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Game Devs Weigh In On Windows Phone 7 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the distant-third dept.
The mobile games industry has exploded over the past few years, driven largely by titles built for iOS and Android. The Guardian's games blog decided to investigate the pros and cons of Windows Phone 7 as a game development platform while it struggles to catch up to its predecessors. "... the easy portability of code between WP7 and Xbox, plus the wealth of online tutorials, libraries and community support, is a massive advantage, especially for smaller and less experienced teams. ... As with Xbox Live Arcade, the console's downloadable games service, Windows Phone 7 offers a curated experience, which means Microsoft controls the quality of games appearing on the device. ... [Steven Batchelor-Manning of Nerf Games says,] 'The App Hub offers a good peer review system, where other developers are asked to check over your game. This helps filter out both low quality and bug-ridden titles. We are always given a particular quality to aim for. Once it's got past this stage there is also a chance that Microsoft will veto against your game going on the platform. Ultimately, this prevents the market being swamped, but above this, there seems to be a layer of games by big publishers (EA, etc) that just step past the smaller developers in the queue. This is the biggest drawback of the system.'"
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Game Devs Weigh In On Windows Phone 7

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  • I mean, I remember all the shovelware crap that had the "Nintendo Seal of Quality" on it back in the day.

    And their remark about EA is spot on. They're responsible for most of the boring shovelware crap that clogs up the Live Marketplace today and makes it hard to find where the good stuff is hiding.

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      "Nintendo Seal of Quality" = "Nintendo Seal of We're Getting a Cut"

      • To be fair to Nintendo at least in the NES days when the seal started a publisher could only publish something like 5 games a year so they couldn't just develop a load of shovelware. This is why Konami opened Ultra to get around the limit and release more games. I suspect Nintendo stopped the limit either because of the monopoly charges against them or from pressure from Sega because if Sega allows a publisher to publish as much as they want then you know which system they'll favour.
    • by Clsid (564627) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @11:08PM (#35662764)

      That the game could be crappy story/gameplay wise is one thing, but Nintendo would not allow what we see in the PC gaming world nowadays: games full of bugs that make you feel like you are some kind of quality assurance technician working for those companies. And let me tell you another thing, I wholeheartedly believe that the programmers back in the day had to work their ass off pulling stuff in really underpowered hardware, with no niceties. Before, a company was able to program with optimized assembly code something like Mario Bros 3 and today, in the age of awesome debuggers, code profilers, source control, object-oriented programming and what not, we get this products that are rushed out of the door. I guess we have to thank the Internet for that. With the XBox360 I saw how that patch craze is coming with a vengeance to the console world. Part of that Nintendo Seal of Quality is that they would not allow something like EA to exist. You could only develop up to five titles per year.

      Other than that, with Nintendo you get the guarantee that you get a nice, clean and fun games with the system, plus more or less affordable hardware. You could get an original NES system with 2 controllers, zapper and two games for $100, and today the Wii is still the cheaper of the big three by $100. If you ask me which system I would get for my kids I would chose Nintendo without blinking. The other systems expose too much unnecessary violence, sex and gore and their kid users kind of remind me of that tech kid in the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. I have seen 10 year olds both in Canada and the US with stuff like Grand Theft Auto in their system, and since not all parents are created equal, then the kid that does have it is pretty much the cool kid in the block. That's like a big social issue to me.

      • You don't want your kid to be the cool kid?

        Don't forget, the Wii has lots of games like "House of the Dead: Overkill" and "Madworld" and such. It's not all kiddie-friendly. It just isn't centered around frat-boy games.

        • by forsey (1136633)
          And don't forget one of the most violent games ever, Manhunt 2 [wikipedia.org]. Of the current big 3, it only came out on the Wii and featured skull cracking hammer motion control. So, as usual, it still comes down to the parents having to make sure the kids don't see what the parents don't want them to see.
        • by geekoid (135745)

          Nintendo market for games is largely for the younger market, that's why we have a Wii. Lots of option for a then, 8 year old girl and 10 year old boy. We also have a PS3 and recently, an XBox(it was a gift).

