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Offline princec

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« Posted 2004-03-25 08:49:39 »

http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/4/36523.html

Now, Sun's GTG should, I think, have an official public response to this prepared in short order.

What is Sun providing to compete with this fusion of major cross-platform technologies?

Cas Smiley

Offline Breakfast

Senior Member




for great justice!


« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-03-25 09:45:49 »

Damn, pipped to the post.
Offline Herkules

Senior Member




Friendly fire isn't friendly!


« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-03-25 09:53:49 »

Just define J2ME, Linux and Solaris to be the major game platforms and there is absolutely no problem Smiley

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 Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-03-25 10:54:42 »

Quote
Just define J2ME, Linux and Solaris to be the major game platforms and there is absolutely no problem :)

Add to this Apple (*) and Windows, and there we are. :-)


(*) For independent game developers who use Java, the Apple platform could be a great market chance. It's not as huge as the Win32 market is, but much more indy friendly. At least this is what I read on Garage-Games forums etc. And Cas also says similar things. It's a market many Win32 only indies won't ever reach. PLUS you don't need XNA or such. ;-)
Offline princec

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« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-03-25 11:15:23 »

The two pieces missing from the puzzle are OpenGL and Playstation. All bases must be covered to provide a coherent response to Microsoft's strategy. Unless there's a geniune console competitor to PS2/XBox that runs Java and OpenGL that I haven't heard announced at GDC yet.

Cas Smiley

Offline erikd

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Maximumisness


« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-03-25 11:23:51 »

From the looks of the article it seems like they regard 'cross-platform' as 'both PC and XBox'. Doesn't sound that innovating tbh.

Offline princec

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« Reply #6 - Posted 2004-03-25 11:47:16 »

And WinCE.
It's a pretty bloody large market and a major boon to cross-Windows-platform developers. It will no doubt integrate nicely with the Zone too.

Cas Smiley

Offline gregorypierce

Senior Member




I come upon thee like the blue screen of death....


« Reply #7 - Posted 2004-03-25 13:37:06 »

Sun needs a major pimped out partner in the form of Sony or Nintendo and after talking to both of them last week - neither (at the developer relations) level see any reason to pursue that opportunity. Nintendo just being a little more blunt about it Smiley

http://www.gregorypierce.com

She builds, she builds oh man
When she links, she links I go crazy
Cause she looks like good code but she's really a hack
I think I'll run upstairs and grab a snack!
Offline jared888

Senior Newbie




Eat your own shorts. Leave mine alone.


« Reply #8 - Posted 2004-03-25 15:57:51 »

Good for them I say!

Now We have a cross platform product that hits Windows, windows hand held, and windows console.

Questions?

Q: Uh, yeah, aren't all those windows platforms?

A: Of course!

Q: But, uh, where does the cross-platform functionality come in?

A: Ah, yes, our cross platform hist windows CE, Windows Xbox, and Windows Windows!

Q: Uh.....what about MAC?

A: What?

Q: Apple, Macintosh, you know, the IPOD, the IMAC, the G4, etc...?

A: What?

Q: What about Linux?

A: What?


Personally, I think windows is a great thing. So crucify me. I play most of my games on windows. I develop on windows. Windows, windows windows.

Hey...java runs on windows.

Hey, what about the last cross platform programming tool MS announced? Wasn't that C#? Why didn't they use that? Could it be because it isn't truly cross platform? Bingo! Is this new tech any more cross platform? Nope!

Geez folks, you are getting paranoid.

Java is so massively pervasive in the broader-than-gaming business market that it will always be here.
The big gaming companies will eventually move to Java because it is easy to use, and programmers are more expensive than hardware. Cut your staff in half, use ten percent more machine, and it means you have c/c++/assembly speed, at 3/4 the price. In addition, you are truly cross-platform, with linux, mac, etc. Tap 3-4 markets with one product.

The calls to "defend our java dreams" get repetitive here. They aren't necessary. Java is not small.

Java is HUGE. it is pervasive. It is adaptable. It has the best !@#$ API doco on the web.  It has several free IDE's available.

