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Comments on: Palm Opens webOS Game Developer Forum

Palm Inc. took another step forward on webOS game development today, with the opening of their new "Game Developer Cafe" forum on the webOSdev portal. Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach posted the announcement on the Palm Developer Network Blog:

Game developers: Now's your chance to help Palm shape the future of mobile device game development on the webOS platform. Visit our latest developer forum, the webOS Game Developer Café, and tell us and the rest of the community about your webOS game development efforts.

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two of the more interesting threads

freakout @ 8/16/2009 9:56:54 PM # Q
Wolfenstein is probably the most technically impressive of the lot so far. (Although if it runs like the other web version I've played, it'll need a lot of optimisation to run smoothly on the Pre):
http://developer.palm.com/distribution/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=1285&sid=f4ec493ba5bbfc221b24c21954ef015f

Wobble Words looks very nicely polished:
http://developer.palm.com/distribution/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=1277&sid=f4ec493ba5bbfc221b24c21954ef015f

RE: two of the more interesting threads
jca666us @ 8/17/2009 4:24:40 AM # Q
Freak,

I will say, it's a valiant first effort.

Wobble words??? All I will say that it looks very nicely drawn.

Wolfenstein is utter crap - low resolution textures and fuzzy images! 25 fps on the guy's PC...LMAO!

Let's see something like Fieldrunners or Spore on the Pre - then I'll be impressed.


RE: two of the more interesting threads
hkklife @ 8/17/2009 5:36:47 AM # Q
Jan-June '09: Palm admits that the Pre will not have any "serious" games on it and neither the Pre hardware nor WebOS is intended to be a game playing or delivery platform.

June '09-Present (post iPhone 3GS) and Apple tablet + gaming rumors: Everyone and their brother (Palm included) suddently wants to take a piece of the action from Apple and Nintendo's DS.

Isn't it sad how Palm (and Microsoft's PPC/Win CE) had stuff YEARS before anyone else---relatively high-res BACKLIT color touchscreens, styli, non-cartridge/disk content delivery mediums, wireless capabiltiies (in some cases), and even the capability for a poor man's augmented reality experience (look at Arcade Reality on Palm OS for a nice example) with the Treo's camera and vibrating alarm. Yet other than the poor ol' underfunded and overlooked Tapwave, no serious attempts were ever made to do anything with any of those capabilities.

It's far too late now for Palm to make a run at the iPhone/iPod/DS juggernaut, but it's at least encouraging to see something taking place. Of course, I'll still point out that all of these button-less and stylus-free devices are only going to play certain types of games well. There's still no way to beat the decidedly unhip old d-pad and hard buttons or the WSAD + mouse (Wii included) for most "action" games!
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

RE: two of the more interesting threads
abosco @ 8/17/2009 5:59:42 AM # M Q
Have you tried a PSP? It's a lot of fun to play games on one of those. But the current version is large, the rest of the features are pretty average, and it still has those stupid disks. Sony still has a bad tendency to cripple some amazing innovations with selfish, proprietary formats that absolutely nobody wishes to adopt.

If you haven't tried a PSP, give it a whirl. I love the joystick.

RE: two of the more interesting threads
freakout @ 8/17/2009 6:11:06 AM # Q
^^ I nearly pulled the trigger on a PSP just for Wipeout Pure. (Best goddamn racing series ever made, bar none.) Couldn't bring myself to do it in the end, though - rationality won out. One killer game ain't enough. Same reason I don't own a DS yet, even with the lure of brand-new 2D Sonic games.

And damn straight on physical controls, Kris. It annoys me no end that Palm didn't keep the D-pad. I pray that it will return on future models.

RE: two of the more interesting threads
hkklife @ 8/17/2009 6:58:47 AM # Q
Yup, I've got a PSP 3000 and previously had the 2 earlier versions.

Great screen in the latest version and I am actually rather fond of the conrtol. I had an original DS briefly in '04-'05 but sold it due to being underwhelmed with everything on the platform other than the Metroid games.

Sony is on the right track with the PSP GO but it's still overpriced and will likely continue to languish on store shelves. But they're heading in the right direction .

(Tim, all of the PSP Wipeout titles are superb, as are many of the old school compilations such as the Sega Genesis/Megadrive collection, the SNK & Capcom collections etc etc).

