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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: History of First Person Shooters
 

History of First Person Shooters

Posted by Richard Goodwin on 09:21, 14/8/2001 | ,
 
Slashdot has an article linking to a document written by Professor Stefan Gustavsson about the history of first person shooters. Get the PDF document here and the RISC OS PDF viewer here.

Although this is mostly written from an historical perspective from the PC side of things, the current RISC OS state of play is stuck somewhere in the middle; hence I'm posting this not only to show an interesting look at the history of a popular gaming genre, but also to point out what needs to happen before RISC OS can catch up in the gaming stakes.

Source: Slashdot
 

  History of First Person Shooters
  (09:24 14/8/2001)
  Matthew Hambley (13:35 14/8/2001)
    Rich Goodwin (14:08 14/8/2001)
      Dave (01:00 15/8/2001)
        Rich Goodwin (08:33 15/8/2001)
          Andrew Weston (12:43 15/8/2001)
            Gunnlaugur Jonsson (15:12 15/8/2001)
              Gunnlaugur Jonsson (14:41 16/8/2001)
                Andrew Weston (14:58 17/8/2001)
                  Andrew Weston (15:01 17/8/2001)
                    David McEwen (15:15 17/8/2001)
                      Gunnlaugur Jonsson (12:19 18/8/2001)
                        Andrew Weston (12:59 18/8/2001)
                          Lee Johnston (19:37 18/8/2001)
                            Andrew Weston (22:36 18/8/2001)
                              Nathan (00:07 19/8/2001)
                                Rich Goodwin (12:04 19/8/2001)
                                  Gunnlaugur Jonsson (12:15 19/8/2001)
 
Rich Goodwin Message #87029, posted at 09:24, 14/8/2001
Unregistered user Shame there's no mention of Wolfenstein 3D at the start, as that was id's precursor to Doom.

As the Slashdot posting says, the /Snowcrash/ metaverse (a sort of virtual 3D world where people interact, seen in Neal Stephenson's book called /Snowcrash/) is almost upon us (John Carnack of Doom fame is said to be working on something similar), and if you think not having a fully functional browser is bad, how about only being able to ineract with the rest of the world in fuzzy black and white avatars...
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Matthew Hambley Message #87030, posted at 13:35, 14/8/2001, in reply to message #87029
Unregistered user "point out what needs to happen before RISC OS can catch up in the gaming stakes."

Of course this statement assumes that 1st person shoot-em-ups are the be-all and end-all of computer gaming.

Here's a hint, they aren't.
(\/)atthew
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rich Goodwin Message #87031, posted at 14:08, 14/8/2001, in reply to message #87030
Unregistered user They might not be the be-all, end-all, but you don't see too many for-cash Command and Conquer tournaments on TV news.

The current state of the art tends to gravitate around FPS, so anyone looking at what needs to be done could do worse than look at the file linked to, as opposed to, say, some other file that hasn't been written yet.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Dave Message #87032, posted at 01:00, 15/8/2001, in reply to message #87031
Unregistered user Agreed. FPSs are a good technology test especially in terms of 3D graphics engines, but I am still waiting for some decent elite style games to come using the latest technology. Generation ships would be nothing to a decent modern 3D engine....
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rich Goodwin Message #87033, posted at 08:33, 15/8/2001, in reply to message #87032
Unregistered user Mmm... Networked Elite head-to-head dogfights with full lightshading, texturing, and transparencies on the weapons... <fx: drool>

Roll on Risc GeL so we can get a decent 3D library for any kind of 3D game!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Weston Message #87034, posted at 12:43, 15/8/2001, in reply to message #87033
Unregistered user Space Dredgers are even bigger than Generation ships.
i've looked foward to a 3d space game since Black Angel became repetitive and a bit silly.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #87035, posted at 15:12, 15/8/2001, in reply to message #87034
Unregistered user Rich, massively multiplayer Elite - are you talking about Eve Online :)? (www.eve-online.com)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #87036, posted at 14:41, 16/8/2001, in reply to message #87035
Unregistered user I'd love to port it but I can't see anyone porting it to RISC OS with the current OS, I think the entire game would require a complete rewrite in order to work on RISC OS as it is today and even then it would not work properly.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Weston Message #87037, posted at 14:58, 17/8/2001, in reply to message #87036
Unregistered user Oh come on. There's not enough time or inclination in the RO market to write or convert games far less ambitious than this.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Weston Message #87038, posted at 15:01, 17/8/2001, in reply to message #87037
Unregistered user Even given the current dissatifaction with RISC OS, it's not the operating system or the processor speed which is the problem. With regards to any major games project it's the software for development partly but mainly the number of people who are able and willing to assist.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
David McEwen Message #87039, posted at 15:15, 17/8/2001, in reply to message #87038
Unregistered user More important than that is the revenue to be drawn from doing a conversion. Sales of games are tiny. There really is little or no commercial viability in converting/writing games solely for RISC OS. Sub 100 sales would not cover a coders lunches let alone a licence fee. The real world -> RISC OS world disparity is growing with every day.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #87040, posted at 12:19, 18/8/2001, in reply to message #87039
Unregistered user I was mainly referring to problems with networked games - if Artex and VOTI are having problems with network based games on RISC OS, Eve-online would surely push RISC OS beyond it's current limit.

