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  Still no presence in mainstream desktop game development  (Read 19196 times)
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Offline princec

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« Posted 2007-06-27 13:22:21 »

Still there are no desktop games development houses specialising in Java or making any money to speak of here in the UK. This is kinda odd because the UK is one of the biggest game producers in the world (strangely disproportionate to its diminutive size and talent base). Discuss.

<edit> And check this out: WiiWare.

So there's WiiWare for Wii and XBLA/XNA stuff for the Microsoft camp, neither of which have even a sniff of Java Sad

Cas Smiley

Offline ChrisM

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2007-06-27 16:31:52 »

Because they are closed systems and only use their own tools.  There is no OpenGL in XBLA, there is no 3rd party access to Wii network, etc. 

So, Sony remains the holdout for Java.....

Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #2 - Posted 2007-06-27 16:37:26 »

Still there are no desktop games development houses specialising in Java or making any money to speak of here in the UK.

Chicken and egg. Speaking as someone who tries to fund these projects, there is a severe lack of halfway-decent companies attempting it. Plenty of people pitching much inferior stuff. My suspicion is that developers who are really good in java are making lots of money in mainstream IT, and aren't interested in games development. Discuss. Tongue

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Offline CheekyRipley

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2007-06-27 18:47:49 »

True.

If I was still in the UK (or anywhere civilised) I'd be doing contract work for mega bucks, and I know a few ex-mobile developers doing the same.

I think half the problem is that developers are typically creative types, and not business/money men.

I read somewhere that UK games biz programmer salaries are the same today as they were 10 years ago. That sucks.

Mark Ripley<br />Cheeky
Offline ryanm

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« Reply #4 - Posted 2007-06-27 19:11:43 »

Are there any technical details on how the WiiWare will work? I haven't seen anything that rules out Java yet, although I suppose ChrisM would be at liberty to say now if Sun were involved Undecided

edit: Hmmm, this interview seems to suggest that WiiWare will use the standard devkit, which are apparently "darn near free to developers". pffft.
Offline princec

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« Reply #5 - Posted 2007-06-27 19:43:56 »

I can't help but wonder that blah^3 is right about the money situation.

ChrisM is tempting everyone again with rumours of Sony... but... what of the desktop? Still all the games dev companies I know are writing using traditional tools like C++. I brought this up because in another private forum I'm in somewhere some indie guys - actual proper successful ones that have brought out games remarkably like Starscape and Mr Robot - asked about a neat-o GUI API that had built-in unicode support and discounted Java again because "it was shit". This is 2007.



Cas Smiley

Offline Orangy Tang

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« Reply #6 - Posted 2007-06-27 20:54:28 »

My suspicion is that developers who are really good in java are making lots of money in mainstream IT, and aren't interested in games development. Discuss. Tongue
Or, the ones that are interested in game development bite the bullet and jump to C++ because they have no other option.

Other random comments:
- The uk gamedev companies have mostly been around a long time. That means a lot of established code and tools that they'd be silly to throw away.
- The new companies are almost all breakaways from the established companies (eg. Realtime Worlds being a bunch of ex-GTA people), so they're likely to stick with what they know.
- Console SDKs are still all written in C. Getting them to even execute a single line of Java code is non-trivial.
- Random hinting by Chris about a JVM on PS3 is a complete red herring. I've seen a JVM running on a PS3, and IMHO it's completely impractical. I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot clowning pole.

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Offline princec

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« Reply #7 - Posted 2007-06-27 21:44:07 »

Definitely need that DirectX binding then don't we.

Tell me more about this PS3 VM.

Cas Smiley

Offline keldon85

Senior Member


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« Reply #8 - Posted 2007-06-27 22:03:02 »

Well consider that 95% of all PC users are going to be running Windows! Then the whole matter of cross platform development is of no concern. You also have the choice of .net, and out of .net and Java you are likely to find .net getting developers favour since you can do so much more with it.