It is the ONLY true programming language that is non-scripting( like php, perl) that is a www language.

it is the ONLY true cross platfrom language, bar none. Even PERL has system specifics that you need to be careful about when programming diff platforms.

Why are you worried?


Beware the rabbit of the mind, for it gnaweth on the carrot of the soul.
Offline princec

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« Reply #9 - Posted 2004-03-25 20:22:48 »

I am not at all worried about the future of Java - I'm just concerned with the future of games development technologies.

Cas Smiley

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Online kevglass

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Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #10 - Posted 2004-03-26 04:54:56 »

Part of the worry I suppose is that (like .NET) MS are actually doing the "right thing" (tm) and releasing their specifications for these new technologies.

Like .NET, you'll see a linux version of XNA pop up.

As much as I love PC games, the console market is far more lucrative. I don't quite get what MS are hoping to do here tho. Can you see Nintendo or Sony (or Company X) thinking to themself, I know, I'll jump in and use that.

So, IMO, I think Cas is right. Sun could release a gaming toolkit, based on top of Java, sell it as a properly open standard and get buy in from Nintendo and Sony. Didn't you suggest this "Games Toolkit" idea before?

Kev

Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #11 - Posted 2004-03-26 05:55:04 »

Quote
Questions?
(..)Q: But, uh, where does the cross-platform functionality come in?
A: Ah, yes, our cross platform hist windows CE, Windows Xbox, and Windows Windows!

Q: Uh.....what about MAC?
A: What?
(..)
Q: What about Linux?
A: What?
(..)
It is the ONLY true programming language that is non-scripting( like php, perl) that is a www language.
(..)
it is the ONLY true cross platfrom language, bar none. Even PERL has system specifics that you need to be careful about when programming diff platforms.
(..)

Very nice article, and funny, too. :-)
Offline princec

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« Reply #12 - Posted 2004-03-26 07:03:25 »

I think Sun already tried the game toolkit idea, called JSR134, but it was wide of the mark. I think before, I suggested Sun put their full might behind OpenGL and OpenAL and get those technologies into the core Java specification, but they're still soldiering on with J2SE and AWT.

I think what Sun really needs is J2ME+LWJGL in a profile. It's almost Good To Go - we just need OpenGL ES support in the library. Then I think Adam's Grexengine might provide some of the networky bits.

I find it an interesting difference in mode of operation with Sun and Microsoft: M$ sees a great technology that some pipsqueak startup makes, and instead of trying to copy it, they just slap £10m down and buy them, lock stock and barrel, and rebrand it as M$. For example, Sun need some whacky multiplayery Javified game servery technology, so they punt £10m over to blahblahblah and buy his company off him. This is how DirectX came into existence.

But Sun do suffer from a terrible, terrible "not invented here" syndrome. How much bought-in technology is there in the Java product range?

Cas Smiley

Offline ChrisM

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Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #13 - Posted 2004-03-29 05:44:39 »

Ok, here we go....

Cas,  you bring up some very valid points, but you bring them up within the context of a VERY narrow view of the Java world.  It would be great is we could just run off, do what ever the hell we wanted to Java, called it whatever we like and be doen with it.  God KNOWS it would be so much easier than having to answer to a board, build proper TCKs, document the APIs, and position the technology as a proper Java technology.  but we have to.  Java is not controlled by Sun, despite what a few of you here may think.

Sure, from your point of view, LWJGL and J2ME would be a good "games platform" solution.  But that is no suprise as  LWJGL was started by you, so you suffer from the same NIH that you claim Sun suffers from.  Why? Because you believe you have a better solution.  i have no problem with that, BTW. With regard to JOGL or lwjgl, if both were submitted to the jcp, which would pass as being compliant?  You want a complete games solution that carries the Java brand?  We want that too.

About the server prototype.  If you would care to read the press about the server prototype, you would have noticed that it wasn't Sun technology only, but incorporated GameSpy and TimesTen as well. Why?  Because their technologies are very good and so we used them. Doesn't sound like an NIH problem to me.