It's my understanding that a pre-emptive multitasking environment is better suited for networked games than the cooperative one. If that's true then RISC OS will continue to lack in networked applications like games etc.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Weston Message #87041, posted at 12:59, 18/8/2001, in reply to message #87040
Unregistered user Yes, but Lee Johnston's literally a professional in this area and as highly qualified as somebody can be so let's wait and see!!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Lee Johnston Message #87042, posted at 19:37, 18/8/2001, in reply to message #87041
Unregistered user I think Andrew may be overstating my case a bit but I'll just comment on some of the problems.

Firstly until very recently I didn't even have a networked RISC OS machine - all development I've done in the past has been on Windows / linux. While it's relatively easy to port network code between those two systems it's more difficult to port to RISC OS for various reasons.

The first problems I found came from the fact that the Windows IP stack and RISC OS IP stack differ in behaviour in certain areas. I'm not willing to speculate on who is right as I don't have the specs in front of me (although as the RISC OS stack is based on the original BSD stack it probably has a better case of argument) but it's disheartening to see working code fail for (at first) no apparent reason.

Pre-emptive multitasking and threading makes things easier. All network calls block or can be polled (there are problems with polling on certain calls). On other platforms this isn't a problem. If you simply want to block on a network call you do so and the OS carries on its merry little way - not so RISC OS where the whole thing (even the so called "pre-emptive" task window) comes to a halt.

Alternatively if you want to do things while waiting on a network call you can simply use another thread - not so on RISC OS.

RISC OS does allow for asynchronous communication (ie the OS will call you back when something happens on the network). However writing code to do this involves RISC OS specific code placed in a module (in linux the same mechanism can be utilised straight from user-space C code - on RISC OS the C runtime does not integrate particularly well with the underlying OS) and of course until recently this was impossible for me to test - not that I've tried it yet.

Certainly as far as network programming goes the RISC OS environment is, IMHO, years behind the other systems, and doesn't look like catching up anytime soon. Pre-emptive multitasking and threading help in lots of areas (not just networking), none of which we can exploit.

However the real problem is the insistence on writing everything in ARM code. It's very unlikely that we'll ever convince service providers to stick a RISC OS based game server in their network - RISC OS simply isn't secure or robust enough - which means that, unlike something like Quake (written in portable C), we can't have a server running the game logic. The only alternative is to have one of the players machines act as a server but the limits of a 56k modem make this very, very difficult. Fortunately, for the lucky few, cable and ADSL may help here.

I think Nathan may be a bit annoyed at what I've revealed here so I'll go one step further and really drop myself in it. Yes I have working network code - however so does Justin Fletcher in the form of his EasySockets module. It's a long, difficult, road from sending "hi" across a network to making any kind of non-turn based game work well. Given the complete lack of infrastructure in the network for RISC OS gaming (and no real chance of this changing in the short term) it may still not be possible to offer a worthwhile solution for most games.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Andrew Weston Message #87043, posted at 22:36, 18/8/2001, in reply to message #87042
Unregistered user ..but let's wait and see :-)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Nathan Message #87044, posted at 00:07, 19/8/2001, in reply to message #87043
Unregistered user I am hardly annoyed at all. But lets bare in mind that all projects are still on hold pending protest wrt ROL.
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Rich Goodwin Message #87045, posted at 12:04, 19/8/2001, in reply to message #87044
Unregistered user Everyone did see that there was a smiley next to my comment about porting it, didn't they?!?
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 
Gunnlaugur Jonsson Message #87046, posted at 12:15, 19/8/2001, in reply to message #87045
Unregistered user Hey, don't spoil a good discussion :)
  ^[ Log in to reply ]
 

Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: History of First Person Shooters