How the hell can it take a year to make a Windows version of a game that runs on Windows hardware?
Well on Gamespot they have a release saying Gearbox is doing the PC port of Halo. Its release is scheduled for summer 2003.
I thought Halo was a cool game but with the crowded market in the PC scene, and whats coming up I see this being recieved with a collective shrug by the PC crowd.
How the hell can it take a year to make a Windows version of a game that runs on Windows hardware?
"already runs on Windows hardware" is what I meant to say. thanks.
Cause the game will RoOcKerz!!!!!
It's not how, it's why would they take a year.Originally Posted by Howard Vole
Answer: To give them time to release Halo2 on the Xbox
Yeah, whatever. I'm not so concerned that HALO make it to PC. I'm more concerned that HALO's gameplay characteristics carry over to other shooters. Heck, I wonder if so-called 'game designers' even think about his stuff. ;)
First things first... why is it taking so long? Oh, I've got no doubt that 90-percent of the Xbox code could be ported immediately, and the remaining 10-percent would be graphical enhancements (higher resolutions, higher color art, scalable graphical settings for slower systems) and multiplayer optimized for the PC. But of course, Halo is a killer app for the Xbox, and MS isn't in a big hurry to dilute that fact. And Gearbox, no doubt, will throw in some new features and surprises for us PC folks.
Frankly, I'm not too worried about Halo for the PC. Everyone talks about how Doom3 and Unreal2 will already be on the scene, but honestly folks, has there been anything that you've seen of those two games that indicate that they will be nothing more than a fancier-looking Quake III and a fancier-looking Unreal2?
For me, gameplay rules supreme, and I've yet to see any PC FPS even come close to doing what Halo does so amazingly well on so many different levels. Perfect single-player... Insanely perfect co-op multiplayer.... Brilliant (and hilarious) AI.... Top-Notch Weapons, Physics, Vehicles, Seamless Indoor/Outdoor environements.... Perfect Atmsophere.... Best Music and Sound.... No Bosses... and The Best Fucking End Sequence That Screams "Why The Hell Didn't Anyone Think Of That Before?"
So yeah, I'm gonna buy Xbox for the PC.
Ooops, I meant a fancier looking Unreal, not a fancier looking Unreal2.
Oh yeah, and Halo looks awesome too. It's graphical art style works perfectly for that game.
Ugh, and gotta learn to type slower, or to slow down the thoughts in my head...
I meant, yeah, I'm going to buy Halo for the PC.
I bet "XBox for the PC" will only run on Windows XP.
Ok, but when you say Doom3 might just be a fancier looking shooter, give it its dues. Doom3 will be an INCREDIBLE looking shooter. The realtime gameplay looks like FMV. It's hard to think of any shooters that aren't just better looking versions of Quake anymore. Half-Life had lots of character, but some people still argued it was just Quake tweaked a bit (I disagree, but that's another story). What did Halo add that you think makes it unique in this regard?
I'm not saying that Halo added anything per se.
What I'm saying is that Halo is the very rarest of games... one that does everything spectacularly well. It's a convergence of excellence, from the single player, multiplayer, graphics, AI, physics, design, pacing, sound, music, engine, etc, etc, etc.
Yes, Doom3 will look spectacular, but will the actual gameplay itself exhibit any kind of similar leap?
Guys, if a game is programmed specifically for Xbox, it's going to be coded a whole lot differently than it would be for the PC. Particularly with regards to memory management and file access.
DirectX is just an API, and it's even customized a bit for the Xbox. It's not like it's HTML or something. It's like saying that a PC-only game that uses OpenGL would be trivial to port to the Mac. After all, they have OpenGL on the Mac, and the game was programmed in C++, right?
They never should have told the public that the Xbox uses a kernal based on Windows 2000, or a version of DirectX. It has just totally confused the public about how similar/different the architectures are.
You can make a game engine that is easily portable between the two, sure. And going from PC to Xbox isn't that big a leap. But going from a Xbox-specific engine to PC takes a lot more work than you guys realize.
Oh, and before you say "but Halo was a PC/Mac game first!":
Bungie completely scrapped the engine and overall game design when they switched to Xbox. They wrote the engine over basically from scratch just for Xbox, and changed it from a large-scale multiplayer-plus-AI "one seamless world" thing to a level-based single-player story driven game. It's like they started over with the same concept art.
I'm not saying that's why it should take so long to port. They could have had it done in a year if they really wanted to and if they jumped on it immediately (and if Bungie did the port). Part of it is marketing, naturally.