The reason we developed the prototype is because we don't believe that there is another soluiton out there in the games industry that compares to the COMPLETE server stack we demonstrated.  Vertical AND horizontal scaling, 100% failover between servers and multiple games within the same stack.  I don't think any other server technology we have seen does what we built. Oh, and the RESOUNDING agreement of major game companies who want to understand more about what we did seems to echo my belief.  

And the comment about "networky bits" implies that you don't think that network technologies are difficult and I expect to hear that from one who does not build network technologies.  If it was that easy, don't you think Sun, or another network technology company, would have done it?  Networking is hard.  Networking to scale is harder.  Check out utility compute models and think about how an EA or Blizzard may benefit from this.

On to XNA.  So here is the official word on this from me (and not Sun ok?):  it's a total hack and a desperate move on MS's part.  They feel the PC market shrinking for them and continually try to branch out to other devices.  

Didn't it seem a bit "thrown together" to you?  WOW portability between XBox and PC.  Developers do that porting now!  Please....  Tools are important, but need to address mote than just one platform.  Every developer we talked to couldn't understand what the hell MS was trying to pull off there.

One last thought.  I can't understand why everyone is so scared of MS.  Name one market outside of Windows that MS dominates.  ONE!  And no, Office is not a market, it is hand in hand with Windows.  Servers? No. PDAs? No. Mobile? No.  Set-top-box? No.  Game consoles? No. Web games? No.

Look, Windows has roughly 85% of the desktop market.  Curent Java technology is shipping on 70% of all NEW Windows desktop systems.  It also ships with Linux and OSX.  Java technology has shipped in over 250 MILLION handsets in just 4 years! By comparison, Nintendo has shipped just over 150 million units of GameBoy branded devices in 16 years.  Java technology is shipping in set top boxes, available for both PalmOS and PocketPC, in servers of all makes, and as far as game consoles are concerned, we are working on it Smiley

-ChrisM

P.S.  About JSR-134.  it was not a games tool kit.  It was, basically, DirectX for Java.  Please read before commenting. Smiley

Offline ChrisM

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Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #14 - Posted 2004-03-29 05:51:07 »

Quote


But Sun do suffer from a terrible, terrible "not invented here" syndrome. How much bought-in technology is there in the Java product range?

Cas Smiley


Want to see how much outside technology we bring in?  Check out this link:

http://search.sun.com/Search/press?qt=acquire&nh=10&qp=%2Bcollection%3Apress&col=press&survey=0&rf=1

- ChrisM

Offline ChrisM

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Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #15 - Posted 2004-03-29 06:01:53 »

Quote


I find it an interesting difference in mode of operation with Sun and Microsoft: M$ sees a great technology that some pipsqueak startup makes, and instead of trying to copy it, they just slap £10m down and buy them, lock stock and barrel, and rebrand it as M$. For example, Sun need some whacky multiplayery Javified game servery technology, so they punt £10m over to blahblahblah and buy his company off him. This is how DirectX came into existence.


First of all, you are correct that MS does indeed just purchase a whole lot of stuff.  And how much of it ever makes it to market and stays or is successful?  Very little.  Hrmm.  let's see, specifically with XBox, RARE acquision = "Grabbed by the Ghoolies"  HUGE seller for them eh? Smiley  Ah yes, OddWorld.  Where is Abe now?  MS spends a huge amount of $$$ on investment.  Not necessarily to use what they buy, but to crush it.

Secondly, if we thought there was a technology that did what we did, don't you think we would have looked at acquisition?  Oh yeah, as a publically traded company we are not allow to leaglly TELL you what we look at for acquisition, are we?  There is a reason we have an investments group as Sun you know Smiley

Lastly, DirectX did not come into existance that way.  talk to Alex St. John and see what he says Smiley Or, you can just read this link:
http://www.seattle24x7.com/people/alexstjohn.htm

-ChrisM

Offline princec

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« Reply #16 - Posted 2004-03-29 06:44:14 »

I do like to poke you with the odd controversial comment on the offchance you're feeling eloquent and dying to tell us stuff Wink See, we we 3 posts in a row and over a page of insights!

Quote
Curent Java technology is shipping on 70% of all NEW Windows desktop systems

Aha! It's gone up since last we spoke Smiley That's good.

