Jordon McClain, also known as Jdawgg or Superstar McClain, is the President of a small indie game company called Steel Cyclone Studios. Currently Jordon is in school and is teaching himself Game Art, Design and Development on the side. Jordon is currently working on the Cyclone Game Engine which is a 2D/3D game engine created entirely from scratch built upon the XNA Framework. Jordon's ultimate aim is to make it into the videogame industry and join the greats of videogame designers. In the meantime, Jordon is trying to hone his skills and learn as much as possible about this wonderful and constantly evolving industry. WARNING!: Mr. McClain is insane in the brain! :-D

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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest Blog: Bring Back Backwards Compatibility!!!

0 comments by Jdawgg25 on Dec 13th, 2014

This is mostly my opinion, so feel free to agree or
disagree. In all honesty, I miss Backwards Compatibility and maybe I probably shouldn't.
Neither the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4 is backwards compatible. You can't
take a disc from your library of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games, put it in
your new console, and play. I wish I could, and I understand why I can't, but
it does not make me want the feature any less.

When the Xbox 360 released, my friends and I were still playing
Halo 2. I miss those days of playing 4-player split-screen Halo 2 on Xbox Live.

When I brought the Xbox 360 into my room, it didn’t change
things too much. It was backwards compatible with the top-selling games on the
Xbox. The majority of our time was still spent playing Halo 2, usually on the
original Xbox. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 both have a fantastic library of
games I am still working my way through. I am currently playing Red Faction
Guerilla, for example, but I wish I could play it on my new console. I want any
excuse to use the new system, even if I am playing a game from a previous
generation.


I understand why the new consoles are not backwards
compatible. To give the hardware the option to play Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
discs is to hold them back. It’s a technical hurdle Sony and Microsoft are
working on leaping with non-hardware streaming solutions.

Implement or emulate

There are effectively two ways to provide compatibility with
previous consoles: through hardware implementation, or via software emulation
of the old machine. In the former case, it involves actually including some of
the chips from the old machine in the new machine. The Nintendo Wii, for
example, was in many ways just a more powerful version of the older GameCube,
so backwards compatibility was reasonably straightforward – indeed the Wii
originally had GameCube controller sockets and two memory card slots. It was
like a GameCube in disguise. The PlayStation 2, meanwhile, had the original
PlayStation chipset built in, so it ran pretty much any PSone title – and when
that chip wasn't being used for backwards compatibility it doubled as an
input/output processor, which was pretty canny.

What's different now is the increased complexity in hardware
and software, and heat issues. The best way to support your old console, in
terms of broadest support of all old games, is to actually include the hardware
of the old system inside the new one. CPU, GPU, sound chips, ideally the whole
caboodle.

This works well enough when you look at the price list for
components, as the old chips have become cheap enough to include without
bumping the cost of the new system. Sadly though, with the high frequency clock
rates (GHz), designing your board to incorporate the entire old machine is not
easy or cheap, and worse, it will emit just as much heat as the old system did
on it's own. Heat is a big factor with modern system designs and you do not
want to add 100 watts to your output, and another jet turbine style fan.

So as new hardware becomes more complex, the inclusion of
older chips and processors becomes more expensive, and with margins so tight
(manufacturers often make a loss on new machines anyway), it's an easy feature
to jettison. Indeed, although both the original versions of the Wii and the PS3
included old feature-sets in the architecture, later versions ripped these out
to cut down on costs and allow for price drops.


Microsoft updated its list of backwards compatible Xbox
games for years after the launch of the Xbox 360, spending valuable resources
on making sure its new console could play old discs, but I can’t remember the
last time I took advantage of the feature. Once a console’s library gets even a
small handful of quality, better-than-rushed-launch-games, backwards compatibility
becomes borderline pointless. I stopped caring about the Xbox 360’s list of
backwards games around the time The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion released.

Sony has made promises with its Playstation Now streaming
service saying it will allow the PlayStation 4 to play PlayStation 3 games
online with streaming video. I was hoping that you will need only a disc from
your library to play, but the reality is there are fees associated with playing
games you already own. So in my own opinion, backwards compatibility does
affect consumers! The same goes for Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. Microsoft
is already tempering expectations towards how game streaming will work on
its console. Even if these systems work well, by the time they are available,
the time when they would be most valued will have already passed. The
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, the Wii, and Wii U offer the ability to purchase and
download old games from previous consoles, but this is less a function of
backwards compatibility, and more a storefront for fans to easily purchase and
replay older titles. For backwards compatibility to be a selling point for a
new console, the ability to put an old disc from your library into a new system
is necessary.

