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John Carmack Not Enthused About Android Marketplace

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hit-with-a-fragmentation-grenade dept.

Cellphones 163

An anonymous reader writes "During an in-depth and informative interview, Doom creator and id Software co-founder John Carmack opines on iOS game development, the economics of mobile development vs. console development, why mobile games lend themselves to more risk-taking and greater creativity, and finally, why he's not too keen on the Android Marketplace as a money-making machine. '...I'm honestly still a little scared of the support burden and the effort that it's going to take for our products, which are very graphics-intensive.'"

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First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471230)

Man, if I get this, Slashdot is soo slipping...

Re:First (0, Offtopic)

Lissajous (989738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471294)

You got it, but because the rest of /. is too busy doing submission compatibility testing on their Androids.

Rage for Android? (2)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471250)

Carmack's Rage for iOS has been done alright, now I am eager to see whether it is even possible to port such a demanding 3D game to Android. There are lots of obstacles like the crippled NDK, hardware fragmentation, poor native audio support and boatload of other issues. If Carmack is taking a stab at it then I am really excited see the results. Also, pity the WP7 devices' capable hardware is DOA for such a development due to lack of native code support.

Re:Rage for Android? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471300)

So maybe we should all get iphones then, right whiteboy86?

Re:Rage for Android? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471312)

The fragmentation issue is honestly just marketing nonsense. Do you hear PC developers complaining about the same? The problem is plain and simply that of a console vs an open platform. Carmack is abandoning his roots in favour of console development. It's shameful.

Re:Rage for Android? (4, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471326)

Have you RTFA? He talks nothing about fragmentation:

The HD version of Rage is 1.4GB installed, and all the world geometry is using 2-bit PowerVR texture compression. If we went to one of the other platforms that's not PowerVR-based, we'd be stuck with a 4-bit texture compression format, and that pushes the size over 2GB. And the Android Marketplace doesn't even let you download more than 20 or 30MB, and you have to end up setting up your own server and doing your own transfer for all of that. Dealing with the user interface of managing space... there's a lot of things that happen automagically for us on iOS that we'll have to deal with particularly on the Android space. And that's not a lot of work that's going to be huge heaps of fun to do. It's going to be dreary, tedious work that I would certainly push on somebody else personally, but I'm not sure that even as a company it's something that we want to be involved in.

Even in the old days of the feature phone world, we always had EA Mobile or JAMDAT to build the 300 or 400 SKUs that they had for all the worldwide feature phone splits that we had from our four base versions. And we may yet wind up partnering with somebody else to do that level of broad support, but that's a little less satisfying when we're doing something that's pushing the limit graphically, because you don't have a second-tier company port your stuff to other graphics architectures and expect it to remain cutting-edge.

Basically, he needs Steam for Android.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471358)

The reply was directed at the grandparent who explicitly did mention fragmentation. Carmack might have some legitimate complaints, but they are no different than console vs PC complaints. After all, PSN/WiiWare/Xbox Live all provide you with an infrastructure for developing games. Yes, Steam is a 3rd party application for PC that does something similar. But why should it be expected? And better yet, why should someone like John Carmack be unable to develop a game without it?

Re:Rage for Android? (5, Insightful)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471536)

It costs money, it costs time, it costs support post-launch. Unable? No. Unwilling? If the return on investment (both monetary and effort) isn't there, then yes.

Remember that before Quake Live, Id games' online support basically consisted of a master server that just gave you a list of servers, and an FTP server with patches that relied on popular mirror sites to prevent it from going down due to demand (which it sometimes still did when new patches were released). They didn't even host their own servers, much less their own online distribution platform for the assets of the entire game. And Quake Live is basically an 11 year old game at this point. The size of the assets, method of distribution, and demand for the game are all going to be different (smaller) from a brand new AAA title like Rage is intended to be.

If Apple does the hosting for you, but Android does not (for files over 30 MB), that's a huge difference.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

karolbe (1661263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471890)

Come on guys. File size DOES NOT matter. You can distribute only the exe through the Market which will download (during the first run) rest of application data to SD card. There are already games which are distributed this way. This is also preferred sometimes, because you can distribute patches in more optimized way (instead of pushing 1.4GB to the market you tell your ~10MB exe to download only those parts of application which are required).

Re:Rage for Android? (2)

anss123 (985305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472008)

You can distribute only the exe through the Market which will download (during the first run) rest of application data to SD card.

The rest of the data still has to be served somewhere, somehow. Different methods may yield better result but does not solve the fundamental problem JC touched on.

Re:Rage for Android? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473678)

And yet Apple seems to have figured it out to his satisfaction. I dislike the Appstore, but there's something fundamentally different about the Appstore to the Android Market in that the file size for the market is capped at about 30mb.

His main complaint and one that I can't argue with is that he can't serve the file through the market place and as a result he'd have to set up his own server and override the wisdom people have of not getting Android apps from unknown sources.

