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Crossplatform gaming engine idea!?

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Hi, I'm a newb and this is for a research project at school. I appreciate any type of feedback, criticism, correction, etc. We just want to know if solves a problems in the gaming industry and have some potential. Our group came up with an idea of a cross platform gaming engine. Game dev cycles are long enough and it is usually put to market on a single platform. It remains too costly to port over to different platforms, time, costs, etc. Therefore by using this cross platform gaming engine we can create games that can then be used for different platforms with ease. Thanks in advance

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First, this should be taken to the Game design forum, and removed from the game writing.

Then, the cross platform engine is, in my opinion a bad idea, because it takes the lowest common denominator approach, instead of making use of every opportunity to make things look good.

Let's take an example. If you're aiming at releasing your game on every Nintendo console, then you have to forget the DS second screen, because Gamecube doesn't have one, and you also have to forget about the Gamecube's better graphics, because the DS won't be able to handle such calculations.
And you'll also have to forget about the memory a mini-DVD can support, and fall back on the mini-cartidge max content.

On the whole, you'll be giving everyone the same game, which will be closer to an old GameBoy Color result than from anything even remotely close to actual standards on any platform.

Of course, this was the extreme example. But even if you think of Playstation, XBOX and Gamecube, none of those consoles share the same architecture or programming language. Therefore, uneless you use a language extremely simple to make it understandable by every console (and therefore forgetting about things such as 3D graphics or even as moderately complex as platformers) you'll have to fall back on Amstrad 6128 graphics and complexity, dooming your game to oblivion even before you release it.

The one and only cross-platform development that COULD (and I strongly emphasize on the COULD) be efficient would be the XBOX - PC crossplatform, because they are related in a way. But even there, you wouldn't allow for the PC's specificity, like different amounts of CPU power, RAM, and graphics card processing speed.

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I personally don’t agree with Fournicolas when he says that the cross platform engine is ‘a bad idea’, but I'll be polite. After all it's not exactly a new idea, plenty of successful developers use cross platform engines and produce some fantastic games (Black immediately springs to mind). The real problem seems to be that 3rd party middleware solutions such as the Unreal engine tend to be quite expensive and alot of developers insist on using their own engines. Okay so cross platform development can result in games that don't take full advantage of the more powerful platforms (in the case of Black that would be the Xbox) but I believe that has more to do with the assets (models and textures specifically) than some limitation of the Renderware graphics engine used to develop the game. The fact is that if an engine is designed properly (so that means making it scalable - no hard coded limitations such as storage size) it can perform well on pretty much any hardware, and all major platforms (except certain mobile phones) support C/C++ anyway so language isn't an issue.
There are plenty of pitfalls to dodge when approaching such an ambitious task though, and you would need to think long and hard about exactly which platforms you wanted to support. For example if you wanted to support the DS you would need to make sure the engine could function without floating point. Another thing to consider is exactly what functionality the engine should encompass, will it simply be a graphics engine or will it also cover more specific functionality such as reading the joy pad, saving to memory card or even a custom file system.

[Edited by - pauls_1979 on June 11, 2006 7:26:07 AM]

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Original post by Fournicolas
First, this should be taken to the Game design forum, and removed from the game writing.


First, Thanks for your input. Second, I just thought posting in this forum was best since it said "Forum for creative criticism, idea exchange". I will repost in game design. I didn't mean to offend.

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Quote:
Original post by pauls_1979
I personally don’t agree with Fournicolas when he says that the cross platform engine is ‘a bad idea’, but I'll be polite. After all it's not exactly a new idea, plenty of successful developers use cross platform engines and produce some fantastic games (Black immediately springs to mind). The real problem seems to be that 3rd party middleware solutions such as the Unreal engine tend to be quite expensive and alot of developers insist on using their own engines. Okay so cross platform development can result in games that don't take full advantage of the more powerful platforms (in the case of Black that would be the Xbox) but I believe that has more to do with the assets (models and textures specifically) than some limitation of the Renderware graphics engine used to develop the game. The fact is that if an engine is designed properly (so that means making it scalable - no hard coded limitations such as storage size) it can perform well on pretty much any hardware, and all major platforms (except certain mobile phones) support C/C++ anyway so language isn't an issue.
There are plenty of pitfalls to dodge when approaching such an ambitious task though, and you would need to think long and hard about exactly which platforms you wanted to support. For example if you wanted to support the DS you would need to make sure the engine could function without floating point. Another thing to consider is exactly what functionality the engine should encompass, will it simply be a graphics engine or will it also cover more specific functionality such as reading the joy pad, saving to memory card or even a custom file system.


My original message didn't have enough details but you hit some of the major points that we thought of. The idea would be to allow video game programmers to be able to program one single set of unified code and have one set of game assets, and the engine would help manage and scale it for every system.

This is beneficial for smaller developers that target multiple platforms. I guess we need a bit more specifics and details to refine the idea.

Thanks for you input.

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