Wii All (Nintendo Revolution Analysis)


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NEC and MoSys Announce Wii Hardware Partnerships

Original article from Wii IGN:

Companies will work together to provide graphics LSIs and 1T-SRAM for the Wii.
by Gerry Block
June 19, 2006 - NEC Electronics announced today that Nintendo has selected the company to provide 90-nanometer CMOS-compatible embedded DRAM technology for the forthcoming Wii console. The new LSI chips with eDRAM will be manufactured on NEC's 300-millimeter production line at Yamagata. While no clock speeds or really juicy info was included in the release, the news does bring up a variety of interesting points.

The official announcement does not come as a great surprise, as NEC and Nintendo have worked closely in the past. NEC provided the eDRAM graphics LSI chips for the GameCube, which it manufactured at its plant in Kyushu, and has also agreed to allow Nintendo to feature classic NEC TurboGrafx-16 games via the Wii's Virtual Console capability.

Separating a logic (graphics) chip from memory results in narrow bandwidth.

eDRAM integrates DRAM with logic circuits in a single chip, which is an ideal configuration for graphic acceleration applications that require high data bandwidth. NEC has achieved excellent results in manufacturing such chips by integrating "metal-insulator-metal 2 (MIM2) stacked DRAM capacitors" in the company's standard CMOS process.

Embedding RAM is much better.

NEC first brought this MIM2 technology to market in 2005 on 90nm eDRAM. The company achieved this breakthrough via a number of advances, including "1) using a MIM structure for the electrodes in the DRAM cell to achieve lower resistance values and higher data processing speeds, 2) using cobalt-silicide (CoSi) DRAM cell transistors to increase driving performance, and 3) using zirconium-oxide (ZrO2) in the capacitance layer (ahead of other vendors) to increase capacitance of the unit area."

NEC is promising to press forward in developing their eDRAM technology to make the move from 90nm processed chips to 55nm in the near future. While the Wii will be making use of the 90nm technology, the potential for future manufacturing advances of the NEC supplied chips may eventually result in even more efficient and smaller chipsets for the Wii down the line.

NEC's roadmap towards 55nm eDRAM.

NEC also revealed that it has selected MoSys as the DRAM macro design partner for the "Wii devices," due to the fact that MoSys is quite familiar with implementing 1T-SRAM macros on NEC's eDRAM process. The 1T-SRAM technology is the product or more than six years of technical collaboration between Nintendo and MoSys. Previous generations of the technology were incorporated in the GameCube.

MoSys memory will be used as the main embedded memory on the Wii's graphics chip and in an "additional external memory chip." Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director and General Manager of Integrated Research and Development Division at Nintendo commented: "Designing the Wii console required an incredible list of breakthroughs in technology and innovation. The performance delivered by MoSys' 1T-SRAM technology is an important element of our solution. The graphic performance of Wii benefits from MoSys' ability to develop highly innovative and dependable embedded memory products."

According to MoSys, 1T-SRAM technology is the most advanced embedded memory technology in the world. Based upon a single transistor cell to achieve exceptional density, the technology is able to maintain the beneficial qualities of refresh-free interfacing and low latency random memory access cycle time that characterize the traditional six-transistor SRAM cell design.

The announcements confirm IGN's previous reports that the Wii would make use of 1T-SRAM both in an embedded and individual application. Our most up-to-date specs promise 16MB of eDRAM (integrated in NEC's LSI chips) and 88MB of 1T-SRAM (the "additional external memory chip"), for a total of 104MB of system RAM, not counting the allegedly accessible 512MB of Flash RAM or the ATI Hollywood GPU's on-board memory, which is said to amount to 3MB.

NEC certainly seems positive about the announcement, and well they should. The company has not reported profits for more than a year. On the strength of the expected demand for the Wii, however, NEC Electronics is now forecasting operating profits of $44 million for the year ending March 2007.

Source: wii.ign.com

Friday, June 16, 2006

Wii´s CPU clockspeed around 1GHz

I have read a lot about Wii´s specs and I think you too. The most realistic specs have come from Matt of IGN in interviews he has done to trust developers. In one interview the developer told him that the estimated Wii´s CPU clockspeed was around 729Mhz (conclusion made primarly from CPU testing benchmarks and also from Nintendo documentation). This interview was made some months ago before E3. Also 3th party developers told to Matt that they will receive final develpment kits in june (after E3).

In E3 we saw that many if not all the Wii games were running on unfinished Wii hardware, hardware that had a Gamecube case. Many of the games seem to be just upgrades of Gamecube´s ones graphically speaking. Nintendo itself has said that the hardware is not final, and it could change before launch. I really think that Nintendo intensionally made the first develpment kits with slower specs so developers could play around with the new interface rather than pushing poly counts. In E3 Nintendo had to show that the interface was working good and that is not just a gimmick idea.

