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jpkokkon
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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 00:55 | IP Logged Quote jpkokkon

Santi,

After testing out the MoG2 editor, I gotta say that it looks great. It really seems like a lot of changes can be made and new stuff added to the game by just using the editor. Seems very flexible.

So, my curiosity wins and I can't help wondering about a few technical issues...

a) Is the scripting language in MoG 2 editor your own, or is it based on some free scripting language? It seems like it's custom made for this case.

b) How does the view rendering/collision detection work? I would guess you draw the current room's bitmaps (and masks) to single big image(s), right? How big rooms did you have in mind for the game.. Could the game run on some mobile platform with only a few megs of RAM. (just wondering if the game could be portable to n-gage)

c) The mapping system is scalable? - In other words, if player is in one room, only enemies and stuff in that room are being processed? (+ multiroom objects always?)

d) What will happen if we have 8 players all in different rooms, do all the computers process all the rooms, or just the room that one player is in?

e) Is the game written in C-style (procedural-style) like the MoG remake sources seem to be, not in object-oriented style? (C-style would actually probably be easier to port for symbian OS, although symbian itself is OO style.)

btw. the editor seems to leak memory (at least on previews) because after a while of editing the editor process was taking about 100 megs of memory (which seemed quite a lot for a 2D game). Using any kind of memory manager/debugger? They are quite handy for detecting memory leaks, duplicate deletes, etc.

I'm just so curious.
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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 11:45 | IP Logged Quote Popolon

Let's see...

a) Yes, it's a custom design. I tried to do the language as easy as I could. I like the graphical view of it. However, I'm still thinking on adding a standard text editor as an optional way to edit the scripts.

b) Rendering and collision detection follow two different ways inside the engine. The collision detection engine, has a BIG image where it stores the "inactive objects" masks of each room. However, it is a collision mask, and it uses only 1bit per pixel. The rest of collisions are made object-to-object without drawing the collision masks to any BIG image. However, that BIG image, is used as an acceleration, and can be removed from the code easily (just setting a variable to "false") to save memory.
The rendering engine, just draws the visible part of a room at each frame. So no BIG image is needed for rendering.
I'd also like to test if the resulting games are portable! That'd be cool!!!!

c) Each object has a flag called "active" all the rooms containing "active" objects are processed. In the small demo that comes with the editor, only ELEVATORS and CHARACTERS are active. So usually there are 3-5 active rooms. Testing how many rooms can be active at a time without noticing a slowdown is something that I'd like to test some day!

d) all the computers will have to process all the rooms. But not only that: a game is composed of several MAPS, and each map is composed of several ROOMS. In the small demo that comes with the engine there's a single map. But there can be simultaneously players in various maps, so that several MAPS have to be processed at each cycle. However, as I said in a previous post, the part that requires more computational power is the rendering (and the collision detection is some of the objects have defined a rotation or a scaling factor).

e) The MoG2 engine is completely OO designed.

About the memory leaks, you are right, there can be some memory leaks. Yesterday I discovered that the FONTS where not freed properly, but that cannot justify 100MB of memoru, so there should be more things that I do not free properly. However, the debugger of MSVC++ 6.0 doesn't detect any memory leak! How can you see the amount of memory that a process is taking? (I use Windows 98 or ME)
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JEames
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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 12:10 | IP Logged Quote JEames

OHH!! Santi!! How can you still be using Windows 98/ME? -It's the worst operating system in the world!!! -No doubt why you have such a bad idea from Microsoft.

Try this:

http://www.1000files.com/Utilities/System_Utilities/aTaskManager_1966_Review.html

Windows NT and newer OS (2K & XP) have taskmanager integrated. There's also many tools in the resource kit to detect memory leaks like "pview" that indicate even what process or DLL is giving you the problem; but I can't be sure that they work under WinME. This is what it looks like:

And here's a link, try and see if it works (I don't think so): Z78C8_PVIEW.ZIP

 



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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 13:04 | IP Logged Quote Popolon

Cool program JAson! Now I can see if there is some unproper memory management!!

I'll try to find if there are some memory leaks tonight...
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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 13:46 | IP Logged Quote jpkokkon

About that memory manager.. I can recommend at least the one I've been using myself.

You can download it from http://www.webol.fi/~suomip/koodiaitta/memory_manager.zip

Too bad it has the instructions and stuff in finnish, but the code itself is english and gives all error messages in english, so that should not be a problem. And I can give the basics here in english.