          The XBox is typical MS. Here are some nice things...but we limited them in this stupid way. And while ALL of them want to make money from you, the XBox is the worst.

          It's like the Wii is they 1950s guy behind the soda fountain. Want's to make moeny, but is nice, polite and doesn't charge extra for basic t

      • by dskzero (960168)
        Mod Parent up: Nintendo at least forced people to do things right.
      • by mlts (1038732) *

        Spot on. The older games had to be not just tested, but tested to a solid degree of stability. A bug on the media was part of the game for life, so game makers had to be quite good at making sure things were cleaned up.

        The problem with modern consoles and updates is the fact that console games now suffer from the same problems as PC games -- game companies ship what would be an early beta when it comes to quality, write a patch to cover about 75% of the most glaring show-stopper bugs, and then move onto t

    • The video game crash of 19843/84 was caused by a flood of buggy bad games on the market by shady vendors. They would also take other publishers work and copy them onto cheap cartridges. The seal was there by Nintendo because they forced everyone to license their games, and be produced by Nintendo. At least you knew the game was 1st market. Also they did everything they could to market the NES as a system that wasn't junk to separate it from the consoles and games mothers had got burned on before. htt [wikipedia.org]
  • by Nyder (754090) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @10:23PM (#35662398) Journal

    ... the easy portability of code between WP7 and Xbox,

    How come i get the feeling they have NEVER programmed at all?

    • by Sc4Freak (1479423)

      It's not "easy", but it's much easier than other platforms. Porting between, say, Xbox 360 and iPhone is pretty difficult if only because the programming languages are completely different. Indie Games on Xbox 360 and WP7 both use C# and XNA, and if you have an Xbox 360 project it's literally just a couple of clicks and it compiles and runs natively on WP7.

      Your game won't be *usable*, of course, since your game will be designed for a controller and not a touch screen. But it'll work.

      • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @10:53PM (#35662628)

        Your game won't be *usable*, of course, since your game will be designed for a controller and not a touch screen.

        I think that's the point. Who cares if you can port between two things that don't run the same kind of software? It's not like you're going to be playing Crysis on your phone. It's like having easy portability between Solaris and Android -- OK sure, but why?

        • by Altus (1034)

          Just because you can't port a control scheme doesn't mean you don't want to be able to bring over your engine.

        • by ianare (1132971)

          For games, not really, but for other apps it can be quite useful. I like being able to run all the Linux networking tools on my n900.

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          I think that's the point. Who cares if you can port between two things that don't run the same kind of software?

          erm.. isn't that the point of "easy portability" - you can take one thing and make it work on both platforms. that's what they're touting here after all.

        • I think that's the point. Who cares if you can port between two things that don't run the same kind of software? It's not like you're going to be playing Crysis on your phone. It's like having easy portability between Solaris and Android -- OK sure, but why?

          Take a look at the titles available on Xbox Live Arcade. Out of the top 10, eight of them have simple enough controls that they could easily be played on a phone. If I was the developer of any of those games I'd be seriously looking in to adapting it to touch input. If that's all it takes to open up a new market for one's title, why not?

          • I'm sure you could easily port NetHack and SuperTux to Android from *nix as well, but how much of a draw will that really be for the platform? The point isn't that there are zero XBOX games that could sensibly be ported to a phone, the point is that the platforms are very different and even if the code is portable, the format is likely to be very different. If the XBOX game is CPU or GPU hungry, it won't run well on a phone (or will kill the battery). If it includes gigabytes of graphical content, you won't

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      ... the easy portability of code between WP7 and Xbox,

      How come i get the feeling they have NEVER programmed at all?

      I don't know, it doesn't make much sense for you to get that feeling based on the passage you quoted.