With this information we really don´t know for certain how fast Wii´s CPU clockspeed will be in the final hardware. But we know Perrin Kaplan said some time ago that Wii will have 2 to 3 times the power of a Gamecube. We also know that Nintendo is the most conservative console manufacturer when talking about specs and if Nintendo talks about horsepower tryies to talk about realistic numbers. Gamecube numbers where focus around realistic in game numbers and not peak ones. So this statement from Perrin Kaplan could be real.

We know Gamecube´s CPU was made by IBM. This CPU has the following specs (Nintendo published this specs around Gamecube launch):

MPU ("Microprocessor Unit")* : Custom IBM Power PC "Gekko"
Manufacturing process : 0.18 micron IBM copper wire technology
Clock frequency : 485 MHz
CPU capacity : 1125 Dmips (Dhrystone 2.1)
Internal data precision : 32-bit Integer & 64-bit floating-point
External bus : 1.3GB/second peak bandwidth (32-bit address space, 64-bit data bus 162 MHz clock)
Internal cache L1: instruction 32KB, data 32KB (8 way) L2: 256KB (2 way)

Nintendo said that this is a custom chip designed for the Gamecube. But as we will see this chip is not greatly customized. Look the green box in the image:

The 750CXr is very similar to the Gamecube´s Gekko CPU in a 90%. Customization means a more expensive technology. So to mantain an affordable console, Nintendo chose an existing PowerPC and made small changes to it to make it situable for a videogames system.

I think Wii has a similar philosophy behind. Use an existing PowerPC and made twicks to it, but esencially the chip will be an existing one on the market.

So I think the information about how many times Wii is more powerfull than Gamecube could help us find which CPU Wii uses, cause is a statement from a Nintendo source. So 2 to 3 times could be thought as 2.5 times, right? Let keep it low, so we have Wii having 2x the power of a gamecube.

So based in the CPU numbers on the image we can tell that the most realistic number that describe us the power of the CPU is the Dhrystone MIPS. Why? cause is a performance measurement. This quantity represents the realistic number of instructions the CPU crunches in a second. The Gekko has around 1125 MIPS. 2 times this number is 2250.

In the same image (the blue box) we have a CPU that is near this number. It is the 750GX with 2320 MIPS. This MIPS number comes from a 1GHz 750GX. If we use the 2.5 factor we have 2812.5 MIPS. So a 1GHz 750GX with 2320 MIPS is lower this 2812.5 MIPS number. There are faster CPUs but they have MIPS numbers considerably greater than the 2812.5 MIPS mark (Around 5000 MIPS).

This table of specific chips are the ones that IBM launched to the computer market (well known to be the heart of many Mac computers). Maybe Gamecube´s CPU or Wii´s CPU are not a GX, CXr or other, but they are based on these chips. So counting the statement from a Nintendo source about the Wii compared to the Gamecube powerwise and from realiable information from IBM we can say that the Wii´s CPU clockspeed is around 1GHz in the pesimistic case. Which chip? I don´t know but It will probably be based on one of these chips, maybe the 750GX.

There is official info from Nintendo that tell us the following:

CPU: PowerPC CPU (code-named "Broadway"). Made with a 90 nm SOI CMOS process, jointly developed with and manufactured by IBM.

The 750GX is made with a 130 nm SOI CMOS process and the official information tells that is a 90 nm process. This difference could be because some processors can be shrunk through the time, so the SOI CMOS process changes to a smaller one.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Call of Duty 3 Wii images

Call of Duty 3 Wii scanned images from EGM june magazine.

Source: http://gonintendo.com/?p=3096

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The leyend of Zelda - Twilight Princess

I will start gathering the best media sources from all the Internet from Wii games so you don´t need to search them. I will update constantly. If its a video and you want to download it follow the link over the movie. It will send you to Google Video where you can download it.

We will start with The leyend of Zelda - Twilight Princess.







Friday, June 09, 2006

Important notes

UPDATE: Don´t get me wrong. All the articles in this blog could become truth in different levels. There are many facts, besides the flash memory one, that point to have Wii patents. This facts can be avoided through possible explanations. But the quantity of this facts and considering them together can make grow the possibility of having Wii patents. But inserting the doubt about Cube having flash memory in a design stage reduces the factibility of this articles. Remember that the information is all speculation if it doesn´t come through a Nintendo source.

Hello everybody,

As you know I always try to post articles based on facts. Many if not all the posts in here refer to various patents that I infer are from Wii. I have given strong facts but I have thought in a possibility. A comment from an annonymous user says the following:
It's a same function that Flipper has, I guess. Original Flipper has 4 redering pipes, each pipe can do some register combining Ops (up to 16 stages) in single redering pass.

Here's Factor5 Julian Eggebrecht Interview.


