by Mike Shea on 22 January 2003
It occurs to me that the Xbox currently has two technical problems. Bad alias artifacts and a lack of HDTV content.I picked up Panzer Dragoon Orta last weekend. It's a fun shooter with some excellent graphics except for one thing. Anything far away shimmers like crazy. This is caused by an inability to handle alias artifacts, the jaggies that show up when a straight surface is bent on a diagnal. The system isn't able to properly render the line so it paints it in a series of intersecting lines. The result is an object that shimmers when it shouldn't. As good as the graphics are on the xbox, almost every game I've played has this same problem. Interlaced graphics only make it worse.The second problem is a lack of HDTV content. While almost every game on the xbox has Dolby Digital sound and 480p resolution, few games are widescreen and almost none are 1080i. Perhaps it is the resource cost of such graphics, a lack of proper development software, or simply too few HDTVs out there to matter for a developer.
With good support for online play, an excellent controller, and some very solid games, the Xbox is a great system. By supporting 1080i HDTV resolutons (the most popular of the HDTV formats) and by using better anti-aliasing technologies, the potential of the Xbox to be the greatest console for many years could be a reality.