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Games Entertainment

Indrema No More 96

Posted by timothy
from the good-luck-to-the-indrema-cast-and-crew dept.
Captain_Frisk writes: "According to videobusiness.com - Indrema is officially dead It's a shame, but was there really room for it anyway? The article basically says that they ran out of money, and had to jump ship. The founder has found employment with a Japanese electronics company, and plans to create a similar device, without game support. They said they would release their code if they went under... wonder if this changes any of those plans." And it won't be the last time that a company with seemingly cool products expires people even get to sample those products. We've had a few stories about Indrema before, including an interview with CEO John Gildred. What I'm curious about now is what happens to the games in development, and whether the SDK is useful for producing non-Indrema Linux games.
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Indrema No More

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Aparently you haven't visited www.lokigames.com recently? Seems to be a few games available between Loki and some of the other lesser know Linux gaming companies.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's questionable that Indrema had superior technology. SWF, for example, is a great little animation player but I wouldn't want it to run Apache. Linux OS is coded for the benifit of Network administration and includes tons of hooks and calls that would go unused in a gaming platform. Do you remember Apple's attempt to sell a MacOS - based game system with the Pippin? It could hardly keep up with the cheaper systems of the time. Game systems and computer systems are fundamentally different... Why would we want a console that was originally designed to do something else? Would you want to be running your network off of a TurboDuo?

    And for that matter, do we really need a "Free" gaming platform? If developers want to create software without paying royalties to hardware developers they can (and do) develop for Wintel / Linuxtel. But the benefits of hardware and marketing support that only a royalty-based system can provide are insurmountable in an industry where $50 million dollars is too little to successfully launch a system. I would love to see a system akin to the Yarooze, whereby hobbyists could code games and burn them for limited distribution. But is anyone going to cry a tear if Blizzard has to pay 2 dollars into the development of the hardware on their next 100 million seller?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gee whiz, were the people who were behind this
    thing legally blind?

    Indrema never had a chance, even if the hardware
    and software were outstanding (they most definitely werent).

    If Atari had sponteanously lept back to life and proposed building a new console to take on the world.... _THAT_ would have been more likely to happen than a successful Indrema launch.

    Look...this is how it's going to go down:

    - PS2 will continue it's apparent popularity for the next few months
    - Nintendo Game cube will be released this fall (I assume...wouldnt be suprised if it's delayed till next year) ... and totally fall flat on it's face.
    - Microsoft will release the XBox - thus dropping a H-Bomb on their competitors. IOW, it's all over. Bye bye PS2, bye bye Nintendo. See ya, wouldnt wanna be ya!

    PC and console game development thus merges into one. This is bound to happen, because the Xbox will be so much cheaper to develop for than any console, AND be much more powerful. Look, the MIPS, PPC, and SuperH, Emotion Engine, etc chips the consoles of today are based on are technological dead-ends. None can begin to compete with good ol' X86 for power and bang-for-the-buck. That goes triple for the video chips -- Nvidia just rules the 3D world with an iron fist now (along w/ MS, which owns Direct3D which has out=evolved OpenGL)

    Indrema was just a bug that was waiting to be stepped on.

    Well, um, _SQUISH_
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...because it's cheaper! Sony and Nintendo still insist on developers kissing their collective pinky-rings, XBox's DirectX is well documented, the tools to develop for it are dirt cheap, plus they can consolidate their PC porting efforts with Xbox development, saving even more money.

    ...and it's better! The Xbox has more MHz than either of their competitors, a way better video chip, and it will have most of the attachment options of a regular PC. PS2 and NGC are still part of the 1980's-welded-shut-box w/ all sorts of proprietary custom chips and crap. MIPS chips are wimpy, and the "gecko" is a castrated G4. Neither one has the equivalent of MMX or SSE.
    Further, DirectX is rich, robust, and standardized -- develoipers will eat it up, rather than waste a lot of time learning assembly language for some oddball custom chip.

    "Because they're Microsoft" is a valid argument as well. Microsoft hasnt been marketing PocketPC's, but they will carpet-bomb the media with Xbox ads, bank on it. Microsoft -WANTS- to dominate this market, and it'll be like taking candy from a baby.

    If the PocketPC has failed, it's failed on price. Anyone who's used one will tell you it kicks the living poo out of any PalmOS handheld. Color, better LCD, way faster processor, better apps, much better integration with apps everyone uses, plays MP3's and video w/o stupid addon cards.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What? Slackware has never asked me for my monitor's refresh rate to install...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:35PM (#300045)
    I believe it was better that this console died now, instead of facing the grim market reality it would have brought itself to: the fact that no one would buy it, because they've never heard of it.

    Forget that the company was just started. Forget that they are using a "controversial" operating system. Forget that they were going to use an entirely new model for their business. Forget that letting any developer in the world develop for a console.

    But don't forget that they would be competing against Microsoft and Sony. And, don't forget that they would be competing with both companies on two fronts: developers and consumers.

    Note that I didn't count Nintendo due to the intended audience. I doubt many games targeted toward a young audience would have been developed for Indrema, since they are typically large-name labels (i.e., Pokemon and other cartoons).

    Developers want a system that's easy to code for, sure. I mean, what's easier than a system where you have access to the operating system? However, developers also want a box that's basically proven to have a large user base (Sony) or proven to have the muscle to have a large user base (Microsoft + $500 Million marketing campaign == Xbox shoved down everyone's throat).

