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1  Java Game APIs & Engines / J2ME / Re: Java w/ Palm OSv5 ?? on: 2003-09-29 10:23:21
"Fine print at pluggedin.palm.com indicates that j9 will not be MIDP2.0 compliant until next release..ie current Tungsten devices do not run MIDP2.0!  
MIDP2.0 i s not out in a mojrity of devices..will not reach saturation for about 3 years..write for MIDP1.0 instead..while learnign MIDP2.0 "

Thanks for the tip.  I'll probably go that route.  I knew most current devices (even the newer ones) didn't come shipped w/ MIDP2, but I was hoping that it may be a near-future upgrade (many of these devices allow you to upgrade your OS) or something that can be bundled in with the game (like installing libraries).  It's not looking that way.  I guess I'd better dig up a good tutorial on MIDP1 (both of mine I'm using are MIDP2) and start unlearning!  ;-)

-Lawrence
2  Java Game APIs & Engines / J2ME / Re: Java w/ Palm OSv5 ?? on: 2003-09-26 14:20:28
Thanks.  I've actually already registered w/ PalmOS developer site and have pulled down the emulators for some of the machines I'm targeting.  I haven't run them yet,  however.  I hope to get into that next week when I start some practice code.

What I'm still trying to understand and research now is how MIDP is implemented by the different OS's.  Web searches are not coming up with very useful info, and I don't want to put a messae in to the PalmOS folks until I have done enough of my own homework.  Basically though, I hope to use MIDP2 for my project, but am having trouble understanding if it works yet in PalmOS v5.

From my reading, it seems like the MIDP2 runtime can be built into the application, but I also can only find a specific RTE download for MIDP1 for PalmOS v3.5 and later. I'm seeing people developing MIDP2 apps for specific phone devices, but even those are not listed on Sun's web site as having an MIDP2 download available.  So is MIDP2 implemented by the OS developer, by Sun on a per-OS basis (I doubt this one), or can it be included with an app as long as it's running on the proper version of J2ME for a particular OS???

Does anyone have a good link (or can provide a basic explanation) of this ??

-L Huh
3  Java Game APIs & Engines / J2ME / Re: Java w/ Palm OSv5 ?? on: 2003-09-22 14:44:33
As a follow-up to myself, I have found a good article at OnJava.com about J2ME / MIDP which is answering some of my questions ( ie J2ME implementation is for any of the "small" devices and MIDP is focused on mobile devices (including phones & PDAs).  The implementation on each platform (PalmOS, Nokia phone, etc) is more variable.  Right???

So, to change the question slightly...are there any developers here working on a J2ME game geared more to PDA implementation than phone?  Any other links or pointers would be appreciated also...

-Lawrence
4  Java Game APIs & Engines / J2ME / Java w/ Palm OSv5 ?? on: 2003-09-22 14:09:56
Nutshell Question:  Is J2ME (and this forum) for Mobile Phone development primarily, or are PDAs included?

This site (plus a couple others) has been regular reading for me for the last 6 months now.  Recently I have been working on a small-scale project while learning game-programming under Java. I knew from the start that this was not going to be very impressive in the realm of modern PC games and would have little commercial value but that didn't matter - it was for personal interrest mostly.  Then I started looking seriously into picking up my first PDA (I've been a die-hard Franklin planner user).  Naturally, the first thing I checked was what games are available for the Palm PDAs (you can't play Sonic on a Franklin!) and was very impressed.  

As I looked into it further, I realized that the scale and scope of my game is probably basic enough to run within the limitations of many of the newer PDAs (8 - 16MB + SD car + 320x320 color display).  Also, it would probably be able to generate some interrest as a PDA game where it may not get a second glance from someone running a desktop.  I'm still in primarily the design phase and have only started some test code for setting windowed / full screen mode and basic game loop...so it's a good time to make a change.

This weekend I have started to do some research into shifting my target platform over to PalmOS, but most reading on J2ME seems to focus on development for the enabled cell-phones...and those are still significantly tighter on resources and capabilities than my target PDA size.  I found on the Palm site the emulators for simulating various devices on your desktop but haven't found anything to even give me a warm-fuzzy that this is viable or find some like-minded developers to chat with.