First, the license for that code seems to be roughly: "do whatever you want with it, as long as you don't remove the copyright notice".

Now, how do you use that code...
Well, you can try out running the simple test that comes with the zip. If that works, it should have created a file called memory_leaks.txt which list the memory still unfreed by the test at exit.

Now, how to integrate it to your own code..

Just include the debug_memorymanager.cpp to your project, then add KITCHY_DEBUG_MEMORY to the global project defines (probably to the debug version only, you probably don't want to enable that memory manager for release versions). Then add #include "debug_memorymanager.h" to all .cpp files (preferably as the last include). If you have virtual destructors or some constructors defined inside header files, you may need to include the memorymanager in those headers too. If you forget to include the header to some files, you will either not catch all leaks or the program execution may break to some memory manager error message.

And that's about it. The memory manager should then always print you the memory leak log and it should break the program execution at certain errors, such as trying to delete some data twice or trying to delete an array with delete instead of delete [].

If you are using some "interesting" libraries that overload new and delete operators, the memory manager may not work properly, but at least I have not encountered such situations yet.

Once again, the whole installation in a nutshell:
- download the zip.
- copy the memorymanager .cpp and .h files to whereever your sourcecode is.
- add #define KITCHY_DEBUG_MEMORY to your project defines
- add the .cpp to project.
- add #include "debug_memorymanager.h" to all your .cpp files (and in some cases to header files too).
- you should have the leak log now, as well as breaking on some memory errors. And you're one step closer to easier debugging.

btw. Windows 98 is just horribly unstable.. Windows 2K is finally starting to look like a piece of MS software that one can actually use. :)
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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 14:20 | IP Logged Quote Popolon

I'm goning to buy a new laptop in less than a month time (Jason, now it's the proper time to check that offers you sent me!). And I was thinking on installing 2K on it. But I've a couple of questions about 2K:
- does it run all the Win98 programs?
- will I find drivers for all my HW for 2K?

about the memory manager, I've downloaded it also. I think that with the combination of PView and this one I will be able to get rid of all the memory leaks...
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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 15:29 | IP Logged Quote jpkokkon

I definitely recommend W2K over Win98.

At least for me, all windows software that runs under w98, runs just fine under W2K too. However, a lot of DOS games no-longer run with W2K.

And I don't know about hardware.. I you have some really old stuff, maybe then there are no W2K drivers for it. But, I have come across to totally another kind of scenario too (a really old laser printer that had only win 3.x drivers did not have drivers for win95/98, but it has drivers under w2k. :)

If you wanna be really sneaky, you can first install win98 and then install w2k. That way it supports multiboot and you can select which one to run (al long as you use FAT32 and not the NTFS filesystem, running win98 with NTFS filesystems will totally screw up everything). But, you would probably find out very soon, like I did, that you will always boot to W2K.
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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 17:24 | IP Logged Quote JEames

Well... if it's a new laptop, you would be probably better of with WinXP. WinXP is much like Win2K but with all kind of colors, picutres, special FX, Tweakinkie Weankes, and f**king sh*t like that... but it also has all the drivers preinstalled and make's the installation a peace of cake. All the extra "features" can be deactivated once the system is installed.

I'll take a look arround to see if I can find any good value for money laptop. What kind of laptop do you want? Intel Centrino? 512Mb Ram? 80Gb HD? 15'' active TFT screen?



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Posted: 13 October 2003 at 17:55 | IP Logged Quote MP83

In case someone wants to know my opinion, I'm using W98 and WinXP. XP is for primary use and W98 when everything else fails (I'm using multiboot), but that's not very often, because WinXP is working like a dream (mostly).  It runs most of the programs I've tried and it's the only OS where I can play Leisure Suit Larry 6.  But then there's some programs that W98 can do better than XP, such as playing the midis correctly in the RPG game, Ultima V.  

When asking my opinion which OS I would like to use, 2K or XP, I would choose XP, because it doesn't crach as often when compared to W2K (which is weird when talking about the Microsoft product).

Well, even tho XP is working fine, I'm having annoying problem with the XP which makes me to hate it often.  When I try to delete or even modify some of the files I've used once or highlighted, Windows tells that the program is in use(!?). I have always checked the Task Manager, but I've never seen any signs of these files being used. Why in the hell is the XP doing this!?  Something to do with the XP's THUMBNAILS -feature? 