      • by 517714 (762276) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @11:06PM (#35662736)

        Windows = Keyboard + Mouse

        XBox = Controller

        WP7 = Touchscreen

        I don't see much code being reused on quality apps, but it should lead to lots of mediocre games. Each game will work best on the platform targeted by the developer, and the quality of the ported versions will vary widely, but online tutorials are unlikely to have a positive effect.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Windows = Keyboard + Mouse

          XBox = Controller

          WP7 = Touchscreen

          I don't see much code being reused on quality apps, but it should lead to lots of mediocre games. Each game will work best on the platform targeted by the developer, and the quality of the ported versions will vary widely, but online tutorials are unlikely to have a positive effect.

          Why? Angry Birds (which is available on the desktop and on touchscreen smartphones) simply has the most basic interaction changed to work with a mouse instead of touch, other than that the functionality is the same. If this were porting between WP7, XBox and Windows then very little code would need to be changed.
          Any well-designed game is going to benefit from having the physical-platform-agnostic code (i.e. AI, animation, game logic, etc...) not having to be changed at all when you go between platforms.

          • by Rennt (582550)

            Did you really just try to refute the statement - I don't see much code being reused on quality apps, but it should lead to lots of mediocre games. - by pointing at Angry Birds?

            That's freaking hilarious.

            • by ShakaUVM (157947)

              Say what you want about Angry Birds (I liked it better when it was called Boom Blox), but he's right. Most professional games will modularize the UI as much as they can.

              A friend of mine ported one of the launch titles for the Wii, and they didn't have to change much outside of the UI and rendering code. Their biggest problem was Nintendo suddenly demanding that all launch titles have the "safety strap splash screen" put in about a week before the deadline. That meant actually having to dig into the code to

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              Did you really just try to refute the statement - I don't see much code being reused on quality apps, but it should lead to lots of mediocre games. - by pointing at Angry Birds?

              That's freaking hilarious.

              Well you can define 'mediocre' however you want but it's certainly one of the world's most popular games. And if you really want a XBox to WP7 example have a look at Full House Poker.

              • by nschubach (922175)

                Full House Poker

                I kind of wish I had one of those when that show was out. I suppose you'd use it to poke your eyes out?

        • Right, because everybody knows that 90% of a game's code is in its UI and input system. Things like the game engine, AI, logic controlling elements in the game, resources, and netcode are completely irrelevant, right?

          To be fair, WP7 doesn't support much in the way of netcode right now, and it's certainly not trivial to shift UI paradigms. However, that doesn't mean that the ability to use XNA, and resuse a lot of code as a result, isn't still quite valuable.

          • by forsey (1136633)
            This is absolutely correct. In fact this is already a solved problem as even different consoles (eg, XBox vs Wii) have very different input systems. This is why game developers typically abstract away the front end so that it's easy to have a different version for each console and input systems are often layered such that only the first layer or two need to be replaced for a different input system. The largest lump of code in many games, at least the games I worked on, was game play, AI and graphics/anim
            • by tepples (727027)

              With WP7 you would have even fewer difference making even more shared code.

              But is there any language that compiles both for Windows Phone 7 and for platforms without a CLR? I want to reuse the logic tier [pineight.com] that implements "game play, AI and graphics/animation", and I don't want to have to maintain C# and standard C++, or verifiably type-safe nonstandard C++/CLI and standard C++, versions in parallel and worry that they would fall out of sync.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            Right, because everybody knows that 90% of a game's code is in its UI and input system. Things like the game engine, AI, logic controlling elements in the game, resources, and netcode are completely irrelevant, right?

            To be fair, WP7 doesn't support much in the way of netcode right now, and it's certainly not trivial to shift UI paradigms. However, that doesn't mean that the ability to use XNA, and resuse a lot of code as a result, isn't still quite valuable.

            PC = powerful X86
            Xbox = mediocre PowerPC
            Win Phone 7* = Weak ARM v7.

            That's going to put a serious kink in your plans for code portability, not to mention art assets that need to look reasonable on a 22" 16:10, 36" 16:9 and 3.7" 5:3 (or 3:5) display.

            You're not going to be able to reuse much of the code, even a lot of the art assets.

            * Not calling it WP7 for the sake of the whining Word Perfect fanboys and yes, I'm getting off your lawn.