Thanks for bearing thru my J2ME ignorence...  :-)  As always, advTHANKSance for any pointers!!!
-Lawrence
5  Game Development / Game Play & Game Design / Re: So what's the gameplay in my game? on: 2003-08-22 11:07:36
I would just like to throw in my .02 on the concept of graphics / sound content as a component of game play.  I feel from my personal gaming experience and from a number of books I've read on such subjects, that content is really tightly coupled to the game play issue.  A major factor in a game's success and "fun factor" is the player's ability to get "into" the game.  The game has to fulfill them on several levels to accomplish this.  Visiual stimulation is only one level. Likewise, an adrenelin rush from a challenging twitch-and-click is only one level as well.  The more levels that you can fulfill will help you peg a player's fun meter and make your game something they want to come back to.

Take a game that you really enjoy. One that you feel can stand on its own for game play alone. Then turn off the sound completely and play again. It still plays the same (unless directional sound is a critical factor, of course!) and is hopefully still fun, but I would be surprised if you didn't feel something was missing.  Likewise, crank the graphics down to the lowest available setting and you will probably get the same "not quite" feeling.  So the sound and graphics content of that game are indeed important factors in the player's imersion.

This doesn't mean you have to write the hottest possible 3d engine that can push billions of pixels per second.  It just means you need to create an environment (graphics & sound) that is right for the feel you are trying to get with your game.  You can play WarCraft 2 today, many years after it came out, and probably not say "boy I wish the buildings were all 3d". The graphics and sounds are right for the game and the mechanics of the game play are well thought out.  As a result, WC2 is almost timeless.  As I mentioned in another thread, I still enjoy playing X-Com to this day. The graphics would be laughable if someone tried to release it as a new game today, but they are right for that game and I do not find myself wanting something better.

To tie this into the meta-game concept, let's look back at the ball analogy.  The ball and it's physical characteristics are the core of the mechanics of your game (game play).  However, the environment you create to play with the ball (the rules of the game, the play field, etc) are all intricate and necessary components to the specific ball game being fun.

-Lawrence
6  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: Is this still considered "right"??? on: 2003-08-01 16:36:27
Dang it!!!  I got distracted by work and by the time I actually hit "post", there's already a full discussion going on about what I'm writting.   Sad

I would DEFINETLY be interrested in seeing such examples, especially if we can see HOW they did it as well!!!

-Lawrence
7  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: Is this still considered "right"??? on: 2003-08-01 16:33:25
First, thanks for the input so far!!! Smiley

That 'feel and style' issue is the biggie that I'm worried about.  I know I can replace generic buttons with a graphic and such, but I don't know if it's really flexible enough.  I am a firm believer that for what I'm working on I do not want any part of the UI to look like a "normal" Windows/XWindows/MacOS interface.  If the game is based in a fantasy situation for example, there should be nothing on your screen that distracts from the suspension-of-disbelief.  A generic looking frame, menu, etc does that.

Example:  One key limitation I have heard about with AWT / Swing is the shape and placement of some components.  In a fantasy-set game for example, I may want to have my "buttons" be various colored crystals (w/ basic animation to create a feel of depth, sparkel and "magic").  Some would be oval, round, square or hex shapped.  They're not the same size and I may not want them lined up perfectly. Additionally, I don't want a bounding-box situation where you can click "outside" of a crystal, yet still within an imaginary rectangle drawn around it, and have that count as a click.  

Could something like this be done w/ just extending AWT and/or Swing components?? I know it could be done by creating a background image for the crystals to sit on, then creating some basic sprite animation for the cyrstals themselves, and just rendering it.  I then map all mouse clicks and determine what objects to call based on what crystal's image was clicked.  It's more work than just extending a button, but...   Huh  If it matters, I am doing my game in an undecorated AWT frame modeled after this: http://www.java-gaming.org/cgi-bin/JGNetForums/YaBB.cgi?board=share;action=display;num=1036791657 )

As always,  advTHANKSance!!!!
-Lawrence
8  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Is this still considered "right"??? on: 2003-08-01 12:59:53
Ok...some of my ideas of game development are a bit dated.   Embarrassed I have only done game development at a hobby level, and the last time I put any significant time into it was in the Win32 days (prior to DirectX).  I'm trying to get back into it and some of that involves un-learning what is no longer appropriate.  So...

