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Google is developing its own Android game console - Report (gamasutra.com)
76 points by drawkbox 1546 days ago | hide | past | web | 84 comments | favorite



Apple and Google will most likely be the real 'new consoles'. Maybe this will make Microsoft allow self-publishing.

Looking forward to this.

Apple was always going to take their appstore apps/games to the TV and games are always a huge boon to that.

"Wall Street Journal sources suggest the move is motivated not simply by the recent launch of the Ouya and the upcoming GameStick but also on expectations that Apple will be introducing game support with an upcoming version of Apple TV."

They will also allow self-publishing like their appstores on mobile because unlike Microsoft/XBone they realize larger markets/economies sell more hardware and make more money, in the end they also allow and create games that are more fun. Even it 99% of games on mobile are below par the 1% from that set is better/bigger than any curated/controlled console market. Gonna be funny when Microsoft has to change tune on that one as well.

Also Apple TV and Google consoles will be micro and more like OUYA, less of a financial burden than powerful consoles like Xbone. Sony has it right with PS4 and is allowing self-publishing, which will in turn sell more hardware and get more games on there. Microsoft is just making poor moves on open storefronts.


>Even it 99% of games on mobile are below par the 1% from that set is better/bigger than any curated/controlled console market.

I strongly dispute this point, while there may be a few decent mobile titles, the quality and number of quality titles is still nowhere near traditional platforms.


Gabe Newell on this point: “Economies get better the bigger they are,” Gabe Newell.

John Carmack on this point: “I was really happy that when mobile came along with the more ‘pure’ games, they didn’t have to be a $50 game that had man-centuries in them,” Carmack tells Ars Technica. “You can have these small things that cost people a couple bucks.”

“I don’t have a lot of free time and I don’t have 50 hours for Skyrim. That’s not to take anything away from the massive titles, but it’s great to have this broad spectrum of gaming,” Carmack added.

Yes there will still be blockbuster games that can't be made on the current devices (although I'd argue tablets and TV consoles will surpass game consoles not long after the 2013 refresh). The idea is that you have so much competition that games and innovation have to become more fun. On controlled environments that level of competition is not explored because of the high dollar amount needed to play or compete.

Game companies like Halfbrick, Firemint, and others wouldn't exist without the openness of mobile. If consoles were truly open there would be games that the bigger companies cannot even risk trying that are immensely fun. PC games allowed anyone in and companies like id software appeared, leading to PC games from Valve as one example. Market determination of good is better when bigger.

The internet itself is an example of this. Would Hacker News exist if there were only 10 publishers of content on the web? Bigger and more open always makes for better content. Even if not now, it will shortly. Games have gotten back to arcade level fun rather than trying to create movies. Controlled, top down ivory tower markets never create better content, the currents get too stagnant.


Gabe Newell on this point: “Economies get better the bigger they are,”

While this might be true in isolation, ie. a widgetbox with 30M sales is a strictly a better economy than the same widgetbox with 10M sales, I do not believe it to be transitive ie. Widgetbox @ 30M sales vs PlayBox360 @ 10M sales. This played out in the last console generation with the wii vastly outselling both the ps3 and the xbox360, but having an inferior library.

Smartphones and tablets are by no means new, nor niche platforms at this point (outselling every other gaming platform by a mile), but id argue that by and large they have failed to produce the kind of quality games available on say, the DS/3DS.

I cannot even think of one mobile title that measures up to even an average DS game.


> I cannot even think of one mobile title that measures up to even an average DS game.

I more or less agree with this. The major problem to me though is the input mechanism. Touch works for casual games like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, but have you ever tried playing Another World?

I hold out some small hope for an Android console, if it standardises a reasonably good controller.


I'll just put this here: http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/24/thanks-to-ios-7s-game-pad-s...

They are coming, iOS7 has gamepad support, OUYA has a game controller. This will continue.


Oh I know its coming, but I'm still not 100% convinced its going to work. I cant think of any smartphone game I would want to play on my TV, other than games I wouldn't want to play on my smartphone. There just no overlap.

I would rather have a PS4, XBox or Wii U designed for high quality games using a controller, and then play smartphone games on my phone.

Buying a separate Android or iOS console seems pointless, and plugging a controller into a phone into the tv seems like a fairly convoluted and niche offering.


You can't think of even one? I can give you several. I'm speaking primarily of the iOS market, specifically ipad versions since this is what I'm most familiar with, but many of these exist or will exist on Android as well.

XCom, in a direct port from the PC version, was just released.

Final Fantasy Tactics, III (ironically enough, ported from the original DS code), IV, and other FF titles. Spectral Souls, ported over from the Playstation portable, and Warhammer Quest, in a new version, are also present for your tactical RPG needs.

Knights of the Old Republic was recently released with all the content from the PC version, but a revised control scheme.

Board and card game conversions have been quite popular lately with things such as Stone Age, Agricola, Ticket to Ride, Elder Sign: Omens, Magic etc.