Why should any o team choose Java over C++/DirectX or .NET/Managed DirectX, etc? You can rearrange the order any way you like, but the answers are each equally important.

Offline PeterB

Junior Member





« Reply #9 - Posted 2007-06-27 22:16:14 »


I agree the UK needs companies to develop mainstream desktop games in Java.
Codemasters and Rockstar (North) are still using C/C++.

Stories I hear are that in the UK money is in being a game designer, not a developer.

Paid Codemasters a visit a few years back  - full of rooms of guys creating content (models and artwork), only a handful of people coding. I still walked around in awe...!


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Offline princec

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« Reply #10 - Posted 2007-06-27 23:15:09 »

95% of PC users may be running windows but about 50% of the market is Mac users. Strangely. Mac users buy more stuff and they're hungry for products. Can't see why they're being ignored. There's also a small but increasing Linux fraternity which you wouldn't base a business on but you'd get it for nothing if you used Java.

I still think the fundamental problem is probably the OpenGL one, namely, that most Windows developers are more comfortable using DirectX and there's still no way to access it in Java after all these years. If I were Sun I'd fund that project right now.

Cas Smiley

Offline kaffiene
« Reply #11 - Posted 2007-06-28 01:22:57 »

I'm not sure I understand.  What would be the point of using Direct X in Java?

What does it give you that OpenGL, JInput, OpenAL (etc) dont?
Offline oNyx

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« Reply #12 - Posted 2007-06-28 03:06:55 »

Higher windows compatibility and well... there is the xbox 360.

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Offline endolf

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« Reply #13 - Posted 2007-06-28 06:20:00 »

What does it give you that OpenGL, JInput, OpenAL (etc) dont?

More games devs that would be willing to use Java. It's not a question of the capabilities of the technology, as much as it is the capabilities of the devs. If the major studios look at Java and decide that to use it, they would have to effectively retrain their game engine devs on the APIs as well as the language, they are not going to be as tempted to use Java as if they just had a language switch.

I believe thats part of the arguement from princec.

Endolf

Offline kevglass

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« Reply #14 - Posted 2007-06-28 07:21:29 »

The question that keeps coming up in my mind, is why do we care? I can grasp that ChrisM should care, it's after all part of his remit - but I assume those who use Java for game development know why they're doing it - productivity.

I wouldn't give a rat's arse whether anyone else used Java, apart from the possibility of getting a job doing it one day - without big companies picking Java up then there isn't much chance of a job.

So, why do you care? The market size increase potential through getting Java on consoles? Validation of the ideal? Something entirely different?

Kev

Offline keldon85

Senior Member


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« Reply #15 - Posted 2007-06-28 07:36:01 »

Woah, where did you get that 50% figure from? The statistics say that Mac notebooks have a 14.3% market share and 10.4% of the desktop market share. Then out of those users how many of them are going to be gamers? The current trend is not to get your child (who wants to play games) a mac, in fact if you wanted to play games then you just don't buy a mac. Therefore the gaming market theoretically has no mac users, since  there is no games market on the mac system.

That's not to say that mac users do not play games, but macs and Linux systems were never bought for games!

Offline ryanm

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« Reply #16 - Posted 2007-06-28 08:37:30 »

I imagine he's getting the 50% from his own sales figures Wink There may be less macs in the marketplace, but they are comparatively ravenous for games content.

A great example of this weird aversion to Java is Introversion. They make crossplatform games with OpenGL that aren't about technical willy-waving, so Java would seem to be a perfect fit for them. However, they code in C++ because that's what they know. As a result they have to farm out some of the work for mac ports to Ambrosia, which must eat into their profits somewhat, and have generally a terrible time getting the different platforms to play well together (Defcon on mac and linux was delayed for months because of floating-point issues Roll Eyes )
Offline PaulReeves

Senior Newbie





« Reply #17 - Posted 2007-06-28 09:44:21 »

I suspect for the small companies it is partly using what you know, they come from a gaming background and are instantly productive in C++ as the know it inside out what what libraries to use. Java is an unknown to them and therefore a risk. Their other rational is starting a small company is risky, if it all falls apart then you need a  back up plan. If you have been coding in C++ then the owners can easily slip back into a mainstream games company and continue doing what they love. If they have spent the past 3 year coding in Java then it would be harder to convince a mainstream game company to take you on.