Re:Rage for Android? (2)

anss123 (985305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473940)

I agree. karolbe, who I responded to, claimed that one could download an exe from the Android Market and then dl the rest of the data afterwards (from somewhere else). On appstore all data is stored on Apple's servers, which is what JC wants.

Re:Rage for Android? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473640)

What Google needs to do if they want to support larger file sizes is change the mechanism completely. Probably make it a bit more like Jigdo, or a torrent without the p2p features or some other method of downloading and verifying in a piecewise fashion.

I've got a Nexus One and often times due to crappy reception the updates I'm trying to download will freeze out and have to be restarted. I would assume that Apple has a more bandwidth efficient way of doing it if they're allowing such large files to be downloaded. Even requiring certain ones to be downloaded via the computer or WiFi would likely go a long way.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

JBMcB (73720) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473570)

There's a fundamental difference between phones and console/PC architectures. Consoles are known, fairly stable quantities. If you develop for a console, your development strategy is pretty much guaranteed to be stable for at least three or four years.

Ditto the PC - If you develop a game for DirectX or OpenGL, you can be confident that the platform will be stable for a while, and there are plenty of tools to make sure your graphics and audio work well on multiple environments.

On Android, you develop your app for the best phone, try to scale it down to make sure it's somewhat playable on the lowest end phone, and you're good - for a few months.Until the next greatest phone comes out, the one with twice the resolution and four times the 3d processing power. So then you have to update everything to support that phone, until it turns out it's a dog and nobody is buying it, and another company produces a similar phone but with slightly different specs. So you start developing for that platform....

Re:Rage for Android? (4, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471440)

Which is why Value ate their lunch. As I said in another post: Valve/Bioware/Blizzard see opportunity while Carmack worries about it being hard or boring work.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

slackbheep (1420367) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471820)

Carmack has always seemed to be more keen on working with the interesting problems.
On a random note, what made you lump Bioware in with Steam and Blizzard? They've bungled the distribution of Mass Effect and Dragon age both, having wacky bugs pop up for one or more distribution method whether EAstore, Steam, or DVD.

But the bigger question remains.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472720)

Is Carmack even relevant in the game biz anymore, or is he a dinosaur fossil has-been that ought to spend his time playing with rockets instead?

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474342)

The guy is trying to populate the moon with autonomous robots; video game are his hobby.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473312)

Have you RTFA? He talks nothing about fragmentation:

The HD version of Rage is 1.4GB installed, and all the world geometry is using 2-bit PowerVR texture compression. If we went to one of the other platforms that's not PowerVR-based, we'd be stuck with a 4-bit texture compression format, and that pushes the size over 2GB. And the Android Marketplace doesn't even let you download more than 20 or 30MB, and you have to end up setting up your own server and doing your own transfer for all of that. Dealing with the user interface of managing space... there's a lot of things that happen automagically for us on iOS that we'll have to deal with particularly on the Android space. And that's not a lot of work that's going to be huge heaps of fun to do. It's going to be dreary, tedious work that I would certainly push on somebody else personally, but I'm not sure that even as a company it's something that we want to be involved in.

Even in the old days of the feature phone world, we always had EA Mobile or JAMDAT to build the 300 or 400 SKUs that they had for all the worldwide feature phone splits that we had from our four base versions. And we may yet wind up partnering with somebody else to do that level of broad support, but that's a little less satisfying when we're doing something that's pushing the limit graphically, because you don't have a second-tier company port your stuff to other graphics architectures and expect it to remain cutting-edge.

Basically, he needs Steam for Android.

That part sounded to me like he was worried about fragmentation, and what it would mean to have some other company port your software in order to offload the burden of dealing with the fragmentation. But his idea of fragmentation (different base graphics hardware) is different than what some people have complained about (different manufacturer-added UI augmentation) because games use more native code. He definitely mentions that the Android Market not allowing large app downloads is an issue, but it seems like he was more worried about supporting all the different hardware configurations.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473738)

That part sounded to me like he was worried about fragmentation, and what it would mean to have some other company port your software in order to offload the burden of dealing with the fragmentation. But his idea of fragmentation (different base graphics hardware) is different than what some people have complained about (different manufacturer-added UI augmentation) because games use more native code. He definitely mentions that the Android Market not allowing large app downloads is an issue, but it seems like he was more worried about supporting all the different hardware configurations.

Where exactly did you get that idea from? The two things that he specifically calls out is that 2-bit compression which iOS has versus the 4-bit compression that Android allows adds an additional half gigabyte or so of data to the program. And that even if it did support 2-bit compression he couldn't serve the files via the market as it would be approximately 1.6gb over sized so he'd have to set up his own servers.

