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SDK's for Wireless Games - Will They Succeed?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the anarchy-online-on-your-cell-phone dept.

Programming 143

Memetic asks: "There is a software development kit for wireless games, downloadable from TTPCom, a wireless devices IP vendor. It's described as: 'an open API delivering access to all the mobile phone's features in order to develop a new generation of on-line and multi-user is possible to take advantage of the GSM, GPRS or 3GPP networks by downloading these games over the air, sending SMS messages between players, and creating multi-user content and games. Technologies such as Bluetooth or GPS are also made available' My question, does anyone see independent developers emerging for donloadable gaming or will this market be driven by the network operators / handset manufacturers?" While using this technology to build games on cell phones doesn't intrigue me, adapting this for our current and future crop of handheld computing devices does. What kind of future do you think there is for games development on such platforms like the Visor, the PalmPilot, and the next-generation-Gameboy that may come down the pipe in the next couple of years?

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Don't tell me I got another (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851030)

NIGGERS HOES and bastard kids

Re:Don't tell me I got another (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851043)

Yup, you're another troll.

Re:Don't tell me I got another (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851051)

you have obtained first post. congratulations.

please remember to insult the slashbot mods or editors next time; or at least mention penis birds.

Re:Don't tell me I got another (-1)

Tasty Beef Jerky (543576) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851124)

Re:Don't tell me I got another (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851181)

apparently they have the same editorial and fact checking skills as the slashbot editors.

Re:Don't tell me I got another (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851061)

Yes you did my son. #props 2 u

Who needs them... (3, Interesting)

svara (467664) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851059)

Who needs wireless games, when the actual wireless technologies, like cellulars stil suffer from extreemly limited bandwith, bad and small displays etc.
Unless the breakthrough on the hardware part comes (theres some pretty cool stuff in japan already), games on such devices make only limited sense...

Re:Who needs them... (2, Informative)

jquirke (473496) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851209)

cellulars stil suffer from extreemly limited bandwith

Many GSM networks around the world now have the General Packet Radio (GPRS) extensions enabled which offers a much faster packet-switched connection to your wireless device (40kibibits). GPRS is charged by volume, not time, and you always stay connected. []

This is the kind of technology that will allow wireless-device gaming to take-off, at least outside North America :-(

Re:Who needs them... (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851220)

What may be advanced technology to us, will be simply a toy to our children.

There is ALOT of money to be made in products marketed for children.

Gaming on Palm, Handspring, etc. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851060)

I think those OSes will need to undergo a large leap in evolution to allow for a truly interesting gaming experience. Currently, they are underpowered in both hardware and OS.

Also, a color screen would be helpful, but not necessary.

The main problem, Cliff, is that people who want to do this kind of thing with their handheld devices typically buy the PocketPC. Palm-freaks (a term of endearment, not a slight) are usually more interested in the smooth operation of their device and the ease of use stemming from its minimalist design.

Re:Gaming on Palm, Handspring, etc. (1)

Theodore Logan (139352) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851349)

There are color screens already. I can't recall the name of the phone, but my father's got one so I can assure you it's for real. And, believe me, it's damn cool too.

Re:Gaming on Palm, Handspring, etc. (2, Interesting)

Paradoxish (545066) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851414)

The main problem, Cliff, is that people who want to do this kind of thing with their handheld devices typically buy the PocketPC. Palm-freaks (a term of endearment, not a slight) are usually more interested in the smooth operation of their device and the ease of use stemming from its minimalist design.

I'm not quite a Palm or Windows CE nut (I have devices running both OS' and I'm interested in an iPaq to get Linux running on it), but I will say that the majority of interesting and unique games are for the Palm OS. I'll admit this is strange, because most PocketPC style PDAs are definetly better in the hardware department.

Re:Gaming on Palm, Handspring, etc. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851523)

It may be a result of the limitations of the hardware and OS. Most of the games that were truly imaginative and clever ran on hardware that we would consider very underpowered today. Without a lot of horsepower, graphics has to be subordinate to gameplay.

I know this is going to sound like a grumpy, old man line, but games were just more fun before Doom.

Re:Gaming on Palm, Handspring, etc. (3, Interesting)

2Bits (167227) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851509)

Well, not necessary.

Imagine a game like this:

A strategy war simulation game, that can be played among a group of people. Each player starts with a set of territories, which form a country or a kingdom, or an empire, depending on what you want to call it. And the player is the leader of that country. The rest of the planet is occupied by a other countries (which may or may not have a player). The goal is to capture territories (for the aggressive), or protect yourself from being eaten up. Obviously, you want to make the game as realistic as possible, by taking into consideration your resources, your population, your military, etc. You are the chief, so you can issue orders to move your army/navy/air force, to attack, to defend, to do research on specific topics, etc. Your subordinates will send you reports, memos, etc.

