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1  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Re: Documentation for January Release? on: 2006-04-06 22:55:08
I've written "Lesson 0" (Introduction) and "Lesson 1" and posted them on my website:
  http://www.starfireresearch.com/services/java/docs/joal.html

They are just first drafts but a start.  I'm still waiting on approval as a "content developer".
2  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Re: getting started on: 2006-04-04 15:17:13
Thanks Ken, I just tested and that does not apply any more.  I'll try and fix up my webpage this evening.
3  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Re: JOAL nightly builds on: 2006-04-03 17:12:27
Ken, I'm concerned that anyone interested in JOAL is going to be confused by the multiple versions that have been kicked around and the lack "identification" for the current version.  I'd like to suggest that it be called "JOAL2006", and then version identified by date.  "Nightly builds" implies daily changes, but somehow I suspect you aren't writing JOAL code every day.  How is anyone supposed to know when they should download a new version?  Is there any "change log" available that people could view to see what's been changed (and when)?
4  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Re: Documentation for January Release? on: 2006-04-03 15:05:36
Ok, I requested "content developer" role.  So I assume once that is assigned I'll be able to edit those webpages and fix up those lessons.
5  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Re: getting started on: 2006-04-03 14:52:31
Ken, the top section is for the new JOAL, that detailed section was written by a friend and is for the pre-January 2006 release.  I'll modify the page to make that more clear.
6  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Re: getting started on: 2006-04-02 15:11:58
I have the start of my JOAL documentation at: http://www.starfireresearch.com/services/java/docs/joal.html (simple basics on getting up and running)
7  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Re: Documentation for January Release? on: 2006-04-02 15:03:03
Ken, I'm not 100% sure about "which old site" I was at... I actually think it was the current site now but the tutorials at https://joal-demos.dev.java.net/ are the ones that really confused me.

I'd like to volunteer to help generate some documentation to make JOAL more accessible to "newbies".  Unfortunately I feel like I'm learning via trial and error myself.  If you are willing to tolerate and answer numerous questions I'll draft up new documentation and rewrite some tutorials.
8  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Re: Documentation for January Release? on: 2006-04-01 20:15:51
Well, I was going to the old site.  I see now that the current site https://joal.dev.java.net/ has downloadable demos that are updated.  I think it would be a very good thing to have updated "tutorials" like the ones that were done before (only hopefully going more advanced).
9  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Documentation for January Release? on: 2006-04-01 17:57:32
It appears all the example documentation is for the old version of JOAL and not the January release???
10  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java Sound & OpenAL / Rolloff Factor not working? on: 2006-04-01 17:05:59
I seem to be able to set the rolloff factor but can't detect any change or effect.

I'm trying to use:
float[] rolloff = new float[1];
al.alGetSourcefv(source[sndIndex], ALConstants.AL_ROLLOFF_FACTOR,rolloff);

to check the rolloff factor value but this gives me an AL_INVALID_ENUM error.

Any ideas?
11  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java Application Installation is a NIGHTMARE on: 2004-08-23 10:38:15
There are actually several different scenarios as there are different types of games and different desired distribution approaches.

Java games will typically be smaller as long as you are not including the size of the JRE.  A game that is heavily graphics oriented will be mostly graphics not code (this probably covers 90% of all games). In fact the size of the graphics will dominate the size of the code.  Thus code size savings of Java become irrelevant. (Example Pernica - 500K code, 4+ Megs Graphics)

If distribution is via CD then there is very little issue, the full JRE can be included on the CD and all we are doing is wasting disk space on the customer's hard drive. (I think I'm in the minority though in the fact that I do not like to waste space on the customer's hard drive when it's not necessary).

If however we wish to distribute electronically then we have an issue with how to deliver the JRE.  For some Webstart might be a great solution.  As a customer I'd never buy a game that I didn't actually get and could reliably load on a new PC (see several posts up), thus WebStart is not an option I'll consider.

So, ruling out webstart we are left with basically praying the customer has a properly installed JRE that is compatible with our game.

If we use something like Install4j to bundle the JVM into our game then we have potential legal issues (can our website meet the criteria to prevent downloading in a banned country?) and the download size becomes significantly large.