That's not a fragmentation issue like you're suggesting it is, people suggest that there's some sort of fragmentation problem, but Google has that figured out and the only people that are harmed by it are people who bought early Android phones and ones with custom UI. Pretty much all the newer ones should be easily handled by somebody with the technical skills that John has.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

milkmage (795746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474738)

read between the lines.. and read the line you included in your post:

what the hell does this mean, and how is Steam for Android going to help?

"300 or 400 SKU's that they had to for all the worldwide feature phone splits that we had from our four base versions" ...while not FEATURE phones, there have to be at least 100 SKU's running some flavor of Android. Steam will address the download cap, but how does Steam make cutting edge graphics run well on older machines?

Angry Birds guys have addressed this already:
http://www.rovio.com/index.php?mact=Blogs,cntnt01,showentry,0&cntnt01entryid=47&cntnt01returnid=58 [rovio.com]

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475702)

Actually, he did:

Even in the old days of the feature phone world, we always had EA Mobile or JAMDAT to build the 300 or 400 SKUs that they had for all the worldwide feature phone splits that we had from our four base versions. And we may yet wind up partnering with somebody else to do that level of broad support, but that's a little less satisfying when we're doing something that's pushing the limit graphically, because you don't have a second-tier company port your stuff to other graphics architectures and expect it to remain cutting-edge.

He is talking there about having some one else deal with the "fragmentation" or "splits", but also mentions it is not really an option with such graphically intensive games.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471382)

Agreed. I was a bit surprised he was complaining about having to setup a content download server too. I guess it's becoming more clear why Valve and Bioware ate Id's lunch in the PC world. Carrmack sees "extra work" and the others see opportunity.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471568)

Id never had as much money as Valve got from HL and CS. They could never have made the investment necessary to create Steam without getting permanent support from a publisher who would have ruined it before it left the cradle out of fear of it destroying them. And I don't know why you even mentioned Bioware, they don't make FPS games and they use Steam, like Id does, and EA has owned them for 3 years (which from some perspectives means that Id ate their lunch by lasting longer as an independent game company).

So if you're not talking about a specific game genre in the market, and you're not talking about digital distribution, and you're not talking about independence from publishers, what the hell are you talking about?

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472406)

Id never had as much money as Valve got from HL and CS. They could never have made the investment necessary to create Steam without getting permanent support from a publisher who would have ruined it before it left the cradle out of fear of it destroying them.

Quite so! Everyone knows that a lack of funds is why Carmack could never fulfill his dreams of spaceflight. [armadilloaerospace.com]

Re:Rage for Android? (2, Informative)

mweather (1089505) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472974)

Armadillo has only cost Carmack a couple million so far. Rage cost him more than Armadillo has.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471640)

Do you hear PC developers complaining about the same?

Yes. Many prominent PC developers have commented on the fragmentation issue and many of them have also moved exclusively to consoles...

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

TiberiusMonkey (1603977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472102)

Who have moved exclusively to consoles? Who are these "many"? Crytek, ID, Infinaty Ward and Epic have all started supporting consoles but none have packed up and moved to over exclusively.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473790)

Who have moved exclusively to consoles?

Capcom made Street Fighter IV for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, but the "Super SFIV" update dropped PC support due to low sales.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34475008)

Street fighter? Really? C'mon. Uhuh, pick one game that never should have touched a PC in the first place. Yeah, it's a real shocker that game didn't sell.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471714)

Yup, let's see who ends up being who's bitch this time, ey Johnny

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471862)

You got the wrong John.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471934)

Oh dear, confusing Carmack and Romero. That's almost as bad as confusing Star Trek and Star Wars. Geek card, please.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473438)

Suck it down?

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472556)

"The fragmentation issue is honestly just marketing nonsense."

Android fragmentation is real. [zdnet.com] Even the ever-so-popular Angry Birds had "severe performance issues" due to fragmentation and had to create a second Angry Birds game for low-end Android devices. [cnet.com]

Droid has no less than 8 different versions, from 1.1 to 2.3, [zdnet.com] in addition to whatever custom wrapper or branding the manufacture or carrier added, and dozens of different kinds of handsets, [phonedog.com] all with different cpus, gpus and memory. iOS has at most 2 versions, 3.x and 4.x, (1.x and 2.x is used by less than 3% of iPhones [macapper.com] ) and at most 4 handsets, iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.

So if you're developing an iPhone app you only have to test on 4 or 5 devices, iPhone 4 running iOS4, 3GS running 3.x and 4.x, and 3G running 3.x and 4.x, and iPhone running 3.1.3. If you're developing a Droid app you have dozens of devices with different software configurations you must test on or risk angry customers, and every time you want to update or Google pushes out a new version of Droid you again have to do testing on dozens of devices.

I know Android is the most popular smartphone OS [nielsen.com] but honestly I think it's going to self-implode, customers will eventually get tired of fragmentation issues, with apps not working and frustrated developers, and they'll either give up on smartphones entirely or turn to Blackberry or iOS.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473394)

Carmack is abandoning his roots in favour of console development.