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes- a game originally released on the DS

Phoenix Wright, also from the DS.

Minecraft PE

Waking Mars

Plants vs. Zombies

King of Dragon Pass - the unusual and very interesting kingdom management, RPG, interactive fiction, really-doesn't-fit-in-any-categories game.

Battle Academy and Battle of the Bulge: two PC quality turn-based wargames. In the case of Battle Academy, this is a direct port from the PC version.

I'm really just scratching the surface with the games I've played recently. There's tons more. The amount of iOS quality games is rapidly approaching equality with the DS market if it hasn't already surpassed it.


while ill conceed these titles are avalible, years after the fact ports (largely with ill suited control schemes, virtual buttons suck badly) arnt much of a market driver on any platform.


I'd argue there are still better games on PC that is open, consoles are really just secondary for the best games. Yes there are some awesome titles on there but some of the indie ones are just as fun (Fat Princess, Joe Danger). The better shooters are even still better on PC (Battlefield, Valve games (L4D, TF2), Call of Duty etc etc). With enough time and in a few short hardware cycles the new consoles will be as powerful as mini PCs sitting next to your TV but open markets, then we'll see some fun, fun fun.

The question is, if id software was a small or medium company today, would they be able to afford getting onto a controlled environment? Would Valve have existed on a closed, publisher happy market like consoles are? (they built off of Quake II)

Now there are lots of exclusives and games that are killer on console (Little Big Planet, Halo) but they also have immense budgets. It is not a small/medium sized company playground. No risks are taken there.

I also loved Red Dead Redemption and GTA games but I always have more fun on the PC, so sad Red Dead never made it there.


Economy isn't just the number of boxes out there, it's the number of developers adding value to that economy, and the lower bar to entry means that the more open platforms have that in spades compared to Nintendo's byzantine publishing standards.


Indeed, there are 850000 apps in Google Play store according to Wikipedia, if 1% had been better than any console market we'd had hundreds (hard to say how many of those are games, but I've heard it's a significant part of the apps there) of games better than such console titles as Metal Gear or Final Fantasy.


So the players are Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Apple, Google, and Vavle vying for living room media dominance through one strategy or niche play or another. I have my popcorn ready. This competition will be good for us consumers.


"This competition will be good for us consumers."

Not sure how strong this point is.

For one the average consumer will miss out on more exclusives for the consoles you don't have.

For another you're going to get shitty ports on a lot of them.

Finally there will be an inevitable shakedown to 2-3 players and if you've invested in one of the losers well just ask the people that bought 3DO's and Atari Jaguars and all the other losers of the early 90's console wars how great that worked out for them in the end.

Game devs are already competing with each other for your time and dollars. Beyond that you only need 2 major consoles to put pressure on each other to keep prices honest.


> For one the average consumer will miss out on more exclusives for the consoles you don't have.

Exclusives are not good for consumers. If the companies that make them are punished accordingly, maybe they will learn.


Sometimes Google feels unfocused to me, and this is a good example of this. This reminds me of the Nexus Q which came out a year ago — and was never backed a real national (or international) ad campaign. Is Google really ready to make a real game platform, or is this just another android thingie? In the same way that Apple struggles with software services Google really has a way to go with hardware. And I don't mean just making good hardware, but marketing it to a mass audience.


[deleted]


There's the Android NDK, which can be used to port C and C++ games. Some plumbing required.


Yeah, on Android C and C++ developers are second class citizens when compared to what they enjoy on other mobile platforms.


The Nexus Q feels like the Nexus One. An experiment paving the way into a market. A hardware beta test.

I expect to see an amazing Samsung gaming+streaming machine running Android.


If you see an announcement from Samsung they won't mention Android!


The Nexus Q feels like Google realized it was a dead product as soon as the first shipment left the factory, before it was publicly announced.


I love Android, but Google has a terrible record with these kind of devices. Google TV is a pretty poor system, it really should be more simple and look more like XBMC, and the (original) Nexus Q speaks for itself.


Google TV, Nexus Q etc are trying to crack a different nut, and one of the hardest ones out there. The fact that these things are called set-top-boxes in an era where TV's aren't big enough to put anything on top of them is an indicator how long people have been trying to make it work.

XBMC has been most successful because They have focused on providing people what they want. Every company has delivered something that they would like people to have (and ideally pay them lots for content).

Consoles on the other hand seem to be marketed by Black magic, Hype, and dodgy stats. That does seem to be more Microsoft's game than Google's, but they are gaining ground.


I figured they are making a combined TV and game device. Heck some Rokus come with Angry Birds and games for purchase, so it wouldn't be the first time.


I'll just take this as another of Google's side project that generate some buzz but ultimately lead nowhere.


If it 'generates some buzz' but in doing so helps push others to follow suit and help build the market - Then I'll count it as a win. Also, if it ends up being enough of a threat - Maybe it will push Microsoft into allowing self publishing.