The interface you need for this game is very minimal, just text. But the game must be hosted on a server somewhere. You send orders and receive reports thru wireless messages on your handheld.

This kind of game can be played on for months, even years.

Actually, in the early 90's, we used to play it thru email. You signed up thru email, you send command thru email, you receive report thru email. The game was hosted on a .mil server (forgot the server name).

It was very addicting. Now make the game go beyond planet Earth....

no (-1)

The Turd Report (527733) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851066)


Phone development kit (2, Interesting)

blibbleblobble (526872) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851067)

Spyware for phones, anyone?

Re:Phone development kit (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851235)

Ack! Someone is port scanning my gameboy.

Thats it, I need to download an NMAP rom!

Bah, this will just turn in to another way for my girlfriend to find me won't it?

I bet the lesbian movement is behind this :)

Re:Phone development kit (2, Insightful)

flewp (458359) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851419)

Bah, this will just turn in to another way for my girlfriend to find me won't it?

Maybe, but what'd be way cooler is if it allowed geeks to find girlfriends.

Just what we need (5, Funny)

Reckless Visionary (323969) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851068)

Great, I can't wait the video game-like atmosphere our highways are going to have when people are no longer just talking on their cell phones, but playing GTA 3 on them also.

Re:Just what we need (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851102)

Imagine my horror this morning driving down the highway passing a Toyota Corrola and seeing a young woman in it cradling a cell phone on her neck and rubbing hand lotion onto her hands. This wasn't just a quick thing either. She was doing it for the entire half mile I was driving next to her. What on earth are these people thinking? You can hit one puddle and lose all control of your vehicle, especially when you don't even bother to hold on to the steering wheel! Some people just should not be on the road with or without a cell phone.

Re:Just what we need (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851121)

Don't creme and drive.

Arrive alive, don't moisturize.

Re:Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851322)

If you know your friend's hands are dry, take the keys, call a cab.

Friends don't let friends drive dry.

Re:Just what we need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851154)

Hmm, you and maggard [] should get together and discuss women drivers.

Re:Just what we need (1)

notsoanonymouscoward (102492) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851648)

hmm dont you ever "hold" the steering wheel with your left knee while you drive? its actually quite easy to do... I even take easy turns on the freeway like that.

Good news for me (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851126)

Grand Theft Auto, lots of it, in my neighborhood during the day - so I can finally find a parking space!

Re:Just what we need (-1)

Urban_Exist_spork (446835) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851128)

all the more a reason for me to install a missile rack and machine guns in my car.

Yeah... (1)

TheQuantumShift (175338) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851072)

Theres no market for games. People actually use those PDA things productively... Of course I may have to get one now that the local light rail has kiosks at the stops where you can download the days newspaper...

Perhaps not.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851637)

The lack of a market for games on wireless is less a result of people inherent "unwillingness" to play games on mobile devices as the impossibility of collective reasonable revenues through them in the American system.

Wireless gaming is doing reasonably well on DoCoMo, probably because of centralized billing.

Distributed wireless file sharing (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851078)

Hmm ... do these APIs include wireless peer-to-peer? If so, I could easily imagine a "wireless Napster", where each participant keeps their MP3s on their portable player, and anyone can stream MP3s from anyone else within peering range. Sound fun?

Already coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851396)

A Japanese company is building an Imode p2p network to be launched in March.

Check it here [] (in Japanese, sorry)

Wireless games (0)

jdc180 (125863) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851081)

Great, games that can now charge you 99 cents a minute.. I'm screwed!

bare bones != gaming (2, Insightful)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851092)

Aand helds are computers that are designed to be as small and cheap as possible while still useful for simple tasks like word processing, spreadsheets, etc ... nothing too numbercrunching or exciting.

Gaming platforms are super-efficient customized hardware solutions with well thought out ergonomics and a psysical interface that is designed, from the ground up, for gaming.

I think the engineering requirements of either platforms are so at odds with each other that gaming on handhelds will never really catch on. Or at least until such a time that handhelds are far closer in terms of performance/price as desktop systems; or, to put it another way, low-end desktop systems become the size of handhelds. ;) Only then do you have enough computing power left around accidentally by the engineering team that designed the hand held to accomdate enough gaming power for the platform to become a viable enough selling point to the average consumer.

Re:bare bones != gaming (5, Interesting)

talonyx (125221) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851143)

I'm fairly sure one of those 200MHZ+ Pocket PC machines is able to do some pretty amazing graphics work. Keep in mind, DOOM ran on a 486 at 33Mhz with a smooth framerate. You underestimate the power in these units.

Plus, with such small, low-res screens, there's more than enough power for anything you could want on those babies.

THE POWER! yes! I love the power! (-1)

Urban_Exist_spork (446835) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851161)

the power to KILL!

the power to fuck everything in sight!