Cas Smiley

Offline ChrisM

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Luke...END OF LINE


« Reply #17 - Posted 2004-03-29 06:53:54 »

Quote
I do like to poke you with the odd controversial comment on the offchance you're feeling eloquent and dying to tell us stuff Wink See, we we 3 posts in a row and over a page of insights!

Aha! It's gone up since last we spoke Smiley That's good.

Cas Smiley


Ah!  So we LIKE poking the bear in the eye huh? Smiley

Cas, you do make for some great discussion Smiley  GGGRRrrrrrr....

- ChrisM

Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #18 - Posted 2004-03-29 08:37:50 »

Quote
Ok, here we go....


Thanks for the comments, Chris. Hope Cas didn't poke too hard Smiley.

Quote

About the server prototype.  If you would care to read the press about the server prototype, you would have noticed that it wasn't Sun technology only, but incorporated GameSpy and TimesTen as well. Why?  Because their technologies are very good and so we used them. Doesn't sound like an NIH problem to me.


Both are low-level techs; there are plenty of mid-level and high-level techs in this area (including some owned by Sun). Between them GS and TT are so very far from providing a complete game solution as to be unexciting for many people - which is not to say that they aren't exciting for many other people - but I suspect that most of the excitement you saw was because you were SUN: One of the few major IT companies with the word "network" in their name. Any move by Sun into this area where you show something concrete will generate excitement - even when the "something concrete" is itself too small to be exciting on it's own.

Quote

The reason we developed the prototype is because we don't believe that there is another soluiton out there in the games industry that compares to the COMPLETE server stack we demonstrated.  Vertical AND horizontal scaling, 100% failover between servers and multiple games within the same stack.  I don't think any other server technology we have seen does what we built.


That's disingenuous; I can name several that fulfil all those criteria (I'm sure you can too). They aren't even the *important* features anyway. Failover and multiple-game stacks are something you could do with any decent mid- or high-end middleware (even J2EE).

You can have it one of two ways: either you're doing NIH in the full knowledge that there are other far more advanced systems (most of them too far ahead of you for you to catch up without a huge budget). Or you're treading the same path as several big names before you, and just don't really understand what the needs of online game development actually are, so that you think what you're offering is somehow really exciting in and of itself (i.e. without the Sun brand behind it). I think you're all very smart and that you know a lot about the industry, so I'd guess you just want to do it yourselves.

FYI the reason we aren't demoing anything at GDC is partly because these bits in themselves are so easy and so valueless to developers, and partly because as a small company we can't handle excessive interest (unlike you guys, who can handle it). I've actually been out there shifting licenses, and have a good idea what the sticking points are. A lot of the interest we had back in 2001 I'm guessing was similar to what you're getting now - it's from people who will seem really excited, even try to give you money for something you tell them isn't for sale yet, up to a particular point and then they find you're missing something that's a deal-breaker for them and they'll wander away. We knew this from the start, and resisted serious pressure from magazines etc to have a big launch.

Quote

Oh, and the RESOUNDING agreement of major game companies who want to understand more about what we did seems to echo my belief.  


(Aside from the obvious - that I agree entirely, having been dealing with a similar level of interest for years, and it's only been getting bigger Smiley) I'm sure they're delighted that a second "big-iron" company is getting into this market. Your presence re-validates IBM's investment from 2 years ago (just what they need if shareholders question their involvement).

Quote

Networking is hard.  Networking to scale is harder.  Check out utility compute models and think about how an EA or Blizzard may benefit from this.


Sorry to be pedantic, but *networking* isn't particularly hard. If you want me to prove it, get me 20 million users and I'll build you the networking parts of a system to handle it. On my own (assuming I'm allowed to buy the appropriate off-the-shelf hardware!). The problem is the application processing; the nearest you get to a networking problem is usually unacceptably high application-induced latencies, or app-induced fatal non-determinism (almost prevented TSO from shipping!).