Edited by McBain on 13 October 2003 at 18:10
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Posted: 14 October 2003 at 12:57 | IP Logged Quote JEames

WinXP and Win2K are much the same as WinNT, in fact they all come from the same architecture and they all are, in general, reliable OS. The difference are the graphics, the drivers and the extra features that Microsoft keeps adding on their OS. For some strange reason NT never got the "grip" that Win95/98 had in those times and peolpe prefered the catastrofic 98 rather that the probably expensive NT. Unfortunately it took nearly 7 years for Microsoft to realize that the only way to eliminate Win98/ME was to stop selling it. They should'nt have sold it in the first place and computer users and IT managers would have had a rather more happy years lately.

About the file blocking problem: what Antivirus software are you using? -Have you tryed to deactivate it? We used to have this problem on the network when we had Panda (the stupid green bear) installed. But since we changed to Norton it has'nt happened again.



Edited by JEames on 14 October 2003 at 13:01


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Posted: 16 October 2003 at 17:00 | IP Logged Quote jpkokkon


As I mentioned earlier, I was wondering if the MoG2 was portable to n-gage..

Well, I ended up hacking the MoG v0.61 source and as one can see from the below images, managed to get the MoG run on the nokia series 60 emulator.





This however does not mean that the game would run on the actual series 60 (n-gage) hardware.

First of all, the port is a rather horrible hack, just barely capable of running maybe 15 fps at max on the emulator. What the framerate would be on n-gage itself, is a total mystery for me (most likely not quite so good). The code might need a lot of optimization to be able to run on n-gage.

And the symbian-emulator-port is totally missing sounds, making the gameing experience much more dull.

And most of all, the port is not a proper symbian port, it's only a symbian emulator port. The ported source still has all the global variables left that the original source had. These of course are being a big no-no on symbian. Basically, the port would not run at all on the actual hardware without major code restructuring.

Also, there is no proper symbian memory management added to the code. After all, symbian being a rather crappy system (in my current opinion ), requires a totally different approach for exceptions and memory cleanup than a usual standard C++ platform. Also, the current memory requirements are probably a bit more than n-gage hardware can handle.

Well, if "some" coding would be all it takes to get MoG on n-gage.. that would not be a big problem. But in the fear of konami getting pissed off, it seems like a much better idea not to distribute MoG for mobile phones. The game would first need some totally redone graphics as well as totally new maps.

It was an iteresting experiment trying to port a game to symbian, but I guess that is where I'm gonna leave it. The usefulness of spending a lot of time (and money by buying the n-gage hardware) to get the MoG on n-gage is questionable, at least.

And after spending several hours getting acquainted with symbian coding, I must say I did not like it at all. So I am certainly _not_ looking forward to doing more symbian coding, although coding for mobile platforms sounds interesting.



Edited by JEames on 17 October 2003 at 13:17
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Posted: 17 October 2003 at 01:32 | IP Logged Quote jpkokkon

Oh, a small correction to my above post..

Although global variables are not ok in symbian (dll-applications to be precise), it still provides the application dll one static variable for it's use.. this can then be quite easily used with some macros and with one struct containing all the global variables to get the desired result - keeping the old global variables.. (read this from some opera symbian port doc)

Therefore, properly porting to symbian would actually be one step easier than what I stated in the previous post... Actually, if not considering the possibility of not having enough memory or cpu processing power, the game might probably port to n-gage very quickly.
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Posted: 17 October 2003 at 09:56 | IP Logged Quote Popolon

WOW!!!!!!!!

I tried some time ago to port MoG by my own to Symbian, but unfortunately, the Symbian SDK doesn't like my OS... (Win ME), and I couldn't even compile the "Hello world" app!!!

About the global variables, they are not aproblem, you can just encapsulate the whole program inside a Class, and make all the global variables as member variables...

IS it very difficult to port something to Symbian? Because I can prepare a small demo of a game created by the engine. Then we can test the frame rate, etc...

I'm _VERY_ interesetd on this!!!
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Posted: 17 October 2003 at 13:22 | IP Logged Quote JEames

Hey, it looks just great! -The only thing is if Symbian will be de definitive mobile OS. I don't think so... there's many people arround rather esceptic about it regarding it's scalability and capabilities.

What really amazes me is how easy the code can be ported from one system to another. I guess that that's the advantage of using C++ with strict syntax.

BTW: I've edited your post so that the images come up straight in to the message (make's the forum look better).