    That brings up consumers. If you went up to the average person on the street and asked what a Playstation is, I'm sure you'd get a good response. Ask them what Xbox is, and maybe you'll get a good response (not as much as Playstation though). Ask them what Indrema is, and they might think it's some vehicle for space flight or something like that.

    Make no mistake: Indrema would have died on the shelves of average retailers, who have tons of promotional material for other game consoles. If Indrema didn't show them some love as well, they may not even have gotten shelf space.

    It was a great idea, it just had no market feasibility to make money.
  • In 10 years, will people still be claiming the Indrema was the best console game system ever? :)

    - A.P.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • Microsoft's not first to market in the console arena. They're not second. Hell, they're not even third. How will they magically have the entire video game console market locked up? Simply saying "because they're Microsoft" is ignorant. Products succeed and fail (even in an oligopoly like the video game console market) based more on merits than brand name.

    Don't believe me? Look how well Microsoft's done in the handheld arena.

    - A.P.

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • To install CLI, no. To get a GUI working, yes.

    (or at least that was the case the last time I tried Slackware, which was v3.0 with XFree86 v3.x).
  • Umm, the only times I've posted in this forum about Indrema in the past were to mention how it was unlikely to ever be released. And I was right. =]

    Linux is not the be-all end-all of operating systems.

    [I personally have deleted all vestiges of Linux from my system due to it pissing me off to no end]
  • The problem with Indrema is that their plans did not include the very latest cutting edge graphics technology. That's right - if only they'd designed their console around the Bitboys XBA 3d chipset [bitboys.fi], I'm sure there would have been plenty of buzz, and they'd have had no trouble getting further funding!

    (also, I think AROS [aros.org] would make a more suitable console OS than Linux)

  • What games? No one is releasing any games for linux anymore. Where is SMAC? Mindrover?
  • IF I can't buy it then it is not a product for sale...
  • Sony already owns the console market. Even Sega is dead, and it has quite a few nice games. Did anyone really expect a completely new gaming platform to be successful when it has no existing games and is made by a totally unknown company?

    Out of all the dot-coms that went out of business this year, 99% should not have been in business in the first place. You can think os the current death toll as a sort of cleansing of the market.

    ___
  • there is a *huge* difference though. Sony is a very large company with enough money to develop the console and pay for the advertising campaign. Even before Playstation, every Joe Shmoe knew what Sony is. The very name of the company is usually associated with quality, though overpriced, products. Now tell me who knows what Indreama is. The name of the company is interesting though -- kind of underscores that it existed only in a dream.

    ___
  • by David E. Smith (4570) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:26PM (#300055)
    ... if they wanted to go out with a real bang, they could take whatever work they'd done on the DVD player capabilities and release it. It's bound to be better than the currently-available options (Xine [sourceforge.net] and OMS [linuxvideo.org]), and it's certainly better than the vaporware that's out there (alleged releases from InterVideo and Cyberlink).

    Heck, it could even be made into an actual product, if anyone's left to develop it. I'd buy the bloody thing...

  • I think they should have done a limited release (for hackers) release of the hardware and bundled it with the buggy software, dvd player, os with what patches they had. All that for $300+shipping and I might have bought one to hack on. Perhapse it would gain a following. Of course $300 may not have been enought to cover hardware. Open source your code. Or at least sell your offical DVD playing software. Gunk
  • Seriously. Having linux doesn't magically make your product for you. Especially if your product is hardware!

    Oh, and sorry about the -1, Flamebait. What can I say? The moderators are retarded. But that's why I browse at -1.
  • I understand your bitterness, and indeed share it. But, just to show the other side, consider this:

    Off all the thousands of decisions we have to make on a regular basis, we can only reasonably pick a few to give a full in-depth analysis of all options. Should the game console you buy be one of them? Well, for starters, it is hardly an earth-shaking decision. In addition, the key thing that matters for a console is games -- their availability and quality. So in this case, if you see lots of advertisements for games that look cool on a particular console, then it probabably _is_ a good decision to buy that console.

    Or another way to put it -- game consoles are peculiar in that having a multi-million dollar marketing campaign behind one may actually indicate that it is better product.
  • And before you flame me about how wonderful the Linux OS woulda been, think of this: If linux was such a great gaming platform, then I'd expect to find quite a few games for it already.

    Why would you expect that? It's a developing market. The number of Linux users is currently small as a market for games, and thus developers are reluctant to target it. Really, the size of the Linux game market has nothing to do with its suitability as a game platform at this point.
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:26PM (#300060) Homepage
    Um... There were a four games listed as "release titles". Three were Loki ports, and the 4th was Tux Racer.

    That's right. Tux Racer.

    Now granted Tux Racer is a lot of fun, but when that is one of your biggest-name games you're going to have a hard time generating excitement.
  • Judging by the screenshots in the full article Next Generation did on this system, the games didn't look like much. Some looked like they wouldn't even belong on the Playstation. The concept of MAME + emulators in a tiny box appealed to me though ..
  • They'll be back, again and again, and again.
  • Surely they must have built a couple of prototypes...
    They must have at least put some hardware together? It would be interesting to see what their controller looked like, for instance.

    The other thing I'd like to know is whether nVidia were really going to supply them with a custom graphics chip, like Gildred claimed, or whether they were just going to use a standard GeForce 3 piece.