E.g. everything GS does is not particularly difficult when compared to developing an online game. IMHO GS has a fine suite of software for games developers. The sad truth is that - even with all their services on the side - they deal with less than 10% of the problems of developing large scale online games. I'm guessing the other 90% (which companies like Grex have good coverage of - and some even have complete coverage of) is the stuff that Cas was thinking of.

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

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #19 - Posted 2004-03-29 08:57:00 »

Quote

I think what Sun really needs is J2ME+LWJGL in a profile. It's almost Good To Go - we just need OpenGL ES support in the library. Then I think Adam's Grexengine might provide some of the networky bits.


Integrate:

  • easy-to-use OGL binding
  • scenegraph API
  • grexengine architecture
  • client-profiles for all clients, not just mobile devices


...and you have something akin to a MS product: a cradle-to-grave solution that is *extremely* easy to develop with, and yet almost infinitely powerful.

NB JOGL is far too difficult to use; this is not a criticism of JOGL, but if you want to offer solutions rather than a library with "minimal conversion cost from C", then you need to do the kind of simplification and rationalization that LWJGL has done. One of our USP's is that we have invested a huge amount of work in doing this for the server side - and it really shows. You can develop new games very quickly (NB: so much so that we've been tempted to stop licensing our tech and just write new games; for some games we can shave more than 60% off development time, and that saving keeps increasing with each successive build)

EDIT: when I said "minimal conversion cost" I meant for games developers who've previously used OGL in C. I.e. JOGL minimises the amount of re-learning they need to do; the method calls they're used to are all the same, etc. Whereas something like LWJGL does a lot of rationalization and merging and redundancy elimination.

Quote

I find it an interesting difference in mode of operation with Sun and Microsoft: M$ sees a great technology that some pipsqueak startup makes, and instead of trying to copy it, they just slap £10m down and buy them, lock stock and barrel, and rebrand it as M$. For example, Sun need some whacky multiplayery Javified game servery technology, so they punt £10m over to blahblahblah and buy his company off him. This is how DirectX came into existence.


Incidentally, since mid February we've been getting cold-called by VC firms. The way things are going we could be about to start turning them down, just so we can get on with growing our sales rather than be distracted and lured into endless meetings and presentations. How things have changed since the "VC drought" of 2001/2002!

Anyone considering VC money, I suggest now would be the time to start looking.

Quote

But Sun do suffer from a terrible, terrible "not invented here" syndrome. How much bought-in technology is there in the Java product range?


Was this a rhetorical question? I'd be interested to know the actual answer... Certainly, I recall that ORO waged a (bitter) public fight with Sun for years trying to get regular expressions into the JDK. This was back before the reforms of the JCP, when IIRC it was much harder (?) for anyone but giant firms to contribute anything non-trivial to java.

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

Junior Member




No Exit


« Reply #20 - Posted 2004-03-29 09:02:54 »

Quote

On to XNA.  So here is the official word on this from me (and not Sun ok?):  it's a total hack and a desperate move on MS's part.  ...
Didn't it seem a bit "thrown together" to you?  WOW portability between XBox and PC.  Developers do that porting now!  

Actually, porting between the PC and the Xbox seems to be a real problem for developers. DICE worked on a port for Battlefield 1942 for the Xbox but killed it to spend their resources on the sequels to the PC-version of the game instead, so porting definitely wasn't a trivial task.

Quote
O You want a complete games solution that carries the Java brand?

Have you considered the possiblity of creating such a solution based on Java technology without actually using the Java brand?

It wouldn't be the first time a company creates a new name to sell the same technology to different markets (Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura etc.).
Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #21 - Posted 2004-03-29 13:16:32 »

Quote

Actually, porting between the PC and the Xbox seems to be a real problem for developers.

Yes, I've read that, too. It will be even more of a problem when the Xbox2 comes out, which doesn't base on PC tech but on PowerPC chips and so on. I read that MS ships to Xbox2-developers a development-toolkit which runs on Mac. Funny.

PS: Thanks to ChrisM for the informative infos.
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #22 - Posted 2004-03-30 20:32:04 »

Okay now your messing with my baby so your gonna get ME to speak up.



Quote


That's disingenuous; I can name several that fulfil all those criteria (I'm sure you can too).