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Posted: 17 October 2003 at 17:04 | IP Logged Quote jpkokkon

I was pretty surprised too to actually get MoG running on the emulator as easy as it did. Well, "easy" might be the wrong word, "quick" is probably a better word for it.

The amount of foul language that came out of my mouth while trying to understand all those mysterious symbian compile errors certainly fill up this year's quota.

But, in the end, doing some quick porting to another platform is usually not that hard.. The real work comes when you have to fix every detail to work on the other platform... Like in this case - you can't really play the whole game on symbian.. Why? Because you can't write the spells needed to fight the great demons - after all, you have no keyboad on normal mobile phones. :)

Also, the original graphics layout doesn't quite fit the series 60 screen, so that would need to be fixed too.

And there also seems to be some interesting new bugs that have emerged because of the screen scaling down.. Water and lava don't work correctly, for example. Also, a lot of other bugs have probably appeared. Fixing all of those issues would probably take a week or more.

There were also a few lucky things that made the porting easy. Such as the graphics..

Luckily, the old MoG images were at MSX 256x192 resolution, so they scaled down really nicely. (That's why I used the original graphics set instead of the alternatives, the others got kinda fuzzy and unclear when scaled down to half of the original). Also, another lucky thing about the graphics was the selected "netscape palette" - which made the image scaling easier (the program uses the same images as the MoG PC version, it just scales them down at load). And also the palette made it quite easy to convert the images to the 12bit color format used by series 60.

If any other palette was used, these operations would have needed much more coding.

And other "lucky" things about the MoG code was, for example, the fact that MoG did not use the SDL much, the graphics were pretty much handled by the software renderer inside MoG. So, pretty much the only thing that was needed to port from SDL to symbian was the input handling routines.

Well, enough about the porting to the series 60 _emulator_.

The real challenge would probably be to port to the actual hardware. Because at least as far as I have understood, the EPOC / series 60 emulator is really not an emulator in the same way as, for example, MSX emulators are. The MSX emulators emulate the real MSX hardware and run with the exact same data as the actual MSX runs. So, a MSX program written and compiled under MSX emulator, should basically work just the same way if it is moved to the actual MSX hardware - this is not the case with the EPOC/S60 emulator. It does not emulate the hardware and run the actual machine code written for S60. It just basically emulates the programming API. The programs that are compiled for and run inside the EPOC emulator are actually just normal windows/intel x86 programs.

So, a program running on the emulator does not guarantee anything about it running on the real S60 hardware. This is the way I've understood it. And this is probably going to cause a lot of problems. The only way to know if MoG or any other game would run on S60 mobile phone (or on some other symbian platform), would be to test it on the actual hardware.

So, before actually testing the game on the real hardware, I have no clue whatsoever about how difficult it would be to port the game to some real symbian hardware.

Unfortunately, I do not have a n-gage/S60 phone myself, and I have no intention of getting one right now, because I don't think they are worth the cost.
(Unless there would be a way to cover the costs, by making a shareware game or something.. which would probably require a bit too much time and effort though.)
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Posted: 17 October 2003 at 18:20 | IP Logged Quote JEames

I think there should be good money in this mobile making software: Yesterday, zaping arround on tv I saw an advert on a very popular TV program (Cronicas Marcianas) where they were advertising the "Cronicas Marcianas Space Invaders" which wasn't nothing else but a crapy remake of the old classic "space invaders" ...all this on a high audience tv program.

What if Santi adapted the MoG graphics and story to match the presentator and other people in this tv program? -Sure it would be many times better that a space invaders game...

Santi: do you want me to make some phone calls and see if I can contact someone? -At least we can give it a try...



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Posted: 17 October 2003 at 19:02 | IP Logged Quote MP83

About N-Gage: I don't know actually anything about this new "gaming" -system, but I've heard from many sources that N-Gage is able to run some emulators (such as Gameboy) perfectly. So I woundn't be surprised if someone could port MoG for N-Gage.

By the way, jpkokkon: Kiinnostaako osallistua arvontoihin jossa voi voittaa N-Gage? Kaypas osoitteessa www.kilpailut.net. Siella oli ainakin pari paivaa sitten noin kymmenen N-Gage arvontaa. Ja jos voiton mahdollisuutta haluat kasvattaa niin ainahan voit osallistua Pelit-lehden N-Gage kilpailuun.  Haluttaessasi voin kertoa ohjeet Pelit-lehden kilpailun osallistumiseen, sekä oikeat vastaukset.