    It's funny actually, although I'd always ranted about how it was never going to work and how Gildred obviously didn't really understand the games industry... I am quite sad to see it go. I, for one, was looking forward to trying to install Windows on it... ;)
  • Erm... the G4 has AltiVec. Not that you're right anyway.

    The Gekko chip is a G3, with its own multimedia enhanced instruction set mode, so yes, it can also do SIMD.

    Next off, MS has had to boost XBox specs *because* of GameCube. They don't plan on replacing the XBox for a few years, meanwhile, Sony's already looking at PS3 development. MS is just trying to make the system last a few more years in the long run.

    X86 is power hungry and inefficient. As long as they stay tied to all of the backwards compatibility of the chip, they're going to be in trouble.

    Next off, no one would dream of coding in full assembly anymore for a game. It's mostly C, even for GameCube, by virtue of it being a desktop CPU. The multitexturing capabilities also work to NGC's advantage, and you have to remember the next thing that Nintendo has going for them. They don't really *need* third party developers to get anywhere. Rare, Game Freak, and a few others can propel them to remarkable success. Hell, they can probably ride another Shigeru Miyamoto hype machine all the way to the bank if things get tough. Microsoft lacks any single brilliant developer, and gamers recognize that level of celebrity. Just like Squaresoft for PS2, or Hideo Kojima for whatever he decided to release (he's the only reason Konami hasn't tanked.)

    Finally, even though no one does full blown ASM anymore for a console, partial ASM is still done, and will be, even for XBox. You know why? Raw speed. If you have a stable target, you code as close as you can to the metal to squeeze out all that you can from what you've got. Just ask John Carmack.

    X86 doesn't make things easier, just more familiar. Once people realize that MS was right, that the XBox *isn't* a PC, they'll hit the same hurdles that other consoles have felt.

    Factoid from Namco's Soul Calibur team: They claimed to have maxed out the Dreamcast's capabilities with SC. To be honest, it's a beautiful game, and they were probably right, or at least very close. They could have just coded targeting CE and DirectX, but didn't. For the same reason, the instant that someone codes an XBox specific 3d engine, it will blow away anything on the PC. It's just like if you write a game that only works on your system. You can rely on things like the read speed of your hard disk, CD-ROM drive, your specific overclocked video cards latency, etc. It will look amazing on your box, and be a lot of C/C++ calling custom ASM routines. But it won't work anywhere else.

    XBox will be good. Maybe not great, but it'll work just fine as a games box. That said, I won't buy one until there's a game that I need to play. Zone of the Enders alone made my PS2 worth it. Soul Calibur was nice, but Phantasy Star Online caused me to realize that I can't be without a Dreamcast. And Rogue Squadron managed to sell me not only an N64, but also the rumble pack and memory expansion. I don't see anything that's making me jump to get an XBox.
    Raptor
  • are people so stupid that they cannot analyze *REAL* items against one another except to weigh their Markatroid Interst(TM)?

    Yes.

    The average IQ is 100. This is not very smart at all. Half the population is stupider than that.

    Next silly question?
    _____
  • The source code to this box is already freely available. All that the SDK had was OpenAL, GCC, OpenGL(Mesa), X, and a few other nickknacks. Nothing REALLY earth shattering.

    I would wager there is no other code, since their IESDK is supposed to be up to version .9 by March 2001, and it's only up to version .3

    Magnwa
  • Uhh.. nope. It didnt' come with a digital vcr. It didn't come with a DVD-ROM. It came with nothing. They never even made a prototype. At least not a working one.. because they had NO CERTIFICATION STANDARDS for games, nor an SDK! None of this stuff ever came out at all. Why are we all acting as though this stuff actually existed?
  • I'd expect you to be educated enough to know how to spell "their", but you don't.
  • (BTW, the only reason the Xbox might succeed is that Microsoft can afford to hemorrage cash for years -- not to mention their serious marketing power.)

    And you don't think the mere fact issue of the XBOX specs won't have at least something to do with the XBOX's success? Or perhaps the fact that Sega is now porting games to the XBox? Jet Set Radio Future is reason enough. Here is a site [coremagazine.com] that contains previews for some upcoming XBOX titles. However, I'll save you some time and suggest just looking at a 9meg MPEG of Double Steal [coremagazine.com]. With graphics like this, Microsoft should just save their money on marketing and just worry about getting enough XBOXes out to the stores in time.

    It's too bad about the Indrema. My impression is that that they never really intended to make another video game console, but a sort of hybrid TIVO/WebTV/DVD with gaming as secondary. Unfortunately, the gaming aspects are what drove the hype. Maybe if they dropped the specs to the point where they could sell these at profit for 300-400$, they'd be doing okay right now... i know many people including myself who would easily pay $300 just to have a networkable, python-programmable TiVO...

    If Indrema was really intent on competing with the likes of Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, I'm sure that they would have picked a more catchy name and appealing box design, maybe even hire the same guy who designed the Xtrem [slashdot.org]. d:^)

    Pablo

  • They said that they would release all of their SDK stuff as open source if they went under. Cool, maybe there's some useful stuff there.

    What I would like to see are open hardware designs. Some of us may want to build an Indrema or something like it. Chances are, few people will build one (opting for NLX designs instead, but I'm not all that impressed with NLX), but the learning potential is great.