(except for the ugly chicks... who wants to fuck them?)

the power to bake a potato with your bare hands!


Re:bare bones != gaming (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851354)

Point taken, but another difference:

Pocket PCs gotta multitask. Gaming isn't so much about power but about the garauntee of being able to stay relatively real-time. DOOM ran on a 486 where NOTHING ELSE was going on at the time.

But I do see your point. I still maintain that 80% of the suitability of a gaming platform must also be game-friendly controls .. even with the power, if you can't interact with a game comfortably and painlessly, you probably wont play it much.

Re:bare bones != gaming (2, Insightful)

Paradoxish (545066) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851433)

Gaming platforms are super-efficient customized hardware solutions with well thought out ergonomics and a psysical interface that is designed, from the ground up, for gaming.

I think that's kind of a poor attitude. Despite what we gamers like to think, gaming isn't "elite". It doesn't take the most powerful machine in the world to enjoy the majority of PC games out there and a lot of "barely better than retail" computers are up to the task. The average game player isn't too interested in having graphics options maxed out, even though the average "gamer" might be. This translates to the PDA market as well...

A lot of people would be interested in just playing a game of space invaders on their Palm. Palm gaming has already moved beyond that point, though, with a port of the original Simcity available along with fairly complex RPGs and strategy games.

Re:bare bones != gaming (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851576)

Weeeellll, let me hedge my comment .. I should have said handheld. I just meant that the price to sell a product on gaming suitability is way below that of the handheld market. I didn't mean to imply that gaming platforms must be leading edge, but simply that the focus on heldhelds is how to achieve more without splurging on super-powered solutions, where as something like the GameBoy advance is designed with gaming suitability in mind, and thus will always enjoy a much better cost/performance ratio with respect to its gaming capabilities.

I understand that the mass market doesn't require cutting edge performance, but that doesn't mean that raw floating point performance is a big priority in handhelds; rather their price, size, power consumption and storage capacity are ... I just kinda meant to say that if games become popular on handhelds, I think it will be more by coincidence or accident (or killer apps by developers) rather than by design. :) But I see and appreciate your points ...

Games for Palms (2, Informative)

krugdm (322700) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851096)

What kind of future do you think there is for games development on such platforms like the Visor, the PalmPilot, and the next-generation-Gameboy that may come down the pipe in the next couple of years?

Head on over to PalmGearHQ [] and see how many games are available. Some good, some bad, many identical. Many are good enough that they have resided on my Palm, almost since day 1.

Palm has done a good job of avoiding creating a handheld PC and instead creating an advanced organizer. They've left it to other developers to do that work instead. Tools like this make that job just that much easier.

don't your read?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851097)

the Visor is not going to be made anymore, by the time this stuff is released!


Of course they'll succeed. (2)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851098)

If not simply from the standpoint of the wireless industry being in "explode mode". Everything under the sun will most likely have some sort of wireless network capability in the next decade. I'm still waiting for kids with Gameboy type devices walking around playing head to head with kids from Tokyo in real time.

The question is not one of "if", but a question of "when".

I don't think any propriety "Open" standard wins (4, Insightful)

the_quark (101253) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851099)

I think what we've seen again and again is that, unless you're a huge juggernaut (like Microsoft), your proprietary "open" standards never win. Even Microsoft can only pull it off, sometimes.

What gets independent game developers going is truly open standards, like TCP/IP. When is my handspring going to be able to play a game with your Gameboy, wirelessly? When both of them have wireless IP adresses. Until then, these things will remain insular, only allowing my brand to play with my brand.

Re:I don't think any propriety "Open" standard win (2)

JordoCrouse (178999) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851352)

proprietary "open" standards never win

I dunno.... PDF and PalmOS seem to do ok.

There are lots of things to remember before you rail against the machine about open standards. Remember, that TCP/IP fills its nitche, but it doesn't adapt fully to everything, especially the types of connections we are discussing here. Who needs to route around trouble when you are transmitting directly to a device?

It is unrealistic to think that the major players in a multi-million dollar communciations industry are going to all want to use an open standard that they have no control over. First, they want the most efficent scheme for *their* platform, and second they want to fight it out in the market place, and see who can gain the upper hand. This isn't anything new - of course, the same thing has been happening for generation of electronic gizmos.

We are fortunate that these kind of standards are being opened up at all, so at least we have a fighting chance of getting a reasonable standard that everybody can decide on. Unfortunately, instead of a fight on a whiteboard, the winner of these standards battles will be decided in the market place.

Games? (3, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851110)

Wireless spam, that's the wave of the future.

No... Community (5, Insightful)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851116)

You know, I hate to give him credit for anything, but Xenos over at made a rather interesting point about Anarchy Online. The graphics were amazing, but he said "Because you couldn't see player names or know who was standing around you, there was no community."

