Armagetron Advanced - A Video Console Game

What do you want to see in Armagetron soon? Any new feature ideas? Let's ponder these ground breaking ideas...
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DDMJ
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Armagetron Advanced - A Video Console Game

Post by DDMJ »

Maybe for XBOX 360 or PS3, but would most likely be PS4 or XBOX 720 or whatever due to the amount of work. Having Armagetron on the computer like it is now would not make it a good console game unless some game modes and features were added. On most games, you can create a player and customize him, and the better you do, the better you can make him/her. How about customizing your own cycle. The more challenges you pass (maybe getting out of a tought maze without crashing or something) the more skills and abilities your cycle may have. For example, at the beginning, it may only be able to do double binds as wide as what it is in fortress currently, but the more skills he/she gets, it may be able to do much tighter double binds. Same with top speed. Maybe grinding doesn't affect you much in the beginning, but with progression, it helps much more. There's a thing called XBOX Live which most of you know about. So obviously no instant chats involved here. You can talk to your teamates only (like in Halo 2) or talk to everyone. Also, the servers could be based by a host (like Microsoft hosts the Halo servers I think) and you can create servers at will. You can also host them on the web. There could be a map creator in the game and maybe a section of like "Pimp my cycle" or some cool things like that. Make your cycle have spinners :D Of course this is extremely hard, but maybe you guys could get a huge company like Microsoft to look into the game and help it become very famous. Of course, ideally, you guys don't want anyone to help you, but if this means $$$ then maybe...O well this is just me telling you what I would like to see in the future. Feel free to tell me, "Haha funny joke...never going to happen." But, hey, you never know...

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Post by Tank Program »

I think there are licensing conflicts between GPL and whatever you'd need for say, Xbox, not to mention that I believe creating games for the Xbox costs you money...
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Post by Z-Man »

Microsoft XNA is an affordable way to develop for the XBox 360 (a hundred bucks per year or so), however, the development enviromnet there is .NET and DirectX. They don't conflict with the GPL or are bad as such, but they are simply not what we're currently using. Plus, only other XNA developers can play the game currently, there is no way to deploy it. Basically, that makes XNA very much useless.

The PS3, as I hear, supports OpenGL ES, a subset of OpenGL. I don't know how development could work there.

All three big consoles available next year have a sort of online shop where you can buy small games. I suppose there are affordable ways to develop games for these shops, but everything sold needs to be signed and approved by the console vendor; understandably, they don't want their machines to be able to execute arbitrary programs from the net. I'll certainly keep an eye on console development possibilities. But the first obstacle is that one of us developers actually needs to get a hand on a development system (which in the ideal case is just a regular console). I've already got 12 (yes, I counted, ok, only six of them are in actual use) machines capable of running games in one form or another sitting in my living room and there is a considerable barrier to get anything new unless it replaces something old. Which basically means a Wii is the only option, replacing the SNES :) Just thinking aloud here.

About the pimp my cycle gameplay additions: yuck. No, sorry, AA is supposed to be a multiplayer game where you jump in and can play instantly and everyone has the same chances. Unless you also suggest extensive single player missinons with story elements where your success in missions enables these enhancements for the single player part only, I would not support it.

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Re: Armagetron Advanced - A Video Console Game

Post by Luke-Jr »

DDMJ wrote:On most games, you can create a player and customize him, and the better you do, the better you can make him/her.
Any form of this requires authentication which, while planned, isn't implemented yet. So this is at least 2 steps away from happening.
A potential problem with a game where players improve over time is that newbies are left weaker than experienced players. Which might or might not be a bad thing.
DDMJ wrote:How about customizing your own cycle.
It would be interesting if players could distribute points across rubber, acceleration, etc either per round, per match, or per ladder position.
DDMJ wrote:You can also host them on the web.
By definition, you cannot. The web is a subset of the internet, they are not the same thing. </nitpick>
DDMJ wrote:...and maybe a section of like "Pimp my cycle" or some cool things like that.
How about a "Rape WPN" section? Almost the same thing, right?
DDMJ wrote:but maybe you guys could get a huge company like Microsoft to look into the game and help it become very famous.
Better to have never released a game that to be famous from association with Microsoft.
DDMJ wrote:Feel free to tell me, "Haha funny joke...never going to happen."
As far as X-Box and PS3, sure: Never going to happen. Both platforms (except for the exception z-man pointed out) require code signing to run games, and our code is not licensed to allow proprietary signing on the binary. This means anyone distributing Armagetron for either X-Box or PS3 would be violating the law without explicit permission from every Armagetron developer (I can tell you right now I myself would take quite a bit of bribing and certain terms to approve of such)
z-man wrote:understandably, they don't want their machines to be able to execute arbitrary programs from the net.
If it were their machines, it might be understandable. However, the gamers own them and it is not acceptable for Microsoft/Sony to prevent them from playing games they want to.

