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  • Mooch
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Sphere and Unity?
Just a random thought. Would it be possible to implement the Sphere API in Unity? Like, make a Sphere Engine and/or Editor that runs in Unity? 'cause Unity's pretty popular and runs readily on all current-gen consoles. It'd be simple to get Sphere games running on Xbox, PS4 and Wii U.

  • Radnen
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  • Wise Warrior
Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #1
In Unity.... It might be possible to use it's JS feature to reimplement many Sphere functions; but then again you do have straight-up Unity anyways. Why don't you just use Unity anyways? I know for a fact it does far, far more than Sphere, so why would you want the lesser experience? Or is it you are just familiar with the Sphere API and would like to see it for Unity?

When I used Unity I primarily coded in C#, so having Sphere's JS API is only going to do so well in JS. I'd rather just learn Unity's general API, the one used by all of it's programming languages. ;)
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

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Sphere Studio editor here

  • N E O
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Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #2
I'd much rather see Sphere's API on the web first ;)

  • Radnen
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Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #3

I'd much rather see Sphere's API on the web first ;)


I stopped since it's not easy. Load* functions are very difficult since files are asynchronously uploaded, and waiting for files to load would be mindlessly slow. The Sphere Web API has to be far different in order to succeed.

Actually it's almost easier to just make the Sphere API in Unity and use it's web support to host your game online. Furthermore, Sphere as a game engine is interesting since all Web based games are one-off. They know exactly what files they should load and are ready when all files are finished loading. The Load* methods would have to be slightly different in terms of use, it'll even break all existing games.

At that point I'd rather try a different approach than Sphere for the web. Jest said it best, Sphere has an 'immediate' API, and the web does not work like that at all, and emulating that kind of gaming API is near impossible. It's not just loading where things are 'immediate' but it's in the graphics rendering too. There's no concept of drawing things between frame buffers, or at least I haven't came across an easy way of emulating that behavior for the web. DaVince used a stack for blit operations for his attempt, but the results can be stochastic to say the least.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Sphere-sfml here
Sphere Studio editor here

Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #4
Unity's JS api is a little wonky. And if you just want to make a 2D game using JS, excluding speed concerns I actually think Sphere is a better option than Unity.

Unity is aimed differently than Sphere is. They aren't really intended for the same thing.

  • Radnen
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Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #5

Unity is aimed differently than Sphere is. They aren't really intended for the same thing.


I agree with you there; but Unity is multi-platform and can run in most browsers. This is a concern I have for Sphere. I don't think my Sphere engine, SSFML can run on an Xbox since I don't think MS allowed access to the low level compiler that Jurassic exposes to do it's work. I'll have to double check and I have no idea if they made that work on the Xbox One.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Sphere-sfml here
Sphere Studio editor here

  • Mooch
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Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #6

In Unity.... It might be possible to use it's JS feature to reimplement many Sphere functions; but then again you do have straight-up Unity anyways. Why don't you just use Unity anyways? I know for a fact it does far, far more than Sphere, so why would you want the lesser experience? Or is it you are just familiar with the Sphere API and would like to see it for Unity?


I just like Sphere, and it'd be nice taking something I made in Sphere and putting it on consoles and such, rather than re-coding it in Unity or abandoning Sphere in favor of Unity.



Unity is aimed differently than Sphere is. They aren't really intended for the same thing.


I agree with you there; but Unity is multi-platform and can run in most browsers. This is a concern I have for Sphere. I don't think my Sphere engine, SSFML can run on an Xbox since I don't think MS allowed access to the low level compiler that Jurassic exposes to do it's work. I'll have to double check and I have no idea if they made that work on the Xbox One.


Xbox One's boring as crap. PS4's just as bad, even if Sony has better policies. I lament this creatively-dead generation of consoles and the power-focused, anti-innovation policies of Microsoft and Sony. I wanna get the stuff I make in Sphere on Wii U, 'cause of the GamePad (and Miiverse). I mean, what's the point in making a console game instead of PC if it just has a regular controler?

