        Didn't they do a rewrite or overhaul or something? Seems like shit like this should've been solved a long time ago.

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          August 31, 2012 9:10 AM

          It's still Gamebryo and it is not aging well.

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            August 31, 2012 9:27 AM

            It's not Gamebryo, and Gambryo is not an engine

            http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=24748758#item_24748758

            Gamebryo was a piece of middleware that was used in a number of game engines, including Oblivion and Civ4.

            Skyrim is using an evolved version of the engine from Oblivion and it's been confirmed many times that Gamebryo code is not in Skyrim's engine.

            The name of the engine is Creation Engine.

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              August 31, 2012 9:27 AM

              Also Gambryo the company went under in 2010 so that would be another reason it's not in Skyrim.

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              August 31, 2012 9:57 AM

              Then why is it so similar in so many ways in terms of the quirks and bugs and such?

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                August 31, 2012 11:18 AM

                Because those were in the parts of the engine not contingent on Gamebryo.

                I'm saying this based on a combination of statements from the developer and observations on software design. True, I don't really know what their engine is like and it's not impossible they're just lying and shards of Gamebryo are in there but I doubt it. The only people who would get butthurt over that sort of thing (engine is old!) are the ultra hardcore types which are easy to write off so I don't think it's worth their effort to lie about it.

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      August 31, 2012 7:36 AM

      What's up with this engine on the PS3?

      I seem to remember them not releasing all the DLC for Oblivion for the same reasons on PS3.

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        August 31, 2012 7:50 AM

        This is purely a hypothesis, but here goes.

        The Xbox 360 and the PS3 have the same amount of RAM (512MB), but different configurations.

        The Xbox 360 has a unified memory architecture, which lets a developer decide how much RAM will be used for textures and geometry and how much will be used for the system kernel, game code, and data.

        The PS3 has a split memory architecture. 256MB is set aside for the system kernel, game code, and data, and 256MB is set aside for textures and geometry.

        If you're already straddling the 256MB for the system kernel, game code, and data on the PS3, the techniques to do code overlays, etc., in order to do more within that fixed region require that you have your engine architected to allow it and that your game be set up in such a way that you aren't relying on being able to access everything at once.

        On a PC, you'd just use virtual memory (swap least-recently-used pages of memory to disk), but that isn't an option on either console platform.

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          August 31, 2012 8:58 AM

          When you say that the PS3 has a split memory architecture, how is that enforced? Is the RAM literally in two physically different places like it is on the PC (i.e., the video memory is part of the video card for the most part, the system RAM is attached to the motherboard) or is the RAM in one place and it's just the PS3's OS that enforces rules and such?

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          August 31, 2012 9:49 AM

          256mb for textures?
          I sneeze larger than 256mb.

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            August 31, 2012 10:47 AM

            Remember that it was taped out in 2005. Additionally, Microsoft was thinking of going 256MB unified, until Epic showed them a demo illustrating the benefits of 512MB.

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              August 31, 2012 10:49 AM

              Yeah, the PS3 would've ended up being an obviously superior system if the 350 launched with only 256MB.

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        August 31, 2012 7:52 AM

        I'm guessing they have issues with the RAM limitations. 256MB dedicated to each part was a rather poor move.

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      August 31, 2012 7:49 AM

      Not surprising seeing how Skyrim played on my buddy's PS3. Regardless, sorry it happened to PS3 owners though.

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      August 31, 2012 8:11 AM

      The PS3 is... not an ideal design for modern PC-developed games.

      I really hope it's the last of it's line, or Sony finally decides to stop torturing devs with their wacky hardware choices and just puts out a 'gaming/media-PC-in-a-smaller-box' console, for once.

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        August 31, 2012 11:06 AM

        Was the PS2 also difficult to program for? I don't specifically remember hearing anything back then about it.

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          August 31, 2012 12:16 PM

          I've heard it took the entirety of the PS2's life before people got really good at developing for it due to the custom hardware, chips, etc.

          It makes sense as the PS2/PS3 are the latest (and maybe the last) in a trend/tradition of consoles using custom hardware. At one point in time there were no (or very few) consumer-level configurations that would be affordable enough to put in your console so it makes sense that something other than x86 or PPC chips have been in most consoles over the years. And there's been this misperception that this helps things - a Sony rep famously shot his mouth off about how they made the PS3 hard "on purpose" to drag out the life for ten years. I think he misunderstood that the PS2's ten year span was just a side effect of it, not because of it.

          But most importantly - the PS3 is competing agains the Xbox 360, which is much easier for PC games to be ported to (and vice versa). It's the first generation where a game that's effectively the same game can come out on all the consoles. So when two of the three platforms are easy to work with and the PS3 isn't, it's not surprising to see developers turn on it.

