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Sega doing PalmOS Games 156

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the virtua-fighter-in-the-palm-of-my-hand? dept.
Bill Kendrick writes "Sega has demonstrated a number of games for Palm OS handhelds during a keynote address at the PalmSource Japan conference. PDA Live has the scoop. The games they've made so far aren't going to be released commercially, but they're available for trial download through April."
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Sega doing PalmOS Games

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    But I don't imagine this will be as useful as Astroglide.
  • Woo Hoo! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by angst7 (62954)
    Finally a reason to buy a PDA. I'll need a suitable controller, but personal address books and calanders just never quite made these things interesting for me. Serious old school gaming will get me to CompUSA for one of these faster than all the financial apps in the world.

    ----
    Jedimom.com [jedimom.com], ph-balanced, for women.
    • At least I could stay awake in my statistics class if I had some games to play.
    • Re:Woo Hoo! (Score:3, Interesting)

      A novel idea (not really), but what I want is PDA-type apps for my GameBoy Advance.
      • A novel idea (not really), but what I want is PDA-type apps for my GameBoy Advance.

        Just write your own [gbadev.org]. With the space available (max 64 kB) for savegames, and 64 bytes/entry you should be able to store about 1000 names/phonenumbers. :)

      • but what I want is PDA-type apps for my GameBoy Advance.

        I once seriously considered developing such an app (using free tools available here [gbadev.org]), but I ran into two roadblocks:

        A PDA needs a real-time clock that can wake the system from deep sleep to remind the user of an event. The GBA lacks both an internal clock and (to my knowledge) a reliable way for the cart to wake the system.

        A PDA has a touch screen, useful for inputting text quickly through Graffiti or Fitaly systems. The GBA has an 8-way direction pad, four trigger buttons, and two tiny buttons next to the pad. How do we get text into the thing quickly?

        Yes, there have been primitive organizers for Game Boy platforms (Workboy, InfoGenius, and Austin Powers), but I can't see how I would implement anything like the Palm environment. Anybody else have any ideas?

        • There're actually keypad input methods. It's been very successful with Chinese, due to the increasing demand of keypad input method for mobile phone.

          How about we work together with this interesting plan? Let's do a brainstorm discussion first. What is your email?
    • Re:Woo Hoo! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MisterBlister (539957)
      Why don't you just buy a Gameboy Advance?

      Its build for gaming and has plenty of "old school" titles, including many Sega games.

      I've owned various Palms throughout the years and while they have uses, they are pretty crappy game platforms for the type of games that Sega is talking about -- fine for Solitare or Minesweeper type games, I guess... Its not even a very good Tetris machine because the controls were obviously not laid out with gaming in mind...

      Buying a Palm just for games is...rather silly, IMO, where there are far superior dedicated systems for that purpose.

      • >>Buying a Palm just for games is...rather silly,
        >>IMO, where there are far superior dedicated
        >>systems for that purpose.

        (apologies to Norm Macdonald).

        "This and other groundbreaking ideas in this months issue of the scientific journal 'DUH!'"

        of course buying a palm just for the games at this point is silly....... but if you haven't checked, LOTS of people ALREADY own a palm. Maybe they'd like to buy a game or two?

        From any economics 101 textbook that sounds like an 'untapped market'.

        The performance diff between a GBA and some of the lastest PocketPC's really isn't all that much. Don't expect having dedicated portable gaming devices will exist too many years from now....
        • of course buying a palm just for the games at this point is silly....... but if you haven't checked, LOTS of people ALREADY own a palm. Maybe they'd like to buy a game or two?

          Try reading the post to which I was replying before making an ass of yourself on a public forum again. The original poster claimed quite clearly that he was interested in looking at a Palm for the games and wasn't interested in normal PDA functions.

    • Suitable Controller (Score:3, Informative)

      by beerits (87148)
      If you are in the market for a controller for your palm check here [palmgamepad.com]
      • Damn...and here I am without modpoints!

        That's a very cool controller. I can stop rubbing the paint off the main app buttons now...