Back OT: IMO, the d-pad is as likely to return on a future Palm model as is Graffiti Classic.
Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

RE: two of the more interesting threads
abosco @ 8/17/2009 7:00:35 AM # M Q
Agreed. I still have my original copy of Wipeout for Playstation. It's covered with dust and in a closet somewhere with all of the other 15 year old relics. I was never able to fully beat two games in my life. One was Jaguar for Sega CD, and the other was Wipeout for the original Playstation. I must see this new version you speak of.
RE: two of the more interesting threads
hkklife @ 8/17/2009 7:27:08 AM # Q
Continuing the Wipeout fetish:

Wipeout HD on PS3 is superb. The visuals are so good you think your eyeballs are gonna melt. However, Wipeout XL on PS1 still has the best-ever soundtrack (gotta love that mid-late 90s electronica!)

Pilot 1000->Pilot 5000->PalmPilot Pro->IIIe->Vx->m505->T|T->T|T2->T|C->T|T3->T|T5->Zodiac 2->TX->Verizon Treo 700P->Verizon Treo 755p->?

RE: two of the more interesting threads
abosco @ 8/17/2009 7:47:11 AM # M Q
Or those mid-90's Eurotrash voices.

ROCKITT!
LOINE!
MISSOILE!

RE: two of the more interesting threads
palmato @ 8/17/2009 10:12:49 AM # Q
Wipe out pulse over here. The psp (2000) is also great at playing h264, but it takes a bit to find out the right transcoding parameters.
Maybe, we old palm user should meet at pspfanboy....
--------------------------
Hey Admin: Why do we have to keep two profiles?
RE: two of the more interesting threads
alanh @ 8/17/2009 2:39:02 PM # Q
I don't see why a stylus would be the controller of choice much, if any gaming. The only times when a stylus is better than a finger is when extreme accuracy is needed, i.e. on the order of a few pixels, or you're trying to do handwriting. In just about every other circumstance, a finger is better.

Sometimes do miss the d-pad on my Pre though....

Motion and accelerometer input are good for some types of gaming, and they absolutely lead to creative interfaces. Sometimes, when a legacy game is ported to a "gesture" platform, it leads to bad interfaces. For many styles of games, dpads and buttons are vastly superior.
-alan

RE: two of the more interesting threads
freakout @ 8/17/2009 4:31:37 PM # Q
^^ Alan, I think the stylus works best for strategy games and Sims-type games. But you're right, it is limited.

On Wipeout:
Being a Sega Saturn kid (I have a thing for underdog platforms...) I was left out in the cold when the original Wipeouts were storming the PSX. (The less said about the awful Saturn ports, the better.) But fast-forward to adulthood and the wonder that is having your own income. I bought a PS2 the very day after playing Guitar Hero for the first time, and realised that I could now indulge all my Wipeout fantasies. Picked up the whole PSX trilogy for a song on eBay. Good times!

You're right about the soundtracks too, Kris - after Wipeout 2097 (no XL here, thankyouverymuch), Wipeout 3's in-house soundtrack was a pretty bitter letdown.

RE: two of the more interesting threads
abosco @ 8/18/2009 5:37:43 AM # M Q
The first game I ever played on my PS1 was Ridge Racer. After being blown away by those 1994 graphics, I found out a little trick. Apparently, the entire game was loaded upon startup and fit in the Playstation's 2MB RAM. You could then load an audio CD, and the game would play your music while you raced. I was absolutely floored.

By the way, I agree about the wonders of a job and steady income. I can turn the AC to whatever setting I like. Maybe we should find a job for Mike Cane?

RE: two of the more interesting threads
freakout @ 8/18/2009 4:13:27 PM # Q
Hehehe. Too bad for Sony those 1994 graphics weren't so impressive in 2006: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaBUeINW_3s

"It's Ridge Racer! RIIIIIIIDGE RACER!"

Poor Kaz.

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gaming on Classic

freakout @ 8/17/2009 6:27:37 AM # Q
A thought I had: MotionApps should make the virtual PalmOS hard buttons in Classic configurable. So for games, you could stick the d-pad off to the side and rearrange the hard buttons in a cross shape. It'd work great for some of those old PalmOS shooters and the like (Skyforce, for instance) where the d-pad-in-the-centre arrangement always felt unnatural.
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I really don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre

bhartman34 @ 8/17/2009 8:09:02 AM # Q
I mean, for all the talk of WebOS being a "Web"-based OS, the underlying code isn't CSS, HTML, or Javascript. The underlying code is Linux, which, IIRC, is largely written in C. There's no reason I can see why the Pre can't become a decent gaming platform, within the limitations of the hardware. Granted, Doom isn't exactly state of the art, but if something like pBoom can be ported, there's no reason that other Linux games can't make it to the Pre, and if that can happen, then I don't see the problem with decent gaming. Will games like Spore be ported? Maybe not, but that could also have to do with licensing, more than with the abilities of the Pre (not to mention the fact that libraries may not port over quickly).