Backwards compatibility is helpful for the
launch of a new console
.

It helps justify the investment by allowing you to actually
play your new console (and take advantage of some of the new features) with the
last few quality titles of the previous generation. It can be a selling point
for those shifting their console loyalty, as many did this new generation, from
Microsoft over to Sony. Jumping onto a new platform with a whole collection of
exclusives from the past eight years could have been very attractive to early
adopters. It also could have presented a competitive advantage for one console
and allowed those like me, running out of storage space and HDMI ports on their
television, to remove old consoles from their TV cabinet.

It could have been a major selling point for either 2013
console, but in the long-run, backwards compatibility becomes a forgotten
feature, and I understand why it's absent. The Wii U is fully compatible with
every Wii game, but I have already happily abandoned playing Wii discs on the
system in favor of games like Pikmin 3 and Super Mario 3D World. I wish I could
take my Red Faction Guerilla disc out of the Xbox 360 and finish the game on
the new console, but by demanding that capability (and likely forgetting it in
a matter of months), I am probably short-changing other more important console
features that will have greater longevity. I want the feature now in the early
hours of my next-gen console ownership, but ask me again in a few years and
just maybe, I might not miss it as much.

Alternative Solutions

But hey, there’s always HD remakes.

From a software standpoint, game companies certainly have
the physical ability to port last-generation games to next-generation, and it
wouldn't be particularly costly.

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Steel Cyclone Studios LLC.

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Developer & Publisher with 3 members, invitation only

Welcome to Steel Cyclone Studios! Steel Cyclone Studios is a small independent studio focused on creating games, videos, graphic novels and books. As...

Post comment Comments
Glitch_Lord
Glitch_Lord Sep 9 2014, 11:27pm says:

Thank you for watching Torment! We are grateful for every watcher we get!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Jdawgg25 Creator
Jdawgg25 Jul 1 2012, 4:54am says:

The Cyclone Engine Indie DB Page is up! I will be posting the Cyclone Engine's Progress Videos and updates there.

It is over 100 degrees here in Richmond, KY. So stay cool gamers! If it is burning up like an oven where you are, then this is the best time to be inside gaming. Respectfully Submitted...

Jdawgg :D

+1 vote   reply to comment
PROTOASSASS1N
PROTOASSASS1N Jun 17 2012, 2:33pm says:

Hey, me and ghost59 are currently trying to make a new bigger indie company. we are doing this to show that indies are strong and can make great games fast and easy. We would like you to join us. You will keep your company name if you join, its basically like one big company name then your company would be put into a section and work on certain things, in your case you would work on a engine, graphin novel, and games(like you said). we will find people to help you with the engine's development or anything else. We would love for you to join us, if you have skype me and ghost can explain more on there. Please message me back asap.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Jdawgg25 Creator
Jdawgg25 Jun 17 2012, 10:04pm replied:

That is great that you all are trying to make a bigger indie company. At this stage it wouldn't make sense for Steel Cyclone Studios to work under a big company name. You will have to provide me a lot more information. My skype username is jordon.mcclain if you would like to explain more there.

+1 vote   reply to comment
PROTOASSASS1N
PROTOASSASS1N Jun 18 2012, 11:14am replied:

Ok, ill get my leader to get on later today

+1 vote     reply to comment
KlonkPro
KlonkPro May 21 2012, 8:27pm says:

Hey thanks for the watch. =D

+2 votes     reply to comment
Jdawgg25 Creator
Jdawgg25 Jun 1 2012, 5:32pm replied:

No problem :D

+1 vote   reply to comment
Jdawgg25 Creator
Jdawgg25 Apr 24 2012, 5:41am says:

I am working on getting the rights to the game studio name my friends and I are trying to start. Once we get the rights, then we will publish our business website and start an indie page for the game we are currently working on using this game engine and a page for the studio; our business. We might also make a page for this game engine as well.

Stay tuned :-D

+1 vote   reply to comment
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