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Migrating to new platforms

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Hypothetical question here:

 

If you have a working engine/framework/library, what sort of process do you (or a few seniors at a studio) go through to get it working on a new platform?

 

One example could be a new console where you only have the official docs to learn from. Do you build a few small test programs first to get the hang of the new system? Or do you try to get all of the features required for a 'skeleton app' working and build from there? Are there any quirks, good tips or mindsets thats you've found out?

 

I guess the core of this question is how do you learn and adapt to a new technology quickly?

 

I've never actually come across this problem so far, but I thought it'd be interesting to find out.

 

Thanks

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My basic technique is to set up a project on the new platform.

 

I then move all the none platform specific code into the project and get it to compile.

 

While doing that I create a set of header files for all the platform specific function calls.

 

When you finally have all that compiling, you can actually start to implement the missing functions.

 

I find this quicker than taking an existing engine and trying to port all of it. Very often you find that you have spent ages implementing a small set of functions, only to find they are never used in the game.

 

Once the game is actually running it's time to get the slide rule out and start optimising bits that need to be faster.

 

This is just my technique, but it works. I actually ported the whole of Lego Batman II in 21 days on my own. I then had to pull in a couple of guys to help optimise some areas of the game, but we had the thing running by that stage.  

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I actually ported the whole of Lego Batman II in 21 days

Sounds like the beginnings of a book title wink.png

In all seriousness though, thats some pretty good info. Thanks.

 

So you think it's manageable to just start implementing functions with no previous experience of a platform?

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