Duh. That's why every time we see Rage, it's being played with Xbox controllers. It's already hard for me to give Id Software the benefit of doubt after Doom3, but they're making it really hard with Rage. This coming from someone who still routinely plays Quake3 on his server!

Wired Xbox 360 controllers work with PCs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473766)

That's why every time we see Rage, it's being played with Xbox controllers.

By "Xbox controllers", did you mean original Xbox controllers (highly unlikely) or Xbox 360 controllers? Wired Xbox 360 controllers work with PCs out of the box, except games that haven't been updated to support XInput along with DirectInput can't read the sum of LT and RT, only their difference.

Re:Wired Xbox 360 controllers work with PCs (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475694)

Xbox 360 controllers.

I have two of them for my PC that I use for things like Street Fighter IV.

I don't think that showing off a first-person-shooter with Xbox controllers really gives me a sense of hope however. :P

Re:Rage for Android? (3, Interesting)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471314)

"now I am eager to see whether it is even possible to port such a demanding 3D game to Android" ;

It Is absolutely possible , let there be no bones about it.
The hardware of latest iPhone is pretty similar to many high end android devices, in fact some Android devices actually have slightly higher specs in terms of horsepower.

Google have the market saturation now though - its time to reign things in a little bit and tighten things up. Perhaps they should consider some sort of
hardware rating system to help developers and consumers have some sort of target to aim for. Better still have some dialogue with luminaries such as Carmack and find a solution.

N.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34473348)

It's not just about hardware, it's mainly about software. Up until Android 2.3, the Android OS wasn't nearly as accommodating to code that required uninterrupted, un-stuttered output as iOS is/was. Google says this is one of the things they've addressed in 2.3. We'll see if it's enough for game developers to take the plunge.

There's also the issue of economics. Most of the stuff in the Android marketplace is free, and when you are trying to sell your app to make a living off it, having your $4.99/$9.99 app sitting on a virtual shelf with apps that are 98% free doesn't make for a good sales strategy.

Re:Rage for Android? (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473368)

Yes but that is the problem with Android. I have a one year old Android phone. When I picked it because at the time it was the fastest CPU, had an OLED screen, and used stock Android.
Now it can not play Angry birds and is not getting 2.2 much less 2.3! This is not a super old phone but the Samsung Moment is is a dead end device.
It was the best phone I could get at the time. So if you were to write a game for Android what do you target as the lowend? The Droid? The Epic? The Nexus S?
I like Android but Google needs to "lock down" the manufactures a bit more IMHO. Right now I would buy a Nexus S if Google offered it on Sprint. I am tired of dinking about with vendors skinning Android and with Vendors and Carriers not updating the OS.
What I would like to see is for Google to certify some phones as Google Prime or some such thing. They would have stock Android and would get updates right from Google. Sort of a Nexus but one that any manufacture can make and any carrier can carry.

Android counterpart to iPod touch (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473824)

The hardware of latest iPhone is pretty similar to many high end android devices, in fact some Android devices actually have slightly higher specs in terms of horsepower.

But what Android device is comparable to the iPod touch 4? The more powerful Android phones typically aren't available in a non-cell-phone version without 3G and without a price tag set with the expectation of a carrier subsidy in mind.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471340)

The valueable quote from the article is "I really dread 300 to 400 SKU's"

That in a nutshell is why Android is going to fail. Google needs to turn that into 3-4 SKU's of console-grade hardware requirements or we're just going to see another era of J2ME of non-adoption, only compiled for Android.

Seriously, how many J2ME things have you purchased on your pre-iPhone era mobile phone? Zip for me.

Re:Rage for Android? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471374)

You are correct. The iPhone will eventually dominate the smart phone market much the way Apple's laptop and desktop offerings dominate the personal computer market.

Re:Rage for Android? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471736)

You clearly don't work in game software development or for the cell phone company. If you buy a game "for the Mac", guess what, it works out of the box.

If you buy a game for "Windows"... it never works out of the box. Hell there are so many PC's being sold right now that won't even play 10 year old games. Who should I blame? Right now Apple is churning out better baseline equipment than HP and Dell are.

Every week there's dozens of people who "bought a brand new laptop" and can't play the game, because their laptop comes with the colossal joke of a graphics subsystem courtesy of Intel. Yes Intel stilling sells chipsets that have no transform and lighting. When was that? DirectX 7?

What I think we're going to see is hardware stabilizing on the Apple end, but not on the Android. Not in the short term at least. We have until 2Ghz dual core mobile chips come out before they start usurping the PC and current generation game consoles, and at that time, that's the end for Windows as a gaming platform.