Julian Eggebrecht: He was probably referring to the TEV pipeline. Imagine it like an elaborate switchboard that makes the wildest combinations of textures and materials possible. The TEV pipeline combines up to 8 textures in up to 16 stages in one go. Each stage can apply a multitude of functions to the texture - obvious examples of what you do with the TEV stages would be bump-mapping or cel-shading.

I read the article and this info from Gamecube really is identical as the supposed Wii´s shading/blending engine. We know that both systems have a similar architecture, but I am starting to doubt this is a Wii patent. Why? there is a strong fact that I used to justify is a Wii patent, and this is the flash memory. Please read the article refering to the Wii´s battery first. I thought on the possibility that inicially the cube could have a flash memory in design but It didn´t make it to the final hardware. So the most strong fact to justify is a Wii patent is not that strong any more. The rest of the facts are complementary, so now I can´t tell you 100% sure that I have founded Wii patents guys. Sorry. Another reader told the following:
Hi all,

These images are from Nintendo's Gamecube patents, of which I've read about a dozen. There's nothing mysterious going on here. The Gamecube's memory architecture is well-documented and is adequately portrayed here.

About TMEM and eFB, there is 1 MB of TMEM and 2 MB of eFB embedded in the Flipper GPU as 1T-SRAM. In fact, it takes up about 1/3 of the die space. The TMEM holds textures (or texture fragments), possibly compressed using S3TC, that are to be used immediately by the GPU. Less critical textures are in main memory. The eFB is used extensively as a "scratch pad" for rendering parts of a scene and for the z-buffer. The z-buffer is an 8/16/24-bit representation of the position of different vertices or objects to be rendered and is one of the Flipper's secrets to success. Many, many of the operations other GPUs (like Xbox's) perform as texture shader operations are performed by the Flipper as z-buffer and blending operations in the eFB. Its pretty fascinating, actually.

Also, 1T-SRAM, despite its marketing name, is actually a form of DRAM. As you correctly note, DRAM has to be refreshed because it has a capacitor ana a transistor (SRAM uses 6 transistors). The 1T-SRAM is no different, but the way in which the memory is physically arranged allows the refresh cycles to be hidden. SRAM is much faster than DRAM because of the DRAM refresh cycles, but 1T-SRAM can mask the effects and has speeds comparable (but not quite equal) to SRAM.

So, its a marketing thing to call it 1T-"SRAM". Its really a smart form of DRAM. It's also a bit expensive because its about 10-15% larger than standard DRAM, so it has poorer density.

So this can show another info that matches exactly the gamecube when I talked about a possible memory arquitecture.

So the microphone article, the memory architecture article, the battery-projector article and the shading/blending engine article can probably be from a Gamecube. The topics treated in those articles can become truth... who knows, but the other facts without the flash memory one are not so strong to be 100% sure are Wii patents.

A battery in a gamecube doesn´t sounds that strange cause I can imagine me playing with a gamecube in a lcd display in a car or something like that, that was not possible with the Wii.

So... maybe I could use my time to other task than don´t involve researching anymore haha. I would try to have interesting info here and the next time that I post something from Wii patents is because there is no doubt about the origin of it.

Sorry for the inconvenience but I needed to tell you this.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Wii GPU has a nice blending/shading engine

A Wii patent says the following:

Recirculating shade tree blender for a graphics system


A hardware-accelerated recirculating programmable texture blender/shader arrangement circulates computed color and alpha data over multiple texture blending/shading cycles (stages) to provide multi-texturing and other effects. Up to sixteen independently programmable consecutive stages, forming a chain of blending operations, are supported for applying multiple textures to a single object in a single rendering pass...

...The number of recirculations may be limited in a particular implementation in view of real-time rendering timing constraints, but a reasonable number of recirculation stages (e.g., fifteen) can provide great flexibility in implementing a variety of complex shading models.

It is known that polygon counts are not the most inovative part of a GPU these days. That was true for Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube. The most advanced GPUs support something called "shading" or "blending" that are effects applied to textures and generated frames before displayed. This process helps to generate a more realistic image because it produces efects like bump mapping, displacement mapping, reflection mapping, etc. So the polygons can have shadows, reflections, seem more polished and more realistic through a process like this one.

Wii´s GPU shading/blending cycles (similar to pipelines) are designed with a general purpose. Wii reasonably handles up to 15 cycles (pipelines) in a single render pass for real time aplications ("real time aplications" is a close term to in-game, right?). In comparison Gamespot mentions that the Xbox 360 has a unified shading arquitecture (similar than Wii´s) and supports up to 48 pipelines (they don´t mention if they are raw numbers or in-game numbers). They also mention that PS3 handles 33 dedicated pipelines. This are more efficient than the general purpose ones (raw? in-game?). The original Xbox supports 4 simultaneous textures (raw). This 4 simultaneous textures can be thought as a type of pipelines.