RE: I really don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre
SeldomVisitor @ 8/17/2009 8:58:25 AM # Q
Of COURSE it could use native applications to do gaming - THAT is not what the whole discussion is about.

The discussion is about Palm saying applications ARE NOT NATIVE with very few exceptions.

That means HTML/Javascript in the Pre's case.

RE: I really don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre
bhartman34 @ 8/17/2009 12:01:30 PM # Q
SeldomVisitor wrote:
Of COURSE it could use native applications to do gaming - THAT is not what the whole discussion is about.

The discussion is about Palm saying applications ARE NOT NATIVE with very few exceptions.

That means HTML/Javascript in the Pre's case.

The applications being non-native isn't the issue. "Native" vs. "non-native", the way you're using it, is only about the SDK. The platform is Linux-based, and you can write apps for that regardless of what the SDK lets you do. The most you have to do, in relation to the SDK, is find a way to put a shortcut for the app in the launcher. I don't know how to do that, but it's not a matter of making a native application with the SDK, it's a matter of allowing access to native applications through the launcher. It's a slightly different concept, because it doesn't involve rewriting libraries to work under WebOS, etc. WebOS lets you run all kinds of "native" applications, once you get to the command line. The challenge is in getting there via the UI. The homebrew terminal app already serves as a sort of model for this. I'm not sure what the technical details are, but if a launcher can be made to launch a terminal app,it should be possible to launch other "native" things through the UI, as well.

RE: I really don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre
SeldomVisitor @ 8/17/2009 12:58:49 PM # Q
Perhaps I wasn't clear enough.

Palm has said "No native applications".

They "enforce" that "No native applications" mandate by not publishing the native API that a native application would need to use. Instead, they have wrapper functions that can be called by Javascript functions that hide what the native API functions are doing.

Example - if I don't tell you that my "nativeDrawPoint" function takes arguments as "nativeDrawPoint(applicationcolortable, applicationcolortableindex, context, x, y, z)" but instead just tell you to use the javascript function "drawPoint(color, x, y)", how are you going to get/compute the rest? Of course that javascript function can itself compute and call a number of different functions before getting into the native API, including using data structures with unknown origin/contents that themselves are part of the "native API".

But, in any case and to address the Subject once again, native applications of COURSE are possible.

RE: I really don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre
freakout @ 8/17/2009 4:23:35 PM # Q
bhart, I reckon that Palm will eventually offer devs methods of developing WebKit plugins that can run native code, much as Classic (or Quake Live on the PC) works now. That way they can still play nicely in the card interface.

There's already an effort from some to roll their own: http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/Browser_Plugins

But first they're going to build out the HTML/CSS/JS tools, as they've oft-stated.

RE: I really don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre
jca666us @ 8/17/2009 8:26:12 PM # Q
>I reckon that Palm will eventually offer devs methods of developing WebKit
>plugins that can run native code, much as Classic (or Quake Live on the PC)
>works now.

You don't have to be Nostradamus to foresee some attempts at extending the SDK to offer better performance. HTML is good for a subset of apps., support for binary executables is where it's at.

>There's already an effort from some to roll their own: http://www.webos-
>internals.org/wiki/Browser_Plugins

You've been rolling your own for far too long - LOL!

RE: I really don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre
bhartman34 @ 8/17/2009 11:00:07 PM # Q
freakout wrote:
bhart, I reckon that Palm will eventually offer devs methods of developing WebKit plugins that can run native code, much as Classic (or Quake Live on the PC) works now. That way they can still play nicely in the card interface.

There's already an effort from some to roll their own: http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/Browser_Plugins

But first they're going to build out the HTML/CSS/JS tools, as they've oft-stated.

The homebrew terminal app apparently uses a plugin.

There's really no way for Palm to "enforce" whether people write applications for the Pre in HTML/Javascript/CSS or in any other language they choose, as long as it runs on Linux. The limiting factor is how you write the wrapper that sees the "native" code.

That's what I meant by saying that I don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre.

It's true that it'd be nice for OpenGL to be on the Pre, though. I'm sure the homebrewers are on the case...

RE: I really don't see what's so hard about gaming on the Pre
freakout @ 8/17/2009 11:21:12 PM # Q
^^ True on there being no real way for Palm to enforce languages - although there is the possibility they'll only allow "pure" Mojo apps to be distributed via the App Catalog.
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