I can't.   Not the way this stack does. Show me a system where you could take the etnire online population of Everquest and put tjem in one shard and allow unfettered access to any region.  A system that uses all its available CPU power all the time and still can have ANY of those CPUs fail without the clients noticing.

Add orthongonal persistance that makes the entire world dynamic and ensures the entire game state is always recoverable within a few moments of total system failure, gauranteed referrential integrity that eliminates dupe bugs (all of which it does) and you've got the answer to just about every need of MM games today.

Show me a system that does all that and is actually functioning somepalce I can see a demo.  Then we'll talk.

Quote

They aren't even the *important* features anyway. Failover and multiple-game stacks are something you could do with any decent mid- or high-end middleware (even J2EE).


ROLFLOL.  I'm sorry but you are pulling my leg right?  The response times of J2EE are TOTALLy inappropriate for writing anything beyond puzzle or slow turn based games.    And programming EJBs is a nightmare.

It shares some very superficial simialrities with J2EE in that (a) its a container solution and (b) it allows many different apps (read games) to share resoruces and thsu expenses.  But thas abotu it.

This is a stack that has as an outside limit for entire message turn around, entry to exit, in the 10s of ms.  SImualtion obejcts have to be serializable and otherwise are instances standard Java Classes.

Saying "J2EE could do that" frankly is like saying your VW bug can pull a  semi trailer because, hey, it has wheels too!


Quote

You can have it one of two ways: either you're doing NIH in the full knowledge that there are other far more advanced systems (most of them too far ahead of you for you to catch up without a huge budget). Or you're treading the same path as several big names before you, and just don't really understand what the needs of online game development actually are,


Or you just dont have a clue what we've developed, not having been at CGDC and not even having seen the white paper yet.  And/or maybe you don't know why its improtant because, unliek virtually every actual serious MM developer we talked to at the show (who are all excited as hell by the tech) you have never actually built such a game.

I vote for the last possibiltiy myself.



Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

http://wiki.java.net/bin/view/Games/JeffFAQ
Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #23 - Posted 2004-03-30 21:18:29 »

I'm afraid Jeff edited his post whilst I was replying, so if this seems weird at points it's probably because I was replying to the original Smiley.

Quote

(1)  I can't.  Not the way thsi stack does. Show me a system where


Now that I know there's a whitepaper coming, I'll wait till I've read it before saying anything on your tech in particular. Note that I don't in any way mean to belittle what you've achieved; I just feel that Chris was wrongly (and knowingly) stating that no-one else had done similar (possibly identical) things. Note also that I made no comment on the effectiveness or otherwise of your work (and indeed I'm not sure where you got that impression: why do you think I'm "messing with [your] baby"?).

Quote

integrity that eliminates dupe bugs and youbve got the answer to just about every need of MM games today.


This is the third attempt to respond to this particular comment without replying in the same (or worse) tone. I read your words to imply (and I may be misunderstanding you here?) that you think a few problems such as duping, failover, and efficient processing power usage are the be-all and end-all of what makes MMOG development hard. I certainly don't swear by Gordon's 10 reasons (GDC03), but they're quite good as a starting point. How many of them does your solution solve?

If I've understood correctly, I personally feel you are missing the bigger picture; most of what you describe has such a tiny effect on the bottom line of MMOG development that in overall percentage terms a "not good but not bad" first stab at each of those problems generally is enough to never need to worry about them again. I'll say it again: none of them are the classic "big, hard problems" of MMOG development, perhaps with the exception of preventing dupes - but that's as much a side-effect of bad design and architecutre as a problem in it's own right. Getting them *very* efficient is no easy feat (and you're achievements here indeed sound impressive), but I can't help thinking of your old mantra about performance: find out what the bottleneck is before optimizing. I've never seen or heard of a system where the things you described were fatal bottlenecks; they're nice features to have, but are far from being "the answer to just about every MM game today".

But please, prove me wrong: show me a cost breakdown for MMOG development, deployment, and maintenance which justifies your belief. Even better, lay out for me (in simple terms so I don't misunderstand) examples of games that have suffered irreparable harm from them.