Concluding, the Wii will have a really nice shading/blending engine. We don´t know exactly how is this engine compared to Xbox360 or PS3 ones, cause we don´t know if they are raw or realistic numbers. But we can say something, The Wii´s shading/blending engine is well positioned between the actual generation (Xbox) and the next one (Xbox 360 and PS3). So Wii could show really nice effects on polygons that can set it appart from current generation consoles (Xbox), just look at Mario Galaxy videos and screenshots and you can notice an important difference. Compared to the new generation consoles? I think Wii could give a good battle. This is good news because some people on the Internet assumed that Wii couldn´t make shading/blending just because it hasn´t dedicated pipelines.





Monday, June 05, 2006

Wii battery supply in the feature - Possible explanation: An "expansion projector"

I really appreciate all the sites that have referred to my blog. Thank you very much.

The unique objective of this blog is to bring interesting information to you that I have read in different sites and patents, also to post my thoughts in these topics. I try to make my analysis based on facts from reliable sources and from patents. I also take ideas from other sources but trying to check their feasibility. The sites where I search for Nintendo patents haven’t uploaded with new ones. But I wrote some months ago that I had found some patents that referred to Wii information and diagrams, for example this one http://patft.uspto.gov/.... The patents do not mention a Wii console, but for numerous facts we can infer it.
The most powerful facts I founded in these patents are:

  1. The CPU is a Power PC 750. Just two Nintendo consoles have a Power PC as their central CPU, these are Cube and Wii. This fact limits the origin of this patent to just two possibilities.

  2. Internal flash memory. Officially the Wii is the only Nintendo console to have integrated flash memory. Maybe the Cube has internal flash memory but Nintendo do not use it. Cube specifications do not mention a build in flash memory so the probability to be a Cube patent is very low.

  3. Cube patents have another diagram. There is another diagram for Cube patents that has “Flipper” and “Gekko” names in the CPU and GPU. This diagram also has other names on its components and specifications that mach Cube ones. The supposedly Wii diagram has different distribution and no names.

  4. GPU seems to be different from Cube ones. The GPU of these patents has a “recirculation shader” process that supports up to 16 effects to an object in a render pass. It seems that Cube ones supports up to 4-8 effects in a render pass. I am going to check the exact amount for the Cube.

  5. The console in the patents receives the disc in the front. Cube receives the disc in the top. Wii receives the disc on the front.

So we can conclude with great certainty that the patents are from the Wii console.
This patent mentions the following:

The user also needs to connect main unit 54 to a power source. This power source may be a conventional AC adapter (not shown) that plugs into a standard home electrical wall socket and converts the house current into a lower DC voltage signal suitable for powering the main unit 54. Batteries could be used in other implementations.

I can say the following:

  1. Main unit 54 is the console itself, not the controllers

  2. The patent does not say anything about the stand

  3. An AC Adapter connects the Wii to a house socket

  4. It says that batteries can be used in other implementations

What we know from Wii is:

  1. It connects to a conventional socket

  2. It connects to a TV, monitor or projector to stream audio/video

  3. No official information about a battery.

  4. The tiny size of the Wii can help portability.

So what benefits bring the battery to the Wii or feature Wii implementations? I can think various benefits that don’t involve portability:
  1. To play Wii although no home electrical provisioning exists. The display device also needs to have a battery provisioning so it could be a good functionality. Very low feasibility.

  2. Wiiconnect24 always on functionality. The Internet service also needs to be always on with a battery. An always on router or a always on PC (Based in Nintendo WiFi connection) is needed to have a good functionality. Very low feasibility.

These two possibilities seam very poor to justify a battery on the Wii. I just can´t justify a battery if I don’t involve the portability concept, like in the following ideas:
  1. A Gameboy type Wii. Very low feasibility because many Wii functionality can´t be achieved through a Gameboy model.

  2. A portable DVD type Wii. Very low feasibility because pointer functionality can be very frustrating in a small LCD display. Also playing Wii tennis in a car can be very problematic.

  3. A relative portability. For example a portability on the home. But this seems very problematic if the display device hasn’t the same portability. The only truthly portable display device that I know is a projector. But must of the portable projectors need to be connected to a home socket. So the feasibility is low.

How many people have a projector in their homes? How much a projector cost? Nintendo has said that the Wii is a console designed for the common person. So a common person doesn’t have a projector instead of a TV, because this apparatus are costly. What if the Wii has a build in projector or a projector peripheral? A build in projector in low feasible cause the ones that are on the market are big in comparison with the Wii. These projectors are costly (today projectors aren’t less than 350 dollars). So sell a projector that is equal or more expensive than the main unit as a peripheral or build in is not a good idea, no to the mass market. Actual projectors are electronics that need care so something like this cannot be a very mass market product.

