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Cross Platform Development Considerations

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... Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Jet Fusion, King Arthur, TY the Tasmanian Tiger 1 & 2. ... PC Developers coming to console development ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Cross Platform Development Considerations


1
(No Transcript)
2
Who The Hell Am I?
  • David PevrealDip App Sc, BIT.
  • Lead Programmer on the Merkury Engine, Krome
    Studios.
  • TitlesStargunner, Sunny Garcia Surfing, The
    Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius Jet
    Fusion, King Arthur, TY the Tasmanian Tiger 1
    2.
  • PlatformsPC, Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox, Gamecube.

3
Who The Hell Are You?
  • PC Developers coming to console development
  • Single console developers considering moving over
    to multi-sku
  • Killing time until the next presentation

4
From PC To ConsoleConsole Manufacturer
Requirements
  • Just because you think your game is finished,
    that doesnt mean the manufacturer will allow it
    to ship
  • Guidelines like language and terminology, user
    interface, and memory card access are the most
    common failures
  • Each platform is different, and sometimes
    platform requirements conflict!

5
From PC To ConsoleConcatenate Files Into A
Single Archive
  • You cant dump hundreds or thousands of files
    into a directory like you can on a PC. There are
    file system limitations.
  • How well you order the files inside the archive
    will have a big impact on your games load-speed
    performance
  • There are load-time guidelines, so your game may
    not ship if its too slow to load!

6
From PC to ConsoleDiffering Development
Philosophies
  • Hardware is consistent
  • Audience is different
  • Memory is limited
  • Game design should have given thought to hardware
    limitations of consoles
  • Inflexible ship dates late games often have to
    wait for the next window for manufacturer
    testing. This costs money.

7
Console Differences
  • Input devices each platform has a different
    controller, different buttons
  • Storage capacity, PS2/Xbox use DVD (up to 9GB),
    GameCube uses a 1.4GB proprietry disk
  • Alignment and endianness
  • TRC/TCR/LotCheck requirements differ

8
Casualties of Multiplatformism
  • Memory management
  • Needs to be same on all platforms
  • PS2 has problems using its MMU
  • Needed to use a lowest common denominator
    approach
  • Textures
  • Each platform has different display
    characteristics
  • PS2 needs indexed textures

9
Commercial Realities
  • Making games costs a lot of money on average
    between 5 and 7 million
  • Some decisions are made based on making more
    money, not a better game
  • PS2 will most often be the lead platform in a
    multi-platform game

10
Interface Design A Little Thought Now or
Cripple Your Next Platform
  • Layer between hardware and game needs to be
    finely balanced
  • Too thin and youll have problems porting
  • Too thick and youll have performance problems
  • The trick is to package up effects in ways that
    each platform can achieve the same result, but in
    different ways

11
Interface Design Common Denominators Are Bad
  • Avoid the temptation to expose common
    denominators among your platforms
  • Keep interfaces high-level enough that platforms
    can implement the effect in a variety of
    different ways
  • Avoid exposing limitations in interfaces if you
    can, instead try to hide the limitation
    artificially (if possible)

12
Asset Pipeline
  • Time spent perfecting the asset pipeline is an
    investment
  • Ensure your intermediate asset format doesnt
    lose or change information
  • From the intermediate format transform into a
    highly optimised and lightweight format
    specifically designed for each platform

13
Conclusion
  • Even if youre coding an engine for one platform,
    keep an open mind now so that you can port later
    on
  • Keep engine interfaces high level
  • Study the TRC/TCR/LotCheck documents
  • Spend time refining the asset pipeline

14
Questions
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