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Virtual Console gaming


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#1 zeybey1   Members   -  Reputation: 464

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 06:28 AM

In Notch's new game, 0x10c, you're in a spaceship and have your own "virtual" emulated 16-bit computer called the DCPU-16. The game isn't even out yet and people have made all kinds of things for it, like simple operating systems and games like minesweeper and a basic 2d "minecraft". The DCPU-16 isn't very powerfull though. It can only display big 4x8 sprites, and each individual sprite can only have 2 colors each out of 16. It can also only register 1 key input at a time. You can read more about it here: http://0x10cwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page

The DCPU-16 wasn't made to be that powerful though. It's made to be ran online on the game's server, so even while you're away, it will be able to process code. Seeing it gave me an idea though. What if I made a virtual console that was much better than the DCPU-16(about N64/PS1 level) that could run "rom" files that people created with a low-level "virtual console language"? It sounds like a dumb idea, like, why should we go backwards in technology? In my point of view, it would:

-give the programmer low-level control over every aspect(video data, sound, input, all memory) without needing anything except the basic synthax, so they could focus more on the game and less on technical stuff.

-since all the game files would be in the same format, it could easily be emulated on any platform or any scripting language.

-allow people to make libraries that could easily be implemented and examine, so the programmer could see everything happening at the lowest level

-It would be free of any real hardware, except the hardware the emulator uses on the computer its running on, making it run on more computers more consistently, and allowing the programmer to not worry about anything except the game data itself.

-Have a "mode" feature, where if the game creator needed to use more memory/speed, they could easily do so by changing the game mode to a higher "level"

-Allow for the game "rom" files to be made in any general way(with other programming languages), as long as the file itself turns out in the same format.

In my mind, high-end graphics don't add as much to a game as people say they do. I think this would allow game makers to be more creative, while allowing these virtual console games to be much easier to make and play. It would be more of a "just for fun" thing.

The "virtual console" would be less of an actual program, and more of a "standard" that others could make emulators and roms for. I have started work on my own emulator for this, and have thought quite a bit about how everything would work(engine specs, synthax for game code, how user input and video RAM work)

So what do you think of this idea? Would there be any chance of getting a small community of people that played around with this?

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#2 yannbane   Members   -  Reputation: 113

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:21 AM

And what stops them from doing just that on a "real" computer? Actually, what is your motivation for that? Because outside the Notch's game spectrum, it doesn't really make sense, you can do all those things in C, but with much more memory and a higher speed!

Also, you might want to check out this indie gaming console, the nD.

Edited by yannbane, 11 June 2012 - 07:21 AM.


#3 zeybey1   Members   -  Reputation: 464

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:20 PM

It's more of a way to get around OS specific issues and essentially total wipe out the idea of cross-platform games. Instead of having libraries and other game-specific things that allow a game to be on Windows, Mac, and Linux, you could just make a new emulator for a certain type of platform and every game made for this virtual console will be available on that platform. You could also run them in browser by making a java emulator. There would be less DLLs or things that had to be installed. It would just simplify a lot of problems and make playing games easier.

Also, along the lines of memory and speed, I was thinking of a way where each game ran in a certain "mode" determined by an index at the beginning of each ROM file. Different modes would process data in different ways. Of course it still would be slightly slower than a regular computer game because it's all emulated.

#4 Yrjö P.   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1412

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 03:41 AM

I think a standardized virtual console like that is only useful as a learning tool or competitive environment where you mess with hardware at low level in a simpler-than-real environment. For a designer and programmer who wants to concentrate on creating new game experiences, the limitations of an all-new virtual console platform would just cause them to reinvent the wheel and waste time.

You get your game to be multiplatform by using existing game engines, or by using quality libraries on top of an existing virtual machine or interpreted language. Why mess with an emulator, when the game could instead run on top of a JVM or in a browser and use an astronomical number of existing high-quality languages, tools and libraries while requiring no installs at all?




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