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  Has anything happened the last 6 months?  (Read 6180 times)
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Offline jacobmarner

Senior Newbie




I love hex!


« Posted 2002-12-03 15:21:41 »

Hi guys,

For those who don't remember me, I am the guy who wrote the report "Evaluating Java for Game Development" back in March and I have then gone on to work as PlayStation 2 programmer at a local game development house.

Anyway, I haven't been in touch with the Java game dev community since then and I was just looking around to see if anything new had happened the last 6 months concerning Java and games.

It seems that we still haven't seen anything of the JSR-134 which we was supposed to after GDC 2002, and the site still hasn't really kicked of as anything but a forum. Or have I missed something? Has any new games been released that use java?

I was just updating the site related to my report and I wanted to get any new developments on it.

Cheers,
Jacob Marner
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 429
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #1 - Posted 2002-12-03 20:05:30 »

Hi Jacob, nice to hear from you again. <smug mode>As I roundly predicted JSR134 has still not escaped the drawing board, but LWJGL has already had its first complete game out</smug mode>. And that's the biggest thing to have happened round here for ages Smiley

LWJGL is at http://java-game-lib.sourceforge.net/

You knew it had to happen some time! Try it out.

Cas Smiley

Offline Themroc

Junior Devvie





« Reply #2 - Posted 2002-12-04 07:42:14 »

I don't know your report. So maybe what I tell you is old news.:
-GCs are getting better for games (check 1.4.1 release)
-MIDP 2.0 final specs have been released, including a small game library for 2D games (layers, sprites, tiles). So there is some hope that a game library for the J2SE will be finished at some point, too.
-JRE 1.4.1 for Mac is in the work, that means game devlopers can use all the nice  1.4.x potential in their games.
-About JSR-134: some part of it is already available in other forms, like VolatileImage, JMF etc.

Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline cfmdobbie

Senior Devvie


Medals: 1


Who, me?


« Reply #3 - Posted 2002-12-04 11:07:58 »

For those who weren't here last time around, Jacob's report may be found here:

http://www.rolemaker.dk/articles/evaljava/

Hellomynameis Charlie Dobbie.
Offline jacobmarner

Senior Newbie




I love hex!


« Reply #4 - Posted 2002-12-04 15:03:23 »

Hmm, it doesn't sound like much has happened. I am somewhat disappointed in this since I had expected more.

Cas, nice initiative. You talked about doing that for a while and you finally decided to go for it. Thats great. I just hope your work gain significant impact in the community (on the same scale as say gl4java). Good luck with the project.

I fear that that other flame guy in the other thread in this forum (i think I saw it in the game news forum) might be right that Java is fighting a loosing battle (in gaming that is). This is really a shame since it has so much great going for it, but without proper library and developer support and direct compiler support we are not getting anywhere. Compare this with the effort put into DirectX by Microsoft (or even libraries for consoles - such as RenderWare) and there is really a class difference.
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 429
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #5 - Posted 2002-12-04 19:26:07 »

Yes, you're probably right there, but I really am very pleased that the LWJGL is working so well - it really is the missing link... I'm finding that with Eclipse, JDK1.4.1 and LWJGL, my programming needs for games dev. are largely met. The only problem is I can't draw...

I think that a few games-specific Eclipse plugins might be a Good Thing but I'm not sure how I'd go about it yet. I've lately started putting all my game resources into XML and that's proved to be quite shrewd, but it could do with being more user-friendly. Things like 3d model import/export and the like would be great. Or sound effects generation.

Cas Smiley

Offline Herkules

Senior Devvie




Friendly fire isn't friendly!


« Reply #6 - Posted 2002-12-05 07:30:37 »

Hi Jacob!

When you left us, remember there was the hope for a competative F1 racing game demo? For a full-featured 3D rpg?

Nothing became reality so far. Just vapor/paper/screenshot-ware. So the proof that it CAN be done is still missing (although I strongly believe). Even more far away is the proof that it SHOULD be done.

So we still wait for the first killerapp with unique features only possible with Java.

I personally don't count too much on LWJGL (princec, don't hate me, please) for commercial game production, bc. currently it is a wrapper of base functionality. That's where C/C++-world has been 5 years ago. So it's best suitable for lightweight Java games Smiley.