          • by EXTomar (78739)

            It should be noted that things like "resources" and "netcode" are dramatically different between the three platforms in question. File handling semantics maybe similar across platforms but the details are a bit different with the side effects that are dramatically different where in particular permission is wildly different. What kind of network resources you have are dramatically different between all three platforms where on WP7 it may cost the user money to access it.

            I don't think anyone doubts that Mi

    • by Xest (935314)

      Have you ever actually used XNA? Your comment doesn't make much sense in the context of it, whilst the platforms have some minor differences the quote is dead right- porting between WP7 and XBox is incredibly simple, particularly if you're choosing to write a game that can happily target the Reach profile from the outset- something like Angry Birds for example would happily fit under that category.

    • If you code it in XNA and actually follow proper design patterns (completely disconnected UIs with Models and Views), you can code 90% of your app for both phone and xbox. The last 10% is UI formating and input events. This is XBox live stuff. We're not talking Battlefield 2 here.
  • Weird story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @10:42PM (#35662532)

    To me the article read like a blatant fanboy story, but maybe I'm just jaded.

    And then I got to this: "As with Xbox Live Arcade, however, Microsoft is set to run its own games promotions, to help market promising titles. The project kicks off this spring with a Must Have games season, which features six Windows Phone 7 titles, including Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Hydro Thunder and Plants vs Zombies. "

    Sure, those are promising titles - after all, they're already big hits on iOS and Android. But how the heck is this tied to the article's repeated meme regarding Windows/XBox-specific tools, and easy cross-development between XBox Live and WP7? It's certainly unlikely any of them were written in C#.

    • Re:Weird story (Score:4, Interesting)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @11:03PM (#35662712) Journal

      Right now there are no known non-stock WP7 apps not written in .NET. That said, all of titles listed are not really big in terms of code, so I suspect that porting effort is not as big as one would think. There's also a way to have a shared codebase between .NET and mobile platforms that support C++, though you end up with a rather crippled language subset (basically like Java with no GC).

    • Re:Weird story (Score:4, Insightful)

      by samkass (174571) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @11:39PM (#35662994) Homepage Journal

      Yeah... major astroturfing by Microsoft lately (including some newer Slashdot users to post happy messages), but the final sentence of the summary takes the cake:

      Ultimately, this prevents the market being swamped, but above this, there seems to be a layer of games by big publishers (EA, etc) that just step past the smaller developers in the queue. This is the biggest drawback of the system.'

      No... the biggest drawback of the system is that there are almost no customers to buy your app, so anything more than a quick port is uneconomical... and a quick port from iOS or Android (which is more important than XBox as a source of porting material) is impossible since W7 has no vanilla C/C++ and OpenGL ES.

      • by dskzero (960168)
        What on earth are you talking about? This is a huge step up that can make a difference in the perception people have on WP7 and if widespread enough, it could help their market space. I agree with GP that this is probably a piece of fanboyism, but it's an important issue that for example Apple doesn't seems to give a damn about. There is a difference between objective criticism and hateful oppinion.
    • Exactly. Any article about WP7 game programming isn't complete unless it talks about the limitations of the sandboxed environment, and the crippled network access. I'd really, really like to see someone take some benchmarks and say, "oh, look, it's really just as fast and usable!" but no one has. And it's not. These are artificial limitations Microsoft has put into place.

      Also, I love this quote from the article: "XNA is so widely used it's difficult to walk into a Game Development course at a University a
      • by nschubach (922175)

        I'm a pretty avid gamer (PC mainly,) but I can't name one title that uses XNA. Of course, I won't ever buy an XBox, but that's a different matter.

        • Ya, the only way you would ever use it is if A) you are satisfied with less than highest quality graphics, or B) you are an indy game developer and can't get access to anything else on the XBOX.
  • All against MS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jelizondo (183861) <jerry.elizondo@nOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @10:43PM (#35662546)

    Slightly off-topic

    Recently there had been several stories about MS / WP7 and many comments are, kind of knee-jerk reactions against MS.