      • If anyone in Australia wants one of these I have a batch I intended to resell and never really did (8 or 9 left). A$12 +postage (3.75). You can email me if you visit my homepage. Suits III-style cases only (IIIx, IIIe, IIIc, TRGpro, Handera 330, etc).
  • Article Text (Score:2, Informative)

    by segfaultdot (462810)
    Sega has demonstrated a number of games for Palm OS handhelds during a keynote address at the PalmSource Japan conference.

    The games were developed specifically for the presentation using Metrowerk's Codewarrior and were run from a development board using a Motorola DragonBall MX1 processor. They featured colour animation and 3D texture mapping.

    Sega announced in January 2001 that it would develop games for the Palm OS as part of a strategic move to exit the console business. It has already released a number of titles for J2ME mobile telephones. Sega was keen to stress the games, which included 'Smilebit', 'Borkov' and 'Triangle Magic', were not intended for commercial release, although they are available for trial download from http://pda.sega.co.jp/index-e.html which will stay open until the 30th of April 2002.

    "When a new platform is born, developing and delivering a good quality software to the market is an important factor to drum up the business," said Shoji Ueda, President, Metrowerks Japan. "I think Sega's demo software has shown a possible path for developing game software for next generation Palm handhelds. In order to deliver a critical mass of software to the market, developers need a flexible development environment tailored to their needs. And it is our commitment to support and provide them with those tools."
    • They featured colour animation and 3D texture mapping.

      Oh, stop it. 3D texture mapping on a 160x160 screen, Whoopdewhoop. How about some GAMEPLAY?

      Nah, that's too difficult. Better to get some voxel-mapping and pixel-buffering and double-processing the texture memory so we can pipeline the vertexes and lighting into the gizmo matrix...blah blah BLAH BLAH BLAH!!

      Next up: The first $1 million PalmOS game budget, and the economics begin circling the drain.... AGAIN. So, how many companies go out of business this time?

      Way to go, game industry! Whoops, you're late for your 10 'o clock meeting.
  • Great! (Score:2, Funny)

    by AgentGray (200299)
    "All your PalmOS are belong to us."

    - I knew Sega was behind it all along.

  • Damn them for making me buy one of those controllers or a keyboard... and yet, it's cool because I wanted to use up more RAM anyway. :P

    Sega's decision to become a third-party dev instead of a console manufacturer just keeps working better and better, eh? Maybe we'll see a Sonic game on the Palm .. *drool* Or better yet a Genesis emulator. Except you'd need the m500 series for that (or one of the others with expansion card support) because the ROMs would be way too big to hold in RAM. Still cool, though..
  • by stevenbee (227371) on Friday April 05, 2002 @01:48PM (#3291523)
    In Sega and Smilebit, including the software and the installation method which are opened to this HP, I do not support at all and it does not become precocious.

    Gotta love Engrish! [engrish.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sega is a PUBLISHER not merely a developer and aquires other programmers games and publishes them.

    No big deal to "do" palmOS games.

    They just publish 'em if they like them.

  • by rohar (253766)
    We can't compete with Microsoft & Sony... so let's port some TRS-80 software to a handheld.
  • I recomend every one check out the download site, the broken english is hillarious
  • by caferace (442) on Friday April 05, 2002 @01:51PM (#3291532) Homepage
    From the download site:

    ...please try the more interesting one right or wrong at once."

    "The highly efficient library which our company developed uniquely this time and which makes drawing expression rich is included in the demonstration software introduced by the conference. the company which can develop the application of rich game development or rich power of expression -- since offer is planned like, please contact me to the following mail address about a library and application."

    And finally:

    "In addition, a general user -- a question [ like ] -- please understand beforehand that I cannot reply to an inquiry."

    Phew...

    • So who wants to be the first to submit this one to engrish.com [engrish.com]?
    • "The highly efficient library which our company developed uniquely this time and which makes drawing expression rich is included in the demonstration software introduced by the conference. the company which can develop the application of rich game development or rich power of expression -- since offer is planned like, please contact me to the following mail address about a library and application."

      Eurika! You've found the guy who wrote my old VCR instructions, always wondered what happend to him!
    • My spouse works for a Japanese company and helps clean up translations a lot (they are Japanese). I also know Japanese and help them when I can.