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Posted: 18 October 2003 at 00:14 | IP Logged Quote Popolon

Are you joking Jason about the phone calls?
I know of that "cronicas marcianas" game... They just take advantage that as they are a very seen program, they can advertise whatever they want, and it will be sold...

I'm not lying if when I tell you that I'd like to take part in the creation of a comercial game. But now it's not the time. I've starting to write my Ph.D. thesis this week. And if some of you do not know what that means, it just means that I will not have even a free weekend during 3-4 months... I'll try to keep developing MoG2 (and RF if I've time to), but I cannot spend many time now in a "serious" project (by "serious", I mean a project with deadlines, etc.).

About the port of MoG to symbian. I now see why has it been so easy. Then, I can tell you that porting the MoG2 engine won't be as easy. It makes intensive use of SDL, and many other SDL libraries: SGE, SDL_image, SDL_rotozoom, SDL_mixer, SDL_ttf, SDL_sound and SDL_net.
Therefore, they all have to be ported in order to be able to compile MoG2 on symbian.

However, as Jason says, there are many other alternatives to Symbian. There're recently some Handhelds that run a reduced version of Linux!
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Posted: 18 October 2003 at 01:24 | IP Logged Quote JEames

Ok, let's give time some time... the trooth is that mobile technology right now is moving faster than computer tech. So in 5 or 6 months we might have windows or linux based mobile telephones. The only leak point about not moving fast is that there will be allways someone faster. Anyway: you now that if you want to get serious about making software and selling it I would like to make a try and see where and what I can get.

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Posted: 19 October 2003 at 21:14 | IP Logged Quote jpkokkon

It might be pretty interesting to try to make a mobile phone game (better than the really crappy java games currently available).

This would of course require that one would quickly adapt Symbian C++ for example - it being simple enough to be efficient on those small mobile CPUs and memory. Java would probably have a bit too much overhead so that it could be used for any bigger/better games.

At least tomb raider and other n-gage games have proved that it is possible to port some quite advanced games to mobile platforms. Basically n-gage being one of the best currently best (if not _the_ best?) mobile phone for gaming, I think it would be the only appropriate choice. I don't think there are currently much markets for any other mobile phone games, unless the game is made in Java and ported to as many mobile platforms as possible. (These games tend to be quite crappy though ;)

Wheather even the n-gage would be a good choice really depends on how many pieces it will sell. I think that so far the sales haven't been too promising. Predicting the future is much harder though.

Anyway, making a selling game for n-gage would still require quite a lot of development - I'd claim that it cannot be done by a single person, unless one get's really really lucky and hits the jackpot with some really simple game. Currently it seems that all the n-gage games are pretty much just ports of older games - which have had a lot of development effort put into them originally. Now they are just doing the "easy" part and porting the game (which seems to take some time too, since only a few games are being sold for n-gage at the moment). Competing with those games cost-effectively is not easy if you don't have some ready-made-game to port yourself. If you have to do it from the scratch, it's gonna take several man-years of work.

Well, now might be the time to enter to the mobile game business if one is going to make it. Soon, it will become a big bisness, and it's gonna be much harder to get into. Of course, now the risks are big because nobody knows when the mobile games will really start to pay off, maybe it's now, maybe it's later. You just need to make the right guess.

And linux handhelds? I would not wait for them. They may be a nice platform to develop to, but if one really wants to try to succeed, you can't wait until then, you gotta start now, when the business is just forming, even if it means that you'll have to suffer with the symbian. I would guess that the linux handhelds won't be very common for at least a couple of years.

I might try mobile development myself, if I wasn't already too busy with my studies and work (which at least for now has been windows coding instead of symbian coding ;).

btw. If one really thinks of trying to make a mobile game, such as MoG2, one good shot might be the Nokia's n-gage mobile game development competition. You would have to be pretty quick for that (the demo must be submitted sometime in january, if I remember right), but the winner gets a nice $15K prize (second gets 10K, third 5K). Winning the prize might be a pretty good kickoff for mobile development. The only problem is, that the competition is for companies only I think(?). And so the participating entries may be pretty darn good (or maybe not? ;). More about the competition can be found at forum nokia. Of course if you think that you cannot win the 1st prize, it probably isn't worth trying, after all, I think that all the participating entries become nokia's property.
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