Re:Rage for Android? (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471930)

Who should you blame? Blame Intel for pushing Nvidia off the map for their uber shitty IGPs, that's who. Hell even the bottom of the line AMD machines have nice Radeon IGPs that play games just fine. Hell I played games like Bioshock and Swat 4 on the 780-VM chipset that came with my AMD. It is Intel who keeping pushing the crapola IGPs onto everyone. If someone as you pointed out buys Intel without bothering to check the chip, whose fault is that? It isn't like "Intel IGP = shit" is a secret. And it isn't like they don't have a choice, my oldest picked up a nice Turion X2 that does all his schoolwork AND plays his MMOs, all for just $500. Show me where I can get a new Apple laptop for that.

And what do you mean by "don't work out of the box"? Because frankly I haven't seen that happen in years. If you meet the system specs (which leaves out Intel) then it works, simple as that. and as for Apple turning out better equipment? look at the price of that "baseline Apple" and see what you get in PC hardware for the same price. I just got done putting together a triple core AMD for a customer, with 4GB of RAM, an HD4350, a TB HDD, and Windows 7 Pro, and the whole thing cost less than $500 bucks even after paying me. Add another $100 to that and you might get a Mini, maybe. Nope, my bad, they are $700 [apple.com] , which for $40 less I built a quad with 8GB of RAM and a 4650 1GB.

As for TFA that is why I think it will end up with WinPhone 7 VS iPhone. MSFT did the smart move and set strict baseline requirements on devices using WinPhone 7 so they are easily update-able, and from my friends that have checked them out the new WinPhone 7 is actually pretty nice. I still see Android 1.5 devices on store shelves, and frankly the specs are just scary bad. Of course the average Joe won't know that and will just see the little green Droid on the box and think it is good, at least until they try to use it. Google really needs to put their foot down and have a minimum spec that you have to meet before using the droid logo, because the $100 iPad knockoffs being sold around town are covered with Droid logos and the specs are so low as to be worthless even for web surfing. If Google doesn't watch it the droids will leave enough of a bad taste in enough folks mouths that they will never touch another one.

Slim AMD PC (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473868)

Hell even the bottom of the line AMD machines have nice Radeon IGPs that play games just fine.

So can you recommend a make and model of bottom-of-the-line AMD machine in a slimline form factor that I can in turn recommend to friends and family? Google slim AMD PC pulled up this eMachines product [tigerdirect.com] as the first result; is it any good? Or this Compaq [directron.com] ?

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472088)

If you buy a game "for the Mac", guess what, it works out of the box.

You're right, Bioshock runs fine on my Mac Mini.

Re:Rage for Android? (1, Insightful)

TiberiusMonkey (1603977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472132)

The last... 50 or so (random number)... Windows games I bought, all worked out of the box. The last 1 Mac game I tried to play, didn't.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472266)

>>If you buy a game for "Windows"... it never works out of the box. Hell there are so many PC's being sold right now that won't even play 10 year old games.

What the hell planet do you live on?

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474164)

If you buy a game for "Windows"... it never works out of the box. Hell there are so many PC's being sold right now that won't even play 10 year old games. Who should I blame?

Funny, I was just tweaking a DOS utility I use for calibrating my parallel-port based force meter yesterday. And I'm doing the software development (MSVC 1.52c for DOS) on my Windows 7 x64 Ultimate platform. Seems like 20 year old software that runs only on DOS, and directly accesses the hardware works on the latest and greatest Windows platform.

I think you should blame trolls like yourself...

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

HappyClown (668699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471464)

What you say is true and is a significant obstacle for high end gaming on Android. Google however have finally addressed [rbgrn.net] most if not all of these issues in Gingerbread. Now it's just a waiting game until there's enough of an installed 2.3 base to make high-end development worthwhile.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471532)

Ideaworks have already addressed this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j471dKjMjWA

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471472)

Article picture - best photobomb [memebase.com] ever.

Re:Rage for Android? (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471882)

> Carmack's Rage for iOS has been done alright

Actually, it didn't. Considering that it possibly has best graphics of any game ever and is selling for only $1, it did very poorly in comparison to titles like Angry Birds and Pocket God.
The highest it got was #19 overall and it quickly dropped to place #300 where it is now.

Re:Rage for Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472518)

From the article:

"...and so far this has been far and away our best launch ever. We just hit number one on the iPad list, and we're at number 3 on the iPhone list after only 12 hours of being available."

Java has worked its evil again... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474814)

Android's biggest strength is also its biggest weakness - Java.

Message to Google HQ! (2)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471252)

Google, are you listening? .. DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS !!!!

There should be no reason for to be grumbling about things like this - I would at least hope Google should be listening to when people like John Carmack have something to say. Particularly when there is so much of an opportunity here when other Android devices start hitting the shelves eg: GoogleTV may be a much more viable gaming platform. I say Fix this Meme - as soon as possible - a little brown nosing might be in order.

N.

Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's control (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471462)

For games that need more performance than a Java-like environment can offer ...

iOS has two advantages. A single native binary can target all iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices. There is a single digital distribution channel, the App Store.

With Android handset/tablet manufacturers are free to use different CPUs, GPU, etc. They may also be using different versions of Android. Different versions of the game may be necessary for the different permutations. This complicates the coding and testing. Having to deal with manufacturer specific stores might add to the overhead. These sort of problems are the "cost" of having an open platform like Android and there is not really anything Google can do about it.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471498)

High level languages need not be slower than low level languages?

Not that I believe that myself. I am actually a game developer who wishes to remain anonymous. I code strictly in native code. But is there even Android hardware that's not ARM based? I get that Google wants to keep the platform open (in both hardware and software). But it's really not that big of a deal to compile your code twice. I tend to code for x86 and PPC both all the time. The only difference in a well designed codebase is the extra compile time. Yes, it does complicate the cost of testing, but is it really any worse than the PC nightmare of having to code for nVidia, ATi, and Intel? (OpenGL 2, OpenGL 3, DX9, DX10)?

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471570)

Intel based devices are on their way. There are already two versions of OpenGL ES. And things will only get more fragmented over time. Hence the lower enthusiasm.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (2, Informative)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471822)

High level languages need not be slower than low level languages?

Not that I believe that myself.

Although in theory low level languages can always be faster, the real-world situation is that a high level language with good optimisation is likely to be faster than the low level language because tweaking of the low-level code is limited by cost and timescale constraints.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (3, Informative)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471898)

In my experience it's the other way around. In theory managed languages (stuff like C# and Java) can be better optimized since you have more information at runtime but in practice I've never seen any useful code written in those languages outperform similar stuff in C or C++.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472000)

By "lower level" I was thinking of the native code that the message I replied to mentioned. Yes, the fastest is probably a couple of steps behind the leading edge. C used to be consistently slower than assembly. By the time C optimisers fixed that, C++ was out and everybody was complaining about the performance drag of exceptions. Now that C++ is pretty much up to speed we have managed code which, yes, presents a performance drag. At the moment. Expect that to be fixed in a couple of years, but expect the latest languages then to have something else that hits performance.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472692)

And C++ is still getting more optimizations and continues to lengthen the performance gap. With the new C++0x and rvalue references, the resource management is getting even better. If the compiled code is already optimized with such detail, I'm not aware of what a runtime environment would be able to offer that a good compiler didn't already consider. And all the talk about garbage collection ends up being less than impressive when using the STL already handles it for you. Runtime can offer a little more protection in the event of poorly written code, but that's just another performance hit.

C++0x support in major compilers (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473942)

With the new C++0x

How long until an application targeting both GCC and Microsoft Visual C++ can use C++0x features?

Runtime can offer a little more protection in the event of poorly written code

Worse yet, code written by third parties. As I understand it, sandboxing of native code isn't yet to the point where one can just load in a DLL and specify fine-grained privileges on what it may access, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

Re:C++0x support in major compilers (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474796)

How long until an application targeting both GCC and Microsoft Visual C++ can use C++0x features?

I suppose until the standard is truely finalized nothing can really be said to have "full" support. As far as the subset of what is existing now, a simple search finds the existing GCC [gnu.org] and VC10 [msdn.com] supported features.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471924)

High level languages make design decisions that limit optimization potential. See: Java's garbage collection, array bounds checking, lack of stack allocation, enforced type safety, lack of unsigned types...

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472062)

True, although Java is a particularly extreme example. Nothing on that list is a necessary feature of a high-level language except arguably garbage collection, or at least some form prevention of memory leaks. And the assembly programmer should be dealing with that too.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473340)

High level languages need not be slower than low level languages?

Not that I believe that myself.

Although in theory low level languages can always be faster, the real-world situation is that a high level language with good optimisation is likely to be faster than the low level language because tweaking of the low-level code is limited by cost and timescale constraints.

These companies are paying that cost and spending that time though, and they have a lot of experience at it

Assembly is faster than c/c++ (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475200)

Although in theory low level languages can always be faster, the real-world situation is that a high level language with good optimisation is likely to be faster than the low level language because tweaking of the low-level code is limited by cost and timescale constraints.

No. In the real world c/c++ is usually faster than assembly because most programmer are poor assembly language programmers. However good assembly language programmers routinely beat the compiler. I've added a couple of fps to a game by identifying a couple of key points in the code via profiling and replacing c/c++ code with about 100 lines of assembly. Its not simply a matter of optimizing the scheduling of instructions and memory access, its also the fact that the programmer has more information about what is going on than the compiler and can leverage that.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471828)

The issue is that if the platform is too open, none of the optional stuff will ever be supported, and thus you are only developing for the most common denominator of hardware. You see this all the time on game consoles and their accessories. They only support the controller that came with the system.