    Remember when Compaq open the hardware design of the Itsy? I didn't build one, but I went over the schematics to see how they designed it.

    That's what I really would like to see now that there's no hope for me ever buying one from them. I would have been first in line, sigh...
  • Small, but important, distinction:

    Dreamcast is dead. Sega are most assuredly not dead, having AAA releases scheduled for all major platforms (PS2, X-Box, GBA, and surely GameCube sooner or later).

    Sega are very much alive, my friend, and scaring the bejesus out of EA :)

  • I was looking forward to playing some Indrema games while listening to my Kerbango.
  • So what you are saying is, that basically what they should have done is marketed it as a computer?

    Heh. Here's a concept...

    Install a user friendly VCR-Like interface on top of Linux... simple funcitons... load game... play CD/DVD, etc... the stuff we see in most consoles with a few extras.

    Then, mount a DVD-CD-R drive in it. Give it four controller ports. Include a Keyboard, Joypad, and Mouse. Then include a disc with a very basic self booting mini-linux distro that comes with a web-browser and some other basic applications. Add an option for an internal IDE Hard Disc.

    It would be the C64/Amiga 500 all over again.

    If Microsoft had any brains what-so ever, the X-Box would be doing this, too.

    Consoles are getting so advanced that soon it will be reasonable expectation for them to do more than just boot games.

    With DVD-CD-R combo drives popping out of the woodwork, there's no reason to go with a static ROM disc when a standard FileSystem for re-writable media could be built into a console or OS.



    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • Actually, many UK Dreamcast games ask if your TV supports 60Hz or just 50Hz :)
    --
  • Well, John Gildred (founder and CEO of indrema) will be on #indrema @ irc.openprojects.net tommorow at 7:30pm EDT (2330 GMT IIRC). That would be wednesday April 11, 2001. He will be explaining exactly what happened, the possibility of an indrema.org (ran by the community, for general linux gaming stuff), and what will happen with the source code. I think it would be nice if everyone came to it, and then started doing all the ranting and flaming. At least the flames will be informed (When I learned of indrema being dead from John earlier today, I cried).

    -------------
  • "I'm curious about now is what happens to the games in development"

    Nobody was developing any games for Indrema. Why do you think that they could not get funding?
  • We didn't really expect anything more, did we? I mean, the quality of the MS hype was so much higher than the Indrema hype that we all knew they couldn't compete! Hell, MS could even afford to shell out for a copy of Photoshop! Do you know how expensive that shit is? Indrema had to touch up all their fake screenshots with a 2 year old copy of the gimp (They couldn't afford the network bandwidth to download a new one.)

    As Evil as Sony is, they at least have a chance of competing on a hype-by-hype basis. I mean, look at that PS9 commercial. By the time the MS X-Box hype machine kicks into overdrive indicating that the X-Box is a mere 2 years out, the PS5 hype will be quite competitive with it.

    Let this be a lesson to you: Open source programmers may put out some damn fine quality code, but they can't hype to save their lives.

  • Well, at least there is only NTSC, PAL, or SECAM, and one standard per country for TVs, nothing like the all the different resolutions, scan rates, etc in the computer world.
  • Since Sega is letting others make Dreamcast compatible systems, it's too bad Indreama couldn't have made a mutiplatform machine. One that plays Indrema/Linux/Dreamcast games.
  • Open source programmers may put out some damn fine quality code, but they can't hype to save their lives.

    Oh, i donno about that. The linux hype machine is effective enough that:

    • people think linux is stable
    • people think linux is scalable
    • people think linux is the best UNIX ever
    • people think linux is "Ready for the desktop"
    • people think Microsoft steals linux and GPL code on a regular basis
    • people think that somehow a console running linux should be an advantage compared to every other console on the market

    ... and so on. yet in fact, none of these are true at all! i guess i should really run a sed 's/people/some people/' on my list...but you get the idea :)

    Anyhow, if thats not some fantastically effective hype, i dont know what is!

  • I'm not disagreeing with you, but:

    Where was sony before playstation 1 ? :)

    Anyway, back to Xbox vs PS2..
    Lets look at a few quick advantages..

    Sony: the incumbant, japanese, lots of announced franchise titles (some exclusive)

    Microsoft: 10x the market cap of sony, half of sony's net worth available as _cash on hand_., extremely persistant, some of the best developer tools anywhere, 100% "we love developers" targeted console

    Personally, i think the Xbox will do ok. Probably wont dethrone PS2, but i think it will do ok. There will be some nice games for it. Many hardcore gamers will end up with both PS2 and Xbox just for the PS2 exclusive titles. But xbox will sell, and sell enough so that MS can justify making an Xbox2, and perhaps later on an Xbox3.

    With rare few exceptions, by the time MS gets to version 3 of something, the competition is fucked.
  • I remember that they wrote an X server designed for TV screens. Not exactly a "complete" X server but a minimalisitic X server. I'm fairly sure that they had other stuff they programmed themselves, but that's the only thing I can remember off the top of my head.
  • No. That isn't really what I meant. Mostly I was just trying to say that I admired the way they believed they could do it, even though from square one everyone said that if they didn't have a billion dollars to spend in initial production and another billion to spend in advertising then they couldn't suceed.

    But they were sort of going to market it as a computer. The thing could play MP3's and movies and you could surf the internet with it.

