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PocketMatrix • View topic - How to develop?
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How to develop?


Postby Dan East » Jun 14, 2007 @ 12:11am

Call me a pessimist, or a stick in the mud or whatever, but any game that you can write once and run on that many diverse platforms will be pretty much be bottom tier stuff on all platforms.

The mobile platforms are very resource limited, and require not only highly optimized code, but highly optimized content. You will either end up maxing out a mobile device to the point the FPS is single digit, or the content will not be nearly demanding enough for more powerful systems.

Write a good game for a specific market, develop it in such a way that core systems are modular (OS / IO layer, sfx, gfx, input, etc) so the game can be ported to other devices with a minimum of work, and enjoy.

The problems are so much more fundamental than the technical issues you are currently investigating. You say "3D". Are you talking First Person Shooter, Platformer, RPG, Arcade style Action? Each genre has its own control scheme that works best, which often cripples it on specific platforms. Mobile devices fall into two categories - with or without touch screen. PCs can use mouse and keyboard. Consoles use analog or digital controls. PSP has an analog stick, but no touch screen. DS has a touchscreen but no other analog controls. Cell phones are a complete joke in every aspect (input, display, etc), and have games just to make carriers and publishers money. Wii brings an entirely new concept to the table, and developers are trying their best to exploit the control scheme in their genre as seamlessly as possible. The problem is, short of puzzle or logic games, there is no game that will work optimally on all platforms because of control issues alone.

Again, unless you're looking for a mediocre result (and based on your post you're not) then you should target a smaller market and develop a good, unique, original game that fits the platform you choose.

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Postby wayne » Jun 14, 2007 @ 4:58am

Dan,

Thanks, it is already being done, look at renderware, and some of the others there, they are being used to develop top tier games, of course the game wont look the same visual quality on lower systems. When these development systems are done right they should produce custom code for each system, and different hardware, through customised components. You might be able to get more out of making your own engine, but it depends on the quality of the development system, and level of performance you need to do the game, otherwise you probably won't really get stuffed otherwise, unless you use an virtual OS with preset graphic code. But Taos OS and their Intent engine have an good reputation for machine code translation, and custom drivers.

As it has sufficient graphics, it is OK. It does not worry me having to resort to lower quality graphics to get it to run, as long as they look alright. With the increasing level of power, and an efficient development system, it is game design and play (content) I would be more worried about. If the people with older machines get something between the quality of an GBA and DS game then that is OK. Have an look at MDK, as I said, that had, lousy, but flashy graphics on mediocre hardware.

If I go 3D, I am mainly interested in FPS and TPS (obviously most mobiles won't be able to do this, but you could even use vector graphics). Controls would not be an problem, you would have an custom profile for for each target system (even one profile for mobiles) and an unique distribution. In the end, if needed, you could just use different development systems, and port the data over to different development systems to cover different devices?

Again, for the moment I am looking at much simpler games, at the level of old 8 and 16-bit games, which an efficient development system should be able to deliver on most of the platforms with an excess of power. But if an sufficient 3D FPS development system fro mobiles is eventually available, I might consider differently.


Thanks

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Postby wayne » Jun 16, 2007 @ 10:53pm

Have come up with some interesting links:

http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/~jofis/Saa ... DynRT.html
http://www.openrt.de/Applications/games.php
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/~jofis/Saa ... ml#gallery
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/~woop/rpu/rpu.html

The FPGA would be interesting plugged into the SD/USB port on an lowish resolution PDA (which is very [practical to do, off loading the processing onto the chip, and it would be good if it had an frame buffer to transmit back finished frames).

http://www.wired.com/science/discoverie ... 6/02/70190
http://www.openexr.com/
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Postby wayne » Jun 16, 2007 @ 11:31pm

Forgot the pdf, didn't see this before. I wonder how the GPU acceleration is going, not that we have an nice enough GPU in PDA's.

http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/~woop/rpu/ ... RAPH05.pdf