    Before someone screams astroturfing, let me say that I use whatever tool is right for the job. Mostly I do data-driven applications (WinForms, PHP, MVC, Java, whatever) against the database server that will deliver the most bang for the buck (my client's buck, not mine) so I have used Firebird (the OS incarnation of Paradox), SqlLite, MySQL, Postgress, MS SQL and (gasp!) even Oracle!

    Now, I don't think MS gets, even now, how that works. Calling stored procedures in MS-SQL from any VisualStudio framework is a royal pain in the ass. They tout DRY but I can't think why you have to jump through loops to get stored procedures to work in their frameworks; I have many complex queries in SQL to list records, why would I want to repeat the same SQL statements in an MVC app and in a WinForms app against the same database? The surest way to achieve DRY is to use stored procedures and let each app handle only the presentation of the data.

    Having ranted against MS, I kind of like MVC 3 and the new Entity Framework, not quite up to speed on it, but so far I kind of like it and that has predisposed me towards looking at WP7 and see what has MS learned from past failures, which last year I would not have thought about at all.

    Now, in a site supposedly rife with developers of all kinds, shouldn't we be more open about investigating and then adopting or rejecting new technology?

    Please don't construct this as an advertisement for WP7, I'm simply saying, maybe one should look at it before dismissing it out of hand. I did some work in Symbian and (the pain!) Objective-C, so I don't think my eyes will pop-out if I look at WP7.

    • Re:All against MS? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @11:07PM (#35662754) Journal

      I have used Firebird (the OS incarnation of Paradox)

      Firebird is an OSS fork of Interbase. It doesn't have anything to do with Paradox, aside from the fact that both Interbase and Paradox were owned by Borland.

      Calling stored procedures in MS-SQL from any VisualStudio framework is a royal pain in the ass.

      Out of curiosity, what do you find hard about it? (especially in comparison with other similar frameworks, say, JDBC)

      Please don't construct this as an advertisement for WP7, I'm simply saying, maybe one should look at it before dismissing it out of hand.

      Right now there are more problems with WP7 from user side than there are from developer side. Sure, you can write an app - but do you actually want the phone to run it on?

      From dev perspective lack of C/C++ is a surprisingly big deal. On every other mobile platform, you can reuse existing C and C++ libraries as-is, and there are a lot of them. On WP7 it's .NET only, and even then it's not quite the same as desktop version, so there's no guarantee that your favorite library will work.

  • by goruka (1721094) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @10:51PM (#35662616)
    I don't understand why they focus so much on developers porting XBLA games, when they should be caring about iPhone or Android developers porting their games and applications to WP7. I can understand that they will not run Java on their system to avoid problems with oracle, but nothing avoids them from offering C++ / ObjC, which are both available on Apple and Google platforms. This allows a much larger amount of developers (and middlewares such as Unity) to offer the same on WP7 as everywhere else.
    By forcing everyone to use .NET , I think developers will just keep writing their code in wathever is supported by the market leaders (Java, ObjC and C++), as they will not ditch their entire codebases to please Microsoft.
    • I'm looking at getting rid of the iPhone later this year and going to Android, but if MS increase services through XBL I may go with that.

      I already have a lot of games on XBL, plus use it for Movies & TV, if any of those services can be used on my phone I'd probably be persuaded to go with that.

      Currently though the models of phones don't really excite me.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tgd (2822)

      .NET is a framework. The .NET runtime is bytecode like Java.

      You can write XNA and Silverlight apps in C++, if you like.

      I suppose someone could make an ObjC compiler for the .NET runtime, but seriously, who other than an Apple zealot can deal with ObjC?

      • You can write XNA and Silverlight apps in C++, if you like.

        But not the standard C or C++ that you may have used on PC, iOS, and Android NDK. One must use the verifiably type-safe subset of C++/CLI (/clr:safe), and its syntax for arrays, pointers, and references is incompatible with that of standard C++. If you want to compile one program, such as the logic tier [pineight.com] of your game, both as standard C++ and as verifiably type-safe C++/CLI, I have been told that it would take a buttload of arcane template wizardry.

        • by tgd (2822)

          I've never had a problem converting native C++ to managed C++. I'm sure there's screwy stuff you can do that it'll be unhappy with, but I've never run into any. (And that has been hundreds of thousands of lines of C++).

