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Mobile Graphics

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Hi, I am new to mobile/embedded graphics/games. I had worked on OpenGL for 5 years. I want to enter in the mobile graphics industry. I see two ways OpenGLES and J2ME. OpenGLES implementations are available by Vincent, Hybrid Graphcis, Qualcomm, Nokia. Does anybody know which one is heavly used or better than the others ? I see a lot of oppurtunities on J2ME + BREW but very few for OpenGLES. Also please suggest some reference (books, urls, etc...) for learning. Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

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3D technology looks pretty immature on cell phones at the moment (at least on the phones you can dream of getting your hands on in North America), so if you go that route then you are not likely to find much good documentation, and you are taking a bet that the technology will improve enough to run your game at a decent framerate by the time you are done coding.

J2ME and BREW are not simply graphics libraries, but complete development platforms: you would be using OpenGLES *with* one of them (i.e. accessing it through the appropriate language). J2ME is basically the Java language combined with two stripped-down libraries "CLDC" (basic stuff like object wrappers for primitives) and "MIDP" (more UI-oriented stuff). J2ME is not really versioned like J2SE is, but the MIDP library is. BREW is a somewhat bastardized C/C++-like platform. Between those two, J2ME is generally strongly recommended for indie developers, because of (a) startup cost (J2ME = nothing except any phones you buy for testing. BREW = you need to get the code "certified", i.e. compiled and built by the carrier, at a cost of about $1500 US each time, and you're screwed if it doesn't compile. Er, I'm not too sure of the details on that one, but that's basically how I remember it being described to me...) (b) simplicity (expectations are probably lower overall for J2ME games, especially in terms of the game size; also, you're using a higher-level language, and not a bastardized version thereof*). However, the J2ME platform is less capable: you will face tight limits on JAR sizes (64K-~200K depending on the device) and it is still Java afterall (I don't think the phone implementations do as much optimization as desktop Java is capable of, again because of device constraints. Running the optimizer would take extra memory. But this is purely speculative...)

* A friend sent me a sample "Hello World" app in BREW; I don't know where he got it from though. It's got QUALCOMM copyright markings on it so I'd rather not post it here; I'll have a look and see if it's publically available online...

Edit: See here, or use the same Google search I did. The article offers somewhat more detailed information about the costs associated with BREW.

Also, be aware that floating-point types are generally not available (at least, not natively) on most cell phones. If you really, really need to do floating-point arithmetic (and you might if you are considering 3D graphics), you may need to grab another third-party library to handle that (and expect a performance hit).

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38 views and one reply. Thank you!

I was actually planning on using either Nokia's or Hybrid Graphics OpenGLES implementation on SymbianOS. These have a wrapper for floating point arithmatics. I just hope that the floating point hardware for wireless devices comes into the market soon.

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For that hardware to make sense, it has to first be available to developers, then be available to the high-end adopters, and then wait 3 years before it's actually available to a broad mass market. So, for floating-point hardware being available everywhere, I'd say sometime in 2008.

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