PC and Mac vs Android and iOS

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Desktop Gaming, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Hello.

    I've recently finished my current project (my 15th in eleven years) and I feel like I've reached a bit of a crossroads.

    I've used BlitzBasic, Blitz3D and BlitzMax since they appeared in 2000 and knock them as much as you like, but they've been fairly successful for me. Anyhoo, with the release of Monkey I started to take a little notice of mobile gaming - particularly iOS and Android platforms but also Flash as well.

    This is really a question to others who started out on desktop platforms before moving to mobile ones. My first issue is one of development time - would it be correct to assume that mobile games don't/cannot have anywhere near as much content as a desktop-based equivalent? This being the case then what's a typical turn-around time for a mobile project? Magicville took me two and a half years, my current game took seven months - I know this is a huge difference but if I'd hammered Magicville like I did my most recent effort, I reckon Magicville would've been out the door in ~18 months.

    I guess my dilemma boils down to a question of time investment versus potential return.

    Sorry for being a little vague, I'm just sounding out. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Roman Budzowski

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    On current mobiles you can create as content rich games as on desktop. I don't say you have to, but you can. Some create successful ports of PC games to iOS (1:1 content ports).

    So if you know how to develop games that require less content, then great, but if not, making games for mobile devices won't change much for you.

    Our current strategy is to develop in BlitzMax solid game and then just port it to Monkey. Porting, while all the assets are done is much faster than developing new game.
     
  3. Jack Norton

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    Hm that's a good idea, since I find monkey at current state unusable (you can't debug in practice).
    About the original question no, mobile device have as much content as the desktop ones, the only difference is that you try to sell to 10.000 of people at $0.99 than to 1.000 people at $24.99 :) Some of my ports are 1:1 (identical) others have reduced features, but because of some engine restrictions.
     
  4. Grey Alien

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    Yeah there are some games with less content that download games but they don't sell well. Spring Bonus is nearly ported now and it has the same content.
     
  5. Desktop Gaming

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    How are you doing it? Complete 'rewrite' then swiping bits of tedious Blitzmax code?
     
  6. mwtb

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    The hardware "grunt" in processing and storage between desktop and mobile is a factor, but it's a narrowing gap that is almost negligible for most games in the casual/indie developer's sights. The bigger factor in making lighter games more acceptable to mobile markets is that the users are more often just looking for quick time fillers and that's a market that is filled by FTP browser games on the desktop.

    It's more of a question of style/genre though. I don't know how successfully you could sell an hour-long RPG or a three location graphic adventure, for example.

    And, as an aside:

    It's true that you can't just step through Monkey code, but the debuggers for each of the targets work just fine. Code translators/cross-language compilers are always going to be 95% solutions to the multi-platform development problem. The disadvantage you see in having to switch languages is also an advantage in allowing you to optimise for each platform and use platform specific features.
     
  7. Jack Norton

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    Yes but I would have preferred something that I can also debug, and THEN it exports to all other formats, would save lot of time :) I still don't get why he didn't use python (already cross-platform, a REAL language, possibility to reload script on the fly that saves you HOURS of development, etc).
     
  8. mwtb

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    Probably because Python isn't native on iOS or Android or embedded in browsers, making it rather less than cross-platform for the purposes of mobile games. It's also a fairly difficult language to translate to a static language target. I like Python (and I'm really not a fan of the Monkey language syntax), but it's not the answer to everything.

    I'd guess that a Monkey interpreter could be on the cards at some point once the dust settles on language features, which would address the debugging needs. The point remains that you can debug stuff written in Monkey just fine. Whether the time spent waiting for a build and then debugging in a target is more or less than the time spent porting all your code and then doing some (hopefully) smaller amount of debugging is going to vary from coder to coder and project to project.
     
  9. Jack Norton

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    Well python was just an example. For me the ultimate language is something like python or even C with visualC break/edit/continue feature. Something that if you find a bug after 150h of testing you can just modify a variable value on the fly, recode a class, reload the script and keep going on. Then once the game works and is debugged, translate to the other platforms like monkey does. Since I switched to Renpy I can now make easily 3-4 games a year while before took me almost 1 year each.
     
  10. mwtb

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    Renpy is an engine with a scripting language specifically designed for producing the sort of games you produce. The productivity boost you achieved by using it is unlikely to be entirely down to its interactive script debugging. At least I'd hope not, otherwise you would be saying that you spend over 75% of your development time in the debugger. Anyway... this is getting very off-topic.
     
  11. Applewood

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    Sorry to be a bit old-skool, but there's some great languages and SDK's out there for developing across desktop and mobile. The language is C/C++ and the graphics are OpenGL. If you google those terms you'll find they're reasonably well supported...