          YMMV.

          • I've never had a problem converting native C++ to managed C++.

            When I fix a defect in the logic of a program in managed C++, I want the fix to automatically propagate to the unmanaged C++ version, or vice versa. This is most practical when both the managed C++ and the unmanaged C++ are generated from the same source code file. Can you recommend an easy way to do this? Or are you referring to converting unmanaged C++ to managed C++ in a separate branch, never to be merged back to mainline, and somehow trying to keep fixes to both branches in sync?

    • by dskzero (960168)
      Well, being their own framework, I think promoting it and trying to market it it's kinda obvious.
  • by jonwil (467024) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @10:56PM (#35662660)

    Just like back in the day when Nintendo limited the number of games any one developer could have on the market at once, I suspect Microsoft wants to limit the number of titles (so that the money consumers spend on games gets spread over fewer titles, thus more profit per title). I suspect they also want to keep a lid on the number of free/near free titles (the more free options there are, the less likely it is that people will buy the expensive premium titles since the free ones give them enough things to play)

    • by PmanAce (1679902)
      The limit is 100 free apps at once on the marketplace....not to shabby. Currently I am at 6.
  • by FryingLizard (512858) on Tuesday March 29, 2011 @11:08PM (#35662758)

    "Professional" mobile games (i.e. by commercial dev companies) are almost universally written in straight C/C++ with minimal ObjectiveC / Dalvik wrappers to get to the phone hardware.
    If you have a hit title, do you -really- want to have to rewrite the whole thing from top to bottom to port it to other platforms?

    I spent several months a few years back working hard to convince my employer (a certain US carrier) that going ahead and launching a J2ME-based mobile platform (in the last 00's - this is post-iPhone, people) was would elicit nothing more than mockery (and, at best, shovelware) from the developer community. My employer subsequently canned the idea, and I like to think that my steely knives helped kill the beast.
    My main argument was that forcing developers to rewrite significant portions of code almost guarantees you won't get major titles, regardless of your hardware lineup.

    One of the smartest things Google did with Android was the NDK; I recently ported a top-10 iPhone 3d game (written 99% in straight C/++) to Android NDK and including my getting-to-know-you time I was done in 3 weeks. Was scorchingly fast on the Galaxy Tab compared to iPad.

    The frank reality is that iOS is very obviously the largest mobile platform for developers, and others (Android, WP7, WebOS etc) must make it as easy as possible to port titles over.
    Google did a marvellous job of adding this capability; NDK gives you plenty enough bare metal to port easily from other platforms.
    I've not looked at WebOS ;-) but it appears they were smart enough to provide a plain-vanilla C++ and OGLES environment for games.

    Android and iPhone can handle running native code apps just fine. If WP7 can't make itself a viable (easy!) porting target like Android, it's going to be spending a lot of Saturday nights at home watching TV waiting for the phone to ring.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      "Professional" mobile games (i.e. by commercial dev companies) are almost universally written in straight C/C++ with minimal ObjectiveC / Dalvik wrappers to get to the phone hardware.

      And these "professional" developers (i.e. commercial dev companies) you speak of will have access to native code development the same way they do on the XBox as outlined in the Partner Application Development Policy.

      • by TheSunborn (68004)
        Are you sure? Because according to
        http://thetechjournal.com/electronics/mobile/undisclosed-and-confidential-partner-docs-of-windows-phone-os-7-exposed.xhtml

        "Native apps are restricted to OEMs and mobile operators in order to extend the experience and functionality specific to a phone or network"
      • by tepples (727027)

        And these "professional" developers (i.e. commercial dev companies) you speak of will have access to native code development the same way they do on the XBox

        I'm writing a business plan. Can you recommend a guide for a company trying to make the transition from Xbox Live Indie Games to commercial dev?

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          And these "professional" developers (i.e. commercial dev companies) you speak of will have access to native code development the same way they do on the XBox

          I'm writing a business plan. Can you recommend a guide for a company trying to make the transition from Xbox Live Indie Games to commercial dev?