Even if you COULD see little pixel figures of people, the games would ultimately fail because the community would be nil - and this is what matters in the online gaming world. As people what they play MMORPGs for, most people say Friends or Other Players.

It's harsh to admit, but really, there isn't much chance in anyone playing a game where a) the graphics are terrible, b) the connection is slow, and c) the community doesn't exist, simply because you can't talk/type fast enough on those things, and you can't see the words/phrases/playernames anyway.

Re:No... Community (2)

nzhavok (254960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851261)

d) it takes too long to key out "suck on my rocket bitch, yeahhh you like that!" on your cellphone

Re:No... Community (1)

notsoanonymouscoward (102492) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851698)

you could always macro that ;-) who the hell would take the time to type that out ingame anyway?

Where? (1)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851130)

Where the hell are you going to be where you aren't 3' away from a computer and you are just sitting there doing nothing? Aside from an airplane where you can't use your phone anyways.

Re:Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851383)

Gee, I dunno -- a traffic jam? Waiting in the non-express supermarket checkout line? Doctor's office? Five cars back from the bank's drive-up window?
Phone games don't have to be immersive hours-long experiences. You can have a fun game in five minutes, if it's the right game. Don't know about you, but I have way too many 5+-minute episodes of downtime in my day.

Re:Where? (2, Insightful)

notsoanonymouscoward (102492) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851717)

Try going to a major city and living the commuter life. Taking 1 (or more) hr train rides to work every day. eg. Tokyo. Thats why the wireless market in Tokyo is so huge. Everyone's got "down" time while they're riding on or waiting for their train.

Now that I've returned back into the fold of Americanism and the NOW NOW NOW mentality, flying down the freeway, I don't get to use my cell phone or PDA as much... but I can still imagine where this would be quite useful.

gosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851131)

Hmmm. DDoS for my Gameboy Ultra. Nice. Hello! What's all this shouting? We'll have no trouble here. This is a local shop, for local people - There is nothing for you here! Visit Kaci! []

Not there yet for phones (2)

ShieldWolf (20476) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851133)

Although there are some types of games that are worthwhile developing for a phone or P the underlying technology isn't there in the near term.
J2ME, which is likely the best hope, is not robust enough to handle gameboy-style games. It lacks necessary API's such image bliting, transparency (although SOME providers include it), and ABYSMAL sound support (4 sounds with blocking while the sound plays).

Things will get better with the next version I hope, but for now multi-media is not do-able.


This is flame bait! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851142)

Fuck your OS and YOUR Web browser and your computer!

This will be a while before it becomes mainstream (1)

cecil36 (104730) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851153)

From my perspective as a support technician in wireless communications, it will be a while before we see head-to-head and massive multiplayer games being played on wireless networks. As mentioned previously, the hardware that exists is still in its early stages of development. I would say that it would take around 10 years in order to have bandwidth available that can support networked play without massive latency issues.

I'm not saying that this isn't a bad idea. I feel that when the time comes, this will be big. I may just invest the extra cash in learning the protocols used in wireless networking from a developer's standpoint and begin writing some simple games that can be ported over to wireless devices.

"What kind of the future... on the Visor...?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851159)

I guess we know the answer to that one []

On my honeymoon... (2, Informative)

Chagatai (524580) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851180)

While I was in Japan, you couldn't go through a subway or crowded intersection without seeing two or three people playing games on their cellphones (even a mini version of Space Channel 5 for the Dreamcast). Some of these cellphones even interacted with others, with people playing games against each other. In America, we have taken small strides like this with such toys as Hasbro's Pox, a handheld game that autonomously detects and "battles" other consoles in its broadcast radius. But with the popularity of cellphones and such, I don't see cute little portable games like this so much as an "if" than a "when". I can see old NES and SNES games being the first ported.


Re:On my honeymoon... (1)

6 (22657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851286)

Probably the hardest thing for us in America
to get over is that every culture doesn't play
the same way ours does.

Every so often something new comes out of
japan, tamagotchi, pokemon etc that simply
blasts onto our gaming scene seemingly out
of nowhere and leaves our heads spinning.

We can't adapt our current headspace easily into
the phone game headspace. I am sure though that
Japan can and wil in time once more startle us.

Good starting point (1)

GdoL (460833) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851182)

I think this will definitevely open the field for independent developers to start build for the new emergent market of hadheld gadgets. It could be a good starting point for the future generation of phones and how knows will show the nesxt few months.

How's the delivery work? (2)

brogdon (65526) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851185)

For me, as a software-producing entity, the big question is how delivery of the product would be handled. For a PC it's no big deal, there are dozens of was to distribute - Shrink-Wrap, Shareware, Downloadable Payware, Bundles, Freeware, etc. I'm confident enough in my ability to reach the consumer when I'm producing desktop software that I'm willing to invest development time toward producing an profitable product.