So why Wii want a battery in the feature implementations of the Wii?

So here comes my perspective for the solution on this topic, the speculation part of my post.

First of all I want to emphasize the philosophy inside de Wii. The Wii is designed around the mass market. For achieving this the console needs to have an affordable price, with an intuitive interface, attractive and other characteristics. I want to mention that a lot of the information below is not mine. I have founded it within many good sources and complemented it.

There is a new type of projectors that are very different from the ones that are in the market today (http://www.lightblueoptics.com/...). Let me analyze them a bit:
  1. Its very small

  2. Uses laser technology and small displays that require less energy so it could use batteries.

  3. It could be implemented in cellular phones or PDA cause it has not moving parts.

  4. The image is always in focus.

  5. Actually the displayed image is monochromatic but in late 2006 we will se a color version.

  6. The default type displays resolutions up to 1024 X 512 and custom type greater resolutions.

  7. It can displays video

  8. The image displayed is similar than an image displayed in a laptop of 15 inches.

  9. Its efficient, reliable, easy to use and a strong structure.

This technology is from a company name Light Blue Optics. The site (http://www.lightblueoptics.com) comments that the technology has been given to certain key companies.

That the first projectors could come to the market in late 2006. The technology is ideal for cell phones, iPod video and other applications.

There are other companies researching similar technologies. Technology like this one isn’t cheap in the first years.
So what relationship has this technology with the battery topic? I have mentioned that a battery on the Wii was justified just with the portability idea and that the display needed to have same portability feature. A display device like this one satisfies this portability feature. So I can take my Wii to any part of the house where I can display the projector image. This feature sounds better if I can have a front or rear projector screen. But a functionality like this is for the mass market? A console like this is an important leap for the more traditional TV one? I think no. I think that a type of console like this needs a stereographic display to be revolutionary enough to justify it. A stereographic display similar of the IMAX screens.

But why make stereographic images in a projector if theme can be done in a TV set? Because stereographic display can be a bit difficult in a TV. Objects that are very near you can seem cut if they are in the borders of the TV. Projectors have the characteristic that have more display area VS the display area of a TV set. With this extended area the 3d objects can seem more realistic and appear complete. This could be a good reason for using a projector of this type and a battery on the Wii.

I have mention that a projector of this type, although the technology behind could be cheap, can´t be accesible in the first years because the price has the reasearch cost within. But if could be sold with the Wii console the price could get down substancially (but I don´t think the price could get less than 200 dollars). I don´t think it could be included in a Wii console because we know the Wii will cost less than 250 dollars and the CPU, GPU, memory and control cost are not less than 150 dollars. So the only manner I think it could feat this model is being sold separated. A projector that can be plugged in the AV output with a pair of speakers.

Nintendo prefers to put critical peripherals bundled with the core console, because thinks that a later sell of a critical peripheral can cause a fragmentation of the market.

Other fact. Strangely the Wii has always been shown vertically. If Nintendo thinks to make a mass market product it is considering children so why not put the console horizontally? It is more stable so it cannot fall from its stand. Also the console has been shown with a little angle. There is also a front flap that Nintendo has not opened. It is speculated that the front flap is used for:

  1. SD card. There is no official stand about this functionality but its strange to hide a functionality like this. Although in Nintendo latest Wii specs mentions that exists a SD "BAY" for expanding the internal flash memory. A bay is diffrent than a port. A bay usually describes the space of something that when installed is not being removed a lot of times and the port is for something that is more removable. Many of the times this is located under the electronic device, like the bays in the laptops. In other Wii drawings seems that under the Wii is located a small bay that resembles a lot a SD card (because of its size).

  2. A camera. This could be an interesting option and the flap could be used to protect it.

  3. A projector. The size of this new projector can help fit it inside this flap.

This projector do not need to change a bulb or lens so it could be set there.
I don’t think that the inner of the flap is used primarly for SD cards. The camera can be a great feature but can´t explain the battery use. I think the projector is the more viable option (But there is no concrete information of Nintendo researching a projector or making a partner with Ligh Blue Optics or other company).

"Used just to illustrate the projector place"

I think it could be like an “expansion projector” (resembling the N64 "expansion pack") that Nintendo would sell after the Wii´s launch. It could be putted inside the front flap. Presumably the vertical posture and the little angle the Wii has favors the projector. Sell a projector with this type of technology after the Wii´s launch can make the price to go a little lower.
With this strategy Nintendo could position the Wii as a mass market console with the traditional functionality (with the new controller interface). People can get used to the new control interface. Selling the “expansion projector” as a peripheral can help Nintendo to have an initial low price for the standard Wii.

