Not logged in, Join Here! or Log In Below:  
 
News Articles Search    
 


Submitted by Jari Komppa, posted on October 22, 2001




Image Description, by Jari Komppa



So here, finally is an answer on what I've been working on for the past year or so. Or not me personally but our team at Fathammer, to be exact.

The 'thing' is called x-forge, and it's the world's first complete game engine for handhelds. It's not ready yet, though - our beta phase starts in a couple of months.

One of the big problems with handhelds is that there are lots of different devices, operating systems, cpu architectures, et cetera out there. One solution would be to use java or make your own virtual machine - some attempts on these are out there. Our solution is a bit more traditional; we have a highly portable framework (up to the point where you don't need to change the application code *at all* to recompile for a completely different device) combined with hardware-specific optimizations (to get most out of specific hardware).

Another thing that sets us a bit aside from other players is that we're offering a complete game engine. We're developing a game in-house as a proof-of-concept and also to make sure we're doing the right things.

We just released a tech preview demo (available here from fileplanet) that is meant to be run on iPaq 3630 (the one with color screen). It's a fairly old demo (buttons on ipaq, for instance, have not been overriden yet) but we decided to put something out there.

Cheers.


[prev]
Image of the Day Gallery
www.flipcode.com

[next]

 
Message Center / Reader Comments: ( To Participate in the Discussion, Join the Community )
 
Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.
 
NeoKenobi

October 22, 2001, 02:38 PM

Wow!

For a handheld the graphics sure are nice!
I think the car pic looks best.

 
MCSons

October 22, 2001, 02:59 PM

Yeah, I'm second ;)

Really cool...
I can't believe that these are handheld-graphics...

Can you also develop it for Palm handhelds in black and white - graphics ?

 
Joshua A. Winn (JAW)

October 22, 2001, 03:14 PM

Very nice engine for a handheld! Nice car+terrain and mech.

 
=[Scarab]=

October 22, 2001, 03:23 PM

OMG those are hand-held graphics?! Amazing!

 
Sami Hamlaoui

October 22, 2001, 03:34 PM

and to think, most new PS2 games dont even have shadows implemented (top-right image) :)


Sami

 
Hannu K.

October 22, 2001, 03:42 PM

This must be the best reason to buy a handheld :D

 
FragCool

October 22, 2001, 03:53 PM

I
will download it tomorow an try it =)

 
===Bobert===

October 22, 2001, 04:15 PM

Really nice, but how high level do you plan to go?
This would be great:
full-featured polygons
simple mesh format
colision detection
resource file system

Are those particles in the lower right image?

When you say you dont change
that apps code at all for a
recompile, are you saying
that things like input code
and display settings are already
handeled in the engine as well?
nice job!

-bobert

 
===Bobert===

October 22, 2001, 04:16 PM

i mean lower left image :)
sorry

 
Aries

October 22, 2001, 04:30 PM

Have you talked at all about licensing costs? Is this something you plan on selling? I would be very insterested in something like this. I develope sharware apps right now under a couple company names and would be interested in such an engine.

How does it deal with different platforms? Those graphics look great but likely run on a high end handheld. Do you have any means of filtering down, making images in b+w, accounting for different cpu speeds, etc? For instance would you engine also help to convert gfx, sounds etc for other devices?

 
hdmx

October 22, 2001, 04:34 PM

The only PS2 game I own (GT3) has - so from my POV 100% do :)

hdmx

 
Ucciderlo

October 22, 2001, 04:40 PM

Yeah, funny thing about the PS2 is that it doesn't have built-in backface culling. So, people that previously relied on that functionality for shadows, are having to rethink their methods. It's a real shame for Sony considering the fact that on the XBox, shadows can be done almost for free.

 
Ucciderlo

October 22, 2001, 04:47 PM

I'm assuming what he means, is that the engine is built upon calls to a "standard" interface. These standard interface functions are defined by whichever dll or overlay contains the code. So, lets say, you are drawing primitives with a function called RenderInterface::DrawPrim(...). A person that wants to play the game using OpenGL would select that API and the DLL would be loaded defining the code for the function. RenderInterface::DrawPrim(...) inside, would call something like STDRENDER::DrawPrims(...). This function would always have the same name, but the code would cater to whatever API is loaded. The same idea applies to different processors/systems.

I hope I didn't ramble too much :)

 
Ucciderlo

October 22, 2001, 04:51 PM

Nice Work! This is most impressive! I've been putting off buying a Pocket PC for a long time. This is the kind of thing that would convince me to buy one finally. I'd have to say that the screenshots you posted are simply amazing considering the fact that they are taken from a handheld unit. Great job, and I look forward to playing games that use your engine!

 
Timothy Barnes

October 22, 2001, 06:53 PM

Damn't COMPILE TO SH-3! I knew I should have spent an extra hundred dollars to get the iPaq... ;)

I'd try it, but I'm too lazy to get a fileplanet ID...looks pretty nice. Also, I do believe you aren't the first one to make a pocket pc engine.

Btw, did you actually run this on an iPaq for debugging or did you just emulate it?

 
disableddan

October 22, 2001, 07:46 PM

Oh man, another reason to buy a handheld!

Very nice work! Good luck with your project, it seems to be one of a kind!!!