      OMG the 1st run of translations are really bad! Its not often as weird as the one you show, but I've gone through 20 page documents and added 'the' like a thousand times since it was left off every time for example. :D
  • You'd think a company the size of SEGA could afford to keep a couple native english speakers around to translate things. Aparently not though:

    The highly efficient library which our company developed uniquely this time and which makes drawing expression rich is included in the demonstration software introduced by the conference. the company which can develop the application of rich game development or rich power of expression -- since offer is planned like, please contact me to the following mail address about a library and application
    • My company was working off of software specs provided by a Japanese corporation (big one).

      The title of one of these documents was the phrase "Sauce Code" (source code).

      One of my coworkers pointed out that he thinks they were just using translation software and there was no proofreading or anything.
    • You'd think a company the size of SEGA could afford to keep a couple native english speakers around to translate things. Aparently not though:

      [cough] Apparently, being an english speaker would not be sufficient. I love how many of the posts ragging on the "engrish" have spelling and/or grammar errors. [grin]

  • Oh, great... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lurkingrue (521019)
    Another way to go blind!

    Now, while I love my Handspring and think its both a great tool and a great time-waster, I have never found arcade style games on such a minute screen to be particularly compelling.

    Honestly, even the best efforts in that genre -- and even with the new color, back-lit screens -- are just damn uncomfortable to try and see. After a long gaming session, I'd expect one's eyes to bleed.

    There are exceptions, but there's always going to be the limitations of the straining human eye to overcome, and I don't think even Sega can do that with the restrictions that the current PDA architecture imposes.
  • Damn. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gid1 (23642) <tomNO@SPAMgidden.net> on Friday April 05, 2002 @01:54PM (#3291555)
    This is what I've been dreading for ages -- a big player in the Palm Game cottage industry. The thing about Palm development is that it's nice and friendly, but it's not *too* capable.

    As a result, some teenager in his garage can write the best software. It's like back in the eighties when ten-year-olds would be writing assembly code and games were *playable* rather than *pretty*. It's an area of the software industry that throwing money at the task won't help.

    I've been writing a pretty large scale Palm game on my own for the past six months, and it's still a long way from completion. I really don't want a big player to come in and start causing trouble for all us small-time developers.

    Sorry about the unstructured rant, but I'm just annoyed now.
    • It had to happen eventually. And, who knows, maybe they'll make a playable game, instead of just, say, Sonic zoomed in so far he moves one screen length per frame. Their demos don't look too bad.
    • I wouldn't be if I were you: these games load slowly (way too slowly) and seem to come from people who have a console/pc mindset (i.e. the fact that you have to sit through splash screens, that when you leave the game and return you have to start from scratch, etc. etc.).

      Given all the extremely high quality free/shareware games already available for palm on palmgear and freewarepalm I really doubt that the entrance of a 'big player' will make that big of a difference.
    • You're really annoyed that some good games developers are starting to write Palm games? Which will improve the quality of the software available on the PalmOS platform? And increase the profile of the games industry on PalmOS? And all because your game might look crap in comparison?

      Well boo hoo. Tell ya what - why don't we restrict the quality of all software development in the world so your fragile pride won't be hurt? Would that suit you? Didn't think so. Grow up.

      • by Gid1 (23642)
        Not really.. I'm worried that a company with a lot of money will start pumping out high-profile high-budget games which are most likely not as enjoyable as the hobbyist/sole-trader developed games.

        If that happens, I suspect a lot of users will be wowed by the glitz of the big games and spend their money that way, even though the smaller games are probably better thought out and more fun.

        High budget doesn't necessarily mean *good*, but many users will perceive it that way, and might ignore the lower profile low-budget games.

        I think of it like the difference between Hollywood and independent films.

        Of course, Sega have the right to enter this market. I wouldn't ever want otherwise. That doesn't mean I'm going to personally enjoy it, though.

        I have the same opinion about the X-Box. I applaud the fact that Microsoft *can* enter that niche, but it still annoys me. I hate it when they find a way to make more money and get more power.

        Oh, and from what I see of their demos, I don't think my game's going to look crap in comparison!