In this market, though, I wouldn't be willing to get out of bed and take a step towards my dev machine without some serious answers about how this stuff gets distributed. Can you download it directly from a WAP site into the phone? Am I going to have to write a website and fifty different installation apps to go with the myriad ways a phone might hook up to a PC? Can I get the phone manufacturer to bundle my game with the phone?

These are the questions I'd be rushing to answer if I was someone putting out phones or development tools for them. They're going to make a huge impact in whether developers give the hardware manufacturers the support they need

game developer magazine (3, Informative)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851187)

the november issue had several articles on just these issues ( a very good resource, btw.

Re:game developer magazine (2)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851272)

Yes! Excellent article. Almost worth the subscription by itself. :)

Re:game developer magazine (1)

SilverThorn (133151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851432)

You can always apply for a free subscription at [] if you live in the US or Canada.

reach back to the early eighties (1)

montgomery (176658) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851193)

Around 1981, there was a game, and probably before that was played by two people. They each had a deck of cards that was cross referenced. You would each call out a move, cross reference it and change your card to see the view you now had of the other person. It was a WWI fighter pilot game.

Just got the 2-D game for my PDA so I think there is a lot of room for improvement and a good path to follow. Infrared would need to be replaced, but off to a good start.

Re:reach back to the early eighties (2, Informative)

Maserati (8679) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851233)

That was Ace of Aces, and it was a terrific game. I got through whole semesters of study hall passing moves back and forth/

By PDA I hope you're talking about a Palm unit, 'cause I must have a link to that right now.

It sounds perfect for viruses! (2, Interesting)

javilon (99157) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851202)

There are some viruses for european phones already.

If you have an API for controling more of the phone's features, you can bet that viruses will pop up. And it is much more dificult to reformat a phone than a PC's hard drive :-)

Wireless multiplay to open new doors (4, Interesting)

MaverickUW (177871) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851208)

Okay, here's one way to look at things. Multiplay has become what gaming is about noew days. Most computer games can't get away anymore without having some form of multiplay as part of it.

Now imagine a world where we have these handhelds that could allow us to play mutliplayer games. And I don't mean games like Quake, I mean games more along the line of Majestic. But think of a great spy game that you could be playing with millions around the world, over a Palm Pilot or something. The person standing next to you on the bus could be playing too, and even could be the one working against you. If nothing else, it'd create an excuse of all the paranoid people out there to really be paranoid. Now if you could get games like that over wireless PDA's, you'd see them take off quickly.

Okay, so who's gonna build that awesome wireless PDA and Phone spygame for me?

Re:Wireless multiplay to open new doors (2)

Quikah (14419) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851479)

I mean games more along the line of Majestic

Oh, you mean that game that NOBODY played [] ?

I don't think there is a market for a 24hour total intrusion style game, people are busy enough already. Besides, I can see all kinds of people taking something like this way too seriously.

Not right now (3, Interesting)

nzhavok (254960) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851217)

Personally I'd be pretty worried about running software on my phone unless it came from someone who I trust. I wonder how long it'll be before we see the first wireless worms with systems like this, I notice on their game engine page [] they mention WGE System allowing access to system resources. I wanted to find out exactly what this was but I couldn't find a link to their "open API" docs (mabye I'm blind) and I'm not really prepared to download their SDK for the priviledge.

I don't see much of a market for these kind of applications right now and I'm pretty content only playing games on my PC, but I suppose once the technology gets better I might give it a try. Having said that I had a flatmate who would spend hours sitting in a corner playing "snake" with his phone (yes haha very original, now get your mind out of the gutter) so perhaps theres more of a market than I think. The closest I came to playing wireless games would have to be wap elite [] which is a wap version of the classic game Elite. Oh and if you don't know Elite you are not a true nerd ;-)

SMS Sdk & Linux (3, Informative)

metlin (258108) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851230)

For those of you interested in messing around with SMS from Linux (and Windows), check out this project. []
Damn cool, but generally getting it running is a pain (although the site does not state any dependencies, there are a few).

In fact, me and my friends were trying to get SMS working so that a centralised Linux box could be used to play simple games. This way, we got about 5 people on SMS at the same time :-) playing simple word games. But again, for all these thingys to be working, your provider must support messaging from the net (which most do).

Although we did not go any further, it was fun doing it. If someone is interested, I'd be happy to help them start some SMS based centralised gaming (yes, OSS). Nothing great, but even simple ones could be great fun!

Re:SMS Sdk & Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2851269)

Freshmeat seems to be down.... Something's wrong?

PDA Games (1)

crumbz (41803) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851234)

Based on what I've read, it seems like WinCE will be the default of for handhelds five years hence. The interesting thing will be the battle of cell-phones (see DoCoMo) vs. PDAs. When I can get a 240x160 16-bit color display on my cell phone to play Quake 3 I'm in!