Quote

ROLFLOL.  I'm sorry but you are pullign my leg right?  The response times of J2EE are TOTALLy inappropriate for writing anything beyond puzzle or slow turn based games.  This is a stack that has as an outside limit for entire message turn around, entry to exit, in the 10s of ms.


You've read into my words something I didn't say nor imply. I never mentioned response times, nor had Chris. You've only now introduced that to this discussion. To re-iterate: the point I was making there was that the features Chris was touting could even be done with J2EE. I couldn't have been more explicit, in fact: I named them in the sentence you quoted!

Quote

Show me a system that does all that and is actually functioning somepalce I can see a demo.  Then we'll talk.


Despite many attempts, you (*not personally*) wouldn't even allow me to sign an NDA to talk to you. For more than a year. I'm sure it would be interesting, and we could have some very stimulating conversations, but after rebuff after rebuff after rebuff I've realised we've got better things to do with that time. Hence I'm not going to say anything about how our tech works, or how other techs we've seen work, interesting as it would be - it would take significant time to do each justice (I have a good idea of this because we have internal research reports for various competing technologies; most run to about 5 pages for the core analysis. Even just summarising that for each would take considerable time - and besides, it's an additional revenue stream for us, so I'd be loathe to just give it away free here).

Quote

Or you just dont have a clue what we've developed, not having been at CGDC and not even having seen the white paper yet.


As I said, I will certainly wait until I can read it before commenting on the tech (which I so far haven't done; you appear to be defending against an attack on your work that I didn't actually make? My apologies for the misunderstanding. I think I've said before that if you think I'm attacking you then you should feel free to email me and check - it was probably accidental)

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

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #24 - Posted 2004-03-30 22:15:12 »

Quote
This is the third attempt to respond to this particular comment without replying in the same (or worse) tone. I read your words to imply (and I may be misunderstanding you here?) that you think a few problems such as duping, failover, and efficient processing power usage are the be-all and end-all of what makes MMOG development hard. I certainly don't swear by Gordon's 10 reasons (GDC03), but they're quite good as a starting point. How many of them does your solution solve?


Yes, I think beign able to scale is the #1 issue with designign MMGs.  Most of the other problems (such as the absuridities of regions and shards) derive from this single problem.

For a user perspective the 4 biggest issues are player isolation (regions/sharding) , back end reliability (which is crud) , performance and bugginess/lost gameplay.  Ask any user.

From a developer pesrpsective the biggest isues are programming scaling reliably (no races, deadlocks, dupes etc),  persisting and acessing data, and handling  user load reliably in cost effective manner.  Secondary issues derive from the challenges, splitting your user base being a big problem.

This is why we get such a fantastic response from BOTH communities when they see the system in action.  It addresses both their needs.

I don't know this particualr list you mentioned, there are certainly many out there.  Thre are abour as many theories on good MM game deisgn as there are attendees at CGDC.  I suspect howevre that many of his problems are either higher level ones (how to create functional communities) or secondary effects from the primary ones I've listed.  

The design issues in general will be adressed as the tech issues get easier to solve, which is what the Sim Server is all about.  Other then that the system is purposefully game design neutral to allow these things to be addressed as a game designer sees fit.

As for the others, give me the list and I'll respond to it.

Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

http://wiki.java.net/bin/view/Games/JeffFAQ
Offline Jeff

JGO Coder




Got any cats?


« Reply #25 - Posted 2004-03-30 23:42:17 »

I found it. I responded to it.

Its a rather naive list really, but about 3/4 of his pointd have some reality to them.

And my answer is that, to one degree or another, the Sim Server and the new economic models it makes possible adress ALL of those.

http://www.java-gaming.org/cgi-bin/JGNetForums/YaBB.cgi?board=News;action=display;num=1080697150

Got a question about Java and game programming?  Just new to the Java Game Development Community?  Try my FAQ.  Its likely you'll learn something!

http://wiki.java.net/bin/view/Games/JeffFAQ
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #26 - Posted 2004-03-31 07:55:39 »

Quote


Yes, I think beign able to scale is the #1 issue with designign MMGs.  Most of the other problems (such as the absuridities of regions and shards) derive from this single problem.