Only Valve works on a real glibc Linux console though.


I can't think of many fun games for Android. What are we paying for? Old Final Fantasy and GTA3? I don't see a market for this until their games improve which is nontrovial given the poor graphics performance of these so called consoles.


I've pretty much settled on just buying Humble Bundles to get new Android games. On iOS I'm much more willing to take chances especially on trusted sources like toucharcade.com that I haven't found an equivalent for.

For graphics performance I really think we reached a point years ago that these devices are capable of that are more than enough for most people.


Are you comparing an XBOX to an Android phone? Android is an OS, not a hardware platform. It can be deployed to arbitrarily powerful hardware, so long as the graphics drivers are written.


There are few games and the hardware is crap compared to a console. Doesn't look like it is changing.


I doubt they are aiming at the PS4/X1. Making hardware was never Google's forte and you need to be very good at that to compete with either system.

My guess they want another pass at Google TV.


Yet they make the best non apple laptop out there in the market right now.


I thought their laptops are off the shelf hardware, are not they? If not I stand corrected.


Whose laptops are not off the shelf hardware anymore? ie I am sure someone else manufactures them to googles specs - but thats the same for apple, dell, hp etc. From the moment you pick up a chromebook pixel you get the feeling that you normally get from apple devices - that someone thought this whole thing through. Actually the chromebook pixel and the htc one are the only two devices off late which had this effect on me.


I was talking about consoles. They are not off the shelf. Even the Xbox (though it was pretty close).


"I thought their laptops are off the shelf hardware"


And they are, apparently.


I've been anticipating rumors such as these ever since Google announced Google Game Services. I just hope said services get improved before the actual console launches.


Finally. They should've been on this over a year ago.


Does that mean games built in Java?


Android is Java and the SDK is but the NDK (native) allows C/C++ since Android 2.3. Most games are built using that now with Java wrappers where needed for UI if any needed. Most are straight C/C++ using OpenGL ES. Also tools like Unity convert to C/C++/Java for Android and C/C++/Objective-C for Apple/iOS.

But yes you can do a game in Java since is will be Android and the SDK supports it. Most games though are C/C++ for porting reasons, that can get you desktop and all mobile platforms. Windows Phone 8 also recently allows native finally (they really messed up not allowing this in Windows Phone 7 and lost lots of market share due to difficult ports).


However C and C++ developers are forced to either reach for a middleware solution, or spend quite some time wrapping Android APIs.

For anything outside graphics, sound, hardware sensors and sockets wrapping Java APIs via JNI is required.

The new Games API released at this year's Google IO is Java only and the bug request for providing a NDK version of it was closed.

Also at the same Google IO, Google was advocating using Renderscript for CPU intensive tasks.

The NDK bug tracker is full of broken code generation issues and the move for Android Studio still does not offer a path for C and C++ developers.

Developers targeting iOS, WP8 and Blackberry have a much better vendor support in terms of C and C++ tooling.


True but have you tried to port an engine to run on consoles Xbox360 or PS3? 10x worse with special hardware hooks, crappy apis, older apis (dx9, custom opengl), strange requirements for async and networking and a host of other problems including compliance + approval costs, devkits, and platform lock-in. This all leads to insurmountable costs and lessens the chance of successful games. PS4 has solved lots of this moving to more standard architecture (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/189368/Inside_the_PlaySta...) but Xbox you still have to port in DirectX/3d and they all have strange requirements like requiring a publisher in this day and age of self-publishing and open app stores. Many times these wrappers try to get developers locked into engines and result in older, crappier outcomes. Leading to situations like recreating the string class, threading libraries, graphics libraries, memory managers etc 15 times. All of that focus on tech takes away from gameplay development.

So I agree middleware like Unity allow companies to focus on making games rather than building the same tech everyone else is building on each iteration and years of development hours. Building in C/C++ with wrappers is still the way to go and the most portable. Unity uses this underneath, cocos2d-x also have ports of tech, so many tools to help with this now instead of going full custom although if you do go custom it is still C/C++ core, with wrappers and platform specific code for file handling, threads, graphics, audio etc etc.


>True but have you tried to port an engine to run on consoles Xbox360 or PS3? 10x worse with special hardware hooks, crappy apis, older apis (dx9, custom opengl)

I have, have you? Compared to the zoo of vendors and drivers on PC - console APIs are especially streamlined and beautiful. When porting from PC to 360 you essentially remove code or replace kludgy procedures with few lines. PS3's API is nothing like PC (no, it's not "custom OpenGL") so it takes a bit more time but, nevertheless, fixed HW platform beats generic APIs any day.


Yes indeed I have worked on 2 but they were the longest, most un-rewarding experiences I have had. You can read my bio and probably figure out which games. Web, mobile and desktop games have been more fun and had less hurdles and were much cheaper to get launched. No TRCs, SPUs, devkits, rough/costly approvals that were hard to share in a game company and more (we had 3 PS3 and 2 Xbox devkits and lots of developers, so it was a pain point for testing). PSGL/libGCM and an obscured version of OpenGL ES 1.0 is indeed a 'custom opengl' on PS3. And yes XBox360 is stuck on dx9 version.