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Re: Armagetron Advanced - A Video Console Game

Post by Z-Man »

Luke-Jr wrote:Both platforms (except for the exception z-man pointed out) require code signing to run games, and our code is not licensed to allow proprietary signing on the binary.
You're not familar with the tivio hole? It's legal (meaning that no judge has yet proclaimed it illegal to my knowledge) to release the source code and meet the GPL 2 requirements even if owning the hardware that runs your distributed binary is not enough per se to run a self-compiled binary. I'd say it's the same here, you can release the modified source code even though you need a devkit of your console to actually make use of the source and not just the binary sold on the game CD. To prevent that, we'd need to put our stuff unter the GPL 3 only explicitly, which isn't out yet, so we can't decide yet.

Uh, I forgot: there seems to be a version of Yellow Dog Linux in preparation for the PS3, with Sony's blessing. I'm 90% confident AA will run on that quite out of the box. Who knows, maybe it comes in the basic distribution already?
Luke-Jr wrote:
z-man wrote:understandably, they don't want their machines to be able to execute arbitrary programs from the net.
If it were their machines, it might be understandable. However, the gamers own them and it is not acceptable for Microsoft/Sony to prevent them from playing games they want to.
Let me elaborate: those consoles we're talking about are NETWORKED. Look at all the malware that can be executed on a regular Windows PC (and if the user is dumb enough to "emerge trojan", on Linux too). Consoles are supposed to be easier to use than PCs. Easier to use than even a Windows box + ability to run arbitrary software + networking + uneducated users => Bad Idea.
Also, those machines aren't sold as all purpose computers. They're explicitly marketed as gaming machines. To expect them to be anything else is not justified; whether real technical limitations make the boxes what they are or arbitrary crippling of the functionality by the manufacturer is secondary: you buy a gaming machine, you can't expect a typewriter.
Now, of course, that doesn't mean it's not your right to try to find ways around the DRM restrictions to run your own software. Also, maybe you can ask the vendor to sell you a non-restricted console that runs everything you push at it? Of course, you'll have to pay the full price then and can't expect the "sell the console cheap, make money from the games" effect to be of a benefit for you.

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Re: Armagetron Advanced - A Video Console Game

Post by Luke-Jr »

z-man wrote:
Luke-Jr wrote:Both platforms (except for the exception z-man pointed out) require code signing to run games, and our code is not licensed to allow proprietary signing on the binary.
You're not familar with the tivio hole? It's legal (meaning that no judge has yet proclaimed it illegal to my knowledge) to release the source code and meet the GPL 2 requirements even if owning the hardware that runs your distributed binary is not enough per se to run a self-compiled binary. I'd say it's the same here, you can release the modified source code even though you need a devkit of your console to actually make use of the source and not just the binary sold on the game CD. To prevent that, we'd need to put our stuff unter the GPL 3 only explicitly, which isn't out yet, so we can't decide yet.
The GPL3 addresses other issues. The GPL2 requires release of all source material not included with the OS (technically, this includes a compiler for Windows binaries, but nobody's worried about that really). If a binary is signed, the key used to sign it would be considered part of the source materials.
z-man wrote:Uh, I forgot: there seems to be a version of Yellow Dog Linux in preparation for the PS3, with Sony's blessing. I'm 90% confident AA will run on that quite out of the box. Who knows, maybe it comes in the basic distribution already?
That would work well, as it keeps the violation outside of the game. Of course, it would likely violate the license on Linux...
z-man wrote:
Luke-Jr wrote:
z-man wrote:understandably, they don't want their machines to be able to execute arbitrary programs from the net.
If it were their machines, it might be understandable. However, the gamers own them and it is not acceptable for Microsoft/Sony to prevent them from playing games they want to.
Let me elaborate: those consoles we're talking about are NETWORKED. Look at all the malware that can be executed on a regular Windows PC (and if the user is dumb enough to "emerge trojan", on Linux too). Consoles are supposed to be easier to use than PCs. Easier to use than even a Windows box + ability to run arbitrary software + networking + uneducated users => Bad Idea.
Not really. If they kept the HD out of the box, or did some security on HD access (programs have isolated access or such), a trojan/virus would only exist until the next reboot.
z-man wrote:Also, those machines aren't sold as all purpose computers. They're explicitly marketed as gaming machines. To expect them to be anything else is not justified; whether real technical limitations make the boxes what they are or arbitrary crippling of the functionality by the manufacturer is secondary: you buy a gaming machine, you can't expect a typewriter.
I'm not saying otherwise. But if they're gaming machines, I don't expect artificial limitations to prevent playing games, such as Armagetron.