I really hope they do more than just add internet multiplayer and some more multiplayer maps. I'd love to see them spruce up the artwork a bit, and liven up the three very repetitive locations later in the game as well.
Part of the reason it is taking so long is that Bungie wanted some time off after rushing to get the original ready for the XBox launch. They said they would wait a while before even starting work on the PC version. That Gearbox is doing it (who are they again?) causes more problems because they didn't do the original game (or did they in some way? if so, pretend I didn't say that!). I don't really care. Since I haven't played Halo it doesn't bother me to wait, even though I am looking forward to it. The vehicle combat in particular looks fun, though I think I will get a similar experience (maybe better) from Battlefield 1942.
Gearbox did the Half-Life: Opposing Force expansion pack (among other things).
Ports can be a bit tricky, except that I suspect most of the assets (artwork, sound, level design, scripting, game logic, etc.) will transfer over fairly easily. The only tricky part is the hardware specific stuff, which for a PC versino of the game would probably mean reworking the handful of Xbox-specific DirectX calls.
The reason the PC and Mac ports got contracted out is because MS has got Bungie working like mad on the Halo2 project, which from what I understand is both a sequel and designed to support Xbox Live.
Gearbox does some good work, and I'm sure they're gonna do a fine job. Hell, I'm assuming they've already got the code, so that means they've got a full year to do the port, which should be plenty of time. They won't have to rush it out.
Gearbox did Tony Hawk 3 for PC..
Which is TERRIBLE on the net.[/b]
We're looking at a lot more than a few Xbox-specific function calls.Originally Posted by Alan Au
Did Bungie use a scripting language for their AI, in-level scripting events, etc? If so, they only need to port over the main engine. If they were explicitly coded, that's more of an issue. Especially if their timing relies on the speed of the processor (not a nutty thing to do in the console world).
It's not the DX calls that are troublesome. It's the whole memory management and file system thing. Making good use of UMA makes things VERY different than a PC/Mac. When both your grahics chip and CPU can alter the exact same data sitting in the same RAM locations, you can do some very nifty things, but it's also totally unlike the PC/Mac's "send it to the video card and never get it back" method.
Then they have to make the main engine render to multiple resolutions, build in options menus for graphics/sound/key bindings/network settings, change the control for the keybaord/mouse, build an in-game server browser (hopefully!), change all the AI behaviors (movement rates and such) to make it harder since everyone will have a keyboard/mouse...
And then there's compatibility with all the various PC and Mac hardware. And the sound system, which instead of coding directly to the MCPX will have to be generalized for the extremely broad capabilities of modern PCs. Oh, and they gotta add in the ability to load lower-res mip maps instead of the big textures so it scales to low-end or low-memory machines. Same with the audio samples.
Oh, and file/resource loading off a PC's hard drive is going to be very different form the Xbox, where it was caching a big hunk of the DVD to the hard drive for each "chapter."
And so on and so forth. It's a lot of work to go from a *very* Xbox-centric game with a "for Xbox only" engine to the PC. Not 18 months of work, but a lot nonetheless. Had Bungie developed the Xbox game with a more generalized engine in mind, it would go much faster. Unreal Championship could be ported to the PC in like three months.
Then there's potential enhancements. Are they going to make it mod-able? (PLEASE!) That requires some engine changes. Release the tools/game code? Change level design? Add new multiplayer maps?
For the curious, Gearbox:
- Did Half-Life: Opposing Force
- Did Half-Life: Blue Shift
- Ported Half-Life to PS2
- Ported Tony Hawk 3 to PC
- is developing the 007 Nightfire game for PC. It's seperate from the console versions (being developed elsewhere).
- is developing HL: Condition Zero
and of course Halo PC.
They also did the Half-Life port to Dreamcast which never saw the light of day but was apparently all but on store shelves.
Captivation was doing that Half-Life port for Gearbox...it was about 97% done, but since the DC was pretty much dead, the publisher (Sierra) didn't want to bother with production.Originally Posted by Dave Long
Granted, it not a cut and paste job, but at this point it's merely a technical implementation issue. Admittedly, I don't have access to the Xbox memory architecture specification, so my conjecture might be completely invalid.We're looking at a lot more than a few Xbox-specific function calls.