I have to say complaining about custom platforms then backing consoles is a strange vector to be on though. Have you made mobile/web/desktop games after console and really had a harder time? Also, if you were running a small studio which would you develop for considering the entry cost on console runs upwards of 50-100k just to get started? And you need to have a publisher on both platforms that take additional revenues since you won't be able to launch 4+ titles a year to qualify as a publisher on the consoles. My guess is you'd be developing for open markets and platforms like mobile, web and PC. You admit it takes more time, well I have yet to see a console game take less than a year minimum and meanwhile the longest mobile timeline has been 3-4 months. If you have 3-4 years of development would you rather launch 2-3 console games if that or 10-15 mobile/web/desktop titles with same resources? The risk on console games/markets today is immense.

Mobile, web and desktop games are extremely more approachable than console development and extremely more affordable (leading to more time spent on gameplay and fun). Even Mark Cerny who designed the PS4 acknowledged this and went with more x86 architecture and shared memory to get rid of the complaints of difficulty when building for the PS3 (http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/191007/inside_the_play...). PS4 will also allow self-publishing which will make it more affordable. XBone, well, they'll support publishers over developers it seems.


See, GCM is the PS3 graphics API. It replaced PSGL. Before the launch. So you saying "PSGL/libGCM" makes me doubt you have used either. And 360's API is a superset of dx9, no mopre dx9 than the dx11 runtime, which also includes dx9.

I have never made a mobile/web game, I've made coupe PC ports and had harder time due to the retarded APIs, insufficient tools and the complete lack of technical support.

> Also, if you were running a small studio which would you develop for considering the entry cost on console runs upwards of 50-100k just to get started?

It depends on genre. If I'd been making cowclickers - I'd target web, these don't sell really that well on consoles. If I'd been making The Last of Us - guess what?

> You admit it takes more time, well I have yet to see a console game take less than a year minimum and meanwhile the longest mobile timeline has been 3-4 months. If you have 3-4 years of development would you rather launch 2-3 console games if that or 10-15 mobile/web/desktop titles with same resources? The risk on console games/markets today is immense.

I admit it takes more time to port to PS3 from PC than to 360 from PC. Native development is faster, at least for me. The other question makes little sense. Sounds exactly like "if you could write a book or a 100 tweets, what would you choose?" These are incomparable in my opinion.

Also I don't play games that ship in 3-4 months. I don't work on the stuff I don't play. They are probably easier to make than the AAA console titles. If I wanted easy I'd be an "architect", slacking at some big corp.

Finally I cannot even imagine how you draw change to x86 architecture from desktop development. Common memory pool is much easier, this is why everybody led on 360 in PS3/360 titles. Has nothing to do with mobile, Mark does not even mention mobile in that interview (or any other).


>> See, GCM is the PS3 graphics API. It replaced PSGL.

Ugh really? PSGL is on top of libGCM. No, you can still use PSGL (higher level) or libGCM (lower level) in PS3, we used the latter as it was recommended. I didn't work directly on the graphics layer, more on gameplay and network but it was a big topic at the studio. You are proving my point on custom graphics libs with your dx9 comments a well. My point on dx9 and yes it is a slightly different version because that is what consoles do, is that it is another change and platform lockin, it also made PC ports worse because you couldn't easily justify the cost of making Dx10 or Dx11 apis and most just used the more easily port of Dx9 games on PC. That is a side effect of console first was my point. I think you are just trolling now.

PSGL is a 3D computer graphics API based on OpenGL ES[1] and Nvidia's CG for Sony's PlayStation 3. A previous version of PSGL was available for the PlayStation 2 but was largely unused. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSGL + http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3_system_software + http://beyond3d.com/showthread.php?t=48490 or even a comment from HN News on this outside of me: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2315066 just to name a few. libgcm is lower level and the way most hardcode console games go but it takes lots of tech investment, both part of the same graphic library and PSGL is build on top of libGCM but more like OGL ES. Every console developer had to pick which to use really. The PSGL idea was it was meant to be more consistent with Sony's handhelds as well for easier porting there but most console games are libGCM for graphics libs. Sony also had incomplete software support for utilizing their powerful architecture and SPUs.

>>It depends on genre. If I'd been making cowclickers - I'd target web

This says alot about your hardcore high horse mentality. Quake live much? http://www.quakelive.com/ or battlefield heroes http://www.battlefieldheroes.com/en/ or http://www.joystiq.com/2013/05/02/unreal-engine-3-powered-ep... just to name a few. The web is going to get real with asm.js/emscripten and Unity has made some pretty nice games. Just because you like hardcore doesn't mean all games have to be hardcore. Also games like NOVA, Dead Trigger, Gun Bros, Real Racing 3. and others do show mobile has some hardcore titles. As well as fun titles like Jetpack Joyride, Age of Zombies, Monster Dash that are top notch games with 'pure play' as Carmack puts it.