But over time, there might be a HWJGL taking the role of typical game engines like Unreal.


Don't want to be negative, excuse me. I'm talking this way only here amongst us Sad. To the world outside I am a strong defender of the Java vision Smiley


HARDCODE    --     DRTS/FlyingGuns/JPilot/JXInput  --    skype me: joerg.plewe
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 429
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #7 - Posted 2002-12-05 08:35:00 »

No worries Herk, LWJGL is just a catalyst. Someone else can come up with the scenegraphs/engines/toolsets etc.

Cas Smiley

Offline Themroc

Junior Devvie





« Reply #8 - Posted 2002-12-05 09:45:33 »

The commercially most succesfull game of last year was The Sims and add ons for it. 3D games were a minority in the top 20.
When one wants to be successful one can't use the newest of modern gfx bords anyway, market would be too small. So I really don't see a problem with java here. But maybe jacobmarner is out for gfx-demos instead of games? There java will never be able to compete, that's true.

Check old thread about top 20:
http://www.java-gaming.org/discus/messages/19/1603.html?1029952270

Offline Herkules

Senior Devvie




Friendly fire isn't friendly!


« Reply #9 - Posted 2002-12-05 10:23:21 »

'The Sims Online' would be quite a good candidate to be a Java game. Imagine the possibilities!

Well, it isn't. All we have IS gfx-demos. No games.

HARDCODE    --     DRTS/FlyingGuns/JPilot/JXInput  --    skype me: joerg.plewe
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline jacobmarner

Senior Newbie




I love hex!


« Reply #10 - Posted 2002-12-05 13:37:46 »

Quote
The commercially most succesfull game of last year was The Sims and add ons for it. 3D games were a minority in the top 20.
When one wants to be successful one can't use the newest of modern gfx bords anyway, market would be too small. So I really don't see a problem with java here. But maybe jacobmarner is out for gfx-demos instead of games? There java will never be able to compete, that's true.


I think I have to clear up something here that I only learnt after begin working professonally at a game company that talks a lot with publishers. The most basic point is that all the major publishers today are very focused on consoles. For instance, Cas, I think you once mentioned that you showed your terrain demo to a publisher and when you mentioned it was Java they were not interested because of console portability problems.

And we all know that Java is not (currently) a viable solution on consoles. So it is not just Gfx demos I am talking about.

The top 20 you mention is the top 20 for the PC. The top 20 for the PS2, Xbox and Gamecube are filled with high powered graphics stuff - and since consoles are where the profits are you can't really get around them commercially.

If you write a game for the PC-only the matter is another entirely - but to get through with a PC-only project today either requires that you are proven team with lots of hits on streets or that you have the money to finance it yourself. There are lots of minor PC publishing houses that are willing to publish it on PC with a minimum of marketing if the game is already complete and of decent quality - but that won't make you rich. Only major projects like "Mafia" and "The Sims" from very established developer houses can get away with anouncing PC only versions only. And now both games are planned for consoles. If they had used Java they would have had a problem now. An Just a month ago our house got a kids game published by a local publisher in Germany (after we localized it of course). We could have used java for that too.

So realistically, at the moment Java is best suited games intended for shareware, or games made by hobbyists, or child games, or educational games, or even games intended to have a sales up to, say, 50.000 units. For instance, at the place I work we have just completed a games for teenagers that need to go to "confirmation of their faith" at church (a tradition we have here in Denmark). That game should have used Java if I was the one to make the decision.

Also, I would like to utter my concern about high level toolkits. Kits like DirectX or OpenGL has proven successful because they map very closely to the hardware. On the PS2 no real equavalents exist. You either write directly hardware (hard) or use a high level toolkit like Intrinsic or RenderWare - both which are intended to be crossplatform. But because they are high level they also hide hardware details and prevent us from implementing cool platform specific gfx features. So I guess we in the end will drop the high level stuff and write the loe level stuff in assembler anyway. And we have to, because that is needed to compete with the other games out there. My point is that the holy grail for a cross platform library is utopia for commercial class games. So the way to mix Java with your own level stuff on this platforms. All we need is the proper tools and ports of the virtual machine and hotspot compilers.