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Re: Armagetron Advanced - A Video Console Game

Post by Z-Man »

Luke-Jr wrote:The GPL3 addresses other issues. The GPL2 requires release of all source material not included with the OS (technically, this includes a compiler for Windows binaries, but nobody's worried about that really). If a binary is signed, the key used to sign it would be considered part of the source materials.
The GPL 2 does not clarify what is considered source. The V3 draft clarifies that the system libraries and compilers are not source, and that the keys required to sign the binary to run on on the hardware it is indended to run on are considered source code (read section 1). Guess why.

Luke-Jr wrote:Not really. If they kept the HD out of the box, or did some security on HD access (programs have isolated access or such), a trojan/virus would only exist until the next reboot.
Umm, that would be quite impractical, wouldn't it? All the custom code (and data!) would need to be redownloaded basically every time it should run.
Luke-Jr wrote:I don't expect artificial limitations to prevent playing games, such as Armagetron.
How would the machine distinguish between a non-licensed game and non-licensed other software?

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Re: Armagetron Advanced - A Video Console Game

Post by Luke-Jr »

z-man wrote:
Luke-Jr wrote:The GPL3 addresses other issues. The GPL2 requires release of all source material not included with the OS (technically, this includes a compiler for Windows binaries, but nobody's worried about that really). If a binary is signed, the key used to sign it would be considered part of the source materials.
The GPL 2 does not clarify what is considered source. The V3 draft clarifies that the system libraries and compilers are not source, and that the keys required to sign the binary to run on on the hardware it is indended to run on are considered source code (read section 1). Guess why.
GPL-2 wrote:For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.
The first part is vague, like you say. But the second part certainly implies that "source code" includes anything needed for the user to replace the program.
z-man wrote:
Luke-Jr wrote:Not really. If they kept the HD out of the box, or did some security on HD access (programs have isolated access or such), a trojan/virus would only exist until the next reboot.
Umm, that would be quite impractical, wouldn't it? All the custom code (and data!) would need to be redownloaded basically every time it should run.
So? Game systems always did that, what's wrong with continuing?
For downloaded games, the download program can use its isolated HD segment to cache the games.
z-man wrote:
Luke-Jr wrote:I don't expect artificial limitations to prevent playing games, such as Armagetron.
How would the machine distinguish between a non-licensed game and non-licensed other software?
That's not relevant to me. If they can't figure out a way to do it, they don't need to put an artificial restriction in place.

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Post by Z-Man »

On your interpretation of the GPL 2: fair enough, but the tivio guys got away with their interpretation that the signing key is not part of the source. You don't have to like it, but it's a fact. Likewise, someone would get away with packing AA on a console.

And darn, I knew I was going to say that right from the start: if you don't like the artificial cripplings of game consoles, don't get one. Noone is forcing you. But note that for many, the benefits (No need to worry whether your box is powerful enough to run a game, no installation trouble, easy to run games on a big screen TV while being able to read all in-game text) outweigh the disadvandage, and of course, the restrictions get circumvented sooner or later; all that is required is one security hole in one of the games and bingo, you can inject your own code.

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Post by Luke-Jr »

z-man wrote:On your interpretation of the GPL 2: fair enough, but the tivio guys got away with their interpretation that the signing key is not part of the source. You don't have to like it, but it's a fact.
And nVidia/ATi get away with distributing illegal drivers for Linux. Doesn't change the fact that it is technically illegal. I look forward to the day when a Linux kernel contributor goes after these infringements.
z-man wrote:Likewise, someone would get away with packing AA on a console.
Only if we all let them.

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Post by Z-Man »

Luke-Jr wrote:
z-man wrote:On your interpretation of the GPL 2: fair enough, but the tivio guys got away with their interpretation that the signing key is not part of the source. You don't have to like it, but it's a fact.
And nVidia/ATi get away with distributing illegal drivers for Linux. Doesn't change the fact that it is technically illegal. I look forward to the day when a Linux kernel contributor goes after these infringements.
Well, we know you're on that side of that fence, but NVidia and some others are on the other, and while it is no doubt better to have OS drivers than CS drivers, fact is NVidia is operating in a gray area; it all depends on whether you consider the stuff they distribute a derived work of the kernel, another area where GLP 2 is vague. If you want to touch them, you have to prove them it is derived work, and that's certainly not going to be easy. They may be violating the spirit of the GPL, but that's not what counts in court.
Luke-Jr wrote:
z-man wrote:Likewise, someone would get away with packing AA on a console.
Only if we all let them.
I'd say we would not stand a chance. Depending on the technical details, the signing key for a console can be considered part of the development system which is not part of the source as such. Besides, whether a company that brings AA to a console violates the spirit of the GPL is entirely dependant on how they do it: if they take it as it is and just throw it on a console where SDL and OpenGL have already been ported to and don't add anything new, well, then shame on them. If they add tons of stuff and make the source available for reintegration in a useful way so what they added is of benefit to the PC and Mac players, then in my understanding the spirit of the GPL would smile on them for doing what benefits AA most: they improved the game for everyone and brought in new players. In the end, a strict "No, it's fundamentally illegal to release an GPL game on <system of choice>" attitude benefits noone.