I'll leave you with this from Mark Cerny on the PS4 on the troubles of the last generation of consoles (simplicity was not there, too much time spent on tech):

... That situation led directly to the PS4's design philosophy: "The hope with PlayStation 4 was to have a powerful architecture, but also an architecture that would be a very familiar architecture in many ways."

In fact, this is something Cerny returned to again and again during the conversation. "We want to make sure that the hardware is easy to use. And so having the familiar CPU and the familiar GPU definitely makes it easier to use," he said. Later, when asked about whether Sony considers the fact that many third party developers will also have to create versions of their games for the next Xbox, his response was, "when I say that our goal is not to create puzzles that the developers have to solve, that is how we do well in a multi-platform world." http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/191007/inside_the_play...

But we have to agree to disagree, btw what were those PS3 titles you worked on? Didn't see anything in your bio game related and just wondering. I only worked on one Xbox and one PS3 but strongly prefer mobile, web, desktop game development. After Cheyenne Mountain went under I don't like working on games for multiple years not to see a game launch. The open markets seem to allow better liability and more games and don't kill as many companies if there is one failure.


Yeah, really. There might be some openGL-like libraries but the PS3's API is the GCM. And yes, Wikipedia is saying there is OpenGL ES on PS3 - this is how you can tell people who read the Wikipedia from people who do the development.

>But we have to agree to disagree, btw what were those PS3 titles you worked on?

I don't advertise what titles I worked on because I am not writing here in my official capacity.


>>Yeah, really. There might be some openGL-like libraries but the PS3's API is the GCM

If you had access to the PS SDKs how would you not know this? I just sent that to you to help you understand, you can use PSGL (higher level like OGL ES primarily use on mobile and what WebGL is based on) or libGCM (lower level), both part of the same existing PS3 graphics library. I posted a wiki article and many other examples to show you that it existed outside of just my claims which you were saying it didn't. Seriously? My point was platform lockin by differing graphics libs and you proved my point many times over.

>> I don't advertise what titles I worked on because I am not writing here in my official capacity

I develop web and mobile games (over 20+ titles) that you can easily look into and had a part in 2 console titles and was not talking it up like you so I figured you had a bunch because you said you don't work on games you don't play, I don't think any developer should. But I guess you were just trolling, ok I think we are done here now that the point of platform lock-in and costs on consoles point has been proven. PS4 is hopefully changing that a bit and self-publishing allowed so I'd love to do that. Right now for a small/medium company that isn't sponsored the only real choice is PSM or Vita, mobile markets, new consoles and web/desktop. Furthering my point that open markets allow more in and eventually allow more innovation not just of the hardcore movie type. Also look up Knack which is what they are using to demo PS4, mid core game...


Ask somebody who actually shipped a game on a PS3 what APIs they have used. Simples. Since you have over 20+ titles you surely know somebody in the industry and don't need to rely on Wikipedia and ycombinator's comment to obtain information.


I don't think you understand, ad hominems not needed.

I never said PSGL was better, in fast I said most use libGCM, only that there are two ways to go about it.

I used content (other people, references, forums etc) outside of what I was saying so you could see they exist which you said it didn't, unlike you who just states only from yourself and a 'trust in me' attitude.

I was trying to provide you with basic, 'simples' evidence that there are two paths you can take when doing graphics on PS3, higher level and lower level and both are not standard but platform lock-in.

Again, let's just end this we are on different parallels and agree to disagree that this conversation has gotten off the topic of platform lock-in on consoles which you said was easier than mobile/PC and I took the opposite that mobile/PC is less platform lock-in and easier from experience, at least more standard.

Granted someone who has always made console games might think the opposite and thus let's agree to disagree rather than going off topic again and spewing ad hominem attacks which typically can be defined as trolling.


What ad hominems? Your calling me troll? If it's not needed - don't use it.

Also, I don't think you understand. People who shipped on PS3 know there is no OpenGL ES on PS3, that PSGL is pretty far from OpenGL and had been deprecated by GCM (it's the same "level", whatever that means, it was the PS3 API before GCM). People who shipped on 360 know that DX9 is a subset of the API and definitely don't complain it's "old".

Your saying opposite to the above things means you have not really worked on a console game. You could be in a team that worked and overhead somebody saying something that you did not understand, so I figured you might know some people who actually shipped something (if you don't believe that I had), that's all.


Really? This is my final response. You keep going off on this tangent about this. I have seen your other threads, very similar, when you are wrong you go off topic. We were talking about consoles being platform lock-in and different than standards like OpenGL, OpenGL ES, WebGL which web/mobile/desktop use (also DirectX newer libs instead of older DX9 that is tweaked for Xbox), then you piped in about the graphics libs on PS.