    EDIT: NB. I'm not a luddite and nor am I opposed to different ways of doing things. But what I've never get, and never will, is why people avoid the obvious choices. PythonX++2012 will not make a complex game get developed noticeably faster, but it will stop it running on any system that doesn't have a specialist compiler. And it's not like C++ and/or openGL are shit - these tools work and there's so many demos and frameworks that learning to use them is a piece of piss.

    EDIT2: Restressing time after fact checking the O/P. There is one language that runs on all four and graphics toolkit that runs on all four more or less. They're also the most well supported and well documented options. Why do these threads even keep coming up... :)
     
    #11 Applewood, Jul 14, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  12. Jack Norton

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    Well if you check some of my recent games (or Hanako Magical Diary) you'll see that you can use renpy not just for VN but also for RPG, lifesim, basically any 2d game. This DESPITE the author doesn't really want it to be used to make something else (I understand him since he fears to have to do more support).
    The productivity I got is mostly due to the fact that python is really powerful language, simple to understand, for NON CODERS (or expert coders) like me. Having lists or ready to use libs for just anything is a big plus. Hanko's coder made a cross-platform updater when I couldn't find anything equivalent in C, while of course you CAN code it, having it done so quickly is another thing.
    End of OT :D
     
  13. GMarkou

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    Couldn't agree more. And on android and ios devices, you could use the extra "horsepower" that this combination offers you.
     
  14. Jack Norton

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    Well for the record I'm considering going back to the good old C if I can't sort out some things (like an easy ipad port for my future games). After all MSVC has edit/break/continue so can be productive anyway :)
     
  15. Desktop Gaming

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    These threads "keep coming up" because people (i.e. me) have questions they don't know the answers to - the "obvious choices" you mentioned are NOT obvious to everyone simply because they're obvious to you.

    Personally I'm getting a bit tired of you thinking you own the place and nobody else has the right to ask questions, or have any opinion that differs from your own. If they do, they get belittled and sworn at. I don't know who you are, or who you think you are, but you sure as hell don't have any right to make anybody here feel guilty for asking questions. I'd much prefer it if you'd either keep your toilet mouth and endless sarcastic sniping to yourself, or just take your Victor Meldrew persona elsewhere. You're no more important than anybody else here and since you don't seem to want to help, only to belittle others, why are you even here?

    I'm sure I'll only get a tirade of abuse from you as usual, so I'll wait here for it. Knock yourself out.

    [edit] Oh, thanks to everybody else for their input so far.
     
  16. Applewood

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    Yep, thank everyone else bar me - the guy who gave you the correct answer. You know, the helping bit I didn't do.

    Count the personal insults in this thread and there's a clear a winner. Here's a hint, it ain't me. Grow up and get over yourself.
     
  17. Roman Budzowski

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    Paul, as Desktop said, this is correct answer for you. I personally would hate to code in anything else than BlitzMax. It's just that productive. And I'd rather target one device less than go through the pain of coding in c.

    For me the only correct answer is BlitzMax and Monkey. Maybe at some point we will switch to Monkey and drop BlitzMax, but so far we find those two tools very productive. And we've been coding in many languages including assembler, c/c++, pascal, python, php, so it's like noobs are using BlitzMax because they can't learn "proper" programming language.
     
  18. Scharlo

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    You are spot on in regards to Applewood in terms of how he present himself on this forum. I heard that living on the Isle of Wight do this to you. This doesn't change the fact that he IS right most of the time and if people don't see those 'obvious choices', maybe the question should go in the beginners corner ?
     
  19. Applewood

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    Nope, just the correct answer to the question. It's you guys that are injecting personal bias into this. The only language that runs on all four of the named platforms is C/C++. The only graphics framework that runs across all four platforms is OpenGL (and ES).

    That is not a bias of mine, merely the correct answer to the question posed.

    And for that I'm getting grief. I usually get grief when I post correct answers because some people on this board think that C/C++ and OpenGL etc "advanced" development and don't want to hear it.

    I freely admit that my presentation on here has gone downhill but I'm not apologising for it. I'm sick to the back teeth of losing arguments and getting picked on because I give the right answers instead of the easy ones. The last argument I "lost" on here was about business economics, conducted with a teenage non developer. It just gets old.
     
  20. Applewood

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    Nah, I'd just like a public apology. I never insulted you but you seem to think it's ok to insult me, whilst accusing me of being insulting, which frankly melts my brain. There's half a dozen personal attacks in there, plus a few assumptions that are simply untrue or overexagerated and I'll bet you can't back them up.

    Amongst all the uncalled for bile, you accuse me of offering no help. Why not reread this entire thread and you'll find that in fact I'm the only poster who did so. You tirade against me is a disgrace and I hope you feel bad about it. I can assure you I don't.
     

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