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mickey

okey... you use c/c++ and DX to make games...

14 posts in this topic

in windows... and of course a PC, but what do you use to make games for the playstation, gameboy advance etc.., do you also use a pc to code and debug? what programming languages do you use?
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From my understanding, you need a several thousand dollar kit-thingy-mabober for consoles...
There are sites that teach you to program for some old ones (like nintendo) and handhelds (GBA), but when I tried programming GBA, the only way I could find to do so was in Z80 ASM (assembly for its processor - luckily for me, that was the only assembly language I knew/know. It''s not much fun programming in ASM -> I made a crappy little program that do much (I think it printed something, I''m not sure...); I got sick of it and went back to C++)

I dunno about debugging.....
You could check though - look it up on a search engine or something (or wait until someone more compitent than me replies...)

"I''ve learned something today: It doesn''t matter if you''re white, or if you''re black...the only color that REALLY matters is green"
-Peter Griffin
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Well so you know, you dont need a console and type code with the controller to make a game for a console. Each console has an OS that has various APIs for programmers to use among them DirectX and OpenGL. There''s special SDKs that they give to developers to play around with and create games. That''s about all I know. They use computers of course and the publishers make the media distributable...

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so does that mean there are a whole lot more of pc games developer than console developers? coz it''s cheaper and much more accessible?
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Yes, there are more PC developers because it is more accessible. That is if you count all the hobbiests, like the people who frequent this site. I am not sure about the commercial market though. The console systems have a bigger market to sell to. More people own console systems than gaming computers.
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A couple recent systems actually do support DirectX in some form, the Xbox I think (seems obvious), and the Dreamcast which supports WindowsCE (and also it''s own faster API) which I think in turn supports DirectX (at www.dcemulation.com some folks have actually ported quake and doom to the dreamcast)

It will be interesting to see how hobbyists take to the Dreamcast now that it''s a "dead" system. Theoretically, couldn''t it be like the Commodore 64 and alladat back in the 80''s? (I''m only 19, but the way I hear it, everyone who owned some form of computer back then made their own games, hehe)
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i think that''s sad.... there''s no way i could practice(code) and try my games on those console? or is there a way?
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Yes, it's kind of possible. But it depends on what console you want to work with.

The earlier, cartridge systems (like NES, Sega Genesis, SNES) all have copiers available for them (you'd probably have to try eBay to find one). You assemble your code into a ROM and put it on a standard floppy disk and stick it in the copier. If you coded it right, you should be able to play your game on that console. But in the end, it's not worth it for these. You have to learn a new flavour of assembly and a pile of registers and stuff in order to even get the machine to start up properly. AFAIK, there is also no easy way to get your game on an actual cartridge.

The portable cartridge systems (Gameboy, Gameboy Advance and NeoGeo Pocket Color) are somewhat easier. The GB and GBA (and of course the GBC) all have compilers available. For the Nintendo handhelds, you can use ASM or C. For the NGPC, I think you're stuck with ASM. By the way, there is an article about GBA development here on GameDev. I've not read it yet so I don't know if it'll be of any use to you. To use a cartridge, I believe certain companies sell blank cartridges and flashers to upload the code to the cart so you can try on the actual system. I know they're available for the GB/C and I think the GBA but I don't know about the NGPC.

Then there are the last-gen systems. The N64 is cartridge based and can be programmed in much the same way as the SNES, etc. The PSX had a dev-kit called NetYaroze. It was a specially modified playstation (NOT a PSX with a mod chip) that would load specially formatted CDs or download the information via a computer cable (I don't know which) and a compiler. They could be programmed in C or ASM and even BASIC IIRC. I believe the Dreamcast is openly developable, you just need cables for it or something.

Finally, you have the next-gen systems (XBox, PlayStation2 and GameCube). I know that both the XBox and PlayStation2 will be easy to program on once the Linux Kits have been released for them and since it's Linux, you can use whatever language you please. AFAIK though, there is no easy way to cross compile for any of these systems yet and for the GameCube, even if you could, you'd need a way to burn those funky format DVDs (which there isn't).

As for legality, it's illegal. You would probably have little difficulty finding the compilers (either the official one has been leaked to the public or the console was reverse engineered to develop one for it). Then you can use emulators to test the ROMs developed or you can shell out lots of money to buy the necessary devices to use your creations on the console itself. On the most part, these devices are illegal because they can also be used to play copywritten games. And finally, if you ever felt your game was of commercial quality and wanted to sell it, you'd have no choice but to buy an official dev-kit for the console in question. To release a console game made with non-official tools will probably get you in huge legal trouble.

