[MUD-Dev] Apple WWDC?

amanda at alfar.com amanda at alfar.com
Tue May 14 09:02:16 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

Sasha.Hart at directory.reed.edu (Sasha Hart) wrote:
> [Amanda Walker]

>> If I'm running a game, why would I care what hardware my players
>> want to use?

> Perhaps because maintaining heavily cross-platformed code can
> multiply the amount of labor it takes to do anything?

Sometimes, yes.  Sometimes, no.  Depends on what your "platform" is.
If I standardize on sockets and OpenGL, I cover most platforms right
off the bat.  If I use a 3rd party tool like NetImmerse, I lose a
couple platforms and gain a few more.  Java 3D I get almost
everywhere but have to debug on everything ;-).

Maintenance costs also do not scale linearly with the number of
platforms.  Most of the code in a game (game logic, network
protocols, graphics if you're not using DirectX) is already platform
independent.  There are even benefits: I've often found major
defects in code that were made much more obvious by having to
compile & run it on a wide variety of platforms.

> But in the meantime there are pretty decent plain-old-economic
> reasons to pick fewer platforms rather than more, and more
> lucrative platforms (Windows) over less lucrative ones
> (Solaris). (Prove me wrong, please.)

For one, Windows is not a single platform.  It is, in fact, the most
diverse set of platforms around.  If you make a game for Windows,
you're going to have all sorts of support headaches, especially when
it comes to graphics and sound card support.

One of the great appeals of platforms like XBox, PS2, Mac, etc. is
that the hardware environment is a lot more predictable, and you
have a lot fewer implementations of things like OpenGL or DirectX to
test and debug.

> them to drop the money it takes to find out. Let's say that I am
> thinking of dropping the very large sums required to develop one
> of these MUDs. What assurances would I have about dropping more to
> target a bunch of platforms?

Any game development is highly speculative.  Targetting more
platforms expands your possible market: like anything else, you look
at the costs and benefits and make a SWAG.  Speaking personally, as
someone with a lot of multiplatform experience and a fondness for
niche markets, I think that the Mac & advanced console markets have
a lot of untapped potential for MMO games and environments.

Amanda Walker
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