Hoeww..
That was long. I hope this cleared up my opinion in these matters.

Cheers,
Jacob
Offline princec

« JGO Spiffy Duke »


Medals: 429
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #11 - Posted 2002-12-05 14:08:14 »

You're dead right there but I'd have to point out that if I sold 50,000 copies of my game as an indie, I'd be pretty rich Smiley I seem to recall Heretic 2 only managed a feeble 19,000 sales in the USA after a year on release.

Take a look at the games by Dexterity.com. Someone's making money there. Probably mainly Steve Pavlina Wink but it goes to show there's more to life than flash graphics, especially when it comes to earning a crust.

Cas Smiley

Offline jacobmarner

Senior Newbie




I love hex!


« Reply #12 - Posted 2002-12-05 14:18:03 »

Yeah 50.000 copies would be great for a one man project but then you would be succesful and I think you could pull it of in Java too. In fact, it would probably be much eaiser in Java because you would save a lot of time and money. But given the time you have already used and doubt I would say you would be become really rich.  Roll Eyes

But remember for the top games the sales a increasing year by year. Our friend company, Io Interactive (their offices are just 300m from where I work) are above 1.5 millions sold copies of Hitman 2 in just a bit over month. (And that made them rich!) The top games today need to sell around (I am told by my mangement) about 600.000 copies to cut even. And they is expecting it to rise to 1.000.000 within the next two years. Most of this money goes to marketing since they have to promote the games to make them standard out from all the other ones.
Offline bmyers

Junior Devvie





« Reply #13 - Posted 2002-12-05 16:15:01 »

I have to toss in my $0.02 here...

Massively multiplayer games seem to be a natural fit for Java on PCs, on both client and server side, especially for games that are non pure shoot-em-up or slash-em-apart.  The Sims Online is a good example of a game that would be perfectly suited for Java development.
Also MMP RTS and simulation games seem to me to be well suited for Java.  

Also, think cell phones, PDAs, web games, etc....

IM!HO, the game industry is kinda "stuck" in a video-game rut.  Faster graphics and facial animation and shaders and cool demos do not, just in themselves, make great games.  There's lots of other play patterns that have not been fully explored.  There's *millions* of potential gamers that have not been hooked yet!

Granted, it's sometimes hard to convince publishers of that, which is why the indy game development community will probably be the ones to stumble on the "next big thing", which will then become mainstream.

--Brad

Offline jacobmarner

Senior Newbie




I love hex!


« Reply #14 - Posted 2002-12-05 16:55:47 »

I agree Brad on all those points. Massive multiplayer games is still acceptable for PCs only - but it is hard to get players them to pay and play them. It seems that the market is somewhat saturated already. The casual games go for the very mainstream things that get most publicity (or the The Sims, of course Smiley )
Offline rreyelts

Junior Devvie




There is nothing Nu under the sun


« Reply #15 - Posted 2002-12-05 17:18:36 »

On the PS2 no real equavalents exist. You either write directly hardware (hard) or use a high level toolkit like Intrinsic or RenderWare - both which are intended to be crossplatform.

It's strange that you say this. I know for a fact that there are ports of OpenGL to the PS2, and I even remember reading about several "in-house" ports of OpenGL too. It seems that the development houses believed that more time would be saved creating an entire optimized port of OpenGL then spending the time coding to the bare metal.

God bless,
-Toby Reyelts


About me: http://jroller.com/page/rreyelts
Jace - Easier JNI: http://jace.reyelts.com/jace
Retroweaver - Compile on JDK1.5, and deploy on 1.4: http://retroweaver.sf.net.
Offline Captain-Goatse

Junior Devvie




I suck at teh 2D. XBOX IS BIG LOL!111


« Reply #16 - Posted 2002-12-05 17:38:02 »

I'd say throw in few years, maybe two to five and we'll see what might be coming out of Java. On applications side Java is here to stay, but in my opinion there are too many unresolved things to java achieve a stable fan base, which would be plausible for console/hardcore development.

Java3D is a good start, communities, on the otherhand create success stories. When success stories are heard we'll see sudden influx of retarded kids who want to create mmorpgs and we wish that we would have kept java for ourselves.

I believe we have quite good pioneer community over here.
Offline jacobmarner

Senior Newbie




I love hex!