    What I liked about the hardware, that I thought could be applied to other comptuers was the modularity. Unlike, most consoles theirs was upgrade-able. You just unsnap the CPU/motherboard, pull it out, insert a new one and snap it closed. With computer you have to unscrew the cover of the case, unscrew a bunch of other stuff on the inside, muck around, screw everything back in. It's a pain and it's fairly easy to break something or shock it with static electricity.

    They had some other fairly cool ideas too.

  • I read so many comments that act as if Indrema failed because of the competition. But that's not true.

    Indrema didn't have any competition because it never reached the market.

    The reason Indrema failed is because it couldn't raise any funding to get started.

    Sure, if Indrema had produced a finished product, it may well have still failed. But that never happenned and so we'll never know. Just because investors don't like the idea doesn't mean it's not a good one. Remember these are the same morons who bought Internet Grocery stock last year.

    Actually... I doubt that if I had money I would invest in Indrema. But I still think they're pretty cool. They dreamed big. Some of their ideas about where computers were going were pretty inciteful. Imagine computers so easy to use your grandmother could upgrade the hard drive or add ram. It will be another 7 years before we start seeing that kind of half decent design in ordinary PC's.
  • Indrema - the only video game system that requires you to know the refresh rate of your TV to install :) Hey, I know my refresh rate on my TV. It's up up down down left right left right a b b a.
  • Its only major advantage was the linux OS (if you even call this an advantage).

    Well, to its credit it had one other advantage. The box was intended to have the same recording capability as a TiVO, so they would have been able to aim this at more than one market.

    That alone probably wouldn't have saved the system either, but it was another advantage.

  • by jvmatthe (116058) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @06:05PM (#300087) Homepage
    Unless things have changed drastically, the SDK was never nothing more than a bunch of pieces of Linux that were already open source.

    From their IESDK description:

    The following API's are supported in the IESDK:
    • OpenGL (Mesa3D implementation included as of v0.3) [Mesa is already open source.]
    • OpenAL (open source implementation included as of v0.3) [Everything for OpenAL is open source, AFAIK. No doubt Mike or Joe or someone will beat me if I'm wrong. Nothing new here.]
    • OpenStream (open source implementation to be added in v0.9) [Note how far off this is...version 0.9! The stuff on the website is 0.3. Vapor.]
    • Xtrema (open source implementation to be added in v0.5) [Still very far off, but not as bad as OpenStream.]
    • DRI (open source implementation included as of v0.3) [Already open source. Nothing new here, except that NVIDIA hardware doesn't work with DRI (as in the DRI part of XFree86). Kind of silly.]
    • DRM (currently closed source version to be added in v0.9) [With NVIDIA hardware and presumably NVIDIA drivers, how else could it be? Silliness.]

    I'm willing to bet that they can make good on their bet to release everything the developed as open source...there's probably nothing to release.

  • ;Tell 'em what else they could have gotten Well for starters it did have a DVD player, nice. It also had the capability to be a digital VCR with its 10gb harddrive. The L600 also had its own ethernet connection, network gaming anyone? I think the hardware made it worth the price. Then the open source developing, come on, I mean who could pass up the chance to use that 600mhz processor to make pong! I wouldn't have passed it up.
  • Hell yeah, more power to nintendo. And this time around development for the gamecube will be much easier. They have so much pull behind them. I have played games like Crazy Taxi and Tony hawk, and they are fun, but games like Zelda and Metroid are beyond that, I can get emotionally attached to them and can still get tense when I face big boss. Its stuff like that that sony doen't have, sega didn't have, and microsoft probably won't have. Also, Microsoft's targeted audience is the older audience. I can't believe no one has noticed it yet, but no one really associated Microsoft with fun. Think about all the people in accounts payable(tm) who use Microsoft all day long. Do you think they want to buy their kids a freaking x-box? Eh, I don't think so.
  • Your points are completly valid, I agree with all of them, however sony fucked up big with the playstation 2 and the shit will hit the fan financially. A choice between a gamecube or xbox and indrema might be in order.
  • by DrXym (126579) on Wednesday April 11, 2001 @03:10AM (#300091)
    I agree with most of your points to a certain extend but I totally disagree that Linux isn't stable.

    It's extremely stable. I can't even recall the last time I had a kernel panic even though I run it every day as a router on one machine and as a desktop on another. On the other hand w2k (whilst better than NT 4.0) which I also run daily crashes about once a week for me for one reason or another. I also use Mac OS 9.1 daily and this is by far the worst for stability and unrecoverable app crashes.

    As for the other points.

    • Scalability. I believe Linux is pretty scalable already, far more than any other kernel. Obviously if you're running a high end database or a 16 CPU box you may hit some of its limitations but it's fine for the rest of us. It scales downwards well too.
    • Best Unix ever. Arguably it is if your criteria counts acessibility, price, hardware support. It certainly isn't performance wise but it's good enough for most tasks.
    • Ready for the desktop. Linux will be ready when the distros pay some attention to usability. The likes of Ximian will help a lot here.
    • Microsoft stealing code. They wouldn't dare steal the code wholesale for fear of being caught but I don't doubt their engineers sneak a peek at GPL code when they want to see how to do something.
    • Linux being the best for consoles. Linux makes a rock solid foundation for consoles, handhelds, network appliances, set top boxes etc. with significant advantages to manufacturers such as zero licence costs and complete ability to chop and change it around. However, consumers have no interest in what OS their PDA or Tivo is running. They just expect the thing to work properly. The likes of Indrema and Agenda seem to have forgotten this, appealing the geek community to bail them out.
  • I was thinking more along the lines of the 30 man code in Contra on the original NES, up down left right b a start. It was the first game code published in Nintendo Power, and one of the first game codes I remember being published anywhere...
  • The XBox, featuring Windows 2000, seems to have developed a lot of momentum, despite being a network operating system. Anyway, how do you play online games without network capability?
  • we'll have to h4x0r our X-Box... or just run a PC on top of our TV. Still, I hope they open-source everything that they haven't yet, so we can hack out our set-top Linux box that's faster than the Dreamcast.