My project (as I've mentioned in a couple other threads) is a strategy game along the lines of Civ, Master of Orion & Heroes of Might & Magic (community building, resource management, etc).  The core UI is a "command center" screen that gives you high-level info and lets you click off to other screens or pop-ups for details. I have considered using AWT for doing the interface, but I really don't think that's the most appropriate method.

In the "old days" many such games used a single bmp for all the static graphics on the UI.  This had "cut outs" for buttons, resource counters, a main map, etc. You then had other images for those objects and when the user clicked on the screen you determined if the coordinates for that click were within the bounds of one of your buttons and executed the code for that.  Additionally, you can add miscellaneous sprites for eye-candy (flashing lights, background movement, etc).

It would seem to me that this is still a valid implementation. No need to worry about chopping my main Frame into smaller containers. A single listener could handle all mouse events (from what I've tried so far). Drag-n-drop may be easier to implement (I haven't tried this yet)...etc, etc.  Now, as admitted I might be overlooking a great oportunity w/ AWT, or I may be causing myself unnecessary headaches going down this road.

Any feedback, opinions or experience is greatly appreciated.  

-Lawrence     Huh
9  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: Thanks Kevin, look what you did ;) on: 2003-07-26 12:18:50
Thanks, JBanes.  Most of my experience (very limited) with game programing so far has been work out of the "Teach yourself...21 days" and "Black Art of" books...and those were from the Win32 days.  I'm only recently starting to get into Java game programming as a hobby and have a lot of key concepts to un-learn and re-learn.

You know, the current state of Java game programming really feels like the Win32 environment years ago.  Many people then said you will never get the performance needed to run a game under Windoze (remember rebooting in DOS mode everytime you wanted to play Wing Commander?), just as there are naysayers today with Java. In time some creative people proved them wrong and now Win-based games are the mainstream.  It's really exciting to see people on some of these message boards that are breaking down those same barriers again.  

-Lawrence
10  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: Thanks Kevin, look what you did ;) on: 2003-07-25 15:13:12
Did I date myself that bad?  I'm just starting to get into hobby game programming w/ Java and am still reading here and on other sites.  Lots to learn still...

-L
11  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: Interface Control on: 2003-07-25 14:59:20
I don't think bmyers meant you should have the player use ONLY the mouse OR the keyboard.  Rather, I think what he was trying to get across was that if you force the player to use only the mouse on all the game-setup and utility screens, you should not then swap over to a keyboard only interface for playing the game.  I think most of us will admit that a combination keyboard & mouse UI is optimal for many games (FPS, RPG, RTS, etc).  It's just that if the player is able to do everything in the RPG (move, spells, inventory, etc) from a keyboard commands, you should insure that keyboard shortcuts are supported for your menus and utilities as well rather than making them pick up their mouse for only that reason.

As an example of "done wrong", I really enjoy the Star Wars Pod Racer game on the PC.  I personally find the keyboard to be best for me for controlling my racer during the game. However, inbetween races it is a little cumbersome to navigate thru the various other tasks (upgrades, purchases, etc) with the keyboard.  The tab order is not always intuitive and not every option screen responds to "enter" the same way.  So I find it easier to pick up my mouse for between-race activities. That's a Bad Thing(tm).

Of course,  I may have misunderstood the post.  ;-)

-Lawrence
12  Java Game APIs & Engines / Java 2D / Re: Thanks Kevin, look what you did ;) on: 2003-07-25 14:02:08
Just an idea from a long-time-lurker...  Would it work to create a number of pallets, each with the colors shifted closer to black, and switch between pallets at a predetermined rate.  If you do it quick enough (3 second fade) then you probably wouldn't even need that many unique pallets since no one would really notice the details of the change.

-Lawrence
13  Discussions / General Discussions / Re: yay Lucas Arts classics in xp/2000! on: 2003-07-02 11:39:45
I still play the original XCOM game, although I've lost the discs ages ago.  It was from the good 'ol days when every part of the game was installed under it's own directory (rather than bits being thrown under various Windoze directories) and I came across a Zip backup a couple years ago which included it.  It's been on my drive since and it's still one of my favorite time-wasters.
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