I wanna make 3DS and Vita stuff, too. Speak of, why the heck is the Vita selling so poorly? It's such an interesting piece of technology -- the back pad thing? Awesome. Then again, gamers don't care about innovation or fun factor, they just want the same Call of Repetitive FPS crap over and over again.

O, cruele faete! To be-est a Game Designer in a world so full of Pedestrians! Whilst I do Toil at my beauteous Creations, another Soulless carbon-copy game reaches the Million Sales mark.

Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #7
Quote
Xbox One's boring as crap. PS4's just as bad, even if Sony has better policies.


Careful, console war has been initiated.
Not to mention though, wasn't this generation being known for it's open adoption towards indie games?
Which is probably what Radnen has in mind.

Quote
what's the point in making a console game instead of PC


The exclusives, normally. Then there's multiplayer which is primary experience for most XB fans that I know.
There's also the EyeToy and Kinect, but then we have Oculus Rift for PC.
When there's talk about adapting indie titles for consoles, it's normally for the experience and userbase over anything else.
I'd much prefer a PC over a console personally, but I wouldn't mind buying a PS4 when they get cheaper.
I also wouldn't mind seeing some sphere titles to run when I do ever buy one.

Quote
I wanna make 3DS and Vita stuff, too.


Nintendo is pretty closed off towards third parties this console cycle, so it might be a stretch to say it's possible.
There was a user who did make a project that worked with a Wii Remote, but I can't remember specifically who.

Vita is probably selling less because Sony had a huge PR shitfest with hackers (Geohotz incident) who were a large fanbase of PSPs.
Also most of PSP userbase probably already bought a system from the four other cycles, so now sales are slowing because they've already sold to most of their buyers.
I would definitely enjoy a sphere for Vita especially with Sony's open arms towards indie/third parties this generation.

If Unity opens the chances for console adaptations, I'm in favor.
Though adapting it for projects to release on iPhone or Android would be the most viable option, I'd think.
  • Last Edit: February 27, 2014, 05:43:06 pm by Vakinox

  • Radnen
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Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #8
Also the new consoles have a large install base. WiiU is like 5.3 mil when the last gen xbox/ps is at 160 mil, and the newest gen is at 8.3 mil. So, it's more lucrative to make a game outside of the Wii U.

Mario can never outsell CoD these days since it seems the maximum units sold for a Wii U version can't pass 5.3mil since that's a physical limitation. Which is really sad.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Sphere-sfml here
Sphere Studio editor here

Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #9

There was a user who did make a project that worked with a Wii Remote, but I can't remember specifically who.


That was Beaker.

  • Mooch
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Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #10
Vakinox: Exclusives are a reason to buy a console, not develop for it. As a game designer, interesting new technology and new ways to interact with the game world are what excite me. The Xbox and PS4 are utterly unappealing to me as a designer.

On the one hand, you've got Kinect, which is neat in theory, but since you can't practically use a controller and Kinect at the same time, the two control methods are segregated -- if you're using Kinect you have to put the controller down, meaning no buttons, no nothing, just your body. If you're using the controller, you can't be waving your hands around and jumping all over the place, meaning no motion controls. This is supported by the fact that no major, "epic" sort of game uses Kinect for anything but its voice chat feature; all Kinect titles are gimmickey bargin-bin titles.

On the other hand you've got PS4's touchpad thingy on its controller and Eye Toy, or whatever it's called this gen. Eye Toy has a leg up on Kinect since it can detect the controller; indeed it seems more intended to be a Wiimote than a Kinect ripoff (though the original Eye Toy was released far before the original Kinect, IIRC). But pointing and such with a standard controller is wonky at best. And the touchpad thing is neat, but anything I could do with that I could do with a touchscreen, and more.

When the Wii U GamePad was unveiled, it got my creative blood pumping. I look at an Xbox or a Playstation and I think about the games I could design for it, and it's just standard stuff. I look at the GamePad and the ideas just come rushing. There so, so, so much cool stuff I could do with the GamePad that would be impossible on the other consoles, and probably technically possible on PC, but ridiculously difficult.