    Tell me what makes you so afraid
    Of all those people you say you hate

  • Being an unknown is one thing, but WHY DIDNT They try advertising? Why not try to let more people know?

    Same reason they closed their doors- not enough money and no more VCs willing to take risks.

    Josh Sisk
  • by FortKnox (169099) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:36PM (#300096) Homepage Journal
    It didn't have any big game developers or publishers set to write games for it.
    The system was going to try to break into a market where veteran Sega just failed.
    Its only major advantage was the linux OS (if you even call this an advantage).

    It really isn't surprising that it failed. The market is rough, and you need to have something special to make your mark. Indrema didn't have anything out of the ordinary. And before you flame me about how wonderful the Linux OS woulda been, think of this: If linux was such a great gaming platform, then I'd expect to find quite a few games for it already.

    The SDL is still a work in progress. Once this comes to par, we might have something to compete with DirectX, but nothing is ready at this time. Don't give up on the idea of a Linux gaming platform, just keep it on the backburner right now...
  • With Capcom(Street Fighter fame) closing it's arcade division, NeoGeo US is DOA(Fatal Fury and Bust a Move), Sega(Virtual Fighters, Daytona USA) is slowing it arcade production, and Time Warner/Midway/Atari Arcade(Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and Area 51) stoping production why not make an open source arcade machine?

    Hell, I've been toying with the idea for years. Anyone interested let me know [mailto]. We could have a standard setup where someone could pop in a CD-ROM and have whole new system.

  • Ever try to develope for a PS2?

  • I wasn't planning on buying one anyways. The market is too crowded already. Especially now that Microsoft has a console on the horizon. But I'm planning on getting a GameBoy Advance and a Gamecube. The PS2 is just too expensive and it doesn't have any games I want to play and my Dreamcast is dying, so it will be time to upgrade this fall.

    Amigori

  • What high-titled games did they have coming out for it anyway? I don't see any.
  • I'm not surprised, however I'm disapointed that there are not many companies left to compete against the Xbollocks.

  • What's funny is that's only a problem in Nth America (and a few other places). I'm quite happy with having to select my TV frame rate as there is only one choice, 25fps(50hz), no screwing around with 29.97, drop or non drop frame? I'd imagine (expect!!) that most linux, moreso /. readers, would know there tv's frame rate :p
  • And your sentence makes perfect grammatical sense. Well done :p
  • With pal cinetele (or IVTC) they usually speed the film up 4% to match the framerate so there's no frame duplication that causes the noticable jumps in long slow panning shots when you duplicate in "real time", not that complex but it does screw the sound production up a fair bit though. The point I was trying to make though, is that you will ususally find several options for NTSC on equipement/software and only one with PAL, no big deal but still easier for the general population. Not much of a point really, sorry ;-)
  • no one would buy it, because they've never heard of it.

    Its really ironic that 'consumers'* dont know how to make decisions outside of the marketing tripe they are fed. Its fucking making me sick - are people so stupid that they cannot analyze *REAL* items against one another except to weigh their Markatroid Interst(TM)?

    Im not necessarily suggesting Indrema had the best product - but the argument that the 'market' wouldnt go for it because they didnt get the million-mega-buck marketroid campaign is really sad... how fucking disturbing. Dont people *RESEARCH* the comparable products available before makinhg a decision?

  • the Linux OS woulda been, think of this: If linux was such a great gaming platform, then I'd expect to find quite a few games for it already.

    They were also courting the OpenSource idea, and gratis software. no other console would will make gratis software available for dload - and no other invited 'ordinary' coders to make sw for their boxen. This is very unique. I kept imagining the great MP3 Players with superb(sp?) visuals connected to your TV, tiVo functionality and real libre games... Indrema has a good idea that will eventually make it to peoples homes.

  • Let's see - XBox is basically PC hardware with flash graphics (GeForce3 - which will also be available for Mac and standard PC platforms) but no (or very limited) expansion capabilities and runs a Win32 compatible OS (EmbeddedNT I think).

    Indremea is basically PC hardware with flash graphics (GeForce2 - already available for PC platforms) but no (or very limited) expansion capabilities and runs a POSIX compatible OS (Linux).

