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Cross Platform Gaming Engine

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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. The idea would 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. Some small developers target multiple consoles as they see potential increase in income over targeting gamers on one specific console. Please don't shoot me if i posted in the wrong forum. Another user said this forum was more relevant for the post. Thanks in advance

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Well, according to some of the research we did, Porting games to different platforms are time consuming and expensive. Therefore creating a cross platform gaming engine to make this type of development easier.

I'll take a look at those companies. Thanks.

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Be warned, my information is extremely dated, as unix/windows platform jumps aren't such a big thing now [with graphics being pretty much the only part that changes, and not even that in the case of openGL and a lot of the new graphics engine packages]. Last time i saw a large jump between platforms was porting old Atari games to PC and back, and tampering with Playstation games->PC games. The statements about time consumption are based around those experiences.

Cross platform 'Game Engine'? 'Game Engine' is the tricky word in this phrasing, as opposed to graphics engine or sound engine ect. Its not hard at all to make a cross platform graphics engine, or sound engine, or physics blah blah and so on [you can even have your engine use D3D compiled on windows, and OpenGL compiled on unix, and have it completely transparent to the user of the code] The difficulty tends to come in with making it an EFFICIENT game engine. It's not hard to put a pixel on the screen, but its a bit harder to do it fast, in a generalized way. In my experience, the portions of the games that need work when transfering platforms is the portions of the code that was written to take advantage of specific aspects of the environment in question. Be it software or hardware, especially when it comes with how the system interacts with the users [graphics/input/sound], the layers of abstraction that are required to make it a generalized engine are often enough to sink performance that was just barely keeping afloat as was. If you know for a fact you have X number of cycles each second [as is the case with consoles], and Y memory, then you're going to program you systems to use X cycles and Y memory. Switching to a platform then that has X+2 cycles and Y-3 memory will devistate the code.

But there is hope, as you've seen with many of the things that have been released in recent history, it's becoming more common to see games released for all platforms at once [consoles again...]. Developers are becoming more willing to confine themselves a bit more in what they can do, to allow for that degree of portability, and gamers are more willing to accept that little bit less that comes with a game that was designed with portability as a chief concern [not sure if i think this is good or bad].

Thats not even bringing up the switches from console->PC or PC->Console... those always go terribly! I've never seen a game that was well done on one, and stayed well done when brought to the other :P The capabilities are just so different....

For those who think that was too long. Here is a quick sum. Games can be made cross platform, but you're going to pay a lil bit, loosing all those nice extras that make one platform different from another, and you're going to take a performance hit for the sake of making things general. Games need to run fast, and that performance hit is more than many are willing to pay.

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Quote:
Original post by Peachy keen

Thats not even bringing up the switches from console->PC or PC->Console... those always go terribly! I've never seen a game that was well done on one, and stayed well done when brought to the other :P The capabilities are just so different....

For those who think that was too long. Here is a quick sum. Games can be made cross platform, but you're going to pay a lil bit, loosing all those nice extras that make one platform different from another, and you're going to take a performance hit for the sake of making things general. Games need to run fast, and that performance hit is more than many are willing to pay.


Good point! Console to PC... they are never exact. thanx

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Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what Microsoft is trying to do with XNA?

As quoted from the XNA-FAQ, XNA will "Open up cross-device development opportunities." Cross-device probably means Windows and XBox, knowing Microsoft.

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Quote:
Original post by Ezbez
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that what Microsoft is trying to do with XNA?

As quoted from the XNA-FAQ, XNA will "Open up cross-device development opportunities." Cross-device probably means Windows and XBox, knowing Microsoft.


And don't forget Windows CE :)

Yeah, they also refer to .NET as "Cross Platform", which really means "Cross Platform as long as it's a Microsoft platform".

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Cross platform engines are pretty standard (Game Bryo, Renderware, Unreal).

I am working on a game that is cross platform PC, PSP and PS2 using Renderware. The problems moving from PC to console are actually design issues rather than technical issues. A PC FPS plays differently to a console FPS and companies who do a (virtually) straight port end up messing up one of the platforms.

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