And actually, Ninty has a super-open third-party thing going on this gen...
https://wiiu-developers.nintendo.com/signup/

Radnen: I'm speaking as a game designer, not an insecure teenage console fanboy :p -- sales numbers don't interest me. I'm far, far more interested in making exactly the kind of game I want, using the neatest, funnest tech available, than in sales numbers and potential revenue and "install bases."

It's precisely that sort of attitude that's killing the industry. And why indie games are doing so well -- the industry is soulless and creatively stagnant. The only thing the big-name companies can churn out these days are carbon-copy FPS games and yearly sports franchise releases.

*sigh*

Fanboydom is causing problems, too. Everyone's so numbers-obsessed, it creates the perception that an innovative console like the Wii U is undevelopable due to much fewer console sales than its competitors, so money-obsessed developers and investors flock like chickens to wherever the sales are the highest, giving no thought to creativity or artistic expression.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not wearing rose-tinted glasses, I understand that its the money that drives the industry, and I acknowledge that concern about sales and making money is 100% legitimate. But when it becomes an obsession, it becomes a problem.

And it's a self-sustaining cycle. Big-name companies have hundreds of employees to pay, patents and legal stuff to worry about, etc. so they have to try and make as much money as possible no matter the cost just to stay in business. Comparably, indie developers consisting of just a half dozen or so people can afford to spend more time making more artistic, less-obviously-marketable titles because even a modest amount of money goes a lot farther when divided among a half dozen dudes than a huge amount of money goes divided among a company of hundreds.

So the big-name companies keep churning out soulless, marketable crap on the consoles with the largest "install bases" (I feel dirty just saying that) and the indie developers keep making all the best games, though also mostly for the large-install-base consoles, because of course, the majority of indie games don't actually sell that well. We all think of Minecraft and Spelunky when we think indie games, but most are nowhere near that popular.

But yeah. Point is, I'm not like any of that nonsense. What gets me going is new ways of interacting with games, not technical specs of RAM and GPU or whatever, and not sales numbers or whatever other buzzwords fanboys fling around all the time.

(Heh, 5.3 million limit. If one of my games sold 5.3 million I would literally be set for life. I live a very simple, modest life.)

  • Radnen
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Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #11
Mooch, no yeah, I agree with you. Games today are soulless and devoid of creativity. One of my favorite franchises, Mass Effect, went from being a super awesome galaxy explorer to a watered-down shooter with the only neat thing going for it is the intuitive dialog system. I still love the series and from a gameplay perspective they did a whole lot better in the 3rd game, culminating into one of the most cathartic and craziest game experiences I ever had (even if the games ending was controversial, it's still a testament to the best damn writing ever for a SciFi piece, unprecedented to say the least).

These big name companies are a catch 22: They'll help you fund your craziest ideas, but then ask you to appeal to the masses so it's always a tradeoff with them. Now, for indie development you have to get pretty lucky to be successful. This is why we should always stick to a 'hobbiest first' approach. You should never go into indie development as either a venture capitalist or for investment purposes. Minecraft got huge for no particular reason; it just did. Now these days Notch is kind of like the 'big boys' where he's doing things like creating a Minecraft movie. But I still think he has his own goals in sight.

In fact an indie studio with the budget of a large commercial studio, can end up creating some really amazing games. I look at No Man's Sky and Starbound for innovation. I loved the galaxy exploration portion of Mass Effect and those two indie games take that to the next level.

That said, if the Wii was seriously an ideal platform for releasing innovative games, it's really sad to see it lack in sales so bad that the CEO has to give formal apologies and cut his budget. While I do talk about "install bases" it's that kind of terminology that makes people flock to your console. What I hope out of everything is that somewhere in that torrent of people someone would end up creating that new great idea. Mooch, you could be that person, but it ain't easy since you are definitely not the first to think that. ;) I also find it strange the only key titles that keep the Wii alive are Zelda, Mario and Donkey Kong. It's like for all their innovation; they remain to not take chances and try anything new. In the 90's I was used to Nintendo creating a new icon every few years (Banjo Kazooie, Pokemon, Pikmin, Starfox, etc.). It's 2014 now, and we should have at least a few more. :/

I have not bought a PS4 or X1 since I have yet found a reason to use them. Plus, I hate the Kinect as a forced peripheral. I think the Kinect is a marvelous piece of hardware; but to have it in every room is overmuch. Microsoft did work on a concept called "illumiroom" and thankfully they didn't force that release on anybody. I just think some things belong in R&D.

