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Myopic Rhino

Define this forum

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I think Other APIs would be a better name. And I think mentioning ClanLib is a bit rediculous, who actually uses that? Maybe OpenAL or something.
I'm glad that this forum is here. I think it has been long needed.

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So I assume that this forum is focusing on using existing APIs for creating games?

What sort of APIs? Just graphics or any?

Rather than 'aternative APIs' I'd call this forum "3rd Party/External Library APIs in Games" or something to that degree.

I can imagine it covering:

SDL, Allegro, FMod, OpenAL, ODE, Ogre, CrystalSpace (insert graphics engine here). Basically it'd look at using existing libraries in your projects - obviously the main focus will be graphics or all in one game engines as they're the most common. The scope would be to pull out specific 3rd party API related questions/discussions from the game/general programming forums.

The FAQ should cover a list of available 3rd party libraries (listed under topics) with links to the websites, tutorials and FAQs belonging to those particular engines.

I can see middleware discussions being intorduced here too.

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A pure SDL forum would be nice, it is quite popular after all...

For this forum, hm, what about discussing any API that can be used for games that is not OpenGL or DirectX :)?

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I am not sure how effective this forum would be though. Maybe good for discussing pros and cons of these system. Most of these 3rd party libraries already have full sites/forums/mailing list/irc channels devoted to them so people would go there first. Thus there would reduced traffic here and would be mostly "What engine should I use for XXXX type game?"

I use CrystalSpace and their site/mailing list/irc channel answers any questions I have.

--------
Andrew

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Quote:
Original post by acraig
I am not sure how effective this forum would be though. Maybe good for discussing pros and cons of these system. Most of these 3rd party libraries already have full sites/forums/mailing list/irc channels devoted to them so people would go there first. Thus there would reduced traffic here and would be mostly "What engine should I use for XXXX type game?"
I disagree. OpenGL and DirectX both have very active discussion groups (on OpenGL.org and the DirectX mailing list), and yet many people use our forums to ask about those topics as well.

We're a general purpose game development site. Although some of our visitors, like you, don't mind going to dedicated sites for the libraries they're using, I think most people would prefer to stay here.

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Quote:
Original post by Myopic Rhino
I disagree. OpenGL and DirectX both have very active discussion groups (on OpenGL.org and the DirectX mailing list), and yet many people use our forums to ask about those topics as well.

We're a general purpose game development site. Although some of our visitors, like you, don't mind going to dedicated sites for the libraries they're using, I think most people would prefer to stay here.


Hmm, yes that is a good point, maybe 'where' you find the information is just as important as what you are looking for.

Well, rest assured I will part my Crystal Space knowledge here ( CS actually uses an email list more so they don't have a good set of forums :) )

----------
Andrew

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Hrm. I agree with some people, that this forum does not have enough scope yet...

Personally, I would call it 'Application Programming Interfaces'. And let the scope be how to use the alternative API's, as well as how to develop your own...?

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There is definitely a large need for this forum. There's like a dozen threads a day on SDL alone, much more than, say, the Unix forum gets.

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Quote:
Original post by acraig
Well, rest assured I will part my Crystal Space knowledge here ( CS actually uses an email list more so they don't have a good set of forums :) )

----------
Andrew


Well, don't forget our IRC-channel :)
And there are more CS-coders lurking around these boards...

About this forum, i agree a bit with previous comments that i think its better to target it at middleware for games, may it be free or commercial, like CrystalSpace, OGRE, Nebula for gfx, Raknet for network or commercial stuff as different kinds of "game makers" or libraries (even though i know myself NDA/licenses can be a problem there..)

-Mårten

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Calling it "alternative game APIs" furthers the misunderstanding as to the meaning of the term "API." Unless all that we're going to discuss is "what is the function called which does X" or "what does member Y of structure Z do", it should be called Alternative Game Libraries. A library provides an API; the two are not interchangable.

I see it as a place for questions pertaining to common middleware - choosing your library, using that library, etc. Seperating the theory and technique (which can stay in the other forums) from implementing it using a specific library (which comes here).

It's a pretty unsurmountable task to try and cover *all* libraries, but all the times I see questions about "How do I initialize video in SDL?" in the GP&T forum, I've always felt like there should be somewhere else for them to go. Now they have somewhere. :) (Say... you don't feel like creating a "Common file formats" forum too, do ya? [wink])

It's not like there's not a precedent for other sites hosting forums dedicated to "third parties". Look at CGTalk - it has a seperate forum dedicated to pretty much every major CG app out there, despite the fact that some of those (such as 3DSMax) may already have 'official' discussion forums on their own site. So I wouldn't worry about that aspect of it.

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I agree, perhaps it should be called "Alternative Game Libraries". This will definately be useful, as many, many people come here (myself included) with SDL specific questions, and probably specific questions for other Alternative Libraries as well.

And I know SDL has a mailing list, but I'd rather that my mailbox not get cluttered with it. Forums are nice and encapsulated. =)

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I agree that Libraries is a better word, but I still believe that it should be "Other Game Libraries". Alternative sounds like other choices, but many libraries can be used together with OpenGL and DirectX.

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... and the Files Format forum sounds like a great initiative too O.O;;; Even if not everyone knows every file format, it could be a place to post questions, and people could help each other out to hunt down information on it.

Hell. I know I enjoy a good hunt, to find out how something works. I'd frequent that forum, just for the challenge!

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I think Promit had a good point there. I wouldn't call DirectX or OpenGL "Game Libraries" or "Middleware".. Both those are one step up in the abstraction (where ogl and dx is APIs)

-Mårten

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My nomination was for "Cross Platform Game APIs" (which applies to neither OpenGL or DirectX, incidentally [wink]). Looks like there's going to be a lot more engines/libraries/APIs considered on-topic here than I though. [cool] I assumed this would be mainly an Allegro/SDL forum, but it seems like some other libraries might fit the same category. What should be the definition of an "on-topic" API here, do you think?

"Alternative Game API's" works too, I suppose ...

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The need I've seen around is not for a new forum to discuss a bunch of alternative libraries, but to discuss libraries meeting the following criteria:

1) Meets a critical-mass baseline - there must be enough functionality established to make it useful in development.

2) Meets one of two availability baselines - it is either a) open-source or b) free as in beer. Both is better, of course.

3) Meets a widespread need. For ODE, this is physics, for SDL graphics, for OpenAL sound, for OpenAI (not that it exists now, but anyways) artificial intelligence. Other examples have been mentioned above.

In decomposing a design, I would call the above "subsystems".

So maybe "Game Subsystem libraries"?

ld

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