    Difference? Size of marketing budget, number of available developers, and ease of use of API. Yes, I know a lot of people will tell me how much the Win32 API sucks but compare the DirectX (includes Direct3D, DirectPlay, DirectSound et-al) API's compared to the number of multimedia API's available for Linux. Freedom of choice is great but when you are releasing an app for the general population you don't want to include a 2K file telling them what other modules/libraries they need to have installed to make the damn thing run.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a big Linux/FreeBSD fan but there is something to be said for API standardisation above and beyond the OS. At the moment MS is the only company large enough to enforce that as a defacto standard.
  • by jchristopher (198929) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:19PM (#300108)
    Indrema - the only video game system that requires you to know the refresh rate of your TV to install :)
  • You may not have meant to post at +2, but it's worth it. GameCube WILL succeed, just like the N64 has. Yes, I said the N64 was a success. It sold loads of consoles, megaloads of games, and made Nintendo gigadollars. Success lies in selling units, not being cool with geeks like us. ;)

    --
  • That I knew this would happen from the start.While I'm asure to be modded down, it needs to be said. Linux is a great OS, but the OS does NOT make the product. Even in the case of the Pilot/Palm Pilot/Palm/et al, the OS was only half the deal. The hardware was innovative as well. With Indrema, it was a neat idea, but not a fiscally sensible. Dreamcast has WinCE but VERY few games make use of it.

    An OS on for a game console is like a bike for a fish. Te point of consoles is a standard, low cost set of hardware for mass distribution. The mass distribution makes it attractive to sell to, and the standard hardware makes it attractive to PROGRAM on. Indrema, a console based on Linux just didn't make sense. I'm sorry.

    --

  • The founder has found employment with a Japanese electronics company, and plans to create a similar device, without game support.

    But this is *good* news! What I was really expecting from Indrema was not games, but an open set-top box. We need DVB, program recording functionality, broadcast code cracking, real-time info screens (stock prizes, slashdot), and whatever all the krazy d00ds around the world come up with.

    *drool*

  • At the risk of feeding a troll..

    Linux is stable
    Linux is scalable
    Linux isn't UNIX (strictly speaking)
    Linux is ready for the desktop

    Unfortunately for Indrema, none of these things make any difference when producing a games console (except maybe stability, but when there's fixed hardware instead of moving target stability is far easier to come by anyway). The advanatge Indrema had was in its open-ness, but unfortunately it was never likely to have the necessary user-base due to a lack of developers, which meant it was never going to get enough developers, which meant it was never going to get the necessary userbase, ad infinitum.

    --

  • Actually. The code only had one set of "B A" at the end. The SNES games were replaced with "L and R" trigger buttons and the extra "B A" was added. God... What in the hell am I saying. I must be a dork.
  • I was very active on the Indrema mailing lists for a significant amount of time and was part of the "core" team of community developers, until I realized it didn't stand a chance and jumped ship. No, this is not a troll.

    The first mistake for me was not even having a prototype so many months into "publicity". I wonder what the venture capitalists were thinking when they invested in this company; the least I would expect as a VC is a hacked-up job that demonstrates rudimentary capability to do a base set of the things promised - a wooden box with wires all over the place like the original Apple. Furthermore, instead of immediately concentrating all energies on that (because concerete results improve your credibility and help to keep both you and your supporters motivated) Indrema set up a website making bold proclamations, a community development site (GameXchange [indrema.com]) and mailing lists which, due to the lack of definite info, were filled with speculation, OT posts and flame wars.

    Next came the buzzwords, terms that were used to hype the development community but were lacking in real meaning. Add indefinite goals and grandiose plans (which could never be fully revealed - I thought this was supposed to be Open Source?) with a liberal dose of "confidentiality", such as not being able to list interested commercial developers and publishers (perhaps because there were none?)

    Indrema was a good idea - not a great one - that was poorly thought through and badly executed. It had little to offer in terms of true industry innovation and new territory other than the premise of independent/hobbyist/freeware games on a console.

  • IMHO it's another example of the road to hell being paved by the best of intentions. Hell, of course, being totally locked into the expensive crud everyone else makes. Guess I'll go play some NetHack now.

    --

  • What's wrong with that? %)

    --

  • by Mr. Polite (218181) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:21PM (#300117)
    what happens to the games in development

    Bwahahahaha. Why do you think they went under?
    ---

  • "They said they would release their code if they went under... "

    Releasing code of any proprierity software is not quite that easy. I don't know how the US legislation handles these kind of matters, but atleast the EU laws usually don't allow this.

    The simple reason being that it would violate the rights of any creditors etc instances to whom the bankrupt company owns money/anything.

    Think about it your self, how happy would you be if you invest in a company that develops proprierity software. Then the company goes belly-up.. At this point the investors and owners are thinking "well atleast we can get a penny or two of our money back by selling that proprierity technology that we have".. but then the company releases the whole thing open source..

    The end result being lots of angry owners/investors and a nice legal battle..

    Few companies have made similar promises, I think they should really consider what they are actually planning to do..

    Naturally it is always better to do the whole thing as open source or GPL from the beginning! ;-)


    .Kultis

  • Once again, the difference between geeks and normal people is that normal people just want to use the applications. Nobody cares if something uses Linux. They care if there are compelling games to play. Or compelling apps to use. There's a lesson for Indrema, Red Hat, Apple...

    Sega was a victim of being late to market. They couldn't drum up enough 3rd party quality product. On top of this, the games are pitifully easy to pirate and burn to CD's. There are some excellent games, but a lot of really crappy ones too, thus the brand suffers. Playstation 2 has the Playstation momentum going with the blockbuster titles of Final Fantasy, GT3, and Metal Gear, plus other promising newcomers.