        Incidentally, is Smilebit still part of Sega? If not, is Sega acting as publisher and Smilebit as developer? Having a high-profile publisher for Palm could be handy.
      • by mph (7675)
        You're really annoyed that some good games developers are starting to write Palm games? Which will improve the quality of the software available on the PalmOS platform? And increase the profile of the games industry on PalmOS? And all because your game might look crap in comparison?
        Sure, because we know successful companies always compete on their technological merit, rather than marketing, lawsuits, or legislation.
    • Re:Damn. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anarchofascist (4820)
      I really don't want a big player to come in and start causing trouble for all us small-time developers.

      This had better be sarcasm. I'm sorry but my sarcasm processor is ofline at the moment so I have to answer as if you were serious.

      What? What are you babbling about? A big player is just what the hand-held software industry needs. All consumer benefit, that's for sure, with better games and more games. And for the developers we get higher expectations, more community support for this excellent OS, libraries we can all develop to, expansion of the industry, recognition of Palm OS as a gaming environment...

      What is the downside you are worried about? Some big player will gazump your little development? Who knows, you may surprise yourself and bring out something better than the big boys. Remember that not everyone will have the half-meg of space the big commercial games will (probably) require.

      My favourite game on PalmOS is Lines. 9K! Pure gameplay. Anyone can write it, takes almost no space, pure addiction in every byte and not Sega's style.

      Sorry about the rant, but I can't see anything but good in this announcement, for players and developers.
    • by JMZero (449047)
      I've only ever written one Palm app - Jumpman Zero (freeware if anyone wants to try it, source on request).

      While big players could spell doom for the Palm game cottage industry, I don't think they will. On other platforms, Sega has an insurmountable advantage (compared to one-man outfits) - they have thousands of man hours. They have lots of hardware. They have dedicated artists and musicians. They have a budget. On Palm, they can't really leverage those strengths.

      Music and graphics suck on the Palm, even if you're Sega. (And yes, I know some games have good graphics and some have even tried .mod-type music, but the best graphics and sound are still attainable by a hobbyist).

      Also, I don't think Sega's going to commit a lot of resources to a market where the sales are going to be slow (despite huge installed base), and where piracy is going to be utterly rampant (they can't really make a 30 meg game here - will they base a game on a springboard module?...).

      So I think we'll see the Palm game market support a variety of players - and it won't be like the PC market where you there's a huge difference between commercial games and "hand made" ones.

      At least for a while.
  • So, how long until NVIDIA or whoever releases a GeForce XYZ PDA Power Ultra v4 graphics cards to power the soon-to-be-announced QuakePDA 4? Sweet.. :p
  • Quick test (Score:4, Informative)

    by MarcoAtWork (28889) on Friday April 05, 2002 @01:56PM (#3291572)
    Note: I have an oldish Palm iiic.

    The games load fairly slowly (10-15 seconds, maybe they're doing some precalculation or something) and you have to sit through slowly fading in/out Sega/Smilebit splash screens (come on, seeing it once should be enough!)

    Triangle looks cute, like some old MSX Konami game, but as soon as I selected (out of curiosity) 'quit game' from the menu, I got a 'fatal exception' and had to *hardware* reset -> game deinstalled.

    The other game seems definitely addictive, and it hasn't crashed yet, so I think I'm going to keep it for now: the rotation of the square is a bit choppy, but the user interface is really cool. Sucks that, unlike most palm games, if you switch to some other application and you re-enter the game, it just starts from scratch instead of remembering where you were.

  • More Sega PalmOS (Score:3, Informative)

    by meknapp (300654) on Friday April 05, 2002 @01:58PM (#3291579) Homepage Journal
    Also, Sega has an official commercial relase on PalmOS - Sega Swirl. You can download the free "light" version, or the full version at the Sega Swirl website. [segaswirl.com]

    Sega Swirl is an addictive puzzle game - originally a freebee for the Dreamcast, and later ported to the PC. The Palm version allows people to play head-to-head via IR link. Plus (unlike the demos mentioned it the article) it runs on monochrome Palms.