Facts:

- PS3 has multiple ways to use graphics library, lower level libGCM and higher level (uses GCM not OpenGL but made to mimic it) PSGL, both tie into graphics hardware.

- The graphics API used in the PlayStation 3 is LibGCM and PSGL, latter based on OpenGL ES but is not standard OpenGL ES.

- PSGL mimics or is like OpenGL ES, it is on PS3 and PS2, it uses the libGCM subsystem and was made to help porting to other Sony platforms like Vita. I never said it uses standard OpenGL that is my whole complaint. It is specific to their platform! Thus another graphics lib you have to tie into an engine to launch a game on it, waste of time...

- Most developers on PS3 use libGCM which I said was used on the title I worked on (I did gameplay and networking, never said I worked on graphics on that title but I do on all others not console related as I like OpenGL ES based frameworks like on mobile and WebGL v1)

- Xbox 360 uses Dx8/9 custom version, prove me wrong... on any of these without just saying it from you.

You won't tell me the games you have worked on, if you want to validate yourself and keep talking with no validation then prove me wrong on those points by some information or someone outside yourself and your own comments. Otherwise you are just attacking information and me via ad hominem statements which are easily verifiable. You are just some guy in a thread, I tried to validate what I was saying via external references which you also blew off and attacked the messenger further.

I don't really care if you have made games or you have not made games, moot point. But the topic of this thread was we were talking about platform lock-in and you went off on some vector questioning if I have worked on one based of my psgl/libGCM and Dx9 factual comments relating to graphics libraries being non-standard on consoles to further prove the point of platform specific tech needed and that it is costly. I stated clearly what I work on and mostly do mobile/web/desktop which I think is more standard and worth the time compared to last gen consoles. You have made this a waste of both of our time.

We have agreed to disagree on whether console development is harder than web/mobile/desktop, I think web/mobile/desktop is much easier and more standard, you were arguing the other side. Let's leave it as an agreement to disagree.

pandaman, I appreciate the discussion but we aren't getting anywhere, I am sure you shipped games if you say so and just don't want to have any info in your bio or relay the ones you have, no problem. That is fine, all I was saying was I think consoles take more investment and time to develop for. I think we have validated that by acknowledging even from your statements that their graphics libraries are specifically built for the hardware. Sony tried to make it more approachable on PS by making a higher level PSGL that noone uses, and yes xbox still uses an old api, Dx10+dx11 have been out for a while, not updatable on the xbox 360. I am flabbergasted that we are still discussing this topic. I like developing standards that I can use on other platforms like in mobile, web, desktop. I have no problem with people liking the lock-in of the last gen consoles. The next gen PS4 addresses those concerns via Cerny's points. This is the end of the story and last response from me, wasted enough of both of our time here.

You said: "People who shipped on 360 know that DX9 is a subset of the API and definitely don't complain it's "old""

I'll leave you with these articles also backing that consoles hold back PC gaming:

- http://games.slashdot.org/story/10/03/28/1324203/are-console...

- http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.271509-AMD-Say...

- http://www.gameondaily.com/consoles-holding-pc-back-drastica...

- http://www.vgchartz.com/article/84891/are-consoles-holding-p...

- http://www.gamespot.com/forums/topic/28366508/-direct-x-is-h...

- http://pc.mmgn.com/Articles/Are-consoles-holding-back-the-ga...


See, the problem with your lack of experience is that you also don't realize how does the "platform lock-in" work.

There are no universal APIs and calling something "open" does not make it so. Even when you are writing plain C over POSIX you have to port to every system out there because the systems are different. Graphics API are, by their nature, very platform specific and in this case - the easier, the better. So simple APIs on consoles are, in fact, less "locking" you than complex PC APIs. It takes less time to change simple APIs than complex. Pretty easy to move things between PS3 and 360, good luck moving an OpenGL extension using code between different vendor drivers even on PC. Or OpenGL ES to/from OpenGL 3.0 or, even, DirectX 9 to/from DirectX 11.

I have no experience with mobile, but don't you have different languages for iPhone and Android? And good luck finding Objective-C and Java elsewhere. But you have no problem with that because you have not been elsewhere.

When/if you get more experience or, following my advice, talk to somebody who has more experience you will read your own message here and laugh together with me.


http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html Look specifically at the 'In comments' section to keep HN civil.

>> "See, the problem with your lack of experience is that you also don't realize how does the "platform lock-in" work."

There you go talking out your backside with ad hominems again, you have no idea how much experience I have. You could probably find out in my bio. But you hide your bio and call out people's experience which is not humble but maybe making up for something lacking. Experienced people don't need to do that. I have developed on every platform out there, vendor lock-in is a trick each platform uses, you have to know where to get around it.