This is one of the problems prevalent with the non-Apple smart phones. Name one phone that I can copy "my data" , games and all from and have it work on a new device from a different manufacturer. Or even the same manufacturer. Good god, I'll never touch a LG, Samsung, Sony-Ericcson, or Motorola phone, ever.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473660)

"I am actually a game developer who wishes to remain anonymous. I code strictly in native code. "
Really you code in straight x86 assembly language?
You don't use any game engines?
Do you really?
"I tend to code for x86 and PPC both all the time. The only difference in a well designed codebase is the extra compile time. "
I guess not.
You probably code in c or c++ those are not low level languages. C++ sure isn't. I have heard c called a mid level language but low level means assembly as does native.

So now that we have established that you code in a higher level language what it comes down to is the compiler.
Here Android does have an issue. The java system on it has not in the past been all that optimized. I am not even sure that it uses a JIT compiler.
Your statment proves that a high level language need not be slower than a low level one. It all comes down to a problem of code optimization and in this case Android has been at a real disadvantage. If Google can get a really good JIT compiler added to Android it will really help them performance wise.

BTW just a bit of information on code optimization. C and C++ are terrible languages to try and do code optimization for. The syntax is so flexible that it is actually a rather difficult problem to write a good optimizer for them. That is one of the reasons that even today you still see a lot of HPC apps written in FORTRAN. FORTRAN really optimizes very well and that fact combined with the large number of really good HPC legacy libraries and software means that it still is popular in the HPC community.

Native as opposed to managed (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474002)

low level means assembly as does native.

I thought native meant languages intended for an unmanaged environment, such as C or standard C++, as opposed to languages intended for a managed environment, such as Java, C#, Python, VB.net, or the verifiably type-safe version of C++/CLI.

Re:Native as opposed to managed (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475136)

It can but C#, Java, Python, and VB.net can all be compiled to assembly.

Native and low level are really very nebulous terms.
It used to be just assembly ,compiled, and interpreted. Compiled and interpreted had everything to do with implementation and not the language. I have used interpreted COBOL and compiled Basic.
Then you had the virtual machine languages. The first famous one was Pascal. Pascal originally compiled down to P code. Those systems where all the rage for a while in universities between Pascal and the MIX.
Now you have
Assembly which isn't used very often anymore.
Interpreted which now often are tokenized at run time and resemble the older virtual machine systems like P-Code that traditional interpreters.
The new "managed code" which now often have use a just in time compiler so they are getting more and more like compiled languages.
And then you have traditional compilers that with things like LLVM are becoming more like virtual machines!
But in the end unless you are writing in assembly language you are not programming really doing anything "native".
Every modern compiler takes whats you write and then applies optimizations. What you write and what the CPU sees tend to very different which is a good thing.
But what it comes down too is optimization. Frankly managed code on modern systems tends to be pretty dang good. The one down side is that it allows for sloppy programming.
In the end managed code doesn't usually have a large impact on the speed of a program. What it often does is allow a program that would have never ran run slowly.
If you write good tight code it will run very fast unless the tools just suck.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471928)

You can set what android version you are targeting in the market, I also belive that the latest version of android comes with a minimum hardware spec,

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (3, Insightful)

master_p (608214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471952)

It's the Computer vs Console battle all over again. In the end, someone came out with an API for games (Direct3d), and therefore the problem was minimized quite a lot. As handheld devices become more powerful, someone will introduce an API that makes game programming much easier for Android devices.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472146)

Why do you assume Google cares? You are not their customer (unlike Apple). The carrier is Google's customer. You are just eyeballs for advertising.

Google wins when every crappy phone has Android on it, regardless of the end user's experience. They don't need quality, they need quantity. Being able to use different GPUs and CPUs is critical because that is why you can find Android phones for 1/4 the cost of the high end smart phones.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474038)

The carrier is Google's customer.

If Google wants more customers, then why hasn't it made more of an effort to expand Android past phones? Google could compete with iPod touch by allowing access to its Market from portable media players such as those made by Archos.

Re:Hardware incompatibility beyond Google's contro (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34475116)

Have you completely missed all the Android-based tablets, or the Google TV?

Android is all over the place in embedded consumer systems.

If there were a Mt. Rushmore of computer gaming... (1)

0olong (876791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471262)

John Carmack's head would not only be on it, it would have the highest polygon count.

Umm, what about Shigeru Miyamoto?

Ahh, wait, no, his head would be built out of sprites.

Steam for Android? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471364)

From what I could understand from TFA, the problem is with the limitations of the Marketplace, not Android itself.

If a distribution service with support for games' specific problems is needed, wouldn't there be a market opportunity in developing a Steam-like app with its own distribution service and game library management?

The only problem I can see is that apps can't install other apps, but they can download the APK and call the installer for it, so it might not be that problematic...