Yes, distribution of a java game is still my biggest concern with Java game development.  Is the solution to only distribute via CD? (that certainly raises the cost of production!)
12  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java Application Installation is a NIGHTMARE on: 2004-08-20 18:37:46
Webstart question:

What if I buy this really cool game from ABC Company and it's deployed via webstart.  Now three years later I've bought a new PC and ABC Company has gone out of business.  How do I play my favorite game on my new PC?

Sales question:

Does Webstart have features to control who has access?  Or can it be easily cracked and then everyone in the world can download my application for free?
13  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java Application Installation is a NIGHTMARE on: 2004-08-20 15:34:18
erikd - WebStart doesn't suck, but it doesn't appear to be a non-trivial solution.  I've looked at it (briefly) and it certainly appeared that it would take some effort to package up an application for Webstart (and a book on the subject seems to imply that it's non-trivial).

Certainly WebStart has some great concepts.  My exposure to it so far has been completely negative though.  I simply don't like it.  That doesn't mean that it sucks (just that I don't wish to use it).

Contrast WebStart to simply copying an EXE file.  Night and day difference.  With Delphi, or C, etc there is no "installation" just hand the EXE to your customer and that's it.  With WebStart we need to design the application for Webstart, we potentially have "signing" issues for producing the Jars, various versions of WebStart, potentially issues with which version of JRE we specify is needed to run our application (thus potentially triggering a large download for the user), the customer must have a network connection (preferably high speed) and customer confusion (most of them don't even know WebStart exists).
14  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java Application Installation is a NIGHTMARE on: 2004-08-20 13:48:00
erikd, thanks, never even noticed "Application; Remove Application" (as you can tell I've barely touched WebStart).

blahblahblahh - just stating that someone else doesn't know what they are talking about (calling them inexperienced) doesn't make for a strong argument for your position.

As best I can tell your postion is:
 1) Application deployment won't be an issue when the next version of Java (1.5) is released.
 2) Go with the flow and do things you don't like just because the rest of the world is doing it (Microsoft and auto update).
 3) Java 3D applications aren't a problem anymore because Java 3D has been released to open source. (What about other non-standard Java extensions?)

Hmmm... if WebStart is such a great solution why does it require books published just on Webstart? (  http://java.sun.com/developer/Books/javaprogramming/jnlp/ )  How do I deploy a WebStart application to a user that isn't connected to the Internet?  WebStart requires all application resources to be packaged in Jars... well that would require a major rewrite for one of my games. Ouch!

Well... this thread looks like it's going no where.  It's become an issue of whether or not WebStart is the solution to all of Java's deployment issues.
15  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java Application Installation is a NIGHTMARE on: 2004-08-20 13:03:12
If you don't believe Application Installation is a nightmare then you haven't been an active member of the Java 3D forum for the past three years reading one person after another asking for some decent way to deploy a Java 3D application.  (and all the confusion over Sun's legal position regarding online distribution)
16  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java Application Installation is a NIGHTMARE on: 2004-08-20 13:00:12
Yes, there are native compilers (Jet) but have you ever looked at the limitations they impose?  Sorry, but they aren't a real option with Java.
17  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java Application Installation is a NIGHTMARE on: 2004-08-20 12:54:42
Yes, the 15 Meg JRE 1.4.2_05 is multi-language.  Can anyone find a smaller one?  Are we supposed to tell our customers to hunt for a smaller one when we can't find it ourselves?

Java Update... ah yes the new option they don't even ask you if you want enabled now.  So how long till all software has auto update features that clog our systems constantly checking for new versions?  (Sigh... no wonder we keep needing more and more RAM)

Oh, there is no shortage of software created with DLL version issues but not all software needs these services (and thus can be a stable EXE that never needs to change and doesn't break unless you migrate to a *new* OS)  Heck, I've got Win31 applications that still run without being touched on WinXP.  This doesn't prove anything.

If OpenOffice is C++ then why does it require a JVM?  Hmm... ok, looks like it is a hybrid multi language development.

My primary issue with WebStart is that it usually includes prompting asking a naive user to relax security settings and it leaves files on a user's hard disk (in locations generally not known).  How do you uninstall a WebStart application?