I'll try to let this quite fruitless, since really theoretical, discussion slowly die down now :)

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Post by Revan »

Console game?

This game is not meant for a console. How in the love of God can you double bind on an XBOX controller?! It costs money, and I'm guessing if making Armagetron available for a console, the developers would have to make some sort of story with it. I'm not buying a $50 game just for multiplayer.

It costs money, it takes a lot of time, and it just wouldn't work in general.

It's a crazy out there idea, so sorry if it felt like I was killing it. :P
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Post by Luke-Jr »

z-man wrote:
Luke-Jr wrote:
z-man wrote:On your interpretation of the GPL 2: fair enough, but the tivio guys got away with their interpretation that the signing key is not part of the source. You don't have to like it, but it's a fact.
And nVidia/ATi get away with distributing illegal drivers for Linux. Doesn't change the fact that it is technically illegal. I look forward to the day when a Linux kernel contributor goes after these infringements.
Well, we know you're on that side of that fence, but NVidia and some others are on the other, and while it is no doubt better to have OS drivers than CS drivers, fact is NVidia is operating in a gray area; it all depends on whether you consider the stuff they distribute a derived work of the kernel, another area where GLP 2 is vague. If you want to touch them, you have to prove them it is derived work, and that's certainly not going to be easy. They may be violating the spirit of the GPL, but that's not what counts in court.
It is clearly a derived work when it uses internal, unpublished, unstandardized, and unfixed function calls.
z-man wrote:
Luke-Jr wrote:
z-man wrote:Likewise, someone would get away with packing AA on a console.
Only if we all let them.
I'd say we would not stand a chance. Depending on the technical details, the signing key for a console can be considered part of the development system which is not part of the source as such.
However, is it *included* with the system? If not, then it doesn't matter.
z-man wrote:Besides, whether a company that brings AA to a console violates the spirit of the GPL is entirely dependant on how they do it: if they take it as it is and just throw it on a console where SDL and OpenGL have already been ported to and don't add anything new, well, then shame on them. If they add tons of stuff and make the source available for reintegration in a useful way so what they added is of benefit to the PC and Mac players, then in my understanding the spirit of the GPL would smile on them for doing what benefits AA most: they improved the game for everyone and brought in new players. In the end, a strict "No, it's fundamentally illegal to release an GPL game on <system of choice>" attitude benefits noone.
This might be a case where I would give consideration to granting them a license specifically to distribute it outside the GPL terms.
Revan wrote:This game is not meant for a console. How in the love of God can you double bind on an XBOX controller?!
Double binding is not a necessity. You could probably configure your bindings to use both analog and digital joysticks for db tho...
Revan wrote:It costs money, and I'm guessing if making Armagetron available for a console, the developers would have to make some sort of story with it. I'm not buying a $50 game just for multiplayer.
I think UT2004 is probably around $50, and they certainly sold quite a number of copies-- and I doubt that's the only multiplayer-only game that is sold.

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Post by Z-Man »

PS3 news, since it's now advanced from vaporware to real stuff :)
The power consumption is not as big as feared, I've got two independent reports giving roughly 180 Watts peak. That's more than I'd like my gaming machines to eat, but still less than your average power gamer's PC.
The Linux runs in an virtual environment that is open to all third party vendors. That means there is no GPLish trouble at all, everyone is allowed to build his own system. However, in this environment, you don't have access to the graphics rendering hardware, only the framebuffer directly. Which means: no pretty graphics. It's certainly possible to install and run AA, but you'll have to install mesa first, and AA will run then in software rendering mode. This restriction may fall in future firmware updates, but I doubt that. It will also fall should hackers manage to circumvent the virtual machine or get their stuff booted as a game with full hardware access, but then new drivers need to be written and all that stuff. For me personally that means all current interest in the machine has faded away. As a powerful open platform for 3d games, it would have been worth 600$/180W, but it's not in its current crippled form.

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