Anyway, PC development is probably much better for you. It can be done completely legally, can cost nothing and you can use any programming language you like. You can distribute your work for free or for a cost and you don't have to go through anyone to allow it. Not to mention, if you were wanting to join a company developing console games, it would be very suspicious to have experience with programming a console but never have had a job with a company that developed console games. Finally, programming for the PC just makes everything easier. If you have to cross-compile and run an emulator, or worse, flash to a cart/CD/through a cable every time you want to test a few lines of code, it'll become extremely tedious to test your code at all.

OK, I think I've said enough here. Please feel free to correct any mistakes I've made (and there are probably a few).


-Goku
SANE Productions Homepage

Edited by - Goku705 on January 9, 2002 11:36:23 AM
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wow! thanks very much i think that answered my question... but wait last one... a summary....

so basically, those games were also programming using c/c++ or assembly... er... but what about the graphics? what api did they use? and then.... you mentioned emulators? well.... maybe then you can use these emulators... make code for those console then use the emulators to run your code... but uh... where do you get these emulators and the compilers for the consoles?
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On the most part, console games use APIs native to the console. Dreamcast and XBox are the exceptions since they use a form of DirectX. From what I''ve seen, any of the systems that have had a C compiler made for them also have a higher level graphics API library to go with it. For the assemblers however, you''d either have to write your own or find some general functions written by someone else.

Now, probably the best place to look for compilers/assemblers and emulators is www.zophar.net (I won''t be modded for saying that, will I? They offer no copywritten ROMs there so I should be okay.) Also, if you''re interested in programming for the portables, you should definitely go to www.devrs.com

If you''d rather start with console programming than PC programming, I would recommend starting with one of the portables. All of them have C compilers available and rather good graphics libraries built in (so you don''t have to learn a wonky form of ASM that''s pretty much useless). Plus, they''ve probably got the largest programmers'' communities so getting help will be easy.

Good luck.
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quote:
Original post by Goku705
As for legality, it''s illegal. You would probably have little difficulty finding the compilers (either the official one has been leaked to the public or the console was reverse engineered to develop one for it). Then you can use emulators to test the ROMs developed or you can shell out lots of money to buy the necessary devices to use your creations on the console itself. On the most part, these devices are illegal because they can also be used to play copywritten games. And finally, if you ever felt your game was of commercial quality and wanted to sell it, you''d have no choice but to buy an official dev-kit for the console in question. To release a console game made with non-official tools will probably get you in huge legal trouble.



Carefull...

Pirating comercial games is illegal. Using a copy of a non-free compiler, or console libs that you did not pay for is illegal. Using compilers you have payed for (or were free) to compiler a game for a console is LEGAL! Using a back up device to put it on a flash rom cart and play it on the device is LEGAL!

However, you cannot sell console games without a licence from the company that made the system. (i.e. Nintendo for the Gamecube, Microsoft for the XBox, Sony for the Playstation 1/2)
This is not with out debate though. If you use a free compiler (or one you have bought) home brew libs (as opposed to leaked illegal libs) and don''t place the companies logo on it, you are in a sort of grey area.
There was a company (forgot the name) a while back that made some NES (Nintendo Entertainment System.. the early one ) games without the dev kit or license, and then sold these games. The only thing to my knowledge that they could have done illegally, was if they happened to infringe on patents when making the actual physical cartridges.
Don''t let that make you to enthused about making unlicensed games though, they don''t sell very well. And a company the size of Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo has enough well payed lawyers to win a lawsuit again you for spilling mountain dew on the instruction booklets.
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For all those that have been saying that each console has it''s own API.. you are almost right...

There isn''t really any API on a console. XBox and Dreamcast being exceptions of course.

On consoles, the system does it''s initial boot, loads your game, and then turns over complete control to you game. You use registers and interupts, and directly write to the screen and anywhere else.

There are the libs used for the systems though, that are similar to API. They are a bunch of low level functions that are compiled into your game so you dont'' have to write them. On many systems though, programmers have found that the libs are too slow so they write their own.

While the libs may seem like API from a casual glance (they are both prewritten functions for low-level operations), they are far far far different.
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Thank you Anon the 1st for correcting me on the legal issues. From what I knew, the legalities surrounding emulators, flash carts and the like were always really iffy so I thought it safer to just say it was all illegal. My bad for assuming.

And to Anon the 2nd: that''s what I meant... I just got a bit reckless in my use of the term "API."

-Goku

-Goku
SANE Productions Homepage
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wow! thank you all for the replies. i think that''s more than enought to satisfy my needs to know about consol programming. thanks again!
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