Ok, here's a freebie: from sales talks with an excessive number of commercial games studios over the past 5 years, from 5-man indies, to internationals, and bestselling studios in between, I can assure you that the majority of games developers don't mind shards.

Quote

For a user perspective


Most studios are trying to make enough money to stay profitable. The sad truth is that the user perspective is only indirectly relevant. And, incidentally, off the top of my head I can think of two other showstoppers for the players that you missed.

Quote

I don't know this particualr list you mentioned, there are certainly many out there.  Thre are abour as many theories on good MM game deisgn as there are attendees at CGDC.


That's interesting. I've been visiting the conferences (even speaking at them), talking to the designers developers and producers, and selling to first-timers, and I've hardly seen any theories on MMOG design. We have a database of literally thousands of background documents (research, articles, surveys, etc) and the MMOG design section is almost empty (disregarding our own reports). Where have we not been looking?

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline jared888

Senior Newbie




Eat your own shorts. Leave mine alone.


« Reply #27 - Posted 2004-03-31 09:18:07 »

Quote
a few problems such as duping, failover, and efficient processing power usage are the be-all and end-all of what makes MMOG development hard. I certainly don't swear by Gordon's 10 reasons (GDC03), but they're quite good as a starting point. How many of them does your solution solve?



I have a question about this. What is the problem with duping? Seems a relatively easy way to get around this is to use objects ( this is Java, right?) and build in a serial number to every object. When you pick something up, it checks the serial. When you log on to a system, it does a serial check against all your items. It doesn't have to be a really big number or character string. And you use that to build your comparable interface at the same time.

I can see where this might cause the system to slow down, what with doing serial checks every time a player picks up an object. But you will have to do something along these lines anyways. As far as system resources go, start a comparable thread, let it run. If a player tries to dupe something, he/she might get away with it until the thread returns. Then add more processors.

Ok, now shoot me for talking about something I understand only superficially.

Beware the rabbit of the mind, for it gnaweth on the carrot of the soul.
Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 378
Projects: 3
Exp: 16 years


Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #28 - Posted 2004-03-31 11:09:14 »

Quote
beign able to scale is the #1 issue with designign MMGs.

I believe that issue #0 (hah, I'm a programmer) is designing the games in the first place. How do you make a game that's fun? Shards are not necessarily in use because of technical limitations at all - shards may be intrinsic to the problem that a huge online persistent world just might get boring. The more these "games" end up being "life simulations", the more like life they have to become, and the less interesting as games they are to the mainstream player.

That, at least, is an entirely non-technical, non-marketing perspective on the whole issue.

Here's some more, often very funny ramblings: http://mu.ranter.net/theory/printversion.html

How much of what he talks about is solved by technology? Mmhhhm. Perhaps some cool headed non-technical discussion is warranted to thrash out the problem domain for which the various pimped techical packages provide a solution before any lengthy exchanges of ignorance occur.

Cas Smiley

Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #29 - Posted 2004-03-31 11:39:37 »

Quote

I believe that issue #0 (hah, I'm a programmer) is designing the games in the first place. How do you make a game that's fun?


That's probably because you're someone trying to write games, not a Sun dept trying to break into an industry. FWIW, about 1/3 of games developers we speak to bring up the same issue as their number one problem (although that doesn't necessarily mean it IS their number one problem, just that it's the one that bothers them most at the start).

Quote

Shards are not necessarily in use because of technical limitations at all - shards may be intrinsic to the problem that a huge online persistent world just might get boring.


Indeed. Had the GTG been watching carefully, this has been debated at length for at least 2 years in public. I can think of many reasons both for and against the desirability of using shards. Shrug. I've even had (on occasion) a tough time persuading commercial studios that - from a technical perspective - they really don't want a sharded system.

Quote

http://mu.ranter.net/theory/printversion.html

How much of what he talks about is solved by technology?


He may be wrong on a lot of points, but along with LTM, waterthread, HDCS and the Laws, Mu is widely considered required reading for anyone in this market.

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