Re:Steam for Android? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472394)

Maybe, but then you start having to support multiple distribution points, chances are with their own rules, and own payout rules, etc.. That starts to be a hassle. One thing that Apple makes easy is one place that handles all the hosting and payments. Yeah, 30% sounds like a lot, but right now the costs of maintaining our own servers and doing our own marketing for our desktop app accounts for 40% of the costs. I have one full-time employee doing nothing but handling the payments and another maintaining our servers and E-Commerce store.

Re:Steam for Android? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34472684)

On the contrary, if a Steam like app was developed, you could have one distribution point for all the mobile platforms except the iPhone/Pad, because Apple wouldn't allow it (it's competition to their store).

And it could handle all the hosting and payments, so I don't see the downside compared to the Apple App Store.

AT&T lacks "Unknown sources" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474174)

if a Steam like app was developed, you could have one distribution point for all the mobile platforms except the iPhone/Pad, because Apple wouldn't allow it (it's competition to their store).

Not really. Like Apple, Google chooses not to carry Market alternatives to the store. So the user would have to turn on "Unknown sources" and install a Market alternative through an APK, but AT&T has customized the firmware on its Android phones, such as Motorola Backflip and HTC Aria, to keep "Unknown sources" permanently off.

Search results: over 9000 (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474148)

A myriad [wikipedia.org] is over 9000.

but right now the costs of maintaining our own servers and doing our own marketing for our desktop app accounts for 40% of the costs.

App Store doesn't do all the marketing for you. Helping users find and choose your app from among the myriads of apps in the App Store is your job. If promoting your application with advertisements is 10% of the costs, then you're breaking even with Apple's cut.

Carmack Makes Other Valid Points (3, Interesting)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471372)

That which apply to both Android and iPhone.

In that touch screen interfaces are a burden to game design.
"You're somewhat hampered by the touch interface—there's a lot of places where tactile controls really are better—but you can definitely do a lot."

Its possible to get creative - but it doesnt matter how many polygons NG smartphones can push - a touch screen is not a good interface for Doom 3 for example.

Re:Carmack Makes Other Valid Points (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471548)

Its possible to get creative - but it doesnt matter how many polygons NG smartphones can push - a touch screen is not a good interface for Doom 3 for example.

Its not even much good for Doom 1.

Re:Carmack Makes Other Valid Points (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471614)

a touch screen is not a good interface for Doom 3 for example.

... but it's the perfect interface for Angry Birds, or Slitherlink, or Small World.

I'm sure someone could conceive of a game that's graphically demanding and suits touch screens. Whether it would be more compelling than the existing, less graphically intensive offerings, is another matter.

Re:Carmack Makes Other Valid Points (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471792)

it's the perfect interface for Angry Birds, or Slitherlink, or Small World.

I've got a 3gs, it runs Carmack's Rage rail shooter quite well, but Angry Birds really seems to have a problem with responsiveness and smoothness. In general, you can get a lot of graphical punch from the same resources used to cover inefficient coding. Seems like the Angry Birds developer need more computational grunt much more than JC does.

Re:Carmack Makes Other Valid Points (2)

zigurat667 (1380959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471622)

The touch screen interface problem is what makes me wonder why the hell Carmack is so eager about iPhone development. It just plainly sucks to control a game by moving the device. For a FPS you want to look at the screen from the same angle all the time, no matter how good the screen may be.

Re:Carmack Makes Other Valid Points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471636)

Its all about the $$$$$

"are a burden to game design" (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474236)

touch screen interfaces are a burden to game design

Any more than gamepads "are a burden to game design" on consoles? Or small screens that only one person can comfortably fit around at a time "are a burden to game design" on desktop PCs? Different platforms have different favorite genres.

Have you ever heard John Carmack talk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471560)

John Carmack talking in real life kind of reminds me of Adam Sandlers excited southerner without the stuttering.

owner demographic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471846)

but! say the words "DOOM and QUAKE!" to a 1,000 random iphoners and 1,000 random androiders and see how many insta-buys he gets from each group.

it'd be worth the pain mr carmack.

Don't download textures. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472086)

Download procedures that generate the textures. Then generate the textures on the target machine. This results in several orders of magnitude less bandwidth requirements.

Re:Don't download textures. (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34473726)

.. and an ugly game.

Re:Don't download textures. (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474230)

Not if they're rendered into static images at install time... You can put a lot of processing time into rendering those textures once on your machine, after you've downloaded the algorithm to do the texture generation. Yeah, it might be a 5-10 minute hit on first install, but it'll save you about the same amount of time on downloading, and save you a LOT of 3G bandwidth too.

Re:Don't download textures. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34474968)

Right, but that doesn't address what I said. Procedurals are ugly, that's why we don't use them.

Of course he's not too keen on it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34472596)

Since 1992, John Carmack hasn't been so keen on anything, regardless of platform.

iOS, Android, what's the difference: we'll never see Episode 7: The Universe is Toast! :(

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