ATI has mentioned that is not fair to compare Wii GPU specs with Xbox360 an PS3. Also mentioned that what we have seen from the graphics of the Wii are just the top of the iceberg. So if the GPU is not very powerful displaying polygons and effects, we have saw that, the rest of the iceberg could grow within the stereoscopic projection.

Perrin Kaplan has mentioned to Matt Cassamassina from IGN that the last Wii secret is much more important than the control interface. So I can´t consider the small speaker in the Wii control to be more important than the controller interface neither Wiiconnect24.

Nintendo has mentioned that there are more secrets before Wii´s launch, and maybe after Wii´s launch. The control has been copied partially. It can be a good reason not to show any of this functionality until the last moment. Nintendo has demonstrated that just with the control functionality can make a good E3 presentation an generate good momentum.

Shigeru Miyamoto answered in an interview that he sees the future of videogames independent from a TV and being played in a whole room.

Truth or not truth? Wii don´t know yet. But I wanted to tell you my perspective in this topic. The fact is that the Wii will have a battery in other implementations and today there is no information that justifies the use of one.

If anyone has ideas or comments for this post please let me know.








EDIT: Grandmaster_B said in Falafelkid´s blog the following about the text of the patent that I used as source of the theory here: "...Could being the operative word there. It doesnt mean the Wii has a battery. Patents are patents, you need to read behind the lines sometimes. Unless you know fully about the product it is very hard to decrypt at times. Batteries can also be external which could be a reference to something else no related to Nintendo. Batteries can also be referred differently than we know them as" He has a point in here. It could be that Nintendo mentions just that an external battery supply could be possible in future implementations, suggesting that another company could supply the battery like a "no brake" type or something like that. If its a battery like the one of a portable device has the same inconvenience of the ones I mention in the article.

I consider his opinion as a valid one, thats why I am posting it here, but I think that it is more likely that the patent extract reffers to Nintendo making a Wii version with batteries. The term "implementation" refers to the context of the invention. It is not very practical that many of the patents need to refer to a possibility that is out of its field. Imagine that case and keep in mind that patents are already huge description documents. If Grandmaster_B is correct I could read a patent of a refrigerator saying "it could use batteries in other implementations" just because someone can use or make a battery supply (like a nobrake) instead of using the socket. I think that "implementation" is used to describe another version of Wii. In other Game Boy Advance patents it is used to describe another version of AGB that connects using an AC Adapter instead of batteries (An AC Adapter that it is manufactured by Nintendo). So I think is more feasible as I mention here.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Revolution wireless transceivers

EDIT: The source can be founded in http://oami.eu.int/RCDOnline/RequestManager, just put "Nintendo" as the owner in the second line of the form and "filling date"/"decending" in the last line, then click search. You will see the pictures of the tranceivers.

First of all what is a transceiver? A transceiver is an aparatus that serves like a receiver and also as a transmiter. This is a wireless one so it could function with bluetooth technology, wifi or others. So why Nintendo uses one of those in Revolution? They are actually showing one to the press... the revolution controller. The revolution controller serves as this two types of aparatus... remember that the controller sends data to the console when the buttons are pressed and the position of the controller also is data that needs to send to the console, this is the transmiter. But also the controller acts like a receiver when using the rummble functionality, cause it receives data from the console when the command for rummble is sent.

I founded a Nintendo patent filled some days ago that shows a transceiver. I tryied to think how this apparatus could be used in all the nintendo brand of apparatus and I thought about DS. Maybe this apparatus could be used for some DS hotspot service, but chances are low.

The apparatus seems very similar to front of the revolution controller. Look to the pictures

What is the use of this transceivers? Them could be used like another type of input from the user... they can be placed in any part of the user body and can send data to the console like the position of that body part. But I doubt this transceivers have all the technology for calibrating them like the controller, maybe they just tell the console the position in reference to the console itself but not rotational info or some other type of. Its a possibility but I don´t think it is their use.

It´s more probably that its use is to receive the info from the controller(s) and to send info to the controller(s). They seem that can be placed in a side or in the top of the T.V.. They have like a pivot below... maybesomething sticky can be placed there to make this transceivers be firmly grabbed to the T.V.

The patent can be found in http://oami.eu.int/RCDOnline/RequestManager but I don´t know for sure if the link sends you directly to the pictures. The patent was filled in the page "Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market" from E.U..

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Update Revolution´s dev kit info

The guys over Revolution IGN had update information about development kits. It´s an interesting read. The link is http://revolution.ign.com. Have a nice day.

Revolution microphone

Hello everyone,

I am starting to enjoy this a lot hahaha. I haven´t made a blog before, it´s like a new baby for me. Please forgive me if I am a bit heavy and egocentric talking about me and the blog hahaha but its about time to pass the initial effect.