>> "I have no experience with mobile, but don't you have different languages for iPhone and Android? And good luck finding Objective-C and Java elsewhere"

"If you knew anything about" multi-platform development you'd know most game engines are C/C++ with Objective-C/Java wrappers like I mentioned 20 thread posts up in this sorry thread. Game engines like early oolong, coco2d-x and custom engines I have worked on are typically C/C++ with minuscule amounts of platform specific code to get them to run on iOS/Android (i.e. OpenGl EAGLView wrapper on iOS and here and there frameworks like GameCenter/IAP, pthreads for instance work on both). Also engines like Unity do this as well and have intermediary languages like C#/Boo in Mono then export to that same multiplatform setup, even their PS3, Wii and XBox output does the same. Wasting time on tech specifics was for the last gen if you want to compete and keep costs down. Custom engines don't pander to the platform they use as little of the platform as needed to run their native C/C++ engines.

You are only causing yourself damage to being a person noone will want to discuss anything with if you consistently attack the message and do nothing but ad hominem attacks. It's no wonder you hide your bio and personal info if that is how you work. Who'd want to work with someone so caught up in themselves that needs to put down others to win conversations? You admit defeat when you do that. I hope you work with someone like yourself and learn a bit.

I'll expect one more ad hominem attack after this but you won't get a response as that is very troll-like. I could put you down but I am not like that, I like to discuss topics not attack people when I know nothing about them. People like that are a waste of time to give any time to. A response that is anything like the above responses you have had proves to me you are a troll and can't discuss topics without attacks, not something you will do for long if you want to succeed.

We have already agreed to disagree, we are on different parallels, no need to continue this it is time to move on. Do yourself a favor, next discussion you get into, try to stay on topic. This off topic tangent we went on made the Google game console thread less appealing to others who cared to stay on topic.


I have had a foot in the games industry since a long time, being a IGDA member and attending a couple GDCE conferences, but never managed to really get in.

So I do know some stuff how the industry works, but your comment provided valuable information. Thanks.

As I do value my private time, I might never get in anyway.

Currently for my hobby game programming, cocos2d-x is the way to go.


I used NDK yesterday, but just playing around and having fun: used mocl Common Lisp example. Compiled Common Lisp to C and then compiled with NDK. Imported project into Android Studio. The process was smooth, but not quite agile since kicking off a build using mocl and NDK might take 30 seconds.


There is an android native interface. http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/ndk/index.html

Games could be written in Java. Just intelligently schedule garbage collection and in return you get to use a very fast safe, well-optimized JITed virtual machine.

They won't be, of course, they'll be written in NDK because the culture of the game industry is a powerful one, and one that takes pride in their ways. It would be like telling a race car enthusiast that continually-variable transmission is better for racing because even though it's less efficiant it allows the driver to focus on driving and is always in the exact gear needed. The driver would never except this because in their mind they are an amazing driver and manual makes them faster because it is more efficient and makes them feel cool.


> They won't be, of course, they'll be written in NDK because the culture of the game industry is a powerful one, and one that takes pride in their ways. It would be like telling a race car enthusiast that continually-variable transmission is better for racing because even though it's less efficiant it allows the driver to focus on driving and is always in the exact gear needed. The driver would never except this because in their mind they are an amazing driver and manual makes them faster because it is more efficient and makes them feel cool.

The problems of concurrent garbage collection in games are not imaginary, as you seem to be implying. Keep in mind that 60 FPS allows a maximum of 16 ms of GC per frame, and that's assuming the game has no work to do at all. Turn on the GC profiling sometime in your browser of choice and look at the numbers sometime; then extrapolate that to the slower CPUs and RAM on mobile and you can see why this can be a cause for concern.


John Carmack seems to have other opinion

https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/342324071004008448


It's hard to read into a tweet, but I'm pretty sure that he was not saying that the performance of a dynamically typed, garbage collected language will be equivalent to the performance of optimized, tuned C and C++.


No, if you follow his tweeter feed, he means he would like to have GC strong typed language with the performance from C and C++.

This follows his ongoing Haskell experiments and with a short deviation to Scheme/Lisp.

I was just trying to make the point that known game developers do value GC languages for game development, even if nowadays that is still not mainstream.

I am old enough to remember the days C was considered too slow and together with Pascal was just used for prototyping ideas, if ever. Times change.


games are not aiming to be 99.999% uptime reliable software.


are they not ? If your game crashes constantly no console vendor will let you have it on their platform and PC gamers are also turned off immensly by games crashing. Imo any game developer has to avoid it at all costs.


99.999% means roughly 30 seconds of downtime a month. If you play 4 hours a day every day, that means two periods of 30 second downtime a year. I can't imagine any game even trying to reach that sort of stability. It would be a complete waste of time and resources


you just downvoted me because games dont have 99.999% (in the sense of the word) uptime, which is not what i meant anyway... The thing is, crashes are not acceptable and so measures need to be taken, which is what Carmacks original quote is referring to.


but, er, browser gc's are not tuned for this purpose at all, so not sure what that tells you.