One Word (4, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851241)


There are (reportedly) over 20 million of these devices in Japan alone. The handheld/cellphone/PDA game market will be great for small and independent developers, and the economics are favorable as well (market size vs. cost of entry).

Now, what kinds of games to play on small devices is the next question...

Quacker on the subway (1)

GdoL (460833) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851243)

It will be fun to see the commuters play quake on the way home.

I'd rather it be not only games (4, Interesting)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851253)

I would rather see a suite of applications that tie in not only to other cell phones but central computers so you can have an Exchange-style system setup delivering that information. I think that for a lot of people who are out of the office a lot and on the go this would really come in handy.

Instead of logging into a terminal somewhere, you can just update your status via cell phones through the system.. I ended up writing something similar that operated via email, but you basically were stuck with whatever email client the phone had and had to deal with that.

Moderator Survey Says: (0, Troll)

pimpinmonk (238443) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851267)

While using this technology to build games on cell phones doesn't intrigue me, adapting this for our current and future crop of handheld computing devices does. What kind of future do you think there is for games development on such platforms like the Visor, the PalmPilot, and the next-generation-Gameboy that may come down the pipe in the next couple of years?
(Score:-1, Offtopic)

Certainly! (2)

Xunker (6905) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851273)

I think they will.. but I think that because I'm wireless app developer myself.

One of the most intreguing things about games on WML is that it forces creativity over flashyness, in the same vein that Zork relied on content rather then FMV. It's a chance to really use skill that isn't used much in todays world of huge pipes and fast CPUs.

Most people think the issue here is screen size, but I disagree -- I still think the primary issuse is speed and overhead. Zork would be playable on a handset if it didn't take 30 seconds to move from place to place as it does on some Mobile providers networks (Qwest being the worst offender here).

Wireless everywhere (1)

prof187 (235849) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851285)

This isn't completely on topic, but the thought it was kind of interesting. I wonder how long it will be before the Internet can/will be broadcast wirelessly on a large scale. Sort of in the same fashion that cell phone towers are popping up now. That could definitely make wireless anything much more accessible and possible. It would be pretty neat to be able to have a net connection while going down the street or riding in a car and not have to worry about losing the connection or horrendous fees.

Re:Wireless everywhere (2)

dstone (191334) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851586)

I wonder how long it will be before the Internet can/will be broadcast wirelessly on a large scale. Sort of in the same fashion that cell phone towers are popping up now.

Ummm... if you're in cell tower range, you're already in internet range. It's not fast (yet), and it's not fun (yet), and WAP definitely won't be the final word. But that's what we said about the HTML desktop web experience six or seven years ago. Start surfing now so you'll have wireless retro-grouch stories to tell your kids!

Hardware is more than powerfull enough. (2, Insightful)

iansmith (444117) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851288)

For anyone worried that no handheld device could possibly play games, don't worry. The current generation (and I mean ones selling for over 12 months now) of Pocket PC's have had 200mhz processors, 16-32 meg of ram, sound and 320x240 color screens.

I have seen gameboy emulators, full speed Apple II emulators and Commodor 64 emulators.. right there you have tons of playable games.

Sim City 2000 is a best seller on the Pocket PC. My company is porting one of our best sellers to it as well. Not as powerfull as a desktop by far.. but better than the computer on your desk 5 years ago!

The problem with wireless games that makes them suck is content. It's HARD to come up with a game that people want to play while at the corner store buying a newspaper. Regardless of how good handhelds get, the public just doesn't *see* handhelds as the next gaming platform.

Wait for some bright person to write "The Killer Wireless Game" and in a month the market will explode.

Cart befor the horse... (2, Insightful)

NOT-2-QUICK (114909) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851297)

Whether or not independent development of games for wireless devices/platforms will succeed is a very good that I have actually pondered in the past. However, I believe that SDK's and development tools of this sort are putting the 'cart before the horse' in many respects...

Anyone who has ever attempted to engage in an interactive game via their GSM-enabled cell phone, for example, can attest to the many deficiencies beyond simply a lack of game titles. Poor ergonomics, slow response/performance, and intolerable graphics are but a few of the physical/hardware issues that will require much further attention prior to us concerning ourselves with the lack of a Quake port!!!

Even in the burgeoning marketplace of the slightly larger integrated devices that marry gadgets such as PDA's, cell phones, and GPS's into single units, these same issues remain valid. You can only do so much with so little before the device's size becomes to large and cumbersome for it to be practical to carry around on your belt!!!

IMHO, this may be a hot topic in a couple of years, but for the time being is before its time and will fail as a result!!!

Write Text Games! (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851311)

Write text games, like Zork...

An lvsh swrd f grt ntqty s hr.
> g swrd

It glws bl!