I am not saying I agree with these view points just trying to show a possible mindset that means people in small companies continue to use c++ rather than changing to Java or C#. Things are gradually changing, the games industry always lags behind the rest of the computing world, although it may be Microsofts marketing of C# as a gaming platform that leads to C# being the dominant higher level gaming language.

Java needs a higher profile but to get that is need more quality games written in it. The classic chicken and egg situation as people have already mentioned.

ps. First post by the way...
Offline princec

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« Reply #18 - Posted 2007-06-28 10:23:50 »

(Good first post and welcome Wink)

Yup, 50% from my own sales figures - and most of the other indie devs I know.

If the business industries managed to switch to Java so easily, why is it so hard for the games industry?

And I care because -- I enjoy working in the field of Java games development. It's nice and relatively easy and fun.

Cas Smiley

Offline kevglass

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« Reply #19 - Posted 2007-06-28 10:31:44 »

Quote
And I care because -- I enjoy working in the field of Java games development. It's nice and relatively easy and fun.

Does other people not using Java stop you doing that? Smiley

Kev

Offline princec

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« Reply #20 - Posted 2007-06-28 12:28:08 »

Not at all, but it does rather limit my opportunities though...

Cas Smiley

Offline erikd

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« Reply #21 - Posted 2007-06-28 12:57:08 »

Quote
I suspect for the small companies it is partly using what you know, they come from a gaming background and are instantly productive in C++ as the know it inside out what what libraries to use. Java is an unknown to them and therefore a risk.

While that's probably true for the traditional high profile games industry that can't afford any risks, but I would have expected a trend away from C++ (hopefully in favour of Java) as C++ becomes less and less used in general.
In schools, people generally learn java to learn OO programming, so I would have expected more and more students to start developing (indie) games using it. Unless they're tought that java is unsuitable for games? (just thinking out loud...)

Offline Orangy Tang

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« Reply #22 - Posted 2007-06-28 13:00:17 »

In schools, people generally learn java to learn OO programming, so I would have expected more and more students to start developing (indie) games using it. Unless they're tought that java is unsuitable for games? (just thinking out loud...)
I suspect that these people are using something even higher level, like python or Blitz. Or they stumble into various internet fora and get told Java is slow and that they should use C++.

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Offline bahuman

Junior Member





« Reply #23 - Posted 2007-06-28 13:22:51 »

In my experience, not many students try their hands on game development in the first place. I've been in two universities (one in the US, one in Belgium), and none of the people I knew had any ambition to write a game of their own.

I think indie game development comes mostly from die-hard grizzled old vets, who were used to assembler en PEEK/POKE on their Amiga. They grudgingly have taken the step to C (and I leave the "++" out intentionally, as C++ allows you to write plain old-fashioned procedural code), but they're afraid to take another step, to a platform that has an image of being "slow".

The flash community is a different story. I've seen guys with no programming experience do incredible things in Flash, shoot'm ups, adventures, animations, state-based stuff, and whatnot. But they refuse to switch to java, because it's considered a programming language and they don't think they "can program".

So from java's point of view, you have two communities who (generally) refuse to switch to java: the vets who stick to their old guns, and the flash people who are afraid of the word "program". On the other hand, most java developers are more interested in the business applications than they are interested in games.