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        August 31, 2012 2:23 PM

        Rumors say the next Playstation simply uses an x86 AMD CPU. It doesn't get much easier than that.

        But if this is true of course, you can kiss the notion of backward compatibility goodbye.

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          September 2, 2012 5:09 PM

          I think it will be an AMD CPU/GPU or perhaps an AMD APU, but I don't think it will be x86. That'd be an odd architecture to go with for a home system. Besides easier porting between console and PC there is no benefit to x86.

          With Sony ditching Cell and how they've turned on backwards compatibility in this generation touting 100% at launch to "You can just plug up your PS2", tells me backwards compatibility is out for them in the PS4. I think we may see them do releases of PS2 and PS3 games running on an emulator if they do any backwards compatibility.

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            September 3, 2012 10:34 PM

            Hmm, I wasn't aware AMD made any other kind of CPU. x86 was what was in the original Xbox, seemed to work fine for that system.

            No BC though, I agree. The generation's almost over and even now companies like Bethesda are having trouble getting their games to run on the PS3. I imagine it would be downright impossible to emulate the PS3 on the PS4 unless they stick with a Cell-type CPU, which they won't. So hold on to your PS3s!

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      August 31, 2012 8:16 AM

      So, how does using the dawngaurd addon use more RAM? I've never noticed it, but then again I play on PC so maybe PC and Consoles play by different rules? I understand the hole split 256 mb thing seems to be biting sony in the arse but beyond that, my noobishness isn't helping.

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        August 31, 2012 8:19 AM

        Well the PS3 only has 256MB useable memory, that is pretty slim and I'd guess they are sitting right at or near the maximum?

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          August 31, 2012 10:13 AM

          Failure on Sony's part to split that Ram between Video and Memory... Skyrim broke the PS3....

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            August 31, 2012 10:58 AM

            How is this a failure? You realize PCs are setup in exactly this way? I can tell you that split memory architecture is not the problem here.

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              August 31, 2012 3:42 PM

              Yes, but doesn't the PC's have higher memory than 256MB (Not saying your wrong, just asking)?

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                September 2, 2012 10:29 PM

                If you're building a mid range desktop gaming PC today (Let's say a thousand dollar budget) your'e looking at a system with 2-4 GB of video memory and 8 to 16 GB of system memory.

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          August 31, 2012 10:51 AM

          It has 512 but it's a hard split between CPU and GPU I believe, whereas the 512 on the Xbox is dynamic (either one that needs more can use it), I think they're running up against one and can't move the necessary data over to the other.

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            August 31, 2012 11:00 AM

            yah i should of said system memory... I'm guessing they have more memory allocated on the 360 for game code.

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              August 31, 2012 3:50 PM

              The 360 has 512MB of RAM that is shared between the system and video processor. It can be divvied up between the two however the dev wants. The PS3 has 256MB of RAM for each of the system and video processor. They are physically separate.

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          August 31, 2012 11:28 AM

          Sort of - a lot of data can be streamed (which effectively means hard memory limits aren't as limiting, if you need to put something new in memory, you can take out something you aren't using anymore). However there's some things that can't be streamed (either by limitation of the engine or no real gains would be made by streaming), and sometimes these things live in memory indefinitely (usually things that are needed often).

          I think the problem they are having is that when memory budget becomes tight the engine works to free memory for new objects. I imagine this causes performance issues when it starts taking too long to free memory (maybe waiting for free memory to create an object which some system is dependant on which causes the system to wait, dropping performance as it waits). That's just a guess but I'm sure the problem is similar to that.

          Another reason for performance drop could be memory defragging.. as you use memory and free memory, the ram becomes fragmented just like a harddrive. Which means the game needs to defrag otherwise it could get an out of memory crash when it tries to allocate a continuous amount of space. Eg. if you want to allocate 1MB for something, you need to have 1MB of continuous space, not 1/4MB here and there.

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      August 31, 2012 10:49 AM

      PS3RO- DAAAAAAAH!!!

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      September 4, 2012 6:01 PM

      Bethesda has never had a good relationship with the PS3. What I don't understand, and this is because I am not a coder/hardware engineer, is if they knew of these problems during the Oblivion/Fallout 3 development why could they not make the engine that powers Skyrim available to work on the PS3 hardware? I spent money on the Collector's Edition and am now pissed that I have a product that could be potentionally abandoned in a similar way The Orange Box was on the PS3.

      I almost wish Bethesda would have just canceled the PS3 version and made it an XBOX exclusive for all the problems they have had.

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