probably building the online element...Originally Posted by Howard Vole
Don't forget that Halo was originally going to be a Mac game and a PC game, *not* an Xbox game. Development was begun for it as a Mac and PC game and went on for about 2 years before Bungie was consumed by The Beast [TM], and my understanding is that they ended up porting the code to the Xbox from the PC version. Given that, I think there may be less to deal with technically here and more marketing at work. In fact, if I recall correctly, Halo was first publicly seen at Macworld back in the summer of 1999 -- about two and a half years before the Xbox launch and the release of Halo. At that time, PC Gamers were howling for a chance to play Halo, and the concern was that it would be a Mac-only release, rather than a multiplatform release.Originally Posted by Jason Cross
Halo Unveiled at Macworld July 20, 2000 (video from Jobs' speech)
www.maccentral.com/news/9907/22.halodetail.shtml+halo+and+macworld&hl=en&ie=UTF-8]Google cached copy of MacCentral story on Halo at Macworld from July 22, 1999[/url]
Microsoft acquired Bungie about a year after the Macworld demo in June, 2000, leaving about 18 months for the porting of Halo to the Xbox. See the www.maccentral.com/news/0006/19.msbungie.shtml+halo+and+bungie+and+microsoft+an d+chicago&hl=en&ie=UTF-8]Google cached story here[/url]. So while there would be technical issues with most Xbox ports, I think it's much less of an issue for Halo than most games -- most of the development happened on the Mac and the PC, after all. All that said, I can wait for it on the PC -- since I have it on my Xbox already and regularly play using xboxconnector with friends across the country.
They did release a demo movie/ad for Halo/GeForce2 in late 2000. You can download it here: http://www.fileplanet.com/download.aspx?f=50351
Anyone know if that was a Mac or PC version of the GF2 used to create the movie? It makes me wonder how far along the Mac & PC versions were before they were shived in the MS showers.
"No bosses" is not a plus for me. Especially in co-op games.
As far as Halo being an easy port since it started on the PC, you should read Jason's post up above.
"Bungie completely scrapped the engine and overall game design when they switched to Xbox. They wrote the engine over basically from scratch just for Xbox, and changed it from a large-scale multiplayer-plus-AI "one seamless world" thing to a level-based single-player story driven game. It's like they started over with the same concept art. "
He's got his facts right. Lots of scrapping and re-writing. There's a _lot_ of Xbox centric code in Halo now. It'll take time.
Just because they have listed summer 2003 doesn't mean its only for tech reason. Its not a stretch to think that MS put that date down for as much marketing(give it plenty of time as an Xbox only game) as technical reasoning.
I'm sorry, but you two guys are full of crap. This is 90% marketing, and 10% technical. If that.He's got his facts right. Lots of scrapping and re-writing. There's a _lot_ of Xbox centric code in Halo now. It'll take time.
We're not talking about porting a gamecube or PS2 game for god's sake-- this is a title written in x86 code, talking to a GeForce video chip (basically a GeForce4), and the MCP (nForce) system chipsets. That's a piece of cake! What could possibly be more straightforward? Only porting a PC game back to the PC?
However, I can definitely appreciate Microsoft's desire to protect their money franchise-- Halo is still far and away the most identifiable "must own" title on the Xbox. They have to release Halo 2 (or whatever) before the PC version of Halo comes out. By that time, it's old hat, and the PC version isn't threatening the nascent Xbox platform.
I'm just happy we get Halo at all.
It's not that straightforward when you consider that the game needs to run on vastly different hardware than an Xbox, and needs to degrade gracefully if certain features are not available. (depending on the platforms they support, of course)Originally Posted by wumpus
Never mind redoing the interface to support a mouse, PC monitor resolutions (which probably entails redoing some art), keyboard support, joystick/wheel support (someone will want to drive that Warthog with a wheel!), adding Internet multiplayer, higher texture resolutions, support for user-created content...oh, that should ONLY take a month or two, right? :roll:
I knew I should have clarified. :) I wasn't disputing Jason's statement -- they definitely did a lot of work on the engine to get that bad boy up and running on the Xbox after the acquisition of Bungie by Microsoft. My point was that they already had a mostly completed engine for the Mac more than 3 years ago and they were supposedly very close to the completed PC engine 2 years ago (right before being acquired). The fact that they got it out for the Xbox indicates that they'd done a lot of the level design, too, since there's no way to write the engine and design the game from the ground up, do beta testing, and send the game to production in less than 18 months. I haven't heard that assertion made before and I'd be surprised if anyone would stand by that today...Originally Posted by Slacker
It may be that Gearbox is redesigning much of the game, but, well, have they done their own engine before? I think they're best known for their Halflife Add-ons, where they're doing the content with only minor engine updated. It may be -- and hell, I'd bet on it -- that they're using the engine Bungie designed (or are using another commercially available engine), tweaking it, and updating the content to make it bring my new GF4 and Athlon XP 2100 to its knees. But there's no way that technical reasons are why it's taking so long.