« Reply #17 - Posted 2002-12-05 19:41:54 »

I know for a fact that there are ports of OpenGL to the PS2, and I even remember reading about several "in-house" ports of OpenGL too.

Although I haven't tried them myself I am told by others in the PS2 community that they are too slow so they are not competitive in practice. The PS2 architecture does not fit too well with the OpenGL structure of things unlike on the PC where hardware often are made to match OpenGL. So if you use them you are not competitive.

However, if you just want to make a OpenGL-like interface with some heavy adjustments or a loads of specialized "extensions" then it might be pulled of quite well. I think it might actually be something like that we might end up doing for our own engine.

(BTW, I had first written a detailed explanation about why the OpenGL and the PS2 architecture conflicts but then I just remembered the NDA my company signed so I decided against posting it - sorry)
Offline William

Junior Devvie




No Exit


« Reply #18 - Posted 2002-12-05 21:07:35 »

Hey Jacob, I'm the guy who "peer-reviewed" one of your benchmarks, nice to see you are still around. Just thought I'd post since I'm currently attending a course in game writing (or perhaps it should be called interactive fiction) by Michael Valeur from Deadline. Small world Wink

When looking at commercial game development, I have kind of come to place Java for game *clients* in the same cathegory as Macromedia Director, except Java has more benefits for really advanced PC-titles like MMORPGs and perhaps more future potential since there still is a chance that the JGP will be released and offer support for some console platform. Then there is always the Series 60 mobile platform that Nokia, Siemens and Samsung are supporting and which supports J2ME...

// William Saar
Offline jacobmarner

Senior Newbie




I love hex!


« Reply #19 - Posted 2002-12-06 03:04:42 »

<i>Just thought I'd post since I'm currently attending a course in game writing (or perhaps it should be called interactive fiction) by Michael Valeur from Deadline. Small world  </i>

lol. Where are you from? Are you from the netherlands as your name suggests? What institution is that? And what are Michael doing there?

He isn't actually an emplyee at Deadline Games anymore (if he ever was?!?), but he was a important part of their first game title "BlackOut" back in 96/97. Most notably he wrote the novel that accompanied the game.

I haven't actually met him, but say hi from Deadline from me.
Offline William

Junior Devvie




No Exit


« Reply #20 - Posted 2002-12-06 04:29:18 »

Quote
lol. Where are you from? Are you from the netherlands as your name suggests? What institution is that? And what are Michael doing there?

Sweden, he is a professor in interactive media at Dramatiska Institutet where I'm taking the final year of my master's in computer science. He has also written The Angel and I think he has done the story for CMA and for that title you are probably working on right now, saw some demo movies of it, looks very nice Smiley
Offline jacobmarner

Senior Newbie




I love hex!


« Reply #21 - Posted 2002-12-06 12:25:19 »

The Angel and CMA are both before my time so I wouldn't know for sure, but he has certainly not written the story for our current title. And the ones he where in on he did in conjunction with the other designers here. The story of our current title is being written by two guys at the office. Michael might have reviewed it though.

I don't know about CMA (Cover My Ass) so he might have been in on that one, but as you might know that project was stopped this spring.
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #22 - Posted 2002-12-10 00:32:19 »

Re: Java's suitability for MMOGS

I work at one of the companies producing technology for hosting advanced MMOGs. Both our company, and the three serious competitors in the marketplace (yep, the four of us seem to be the only ones out there at the moment) are primarily using Java to run the server side of the MMOGs.

Thats quite a no-brainer, fo course, since Java was long intended as a server platform (J2EE being merely a repackaging of java more closely tailored to that kind of market - java has always been aimed for that kinf of position).


malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline pepe

Junior Devvie




Nothing unreal exists


« Reply #23 - Posted 2002-12-10 02:56:29 »

Quote
. Both our company, and the three serious competitors in the marketplace (yep, the four of us seem to be the only ones out there at the moment) are primarily using Java to run the server side of the MMOGs.

Do you have any names of games with java servers? Where can we get informations about technologies involved on that servers?

Home page: http://frederic.barachant.com
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GoSub: java2D gamechmark http://frederic.barachant.com/GoSub/GoSub.jnlp
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