  • lan parties (Score:2, Funny)

    by fabiolrs (536338)
    Hope they build a Quake clone to palm so we can all group and play it with our palms on a lan partie! :)))

    damn, imagine you talking to a friend near you at a palm-lan partie: "hey, check it out, i modded my palm, it has transparent case, neon lights inside, geforce 4, and everthing else..."
    • Palm de Cool [fureai.or.jp] used to be a great source to see how to 'trick out' a Palm device. Metallic cases, clear buttons w/ LED flashing in NightRider sequence, and Cellular phone connections were among the many mods that were made by Japanese enthusiasts. Too bad they had to discontinue.
  • Bah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BiggestPOS (139071)
    In my opinion, Sega makes the best games, and now I can't just own a Sega made console to play all their great games, I have to own a Palm, Xbox, PS2, and random hand-held devices. My addiction is now a lot more expensive.

  • Big market? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xerph (229015)
    I can't imagine this being extremely profitable for sega. Although a lot of the new devices are built more like gaming controllers (I know the buttons on the latest HP jornada is similar to an oldschool NES controller), how many people would buy retail games to install on a handheld device when there's so many better alternatives for gaming.

    If the games are priced the same way as console games I can't see many people buying them, and if they are cheap enough to raise the quantity demanded significantly enough, sega probably won't make much money on them anyway.
  • Have a look at this site: www.engrish.com [engrish.com]. You'll find plenty of fun for the annoying week-end coming-up... It's even worst than CowboyNeal English!
  • by sootman (158191) on Friday April 05, 2002 @02:06PM (#3291648) Homepage Journal
    The page says the game requires "3.5 or more PalmOS(s)". I can get two instances of PalmOS running at once, *maybe* two and a half on a good day, but three and a half Palm OSs... man, that's more than I can do. They must have some really good engineers over there.
  • I Wonder (Score:4, Insightful)

    by guamman (527778) on Friday April 05, 2002 @02:06PM (#3291649)
    I Wonder when they will start making some games for Texas Instrument [ti.com]'s line of calculators. If the TI-92 [ti.com] can do multivariable calculus, it should be able to play some really decent games. Doom anyone?
    • Re:I Wonder (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by edrugtrader (442064)
      the TI-92 has had a doom type game since 1997 or eariler. i haven't been in that scene for ages, but i suggest you get Fargo (or Fargo 2 if it is out... or Fargo 7 if it is out...).

      asm programming on ti-92 is very powerfull... same chip as the old personal macs i believe.
      • My dad used an HP67 [hpmuseum.org] for years and years and years. He must have bought it pretty close to when they first came out (1976), and he used it well into the 90's before it finally gave up the ghost. It had a magnetic card reader on which you could save programs.

        And yes, it had at least one game I remember!! A simple lunar lander game, where the display alternately shows your height above the lunar surface and your velocity, and you have to make fuel burns at the appropriate time and of the correct duration in order to set the lander down gently on the moon's surface.

    • Someone actually *was* working on a clone of Wolfenstein 3D for the TI-89/92+

      Other things prevented him from completing it, but the demo is out there (can't recall its name, and ticalc.org is down as I write this), and it was quite smooth.

      Further tricks common to TI games would allow 4-7 level grayscale, though they weren't sure how to handle AI/Map storage.
    • I made a few games for my TI-82 in high school. Nothing too complex: Pole Position and a side-scroller spaceship-shooting-the-other-spaceships kind of game. But Pole Position got harder as you advanced (the road got narrower) and I made the display pretty smooth (~4 fps)with just a short delay while it built the course in an array. It also kept score, until you reset the variable that it used.

      I'd post the games online, but the floppy disk I copied the games to turned out top be corrupted. NEVER clear out the memory until you've tested the backups.

      There was a very popular game for the 85's called "Boink" at my school, it was a whack-a-mole type game. A new version for the 83 is available at calc.org [calc.org]. In fact, the site appears to have a lot of games including a doom-like game [calc.org] for the Ti-92.

    • I don't own one of these calculators.
      But this looks like a good selection [ticalc.org]
      of games for your machine.
    • ticalc.org [ticalc.org] has plenty of games. Not necessarily great games, but games nonetheless. Not coincidentally, they also have quite a few math-related programs available for download...
    • Decent 2D games, yes. Decent 3D games, no. There is a 3D engine for the TI-89/92 called FAT (fixed-angle texturing), but to make a worthwhile shooter requires quite a bit more. Specifically, it requires memory. The author of FAT did some calculations and decided that sprites would have to be left in storage, not loaded into memory, because of size. That means they can't be compressed, which means that they take up a huge amount of space.