Re:Write Text Games! (1)

SilverThorn (133151) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851420)

Heh. We do that now! :-)

Come check out [] for details.

Who ever know that the most popular Dragonlance novels could come to life! (Yea, I know its an AD... flame all you want, but still come and visit us). Beta opening scheduled for Summer 2002!

I think we need to escape the lcd first. (2, Insightful)

s0l0m0n (224000) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851317)

Games on portables with 3.5"x5" screens just don't seem that appealing to me. I mean sure, tetris rocks, but I don't need a 600$ platform to play tetris.

The idea of wireless games for the PDA seems interesting, but you could already do that. MUD's are still out there, and playable by text interface (of course), but quite frankly, they don't catch my attention any more (no offense intended to loyal devotees).

Also, in most of the situations where a PDA is carried, gaming is not really the focus. In any case, the PDA doesn't allow for an immersive enough expierince for my gaming desires. I suppose online chess or something would be cool, but I want to be able to KILL ..

so I guess I'll wait untill a (relatively)cheap wearable comes out for truly portable connected gaming.

Re:I think we need to escape the lcd first. (1)

maddugan (549314) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851343)

Maybe a Head Mounted Display is in order.

Not the a large, bulky one, but embeded in glasses or 'implanted'

Re:I think we need to escape the lcd first. (1)

s0l0m0n (224000) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851379)

Heartily agreed.

Except for what is needed is a price break as these things already exist, and are pretty capable.. for example : re /index.html

svga input, plus full 3rd gen low light/infrared capabilites (heheh... 'damn it it.. don't beam me that crap with your palm! That light is blinding me!')..

Only problem is that it's 2500$. Which is not that bad considering that either of the products it replaces could easily be first on my wish list.

Unfortunately, it is available only to the military. There are several other products that function as a HMD, but I still haven't seen a small one with a good price.

The expected wireless game progression (1)

maddugan (549314) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851320)

Here is what I envision the games to be like: First stage games (mostly turn based)
  • rock/paper/scissors
  • hangman
  • board games
  • card games
Second stage games (low data requirement, twitch games)
  • streetfighter-style
Third stage games (high data requirement, twitch games)
  • first person shooters
  • vehicle simulations
Fourth stage games (what PCs can barely do now)
  • Massive Multi-player online role playing game

The first stage might happen within the wireless hardware companies. Next stages will probably be developed externally, but paid for by the hardware company. Later stages will spawn from independents, but only after hardware becomes prevalent and powerful.

Boing ball anyone? (2, Informative)

KILNA (536949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851338)

Last I checked, Amiga [] was working on a multimedia API for small devices, with a focus on games. The Amiga environment is present on the new Sharp Zaurus [] . The SDK [] looks interesting, in spite of it being java-based. :)

Ahead of their time (3, Insightful) (513464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851350)

Let's face it. A cell phone is not a gaming console. At the moment most cell phones have a very limited screen - low resolution, small size, limited amount of colors (usually monochromatic). And no sounds, or very primitive ones *bleep*. And the controls suck. Why? Because it's a phone device, not a gaming device.

Entertainment techies should reconsider their model of wireless gaming. Perhaps a cell phone should be a phone, not a Nintendo Gameboy. Make games that use the phone just as it is, a phone. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

I know a Finnish company [] that develops a geographical GSM phone location service by triangulating the phones in networks. Using this kind of technology it could be possible to switch the game from the phone's screen into a real life experience, placing the player physically in the game, where his movements could be tracked on a predefined "game area". I'm sure countless of gaming applications are inbound after this technology spreads around..

Re:Ahead of their time (1)

Catullus (30857) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851477)

You can already play Doom [] on the Nokia 9210 [] . Full-colour, full-screen, and faster than I remember it originally playing on a 486. And if that doesn't turn your phone into a games console, I don't know what does.

games at 10 cents per SMS message? (2)

Splork (13498) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851363)

i don't think so...

video games everywhere (1)

ekephart (256467) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851365)

sigh, I'm sure this is "offtopic" or something so go ahead...

I'm 21 so I've seen the portable/wirelss/cellphone game industry in action more or less from the beginning. I have to say, I'm not very impressed and never have been. Maybe I just never saw it before but the portable game industry seems to be in the market of creating gadgets to pass the time instead of creating real games.

Since when is playing "Snake" on your Nokia actually fun? Would reading not be both more productive and entertaining? Do you know anyone who would sit at a desk in their home and play a game on a cell phone?

Don't get me wrong. I love games. I think the problem is more that people feel they need to "get connected" and play them "anytime, anywhere" etc...