          What did i write that gave you any idea i would know anything about that?

    • by DrXym (126579)
      The NDK is great. It's too bad Google haven't gone that extra inch and allowed / encouraged apps to target LLVM bitcode instead of native instructions. Even ARM processors have differences in their instruction sets and who's to say all tablets are running ARM anyway? Apps could be compiled natively from the bitcode when they're first installed meaning no loss of speed. It's even possible the Marketplace itself could compile the app natively for the target device based on which device was asking for it.

      Fun

      • It's too bad Google haven't gone that extra inch and allowed / encouraged apps to target LLVM bitcode

        What advantage would LLVM bitcode have over JIT compiled Dalvik bitcode?

        • by DrXym (126579)
          Probably none assuming someone produce a decent C++ compiler that spat out Dalvik bytecode and whatever changes were made to the runtime to accomodate unmanaged languages like C++. I mention LLVM purely because it actually exists, has two C++ compilers that support it (gcc & clang) and is relatively mature tech. Google already use it for Renderscript in Android 3.0 so clearly they like the concept too. It's clearly not optimal to have two runtimes doing more or less the same thing to serve different dev
          • I wonder how much separates Dalvik in LLVM, if there is scope to merge both concepts.

            Chrome OS has Google Native Client [wikipedia.org], a way to deploy applets compiled to a verifiably safe subset of native code so that they run in a web browser. (Think ActiveX, except far safer.) It's also working on a successor called PNaCl, which does the same thing with LLVM bitcode. I imagine that as Google continues to cross-pollinate features between Android and Chrome OS, Android too should gain an LLVM execution environment.

    • by tgd (2822)

      XNA games can be written in C++, Visual Studio just doesn't include the templates for it. You can also easily do the platform bits in C# (which is, frankly, easier) and call directly into the C++ whenever you need.

      XNA is .NET, and you can write .NET code in C#, C++, F#, Ruby, Java, Perl. There are LOTS of languages that can compile to the .NET bytecode. All of them can access the Silverlight and XNA libraries.

      I think the knee-jerk anti-MS reactions on here unfortunately keep some people from actually lookin

    • by dskzero (960168)
      I am pretty sure you can write code for .NET framework in C++. Oh wait, /. must hate on the man.
  • Too much karma... (Score:5, Informative)

    by giuseppemag (1100721) <.giuseppemag. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday March 30, 2011 @03:20AM (#35664030)
    ...so I'll burn a bit here :)

    I am an indie game developer working mainly with XNA. I have published a few XBox Live Arcade titles, plus a few WP7 ones. The ease of portability is really high. The only difference (granted, this is not necessarily trivial to implement) is the input devices, which are the first thing I wrap away because for various reasons it is useful to have a game that works well in Windows with kb + mouse. When porting to wp7 no additional code is required. Usually lighting and shaders will be toned down (not much to do, just set different techniques in the stock shaders) and models and textures must be reduced in detail, both for storage and rendering performance.

    In the end this is the reason why our games will keep ending also in the wp7 marketplace even though sales are not as high: the development costs for porting are so low that even few sales result in a gain...
    • by geekoid (135745)

      ".. no additional code is required"
      That's because you added the additional code up front.

      • What I meant, and it was quite clear IMNSHO, is that you always build an abstraction layer for your input system that launches events or uses some similar mechanism to abstract the input away; you do this because you are always interested in leaving the possibility of customizing the input (same in-game event, different button, touch, whatever) even if you are not planning a porting of your game and so supporting different controllers becomes very much trivial because all the new code happens behind the inp
  • Windows Phone 7 offers a curated experience, which means Microsoft controls the quality of games appearing on the device. Microsoft curates, whilst Apple stifles ;-) Jerry
  • "The mobile games industry has exploded over the past few years, driven largely by titles built for iOS and Android."

    No this isn't true, it has been driven almost exclusively by iOS. Leave it to /. to have to throw Android in there.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      what? there are more original games for the Android then iOS.

      Leave it to an Apple Fanboi to leave out facts SJ wouldn't like.

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