      Also, don't overestimate the processing power on those calculators. Just because it can do multivariable calculus and run a simple 3D engine doesn't mean it can run a real 3D game; the 3D engine only works because it's using a very primitive rendering method, similar to the one used in the old Castle Wolfenstein.

      Finally, I don't think there will be any commercial game development for TI calculators for political reasons. TI wants their product to be a calculator, not a portable computer. Commercial games would hurt the TI-89's credibility in its core market. Many teachers already outlaw the TI-89 because it can do things that they'd rather the students do; commercial games would just give them another reason.
  • I liked this:

    "The games were developed specifically for the presentation using Metrowerk's Codewarrior and were run from a development board using a Motorola DragonBall MX1 processor."

    So, it took like half the presentation just powering up and glowing a weird shade of yellow, right?

  • Sega's Swirl [segaswirl.com] game is already released for PalmOS
  • Can the Palm (or other handheld PCs) become actual contenders in the portable gaming markets? I've noticed more and more people (John Romero, Tom Hall, SEGA) developing commercial games for the Palm or PocketPC. Good ones, I've heard. How big is the market for this sort of thing?

    The only thing that concerns me is game control. Handhelds are not designed to be gaming-conducive. Heck, I hear some models won't let you press two buttons at once. But using the pen might make for some interesting games. I could easily see an RTS working like that. Or a Bezerk-like shooter where your character fires at the location your pen is pointing at, while you move him around with the directional pad. Lots of possibilities.
    • Believe it or not, I don't think games on PDAs would actually compete with the GBA. The reason is that these games are likely an attempt to get more people to buy the PDA's themselves.

      I'm willing to bet that most people made their choice to buy a PC over a MAC (like 10 years ago...) because the PC had a ton more games. This may sound silly to a non-game-player, but consider walking into CompUSA, finding that PC has shelf after shelf after shelf of software, and then going into the corner where the Mac stuff is. Even if you don't play games, the psychology of this may come into play.

      The GBA will always be a better game machine than any PDA. It's dedicated to games and it shows. However, the PDA gaming market would likely do just fine for those of us who have one but aren't sure what to do with it besides keep phone #'s.

      In other words, the two markets likely touching borders.
    • Sega's also developing for the GBA, though. And really, I'd say that the Palm will never surpass the GBA for gaming. Simply put - the GBA is designed to do nothing but game. It's optimized to that end, and there are many many games for it. Compared to the Palm, which I will admit is a nice platform, but it's designed to be a small computer. It doesn't have a high enough CPU speed to match the GBA's capabilities (there's even a 3D engine being developed for it). Also remember that a GBA is far cheaper than a Palm by at least 20 bucks, depending on which model you're looking at.

      Obviously a Palm will never be competition for a GBA if you're looking for a gaming system. On the other hand, if you're looking for a couple games to play and don't really want to buy an entirely new piece of hardware, and you already have a Palm, then yes, you'd just get some games for it.

      But saying the Palm could compete with a GBA in terms of gaming is somewhat like saying a computer running Linux could compete with a, say, Gamecube for gaming. (Hey, it's the best I could come up with.) There are a few games out for it, but they're nothing compared to the system designed with that sole purpose in mind.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Both games crash my prism, white screen of death requiring a hardware reset.
  • Awesome! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tswinzig (210999) on Friday April 05, 2002 @02:13PM (#3291691) Journal
    I particularly like Triangle Magic, which has turned my $400 Handspring Prism into a magical white screen.

    Alas, no triangles have appeared yet after waiting 5 minutes.

    :-(

  • ...but everyone's having fun with the Engrish translation, so I thought I'd share this one [kyocera.co.jp] for a Kyocera Video Phone. Scroll down to the first sample "Answering machines with images".

    By the way, neither of these games seem to work on my Handspring Visor Prism. Just a blank white screen that sits there forever and requires a reset. Anyone else having the same problem?