Changes are needed (1) (513464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851425)

Now that I think about it, several issues must be dealt with before wireless appliances, namely cellphones (I know there are many others, but these interest me the most) are to be considered a "serious" gaming platform:

  • Screen. We need a bigger screen, a better resolution. It doesn't have to be much bigger than say, 4 cm x 7 cm. If you could flip the phone sideways, it would be great for games like Mario etc.. This screen would need colors. 32 colors is a good start. 256 would be brilliant, but the given state of technology doesn't really permit that (cost-effectively speaking), so.. And ofcourse the screen needs a decent refresh rate, so that moving picture isn't a problem. And I'm not talking about > 25 Hz here. Less will do, just fine.

  • Sounds. We need a real sound circuit. Perhaps a redesign of the famous C64 sound chip (can't remember it's name here). Ofcourse, this chip's output would need a 3.5 mm minijack for earphones. If the phone just played it out loud, it would create a total aural chaos in busses and subways, for instance..

  • Multiplay. Cellphones are great in connectivity. Why not use those powers and have "online" hiscore boards and play against other people online, or with a local link (Bluetooth, IR).

  • Controls. A phone keypad isn't really the best controller out there, is it? Few extra "gaming buttons" would do good. But keeping the design still simple and usability rates high would be a tough task for even the experts..

  • Memory. You have to store the games somewhere. Obviously, transfers could be with wireless data transfers, through the normal cellphone network. Now there's a niche you can make money with.

That's my two cents..

Re:Changes are needed (2, Insightful)

zurab (188064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851704)

My thought is it's easier to put a cell phone on a game boy rather than game boy on a cell phone.

The problem before the masses adopt such a gaming system, as I see it, will stay as long as the architectures and protocols used remain proprietary.

On top of that the (gaming) network should be open between all providers. Imagine if you couldn't play a multiplayer game with your friend because you have a Verizon DSL and he has Cox cable.

X-Forge (2, Insightful) (513464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851484)

Someone already mentioned Amiga's take on the mobile gaming platform. But I predict it won't succeed. This, however, I think will: Fathammer Ltd.'s X-Forge [] gaming engine. Take a look at those iPaq screen shots on their page.

I heard, that when Fathammer's boys went over to Intel and demonstrated what their engine can do with a "simple" 206 MHz processor, the Intel guys' jaws dropped on the table! They just couldn't believe that this was possible! After the initial shock, I believe dollar signs were seen rolling by these guys' eyes.. :)

Always told you, ex-democoders are good when it comes to optimizing and cheating in graphical routines..

WML games SDK (1)

captainspudly (551559) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851500)

I use the [] simulator to develope WML on WINblows. Does anyone out there have a good WAP simulator for developing WAP games with Linux?

WAP v2? (1)

Bassthang (78064) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851502)

Can someone explain to me why wireless mobile gaming is not just WAP mark2?

More opportunities to drive people crazy (1)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851542)

Just what I needed. The jackass at the next table not only bellowing into his cell phone, but his damned wireless game beeping and booping as well. Good thing my state prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons.

Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless and GPRS (1)

zehn (96930) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851554)

GPRS won't realistically give you more than 30kbps download speeds. The two CDMA carriers in the US are releasing 1XRTT in the immediate future and will give you 2-3 times the speed of GPRS.

You will be able to download games and other apps on any JAVA or BREW enabled phone. Check out for more info on BREW. I think everyone here knows what JAVA is.

when you're Big in Japan... (1)

johnot (240709) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851562)

while they're not the complex, graphics-intensive programs that we think of when we say online or multiplayer games, the Japanese market has shown that game-playing on cell phones, at least, *can* be very very popular...but maybe this is just experience of Tokyo, with the average commute around an hour sitting (or more likely, standing) crammed in a train with little room for a newspaper or book.

But there's also the consideration that the cell phones over there are smaller, lighter, have considerably longer battery life, and are in the hands of most everyone...multiple phones in one family are the norm, and almost every high school student has one.

I wonder if gaming on cell phones is something that's popular only after having a critical mass of users and satisfying some constraints (size, mass, battery life, etc), or if the capability for games would draw anyone into the market...I'd bank on the former, though...

Re:when you're Big in Japan... (1)

johnot (240709) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851706)

Ag! and color, I forgot color!

This one, for example: _6 33s.html
93mm×49mm×26mm, 99g, 2.5 - 7.5 hrs battery life, and 65k color

Nokia Gaming! (2)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 12 years ago | (#2851618)

I saw a show on Nokia not too long ago, and one of the developers was talking about how gread 3g is and all that jazz. He mentioned games that he'd been working on and then proceeded to start a game of seek 'n' destroy. You can play with many people in a real area and it looked pretty fun. Your phone screen shows a radar screen with your target's general direction then proceeds to tell you how close you're getting to them as you move. When you get close enough you can hit a key on the phone to 'shoot' them. You can keep a running score, etc. Fun stuff to get fat Americans back in the sunlight again :)
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