 
Wayne Martin

October 22, 2001, 08:40 PM

If you ported that engine to AmigaDE most of your problems would be solved.
Its a nice fast Hardware independent OS, which can use any language you
like (including assembler), its bins are 25%+ than other OS's and you can
load parts of exes in at a time to save ram. Lots of game developers are
already using it, you'd might as well.

 
Hydri

October 22, 2001, 09:07 PM

another reason to get a pocketPC:

http://www.idruna.com/products_pocketpc.html

have a look at the video clips.

 
Hosed

October 22, 2001, 09:18 PM

Oh my GOD! That's even cooler then the 3D Engine in my book. That's some crazy shiznit. Some of that puts Photoshop to shame.

-Hosed

 
Hosed

October 22, 2001, 09:40 PM

AmigaDE.. I seem to recall hearing about this oh.. 6 months ago? Never really found out what it is. Got any good links to a more comprehensive explanaition on it? Amiga.com is a little... drudgy.

Thanks,
-Hosed

 
Carol

October 22, 2001, 09:50 PM

For another nice looking Ipaq racing game have a look here
http://www.kittpeak.co.jp/racingdays/img/screen_iPAQ_01.jpg

 
Wayne Martin

October 23, 2001, 12:56 AM

The best link Amiga.org was hacked a few days ago but it'll be up again soon
we hope. I can give a small rundown on what AmigaDE is tho. Basicly its
an OS like most except it has a few changes which make it different, the
biggest changes are it has a Virtual CPU, and it assumes you have more than
one CPU to start with. The Virtual Processor (VP) is just like any normal
CPU, you just compile with your favorite language and run the code. The VP
system does the rest. VP executables are also 25%+ smaller and can be
split into seperate routines so only what is needed in loaded into ram. It
can even do weird stuff like spread apps across multiple CPUs/machines even
if they use different CPU types (PPC, x86 etc). Oh yeah, and you can change
the VP system to work on top of another OS.

You'll first see it on the new Sharp PDAs and Cellphone, where its used for
its high speed Java (Java is changed to native code just like VP code is)
however it already works on Windows, Linux, BSD, EPOC, and another dozen
OS's and 14+ CPU families.

Hope you understand that :)

 
z66831

October 23, 2001, 01:18 AM

Off topic, but still related: What's it like to work with RJ Mical?

:)

-z

 
kewldude

October 23, 2001, 02:12 AM

I dread the day where everything is run in this kind of OS, dont people care that a virtual machine is at least 2-4 times slower than native code. And the same goes for java, damn it.

 
Mikko Leppänen

October 23, 2001, 04:07 AM

That sure looks sweet! I would like to see this kind of things at demoparties. Maybe next Assembly winner will be a demo made with handheld :)

 
Jari Komppa

October 23, 2001, 04:51 AM

Can you also develop it for Palm handhelds in black and white - graphics ?

We have set a certain minimal spec, and that spec requires a bit more than palm os can currently handle =).


Really nice, but how high level do you plan to go?

As high as it takes =)


Are those particles in the lower right image? .. i mean lower left image :)

Yup.


When you say you dont change that apps code at all for a recompile, are you saying that things like input code and display settings are already handeled in the engine as well? nice job!

Yup.


Do you have any means of filtering down, making images in b+w, accounting for different cpu speeds, etc? For instance would you engine also help to convert gfx, sounds etc for other devices?

Yes, those things are in our plans.


Btw, did you actually run this on an iPaq for debugging or did you just emulate it?

Both. Some debugging has to be done on the device(s) because cpu architectures are different and handheld device emulators are not actually emulators, but simulators.. they run x86 code.


If you ported that engine to AmigaDE most of your problems would be solved.

As I said before (see top of the page, just under the picture), that is one solution. If AmigaDE takes off and there will be zillions of devices running it, we will support that platform.


Off topic, but still related: What's it like to work with RJ Mical?

You want the TRUTH? You can't HANDLE the TRUTH!! =)

Actually, he's an all-around nice guy.


That sure looks sweet! I would like to see this kind of things at demoparties. Maybe next Assembly winner will be a demo made with handheld :)

Too bad people are likely to believe that pda's shown on the big screen are faked (thanks to the one fake palm wild compo entry couple years back). The polka brothers asm2k1 9210 demo was rather impressive when you see it live, but most people thought that it was a fake when it was in the compo.

 
Goz

October 23, 2001, 04:57 AM

That is a myth. The PS2 can do shadows just as easily as the X-Box. The back face culling is a problem especially as to do it costs more performance than not culling.

 
FragCool

October 23, 2001, 06:34 AM

i tested it on my ipaq
and i must say:

"COOL"

I like the Particel Effects in the first and second demo =)
and the main menu is great with the "electro ball" (i don't know the right name yet) in the back =)

 
Wayne Martin

October 23, 2001, 07:17 AM

Thats the thing, DE isnt slower, infact its not onl as fast as normal OS's but in some cases even faster thats why people are using it.

 
Manuel Astudillo

October 23, 2001, 07:51 AM

Hi,

seems quite unlikely that it is faster than asm optimized code... so maybe for state-of-the-art game engines its not so good.

greets,

Sarwaz.

 
This thread contains 35 messages.
First Previous ( To view more messages, select a page: 0 1 ... out of 1) Next Last
 
 
Hosting by Solid Eight Studios, maker of PhotoTangler Collage Maker.