Ok so the title is called "Revolution microphone" for something... yes, We had the mic in front of our eyes for all this months. Like in 4 distinct patents we could see in the diagram that there are two types of audio input, and 1 audio output. The output goes to the speakers. The inputs are from 2 distinct sources. The first one comes from a "Mass Storage Access Device" in a type of "streaming audio" towards the Audio/Graphics procesor (red block to yellow block). As we can see in the diagram below this "Mass Sotrage Access Device" are Discs... and the input could be audio effects and soundtrack from the game itself (Disc).

But the other input comes from nowhere (blue block)... This is the text from the patent

Audio codec 122 can receive audio inputs via a buffer 124 and provide them to graphics and audio processor 114 for processing (e.g., mixing with other audio signals the processor generates and/or receives via a streaming audio output of mass storage access device 106).

So it seems that audio comes from other source than the discs so from what type of periferial or inner system can come??? There are not many answers for this. A mic is the most realistic answer. Also mentions a buffer (number 124) from this audio input. The buffer can send the analog audio (voice) through the codec (green block) so it can transforme the analog audio to digital one, so the audio/graphics processor can work with it. An then we can continue to a more detail explanation how this mic could work with Revolution... see the next diagram

The patent says

Audio interface and mixer 1300 interfaces with audio codec 122, and can also mix audio from different sources (e.g., streaming audio from mass storage access device 106, the output of audio DSP 156, and external audio input received via audio codec 122).

This is a representation of the Graphics and audio processor (light blue). We have the memory interface and the audio memory itself (blue and purple blocks). The audio interface and mixer (yellow block) receives input from the streaming audio in and from the codec (red and green block) and also from the Audio DSP (Audio rendering maybe?). So remember that the codec (green) outputs to the speakers, but inputs from this buffer that I think comes from the mic. When the audio from the codec gets to the Graphics and audio processor in a digital signal it can be "interpreted" so maybe audio commands like the DS could be possible for Revolution. It is not so difficult to think a mic can be added cause isn`t a costly feature and can help getting less buttons on the controller, right? A simple command like "shoot" can make 1 less button and it could be possible to plug a mic to the wand through its port.

And the most important fact of all. I think Iwata or Miyamoto commented that a feature of Revolution could be very well receive by women... so let me think if talking is something that women like to do... mmmmmm just thinking.

If this is the ultimate Revolution secret? I don´t know but It could be. OR maybe this 3D display issue can be the ultimate one? I want to believe. That would be discussed in another moment.

Thanks to all that are reading this blog and making comments.

Possible Revolution memory architecture?

I have visited various Nintendo patents recently, most of them thanks to all our friends I have talked about in my introduction of the blog. But it seems they haven´t seen them in detail, haven´t noticed them, maybe they have but they haven´t talk about it or just I haven´t seen news where they talk about it.

It seems Nintendo is trying to put Gamecube diagrams and Revolution ones mixed up in the documentation, maybe to confuse the ones that are spying in them (like me). But this diagrams, if read closely can tell a lot of things.

In the most recent patent (and in other recent ones) we can see various diagrams of a "home console" that is not named Revolution, but we can assume safely that is a very high possibility. Maybe not a definite Revolution diagram, but a prototype one. This can be enough to have an idea where Revolution is going

The patent can be found here

In this picture

We can see a diagram that is possibly Revolution´s one. How I know it? For various facts but some of them are:

1 It doesn´t seem a Gamecube footprint, neither a Gameboy or DS one and is registered by Nintendo recently.

2 It supports Flash memory.

3 The patent mentions that the main processor could be a Power PC (IBM) so It could be a Gamecube or Revolution, but Gamecube is discarded as we will see later.

4 The general arquitecture seems as a home console and not a portable one ´cause we see it displays in a TV set.

There are other facts but we will continue

So what we see about the memory arquitecture? First that it uses two types of RAM. DRAM and SDRAM. What happened with the 1TSRAM Nintendo used before? I really don´t know but maybe they changed technology partner or this is a general idea of memory arquitecture and no detail about specific type of memory is given. We also see that there are 3 blocks of memory. The first one is the DRAM and is called "main memory". The second one is also DRAM but it has no name. And the third one is SDRAM with the name "audio memory" on it.

The first one, DRAM "main memory", will be used for general purpose of the multiple parts of the system. The SRAM for audio purpose but the most interesting one is middle memory. It is delimited with dots like describing as it could be removible. Maybe an expansion pack 2??? It could be possible. Matt and his team (http://revolution.ign.com) have said that sources close to Nintendo have unveiled the memory quantity they have in initial kits, and we all have known that is not 512 megas. It could be around 100 - 150 megs to keep it cheap. Memory is a costly feature in computers and with Nintendo philosophy that all games don´t need to be photorealistic they could be thinking in having an option of upgrading the memory in a future (type N64 expansion pack).