But in all seriousness, there is bound to be an compatible FPGA SD card or USB out there. Would be great for PDA's, if any developer would be interested. The frame rate at QVGA, or 160*120, should be descent. given the right setup. Some of the newer FPGA's might be an bit more capable for the price. The original game converted to use it was Quake 3, and even Quake 1 might be able to be made to work. There is quiet an lot of alternative engines out there for Quake that might be more suitable for it, even an integer/fixed points ones, from memory.
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Postby wayne » Jun 21, 2007 @ 6:25am

Well, anyway, last post, finished my search. I found devmaster 3D engine database, and while it is not well designed, or updated, lacks category for authorware, let alone various degrees of authorware, and no Pocket PPC listing, it has over 200 3D engines. I tried to search for Pocket PC engines by checking out if engines that listed an lot of platforms, or handheld consoles, might actually have them. I found nothing that hasn't been listed here before. However I did find some interesting inspirational stuff I include below. The first link is an simple search for anything with an editor, which reduces the engine count to 117 engines. The site is being maintained again, and I have made an request for PDA stuff, and authorware searchable criteria.

http://www.devmaster.net/engines/list.p ... 13720f1a3c
http://www.devmaster.net/engines

- Some interesting items:
http://www.devmaster.net/engines/www.realmcrafter.com
http://www.silentworks.hu/index.php
http://www.3dcakewalk.com/
http://fl3dge.com/ (flash)
http://www.fastprojects.com/ (sound)
http://www.flipcode.com/

- Open source 3D developer kit:
http://tenetti.org/cgi-bin/twiki/view.c ... ry/WebHome
http://www.blender.org/
(I thought I remember Blender doing an Pocket PC version of their graphics engine, but I cannot find mention on the site)

- Freeware cross platform (I thought this had PSP support but no mention):
http://www.arkham-development.com/

http://www.righthemisphere.com/products/dcreator/

If anybody is interested, some additional stuff on raytracing, this sort of stuff eventually might turn up on handhelds even without FPGA, some years ago I came up with an new efficient advanced technique as an alternative to normal software 3D (but still needs hardware or GPU, to really shine):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6457951.stm
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/Publications/
http://www.openrt.de/Applications/dynamic.php
http://www.openrt.de/Applications/mr.php
http://www.openrt.de/Applications/caustics.php
http://www.openrt.de/Applications/massivert.php
http://www.openrt.de/publications.php
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/SaarCOR/Dy ... A_Chip.pdf
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/RTGames/
http://www.openrt.de/
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/SaarCOR/VMA4RT/
http://graphics.cs.uni-sb.de/SaarCOR/
http://www.openrt.de/Applications/volumert.php
http://liris.cnrs.fr/~bsegovia/yacort/

Well it was fun while it lasted, it is an shame that there is no comprehensive list of Pocket PC/PDA engines and tools.
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Postby wayne » Jun 25, 2007 @ 7:00pm

Well, going through an site that has game editor tutorials I discovered links to other sites, and some cross platform ideas.

There is the waba VOS, it is an subset of Java equivalent, installable of win-ce and programmable with Java tools, like J++ (do they have normal Java on Pocket PC yet?).

http://www.wabasoft.com/
http://www.wabasoft.com/howto_write.shtml


At last an visual click development environment for Palm, but unfortunately it isn't Pocket PC compatible and doesn't seem tuned to games. I am surprised at the lack of cross development, as the Palm/PSP/Nintendo markets could easily add equivalent sales to developers each, with Palm being probably the easiest, unless they have improved quality.

http://www.pdatoolbox.com/


Free Game editor for Quake series and other games etc, that might interests people around here.
http://quark.planetquake.gamespy.com/
http://quark.planetquake.gamespy.com/features.php3


Game making software:
http://www.radiositygames.com/phpBB2/vi ... ab1dbc0ee6


Engine, can use scripting:
http://www.leadwerks.com/index.php?page ... erview.htm
http://www.caligari.com/gamespace/career_mmorpg01.asp

http://www.crystalspace3d.org/main/Main_Page
http://sourceforge.net/projects/crystal/


