Linked by Kroc Camen on Mon 1st Jun 2009 11:05 UTC
Original OSNews Interviews We are glad to present an exclusive interview with Plamen Dragozov--Director of Engineering at PopCap's mobile studio in Dublin, Ireland. "OSNews prides itself on (trying to) cover the diversity of operating systems, and so whilst we rarely cover games, we have approached you to discuss not so much the games themselves, as the technical challenges you go through bringing your games to a wide range of platforms". Read More for the full scoop.
Order by: Score:
Electronic Arts
by KugelKurt on Mon 1st Jun 2009 11:31 UTC
KugelKurt
Member since:
2005-07-06

In contrast to PopCap, EA is a very weird company when it comes to cross platform support.

Last year or so EA announced to bring its games (at least a portion of it) to Mac. EA uses/used Cedega for this -- a fork of WINE.
So instead of wring the games in a cross-platform way right from the start, EA prefered to use a Windows compatibility wrapper for Mac ports.

Now it's 2009 and EA acts even weirder.
BattleForce, a RTS game, is written with Qt 4. Native Mac and Linux versions would be very easy and yet BattleForge is only available for Windows....

Reply Score: 2

RE: Electronic Arts
by abstraction on Mon 1st Jun 2009 11:59 UTC in reply to "Electronic Arts"
abstraction Member since:
2008-11-27

Now it's 2009 and EA acts even weirder.
BattleForce, a RTS game, is written with Qt 4. Native Mac and Linux versions would be very easy and yet BattleForge is only available for Windows....


I can not believe what I am hearing. When it basically cost nothing for them in effort to port a game and they will earn money because it will extend the userbase - Why dont they? It makes no sense.

There has to be a games market on Linux/Mac too even if it is smaller. Right?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Electronic Arts
by rjamorim on Mon 1st Jun 2009 14:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Electronic Arts"
rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

I can not believe what I am hearing. When it basically cost nothing for them in effort to port a game and they will earn money because it will extend the userbase - Why dont they? It makes no sense. There has to be a games market on Linux/Mac too even if it is smaller. Right?


Wrong - because it won't cost them "nothing". First, because they would have to test the game on these other OSes as throughly as they test it for Windows. Second, because they would have to provide support for these OSes - which includes training support personnel, etc. If the user base on these OSes turn out to be much smaller than the Windows base, the extra costs won't be justifiable.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Electronic Arts
by KugelKurt on Mon 1st Jun 2009 15:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Electronic Arts"
KugelKurt Member since:
2005-07-06

No game from id Software was ever released on Linux with official support. No one ever complained about missing official support.

BTW: BattleForge is freeware.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Electronic Arts
by mabhatter on Mon 1st Jun 2009 16:13 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Electronic Arts"
mabhatter Member since:
2005-07-17

No game from id Software was ever released on Linux with official support. No one ever complained about missing official support.

BTW: BattleForge is freeware.


But id RELEASED something and kept it current with patches. Of course id did a good job keeping content and executables separate.. so their games could be ported quite easily, Doom has to be one of the most ported games out there. Many companies fall in to the trap of tying key content to a specific platform.. like when a publisher specifies a proprietary spec for in-game movies nobody's heard of... one that gets Blizzard games often. I think that's what the article was trying to get at in terms of cross-platform programming tools.

The guy from PopCap did a good job... I don't think they're used to responding to super-technical questions which is where the article was going. At OSNews we want to know details!!! toolkits, programming languages, what design patterns you like to use!!! Most other sites would care less about that stuff.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Electronic Arts
by dagw on Mon 1st Jun 2009 14:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Electronic Arts"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

Porting to a new platform never costs "nothing" no matter what toolkit is used. While using Qt4 certainly makes it easier to port there is still a significant amount of testing and platform specific coding that needs to be done.

And that's assuming you wrote the code to be cross platform to begin with. If you went in with the assumption that the code would be windows only you've quite probably made use of windows only libraries or features, perhaps even without realizing it. That would add even more time and cost to porting the code.

Qt4 is probably the best cross platform toolkit available, but anybody who thinks that simply using Qt4 gives you perfect cross platform support for nothing probably hasn't written much cross platform code.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Electronic Arts
by flynn on Mon 1st Jun 2009 14:39 UTC in reply to "Electronic Arts"
flynn Member since:
2009-03-19

BattleForce, a RTS game, is written with Qt 4. Native Mac and Linux versions would be very easy and yet BattleForge is only available for Windows....

Exactly what parts of it are written with Qt? It's possible they used Qt for the interface and maybe used some non-GUI features of the library, but I have a hard time believing they didn't use Direct3D for the game engine itself. In which case portability goes out the window.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Electronic Arts
by Kroc on Mon 1st Jun 2009 14:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Electronic Arts"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Not you specifically flynn, but this thread is getting off topic here. We should pay a bit more respect to Plamen for his time and focus on PopCap.

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Electronic Arts
by KugelKurt on Mon 1st Jun 2009 15:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Electronic Arts"
KugelKurt Member since:
2005-07-06

Exactly what parts of it are written with Qt?

No idea. The game became freeware a few days ago, I installed it and found a bunch of Qt 4 DLLs in its folder.

Reply Score: 2

PopCap Games Framework
by BringBackAnonymous on Mon 1st Jun 2009 16:11 UTC
BringBackAnonymous
Member since:
2008-06-17

Interesting interview, though I would have liked a bit more technical information.

One answer that surprised me a bit was Plamen's response to the question about open-source. He mentions the PopCap Games Framework, but I was under the impression it is in the process of being discontinued and removed by PopCap.

Edited because I can't seem to get the linking to work. References for shutdown are http://developer.popcap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5829 and http://developer.popcap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5853

Edited 2009-06-01 16:12 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: PopCap Games Framework
by haydenm on Tue 2nd Jun 2009 06:27 UTC in reply to "PopCap Games Framework"
haydenm Member since:
2006-10-29

One answer that surprised me a bit was Plamen's response to the question about open-source. He mentions the PopCap Games Framework, but I was under the impression it is in the process of being discontinued and removed by PopCap.


The framework is still open-source and freely available, they have simply "discontinued" support for it. As far as I can tell, this can be likened to id releasing the quake source code with all kinds of developers extending and using it for their own projects.

Open-source is exactly that, there's no "taksies backsies" once you make it public domain.

Reply Score: 1