This is all, of course, generally speaking. Present company excluded  Smiley
Offline PaulReeves

Senior Newbie





« Reply #24 - Posted 2007-06-28 13:37:21 »

While that's probably true for the traditional high profile games industry that can't afford any risks, but I would have expected a trend away from C++ (hopefully in favour of Java) as C++ becomes less and less used in general.
In schools, people generally learn java to learn OO programming, so I would have expected more and more students to start developing (indie) games using it. Unless they're tought that java is unsuitable for games? (just thinking out loud...)

I suspect those people at university wanting to enter the games industry are learning C++ in their spare time.
For people coming out of the game industry C++ is what they know best as they have been doing it day in day out. PowerOfTwo games (another start up of ex- main stream people) makes the the point in their blog about prototyping http://powerof2games.com/node/11. Further illustrating the mindset and perhaps demonstrating why for them it is lowering the risk.

Once you remove the people coming out of the mainstream game industry and those wanting to enter it from the indie game development scene seems to use quite a diverse range of programming languages. It would be interesting to see statistics if they existed.

On a positive note Java has more high quality indie titles now than at any time in the past Smiley

Paul
Offline princec

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« Reply #25 - Posted 2007-06-28 15:10:26 »

Well, there are always going to be more titles today than yesterday aren't there  Tongue

Interestingly, having this very argument with a diehard C++ studio elsewhere, "slow" never comes into it any more. Even the diehard C++ coders concede that Java is fast. The problems as they perceive it are:

1. Steep learning curve and associated wasted time, not just the syntax, but the APIs and IDE
2. No Direct3D interface, further steepening learning curve and reducing Windows compatibility
3. No established 3D scenegraph middleware in the same league as, say Unreal Engine or OGRE or Irrlicht
4. No console development possibility
5. Existing C++ codebase and skills suddenly redundant

Cas Smiley

Offline Nero

Senior Newbie





« Reply #26 - Posted 2007-06-28 15:33:09 »

JVM Ports to Consoles would be a good leap for Java Gaming. Meanwhile, i think you can make a good money at PC Market.

jMonkeyEngine, Slick and other tools are earning features quickly. We just need few good games to show the power of Java Games to the world.
Offline TheAnalogKid

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« Reply #27 - Posted 2007-06-28 15:35:23 »

In my opinion, the "No console development possibility" is the main issue. Why game studios, not including casual gaming ones, would start using Java technology and the tools that come with when they can only develop for PCs, and mobile devices using Java? Those developers would have to maintain their now bigger skill sets in both C++ and Java. This situation is not appealing at all for developers.

Offline woogley
« Reply #28 - Posted 2007-06-28 16:47:06 »

if you're worried about lack of Java adoption limiting your opportunity, you're missing the real problem. no matter what language you use, whether it be Java, C#, C++, etc., you can NEVER place all of your eggs in one basket.

the only way to advance in the industry is adapt to it. sure C# is popular now, but what's going to be popular next? do you think c++ will last forever? unlikely, but either way, the library you use with c++ will almost always be different

java has it's place in the marketplace, notably servers and mobiles. if games isn't going to be a dominating area of java, the best thing you can do is adapt to the current language that is dominating - and be prepared to learn the next language soon.

once you have found a job in the games industry, there's nothing stopping you from showing off to your boss what java -could- do. puppygames would be an impressive portfolio to present, imo.

oh, and a little off the topic, but sony adaptation of java doesn't mean shit, unless you specialize in DVD menus. they won't be giving java access to their monster 8-core platform any time soon, if ever. not to mention PS3 sales aren't exactly above par.
Offline keldon85

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« Reply #29 - Posted 2007-06-28 16:58:38 »

The PS3 sales are low because there was no plan to have them higher. Sony predicted a quarter of Wii's sales for the PS3, they're not stupid. As for Java in games development, most teams are likely to have existing coders proficient in c++; so you have to be proficient in c++ to join that team. Long story short you would need a completely new team of Java coders to create a game using purely Java.

I think it would be great if Java was made good use of; it can be done.

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