Hi, Plombo the software developer here. I share a brain, body, and Dtoid account with Plombo the gamer, who you might know from a couple of previous blog posts here. I'm considering writing a series of posts in which I do my best to explain the challenges, issues, and non-issues of cross-platform game development to gamers who aren't programmers.
First, though, I should introduce myself and my background. In my free time, I'm a developer on a 2D game engine called OpenBOR
, which was originally made for a beat 'em up for DOS called Beats of Rage
which was released in 2003. The engine has expanded greatly since then, and can now be used for most genres of 2D sprite games with some effort. More importantly, though, OpenBOR is very cross-platform. In addition to Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Android, it has ports for the Wii, PSP, and Dreamcast via unofficial "homebrew" SDKs. I also contribute to software projects other than OpenBOR as well as some personal projects, but that's less important because none of those are cross-platform game engines. I plan on going into the commercial software industry once I finish my degree in computer science, although probably not the game industry because jobs there are hard to come by as I understand it.
Anyway, there are few things more widely misunderstood in the gaming community than platform differences and the difficulties of cross-platform development. Since gamers are always heavily divided between platforms, the platforms that a particular game is available on is perpetually a hot topic for discussion. Problem is, most of the people who care are gamers who aren't programmers of any kind and have only vague, nebulous ideas of what is involved in cross-platform development and the porting process.
The world of "gaming journalism" does little to make this better. Most game journalists probably don't have a much better idea than consumers, anyway, because the game industry is obsessed with secrecy. Ideally, a developer who works or worked at a major studio would write in depth about this, and people could read it and be informed. However, to my knowledge, this hasn't happened. The secrecy and NDAs of the game industry are possibly responsible for this as well.
I'd like to do what I can to rectify the issue. Recently, I had the idea of writing a series of blog posts to explain porting and cross-platform development to interested non-programmers, drawing on my technical knowledge of games and consoles, and my experience with OpenBOR in particular. Although OpenBOR is less complex than your average commercial game engine, it faces many of the same development challenges and roadblocks that commercial cross-platform games do, and I'm at least familiar with many of the problems that it doesn't face. I also enjoy the challenge of explaining technical concepts to non-technical people, especially gamers. All things considered, I think I'm fairly well qualified to write about the subject.
Perhaps I've rambled a bit, but the reason I'm writing this post right now isn't to complain about gamers' ignorance or to brag about how knowledgeable I am. It's to ask you, the readers of the cblogs, a question: if I were to write this series, would you want to read it?
I'd be happy to do so if there's interest, but it will take a lot of work. If it turns out that no one actually cares, I'd rather not spend the time researching and writing all of it. So please comment and give me some feedback like "sure, I'd love to read that" or "no, that sounds boring" or "did you really write an entire blog post about how you might write more blog posts in the future?".
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