Webstart is far too much like Microsoft's WinXP "trust us we won't mess up your machine" auto update concept. (something I'm not too pleased with since in the last month I've suffered a completely erased hard drive due to a WinXP update failure)

Will Webstart work for deploying to non networked PCs?  What if you have 20 or 200 or 2000 machines you want to install on - with WebStart that means a lot of bandwidth to download rather than a distributable CD.

Just to refresh my memory I fired up WebStart on a test machine and tried to run "Military Game App".  The first thing it does (after a small download) is ask the user if they want it integrated with their desktop.  Does a naive user even know what this means???  After running it, it's now "downloaded" on my PC... no option to uninstall it (and no information as to where it's located).

Now I know a lot of people say hard disk space isn't an issue, RAM isn't an issue... "it's cheap, modern machines have plenty, etc".  Well, I for one, do care about hard drive space, I do care about memory bloat.  And I consider it rude to "infect" someone's machine with your application without giving them a clear and easy way to uninstall and delete it.

Simple fact is that WebStart is not a "cure all".  There are situations with WebStart that aren't acceptable.
18  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: Java Application Installation is a NIGHTMARE on: 2004-08-20 11:10:11
On a Java forum we can expect he majority to respond that such concerns are false, yet in even the few responses there is disagreement and indications these points are valid.

I suspect many of the responses might also be from people that do not have deployed Java applications.  I've deployed over a half dozen Java utilities/applications and one major online game.

a) The JRE must be installed.

Any install that requires an extra step by the customer is one more step that can cause that customer to give up and not run / play that application / game.  Installers such as Install4j can make this a minor issue. (So why doesn't Sun distribute an installer with Java instead of leaving developers to have to search out an install solution?)

b)  Code bloat - JRE is 15 Meg.

True, the JRE 1.4.2_05 is a 15 Meg download.  We might argue that it only needs to be downloaded once, but that's not true if the application is updated and thus requires a new updated JRE.

c) Frequently changing JVMs.

This is a problem.  I had a nightmare experience with a 3COM switch with management software written in Java that forced[/] an install of an older JVM trashing a perfectly well set up Java environment.  I've had numerous customers that have had issues running Java software where the solution was to uninstall all JVMs and cleanly reinstall.

The simple fact is that applications (unless packaged with their own JVM) are at the whim of JVM versions and install issues.

d) Non-standard parts of Java.

Up until just a couple months ago Java 3D was not open source and was a cause of many headaches for many developers because we could not legally post a copy of it (due to export restrictions to banned countries) thus requiring pointing the customer to Sun's website and requiring a separate install (good luck directing the naive customer to get this installed into your own copy of the JVM!).

e) Native compiling

This is very desirable.  It allows small applications to be distributed as a single file and be reliably run without concerns about other software (JVMs, DLLs) changing.

And native applications do start up much faster than Java applications.

Heck, it's not like we don't have separate distributions of Java applications for Linux and Windows already! (OpenOffice is a perfect example)

f) jar extension hijacked

WinRAR and UltimateZip both hijack the .jar extension.  This has caused me personally several flurries of e-mail exchanges with customers to solve the problem.

g) JRE start up slow

This is a subjective opinion.  Personally start up speed is one of my biggest concerns with any application and it's a flaw in Java that annoys me.  Typically for a major application it's not a real issue though.  It's just an annoyance.

Some responses have indicated WebStart is a better deployment method than using a Jar file.  I absolutely detest WebStart and refuse to run ANY application that is deployed via WebStart.

Deploying via Jars (if the other issues were addressed) is an elegant and ideal solution.  A single Jar file would be as good as a single EXE if the other issues didn't exist. (Jar files can solve a lot of the classpath issues that plague Java)

I've had other developers express the opinion that a native compiler (for each platform) would be the number one most desired feature to add to the JDK.  I agree, if Java had a native compiler (for both Linux and Windows) I wouldn't be throwing away eight years of Java support and development and switching to another language.

When I started learning Java my reason for choosing Java was that I believed in it's long term lifespan (after learning a couple dozen other languages I was tired of constantly learning new programming languages).  Unfortunately Java hasn't lived up to my expectations so after eight years of promoting and developing in Java I'm walking away.
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