For a console, it's actually an easier task, because you are not as worried about CPU usage (in the sense that if you use too much CPU, you kill the battery)

Metronome, and other garbage collectors, can do consistent bounded near-real or real time time collection with bounded CPU usage.

They can hit 6ms without too much trouble.


> but, er, browser gc's are not tuned for this purpose at all, so not sure what that tells you.

It seems to me that the goals of browser GC's are essentially the same as those of Dalvik: allow Web pages or phone apps to hit 60 FPS. To this end both SpiderMonkey and V8 have incremental GC's. (They actually have an easier time of things because they don't have to deal with multiple threads sharing a single heap.)

SM shoots for 7 ms for incremental time slices, as I recall, but in practice the major collections can lead to pauses longer than that. Incremental isn't a panacea in practice; in high allocation or high-CPU-load scenarios you either get pauses if you're soft-real-time or you starve the mutator for resources (which can drop the frame rate of the game) if you're hard-real-time. Ironically, decreasing the time slice can sometimes make the pauses worse, because when you're in an IGC slice more stuff is barriered.

> Metronome, and other garbage collectors, can do consistent bounded near-real or real time time collection with bounded CPU usage.

Dalvik doesn't use Metronome (or Azul C4, ...). It uses a concurrent GC for minor collections but sometimes has to stop the world for major collections, last I looked (granted, my knowledge is ICS only, so perhaps there have been improvements since then).

(Note that I'm not trying to argue that GC's are bad, or that Dalvik's GC is bad, or that a sufficiently good GC wouldn't be good enough for most games; those are questions that would generate more heat than light to debate. I'm simply pointing out that game developers' concerns about Dalvik's GC are not unfounded or imaginary.)


We're getting off topic here, but in what way is a CVT less efficient?


As a whole it is more efficient, because it always picks a ratio that maximizes torque. When I talk to car enthusists, they always emphasize that it is less efficient, because for each specific ratio, there is more overhead (belts, etc.) than a gear.

The point I am trying to make, is that in the real world using Java is like using an automatic: it allows you to focus on the big picture while it optimizing the little bits for you the best it can.


I'm curious; how many games have you written? I mean, real games which really push the hardware? Non-deterministic GC sweeps are a non-starter, and not being able to tweak out that last bit of performance to boost your frame rate when needed is a massive technical hurdle.

It's just unnecessary. You can write "safe" C and C++, you just have to know what you are doing to begin with. Also, don't forget about the massive amount of native frameworks that have been developed already. Why rewrite an engine which already exists just so you can use Java?


If studios started making games in Java then they would develop more engines for Java. There are a lot of libraries in Java as well.

Java has its faults, but it's a higher level language than C++, and that lets people write code in it more quickly.


The only two really big games made with Java are Minecraft original and Runescape original (still a huge MMO on the web). However most have ported away to reach more platforms. Java is no longer a good option on the web really even.

Memory management is a huge problem pushing performance. You can still write efficient Java by doing things like no newing of object in ticks and stack arrays but gamedev is heavy in management of memory access/organization, stack vs heap allocation and other things that take lots of work or are too hard to control in Java or other GC platforms (C#). Though there were a ton more XNA games (C#) than Java even today but that has since been discontinued. Windows Phone 7 also limited its potential due to no native access and requiring XNA only games. Android didn't really take off in games until the NDK in Android 2.3 which was deemed a game developers OS. iOS had it right since the first SDK allowing C/C++ and Objective-C or Objective-C++ which allows mixed that I have seen in all custom engines for iPhone.


Modern game budgets are in range of tens of millions, if Java really gave any significant advantage e.g. 1 month off 24 months project it would be a value of a million or more. Studios would be all over Java just for that reason.


I know both languages and I am just as efficient in C++ as I am in Java. I am less efficient in Java when I have to performance tune some bit of code that resides beneath ten layers of abstraction.


pcwalton already explained that you're underestimating the burden of garbage collection (and I'd add to that that the speed of execution matters more than you realize too). But another real factor is the fact that mountains of code, including complete game engines, have already been written in native languages. Why throw all that out just to program in a language like Java (itself certainly not without its warts)?


This is assuming you're talking about "twitch" gaming. There's a huge market out there for games that can be written as inefficiently as necessary, since the casual audience is just looking for a diversion from whatever they're doing IRL.

It seems like hard-core gamers and game developers forget that pretty frequently.


...this may be true, but there's also a huge market for games that run on iOS and Android. And since iOS doesn't support Java, but Android does support C/C++ through the NDK, it makes complete sense to go down that road.


Here is a source that talks about this issue in more detail:

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.66....


Theres alot of game engines targeting Android, Unity3d for example where you code in C# or some Javascript dialect, Shiva3d where you use Lua for scripting and several others.


cool, this can sit next to the Nexus Q from I/O.


If you do not like your nexus q, maybe donate it to an education facility where students can hack on it


Google has taken a jab at games before (Google plus Games anyone) but unsuccessful, not sure if they'll be able to get into it ever.




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