    The X-Box I feel will lose out in the end because at this point I don't see the games. PS2 will have Final Fantasy, GT3, the top sports and fighter games, and most of X-Box's lineup. X-Box's only real unique draws are the higher quality DVD output and a couple PC-oriented Bungie games that will also be out for PC. The saving grace would be if Sega commits exclusively to X-Box.
  • Being an unknown is one thing, but WHY DIDNT They try advertising? Why not try to let more people know?

    This was what would have killed Indrema if they did release the L600.


    Just a reminder to all :
  • Just to let everyone who didnt know, the $500 million is the budget for the entire first 18 months of production. Nintendo has stated that they spend above $400 million per year marketing their products, which means that Nintendo's total for 18 months is at least $100 million ahead of MS's. If you think about the cost of ads on TV and in store promotions, $500 million isnt alot of money for a year and a half, especially the first year and a half of a brand new unproven console. So I seriously doubt Xbox will be shoved down anyone's throats, especially considering that it's likely to cost a small fortune.
  • Open source programmers may put out some damn fine quality code, but they can't hype to save their lives.

    Oh, i donno about that. The linux hype machine is effective enough that:

    It's not the open source *programmers* doing this, but all the companies which are using open source software to make money.

  • by Edgewize (262271) on Tuesday April 10, 2001 @05:45PM (#300123)
    Call me a cynical bastard, but I never thought this would work out in the first place. I know I'm underinformed on the topic, but I still think that it was an impossible dream. You can't make money on a set-top box.

    Sony loses money on every Playstation sold; Sega was almost dragged under by the Dreamcast. TiVo and WebTV have mandatory service fees. Remember the fuss over the i-Opener hack? You can't sell consumer equipment without guaranteed way to make back the losses.

    Indrema had no guaranteed revenue stream. Their income was from game royalties; however, they didn't have any big-name titles lined up. And to attract serious developers would require a sizable user-base, meaning that the consoles would have to be sold underprice (just so they can be competetive) for a long time before the money started coming back in. I can't imagine that anybody would risk investing in a company which guaranteed short-term losses and had only a marginal shot at ever making money back.

    Yeah, yeah, you can tell me that you and your friends would have all bought Indremas, but do you really think that these boxes stood a chance at attracting a large number of users? If you were given the choice between a PS2 and an Indrema at the same price, which one would you honestly pick? And if you factor in the brand-name recognition of Sony or Nintendo (in the eyes of Joe Average at least), there's just no hope for the Indrema. (BTW, the only reason the Xbox might succeed is that Microsoft can afford to hemorrage cash for years -- not to mention their serious marketing power.)

    So it was a nice idea, sure, but there was just no way it was going to work out in the end. Nobody wants to invest in something that might not ever make money.

  • It would have been cool, but this is definitely not the end of Linux game development. I am personally excited about the SDL development and the Direct X port - if these guys release the source code to this box then we are that much further ahead.

    Now all Linux needs is a decent commercial application installer and we are set.

  • Hey, I know my refresh rate on my TV. It's up up down down left right left right a b b a.

    Hey, I hate to tell you this, but unless you're trying to sneak in a reference to bands of days gone by, your code is wrong. It's up up down down left right left right b a b a. It's the Konami code, most famous (in my mind) for its use in Contra, but it appeared in a lot of other Konami games for the NES and SNES.

  • Dammit! I even checked the code at sages.ign.com, but they had a bunch of stuff I didn't rememebr, so I should have checked another source. After a quick perusal of GameFaqs, I see that you're right. Thanks for keeping me in line.

    The SNES game I remember was Gradius III, and if you did the code without switching to the shoulder buttons instead of the d-pad, you instantly died. I thought that was a nice touch.

    And yeah, we're both dorks for continuing this thread.

  • If it's linuxen it runs on, I know where I can find a few million of those...

    --Blair
  • You wouldn't spot sarcasm if it bit you in the ass would you?
  • No way! How can everybody keep saying: Oh, I saw this coming right from the start? If you did why did you keep posting on this forum? Why are you reading this article if you knew this all along?

    Indrema had a superb tech and using Linux gave them the edge to surpass all competition on the technical front. They just did not have the financial backing all the industry titans enjoy. It was a brilliant idea and they guys gave their best. I'm sure it will one day raise like a Phoenix from its ashes and the world will enjoy a Free gaming platform. So please stop trolling about one mishap this little bump along the way to the ultimate glory of the superior OS.

    What? Of course I need karma points. Go sue me asshole!

  • And back in 1994, Sony thought so as well.

    Sony does not own the console market. It simply has a larger share than anyone else. If you want to see a market a company *owns*, that market is the handheld game market, and the company is Nintendo.


    ----------------------------------------
  • exactly. another great example is the recent shortcomings of the agenda vr3. while microsoft(key darth vader music) said they would have some program where anybody could make xbox games, indrema prog hopefuls could actually making games whereas xbox garage developers would probably have to pay 97.5% of their games earnings to bill(key music again). hopefully they will release the code, it would be really helpful to people who want to learn how to make games.
  • they wouldn't have lasted long enough to develop a strong user base against sony or microsoft, this is a market were you don't start at you launch from something bigger.
  • Now i won't be able to play Final Trigger Fantasy Mana MDCCXVIII or whatever their first game was...

  • ...and Nethack would have been about the only game you could have played on the Indrema. Alex

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