Modeling:
http://www.leadwerks.com/index.php?page ... erview.htm
http://www.caligari.com/gamespace/
http://www.caligari.com/Products/trueSp ... ate=BIntro
http://www.caligari.com/Store/Special/VR15POST.html
http://www.caligari.com/Products/trueSp ... te=S2intro
http://www.ogre3d.org/index.php?option= ... Itemid=105


Lists more developers links, contains good tutorials as well:
http://www.trajectorylabs.com/dev.html


Think I am going to start an separate thread asking for links to all known pocket development tools, with an leaning towards cross development tools.
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Postby wayne » Jun 27, 2007 @ 4:20am

I have started an new thread, for handheld related development tools in general and code. The aim is to list everything current out there. If anybody wants to list something just go to the thread and read the instructions:

http://www.pocketmatrix.com/forums/view ... 031#281031

I probably won't get back to the thread until I pick up an bit. Hopefully within an couple of days.

Tried to start on the game editor tutorials last night but not really up to it. I can however see some things in game editor, that might indicate and limit in functionality, that might not be obvious to beginners, but it has c like scripting to help things along the way for more advanced people.


Thanks

Wayne.
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Postby PointOfLight » Jun 27, 2007 @ 5:10am

Wayne, I truly admire all the research you are putting into this. Most people will ask a question, wait until responses trail off, and then take what people said in their responses as matter-of-fact and just run with something that is probably wrong for them. Instead, you are trying to find any answers you can on your own, which is great.

However, I have to strongly agree with a comment Dan made a few posts back. Your best bet at this point is to focus on a particular platform and write the best game you can for that platform. If it works for you, move on to other platforms. For all the time you'll spend finding the "perfect" tool(s) to write cross-platform, you might just as well have written a great game on several different platforms using the technology best suited for that platform.

To that end, you've probably already got all the answers you need. You have listed a number of great products in this thread. It's just up to you to find the one that best suits your needs.
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Postby Kzinti » Jun 27, 2007 @ 7:24pm

Amen.
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Postby wayne » Jun 28, 2007 @ 1:49am

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Postby mm40 » Jun 28, 2007 @ 5:44pm

The thing you have to remember about the Pocket PC platform is it is not designed for games at all, the controls are horrible, the buttons are in the wrong places, and the speakers are usually terrible.

So even if you have farcry type graphics on the mobile platform, its not going to be much fun without good controls, this is why you are usually limited in what type of game that will play well on the device.

It sounds like you are the right track to me, using a game IDE is the way to go, spending a week or even a month researching the tools is a better use of time than writing your own engine.
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Postby Kzinti » Jun 28, 2007 @ 8:08pm

There is also no point in having Farcry level graphics on a screen that is at most 1 square inch in size.

Even the Nintendo DS has really small screens and decided to use two to compensate. Anything less then that is IMO unplayable / unenjoyable.

That's a huge part of why games on cell phones suck. It's not about performances, it's about the form factor of the devices (ie: physical design).
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Postby PointOfLight » Jun 28, 2007 @ 8:23pm

Even with the dual screens, it does seem like there are times where there is not enough real estate to go around. But I agree with you that the small screen size does tend to limit what is visually playable on a portable device. For example, IMHO RTS games are very difficult to play on portables, because you can't see enough of the landscape at any given time to know what's going on. However, I will admit that as much as I don't even care for FPS games on the PC, Aspyr did a pretty good job with Call Of Duty 2 for the PocketPC. I still don't think the hardware suits that genre very well, though.
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Postby wayne » Jun 29, 2007 @ 2:02am

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Postby wayne » Aug 6, 2007 @ 3:38pm

Believe it or not, appears that X-Forge is back on, with 2007 edition that has support for an Toshiba 100 Million Polygon a second mobile phone chip.

http://www.acrodea.co.jp/en/pr/2007/07/ ... _re_1.html
http://www.pocketmatrix.com/forums/view ... p?p=281560
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