The patent don´t say anything about megs or about the mysterious second DRAM, curiously it describes all the blocks in the diagram but not the second ghostly DRAM.

N64 had an expansion pack, Gamecube had the posibility as we can see in the next diagram

The blue blocks (1 and 2) are the total memory Gamecube had (96 Mbits 'main' + 96 Mbits 'main' + 128 Mbits 'secondary' = 320 Mbits = 40 Mbytes) and the red one represent the possible memory upgrade Gamecube can have (256 Mbits = 32 Mbytes) more. For a total of 72 Mbytes. Why nintendo haven´t launch a Gamecube expansion pack? maybe cause it wasn´t necessary. Why? maybe the system was designed for been optimized for the original memory arquitecture and releasing an upgrade can´t make substancially better games, or just a time issue.

Maybe Nintendo is taking a similar aproach. Leaving the possibility for upgrading the memory for Revolution (if time and the game developers need it). Gamecube seems to be ok without an expansion pack, maybe Nintendo has made a clever move... Master and take Revolution hardware to the maximum could take time and resources, so when needed the possibility exists, maybe upgrade to the double of the original memory quantity, and meanwhile make a cheaper system. Maybe wasn´t the best answer, if you release an upgrade product you can divide the Revolution market and start putting restrictions for playing software, and this is one of the principles consoles try to avoid and diferenciate from their PC platform brothers.

I Remember IGN article about the exact amount of memory Revolution could have, but I don´t remember the exact megs... it could be between 90 and 120 megs. In paper It seems that isn´t enough for a next generation platform, but I have read various patents and Web columns that tell me that Revolution is going to be a very optimized platform and well balanced, without bottlenecks, so It could do more with the paper specs that we could thought. Can it compare with the 512 megs Xbox360 and PS3 have? maybe not but the system balance, absense of bottlenecks and optimization for various processes could make the difference look smaller in real world performance.

In the next diagram we can see another block representation of a better detail of the graphics pipeline from "Revolution"

The patent says that the red block is a "Text Memory" (TMEM), I suppose it functions like a cache for textures and texture operation data. The blue block is an "Embebbed frame buffer" (eFB). This could serve as a cache for the frames that were generated. The frames are not displayed in a gross manner... they receive treatments, like antialiasing, special efects, etc... so mantaining frames close to the pipeline is a smart way to avoid read times from the main memory. Remember that textures (high definition ones) use a lot of RAM when been stored in memory. Also the frames that the system generates uses a lot of RAM (frame buffer) and if this frames are going to have big resolutions (like Xbox360 and PS3) they can use a ridiculous amount of RAM (think 60 frames per second 720p! or 1080i! frames) Frame buffer in Revolution doesn´t need to be as big as Xbox360 or PS3, but it consumes a great amount of RAM. This "caches" seem like a good idea.

Concluding we don´t know the exact amount of RAM Revolution is going to have. But rest asure that the memory Revolution would have is going to be used in a very smart way. In paper it could have very little memory compared with competition, but in real world numbers the difference could seem smaller, how much? I don´t know but maybe one that it just don´t matter visually. And if you know that Revolution user interface is going to be something unique and fun to use and the difference from this interface and the competition is going to be really big......

Sorry for my bad spelling and grammar but it is a bit late and I need to work tomorrow.... today. See you soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Hello everyone. My name is Yanko and I live in Mexico City. I am very interested in new types of technology and entretainment. I am following very close the console wars of next generation. I am a big Nintendo fan, but that doesn´t blind me about the other competitors. So why make a blog about Nintendo Revolution if there are a lot? I feel that is the most innovative console of the 3. Yes PS3 would have prettier graphics, and Xbox very good ones. But the Revolution has the potencial for changing substancially how we play games today or creating new types. I will try to make objective comments and analysis with the knowledge I have about computers and software and the information I find on the Web.

I am a 26 year old guy that is close to finish his studies in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. I am working in the Internet business programming in PHP, ASP, MySQL, etc. Also making standalone systems and a bit of financial analysis. I am not a person in the videogames industry. I am just a guy that finds information and wants to put his opinion online.

I appreciate works like the one Falafelkid (http://nintendo-revolution.blogspot.com) is making and also the people in http://revolutionreport.com are achieving. Also thanks to Matt and his team in IGN, joystiq.com guys and all the others that are trying to figuring out what this secret is all about.

I am not playing a lot now, cause I don´t have much time. Also that I think videogames in general lack innovation and new ideas. But I like to see the inner parts of hardware and software. How they operate. So you are not going to find the latest Nintendo Revolution news here, ´cause I don´t have much time to republish them from other places, or to get them personally, but I think you will be interested returning here once in a while to see some analisis from myself or interesting notes from other sources.

I apreciate that you are reading this and please feel free to make comments. Sorry for my bad english but I am trying to be cleanest enought to be readeable hahaha.