  • by edrugtrader (442064) on Friday April 05, 2002 @02:15PM (#3291702) Homepage
    well, borkov successfully crashed my visor prism.
  • by bitva (206067)
    It would be nice if they'd release the games for B&W screens.


    the poor or destined to have monochrome

  • Sonic on PDAs. :)
  • Color only. I guess I'll have to wait until I get something to replace my old Palm VII.
  • I was rather disappointed when I saw the screenshots of '3D Demos'. Nobody is going to want to play Mario 64 for very long on one of these devices.

    I played a port of Quake on an iPaq once. It was kind of cute, but it didn't take too long for the gimmick to wear off. What was once 3D, while I was excited about it, turned into a puddle of pixels. For a screen that small, they really need some sort of filtering (bi-linear?) to make effective use of the screen realestate. Otherwise, it's just awful.

    I am surprised at Sega for going down that road. One only needs to look at the strengths of these systems to realize the true gaming potential of them:

    - Stylus Interface
    - Ability to easily turn on and off without resetting the game
    - The demographics of who owns these devices
    - The IR Port
    - Clarity of text on the screen

    If I were a game company looking to make a game for a Palm Pilot, and considering these observations I made about the system, then my first choice for a game to develop would be a turn-based strategy game. Think about it, you could have a really long term game going (like MONTHS) and play it anywhere. You could play it for 20 minutes in your bed before going to sleep. You could play it in the can (during work hours!). You could play it while waiting for your bus. I hated CivII on my PC because it took so damn long, but I think I'd love a port of this game on my PocketPC because the system really lends itself to it.

    As long as the game isn't terribly reflex based, this would be a perfect fit for this system and it's audience. Puzzle games are also quite perfect for this system as well. I've spent many hours playing reversi.

    3D doesn't fit this system at all. I suppose if anybody could make it work, it'd be Sega. Boy would I be surprised, though.

    • 3D doesn't fit this system at all. I suppose if anybody could make it work, it'd be Sega. Boy would I be surprised, though.

      Download a demo of Race Fever. Note the excellent graphics (admittedly not 3d like quake - Pole Position style) and smooth gameplay on color palm devices.

      The real clincher is the control input - instead of futzing around with the buttons like too many games, they turn the graffiti area into an analog controller - the vertical axis controls speed (top of the area is max acceleration, bottom is brake), the horizontal controls steering.

      When more game developers start finding control and gameplay models more suitable to the medium, I think 3d or quasi-3d games will become more popular.

      -Isaac

  • I loaded the programs on my Palm Vx, and when I tried to run them, I got the error message:
    "Hardware Incompatible.This software operates only from a 8bit color correspondence model."
    I know this is just beta, but I hope they release a greyscale version!
  • All your palm game are belong to us

    It had to be done :)

  • now, thats what I want ...
  • by beej (82035) on Friday April 05, 2002 @04:07PM (#3292489) Homepage Journal
    Pretty much all the graphics routines built into PalmOS are slower than they need to be, and don't do basic things like blitting with transparency and so on.

    So people roll their own. The hardware is completely hackable, and it's fun. You can really get a speed improvement by doin' in your way. Unfortunately, many of the Palms use different video hardware, and things break.

    Are you using hardware pageflipping for your game on the IIIc? It's gonna crash the Handspring Prism, or worse! Basically you have to be very sure what you're doing is ok on a particular set of hardware.

    First, it's good to make syscalls to ID what kind of machine it is. If it's supported by your custom code, go to it. If it's not, you can do a few sanity checks. For instance, if I wanted to write directly to screen memory, I'd use the built in routines to set a pattern of pixels, and then my custom routines to read the pixels. If it reads out the correct values, it's probably good to go.

    In short, it translates to being a pain in the ass to do as-fast-as-possible graphics code across multiple Palm platforms. Far better to compromise and get some speed improvements that work on a broader base.

    Or, if all else fails, just release free betas to the general public. >;-)

  • It's called Pocket Pool...
  • I just tried Borkov and TriMagic on my Prism and both freeze at an all white screen. I'm aware that Handspring tweaks PalmOS for their hardware.

    Can anyone confirm these issues with a Handspring?
  • Assuming it's the same Bill Kendrick, he wrote the awesome game Gem Drop X [newbreedsoftware.com], a Tetris-like game in which you line up similar objects to make them explode. It's one of those deceptively simple games that can be really adictive. Once you master the basic skills, you can get into a kind of zen state playing it for hours.

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