Anyways I'm rambling; but yeah, I agree innovation is rare to come by these days and creativity is at an all time high and low simultaneously.

Ok, I'll ramble on one aspect: In Mass Effect, the third game had an unprecedented story, all kinds of neat things with their budget they can make worlds come alive. But for all their creativity they could not create the face of the character Tali (If you play the games, her face is covered by an environment suit, like Samus's). They teased the face, but it really was a rip from an image website, but modified. So, their staff of great artists and creative designers failed miserably at the construction of one of their most beloved characters. They dropped the ball there, and I don't know why they did that. They might as well not have shown the face in the first place.
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Sphere-sfml here
Sphere Studio editor here

Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #12
So here's a question for anyone who wants Sphere on a console.

Have you tried compiling it for that console yet?


Ok, I'll ramble on one aspect: In Mass Effect, the third game had an unprecedented story, all kinds of neat things with their budget they can make worlds come alive. But for all their creativity they could not create the face of the character Tali (If you play the games, her face is covered by an environment suit, like Samus's). They teased the face, but it really was a rip from an image website, but modified. So, their staff of great artists and creative designers failed miserably at the construction of one of their most beloved characters. They dropped the ball there, and I don't know why they did that. They might as well not have shown the face in the first place.


Because there is a face beneath, but that face is not her. No more than she is the muscles beneath that, or the bones beneath that. Below there is is an idea. And ideas are bulletproof.

  • Radnen
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Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #13

So here's a question for anyone who wants Sphere on a console.

Have you tried compiling it for that console yet?


I have not attempted compiling my SphereSFML for the 360 yet; but it seems that it might not be possible due to a lack of low-level compilation support, but I am not 100% sure. I'll have to try, but how do you do it? Don't you need a license?


Because there is a face beneath, but that face is not her. No more than she is the muscles beneath that, or the bones beneath that. Below there is is an idea. And ideas are bulletproof.


Mind. Blown.

Edit:
Ah, Vendetta reference, good one. :P
If you use code to help you code you can use less code to code. Also, I have approximate knowledge of many things.

Sphere-sfml here
Sphere Studio editor here

Re: Sphere and Unity?
Reply #14
I mean Sphere 1.5/1.6. Sphere Classic. It has an interpreter, not a dynamic (re)compiler, and so is not tied to certain architectures like TurboSphere is (MIPS Little-Endian, ARM v6+, Intel i686+) which is very important for console use, and doesn't violate any vendor rules (Apple's iOS, for instance, has/had? rules against anything that dynamically generated machine code in particular). Of course, this is even simpler now. If you ignore the Wii-U, all the systems are x86 compatible. Ignoring the fact that a CPU does not an architecture make, it (along with an OS) does a JS dynamic recompiler target make. We actually gain a lot here by having an interpreter version of the JS engine from the oft-ported Firefox as our JS engine.

I've fixed Sphere's Unix/Linux parts to compile again (very mostly). But I've looked, using the Unix/Linux compilation mode basically means "use SDL 1.2 for everything!".

And SDL has some console code to begin with, in addition to full-software branches. We have a full software video driver, as well as two OpenGL video backends (FJ-GL is almost OpenGL ES compliant, as well, mostly you would need to remove some full GL optimizations I put in). Corona and Audiere require very little to work--you can compile them with hardly any third party libraries if configured correctly. I've even fixed Corona to work with modern OR old libPNG versions.

All the tools are there, and it should theoretically work. All you really need, as far as I know, is an LLVM or a GCC cross-compiler for your platform of choice.

If someone wanted to seriously pursue this, I would help in any way I could.
  • Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 08:11:24 pm by Flying Jester