AlephOne iPad Port -- Looking for Beta Testers!

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Post Jan 16th '11, 04:20

Hi all,

I've been working hard on a port of AlephOne to the iPad and it's now ready for beta testers. Please see the announcement below. Come join!

Touch Arcade posting

Also looking for artists who would be interested in contributing artwork, icons, UI elements, etc. Drop me an email or PM on this pforum.

Best,
-iGuy
blezek

Post Jan 16th '11, 04:26

You realize you can't make this available on the Apple app store, right? Unless you can talk Apple into changing the terms to be GPL compatible.

Other than that, nice work, for whatever it's worth!
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 16th '11, 04:44

Treellama wrote:You realize you can't make this available on the Apple app store, right? Unless you can talk Apple into changing the terms to be GPL compatible.

Other than that, nice work, for whatever it's worth!


Well, it all depends. There are several GPL apps on the app store, The Battle for Wesnoth being the most notable. Apple doesn't care, and the Wesnoth guys don't care so it stays, despite a possible incompatible license/terms (it's a little grey). VLC on the other hand had a disgruntled developer who asked them to pull the app. So Apple did.

So unless the AlephOne dev team objects, I'm willing to try...
blezek

Post Jan 16th '11, 11:55

iGuy wrote:Well, it all depends. There are several GPL apps on the app store, The Battle for Wesnoth being the most notable. Apple doesn't care, and the Wesnoth guys don't care so it stays, despite a possible incompatible license/terms (it's a little grey). VLC on the other hand had a disgruntled developer who asked them to pull the app. So Apple did.

So unless the AlephOne dev team objects, I'm willing to try...


OR people can jailbreak their iPad and have Marathon on it.

I don't have an iPad... yet. So, can I post about about this in a couple other forums?

http://macstack.net/

http://www.insidemacgames.com/forum/
Last edited by ukimalefu on Jan 16th '11, 11:57, edited 1 time in total.
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ukimalefu

Post Jan 16th '11, 13:35

iGuy wrote:VLC on the other hand had a disgruntled developer who asked them to pull the app. So Apple did.

That is not an accurate characterization of what happened. One of the VLC developers was understandably unhappy that Apple was violating the license he chose to release his creation. He gave Apple the choice either to change its store terms so the license could be satisfied, or to stop infringing the copyright on his work. Apple chose to remove it from the store.

That said, I also understand the Wesnoth developer's sentiment that it's unfair to the users to make it a tool in the "Freeness" war. So, I give permission to use my own contributions in an app store version, provided you do everything else possible to satisfy the spirit of the GPL. This includes releasing the port free of charge, which helps mitigate the "5 device" restriction, but you would need to do that anyway in order to include the game data files. Source code is obviously also a must.

I can't speak for any of the other developers, or Bungie, though. If one of them objects, and Apple continues to be unwilling to fix its app store terms, then your hard work will only be able to be enjoyed by the small subset of iPad owners who jailbreak or own development licenses.

I'd love to have a look at this. I don't know how helpful I could be as a beta tester, but it wouldn't cost you a UUID: if you send the source code I can put it on my own devices.
Last edited by treellama on Jan 16th '11, 20:39, edited 1 time in total.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 16th '11, 19:10

Is the app store really the only way to install something on an iPad!?
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Drictelt

Post Jan 16th '11, 20:38

Drictelt wrote:Is the app store really the only way to install something on an iPad!?

The iPad will only run signed binaries, unless you jailbreak it. These can come from the app store, or if you pay Apple $99/year you can compile your own binaries and install them on up to 100 devices. I do not believe there is a way to sign a binary after it is compiled, so even after paying for a signing key you are limited to apps for which the source code is available.

If you jailbreak, you can install whatever you want, of course. But, this becomes a hassle because every time Apple updates the OS you must find a new jailbreak. Also, Apple claims jailbreaking voids the warranty, although I don't see how this is legal.

This is one of the few advantages the Android tablets have over the iPad.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 17th '11, 15:05

Treellama wrote:That is not an accurate characterization of what happened. One of the VLC developers was understandably unhappy that Apple was violating the license he chose to release his creation. He gave Apple the choice either to change its store terms so the license could be satisfied, or to stop infringing the copyright on his work. Apple chose to remove it from the store.

Yes, you indeed correct. He was not happy with Apple's TOS. Apple didn't feel there was a conflict, and pointed the VLC community to the developer as the reason the app was removed.

This includes releasing the port free of charge, which helps mitigate the "5 device" restriction, but you would need to do that anyway in order to include the game data files. Source code is obviously also a must.
I was planning to charge for the port, following Wosnoth's lead. The port would only be the GPL code that is part of AlephOne, no Bungie IP nor copyrighted content. I could not find an explicit release from Bungie stating the terms & conditions for the Marathon content, so I wouldn't put it inside the app anyway. Currently, at startup, the iPad downloads the content from a server, so I would only be asking for payment for distribution, not for the content. This is consistent with the spirit of the GPL, as anyone would be free to download the source and compile for themselves. I was temped to do this for Wesnoth, but the code is a mess and it's not easy to get it to compile. When the app hit $1, I bought it... ;-P Another example is Tyrian, a GPL code base with free content. The developer makes the source available, and has the app download the content at startup.

I do honor your contributions to the source, and, if you insist the application be distributed for free (in the $$ sense), I'll have to re-think releasing it. While the apps are in Beta, there is much work to be done, and to be successful on the App store, I'm going to need to invest in graphic design, artwork, marketing, etc.

The Wesnoth developers/contributors and the guy behind the iOS port agreed to share the revenue, to support continued development of the game. Would this be an option? Could be used to fund the servers, domain names, etc...

Source code would be included with the download, or made available on Github.

I can't speak for any of the other developers, or Bungie, though. If one of them objects, and Apple continues to be unwilling to fix its app store terms, then your hard work will only be able to be enjoyed by the small subset of iPad owners who jailbreak or own development licenses.

I understood this danger from the beginning, but I would love to see Marathon in the hands of long time players like me, and new folks who have never even heard of it.

I'd love to have a look at this. I don't know how helpful I could be as a beta tester, but it wouldn't cost you a UUID: if you send the source code I can put it on my own devices.

Let me get back to you on this. While it's almost a straight port from the Mac code, I did have to clutter up the AO code with a bunch of iOS "hooks" to support the touch UI and enhanced navigation. Compiling is also a bit of a pain, because you need several external libraries ported to iOS.

I have to say that the AO code is a marvelous spelunking expedition! Some of the code goes all the way back to Bungie's Mac release, and it's mixed in with various layers of C++. Fun to follow and debug!

Best regards,
-dan
blezek

Post Jan 17th '11, 15:07

ukimalefu wrote:OR people can jailbreak their iPad and have Marathon on it.

I don't have an iPad... yet. So, can I post about about this in a couple other forums?

http://macstack.net/

http://www.insidemacgames.com/forum/

Why don't we wait a bit so we can figure out how to proceed? (free distribution vs. charging for distribution, see my comments to Treellama)
blezek

Post Jan 17th '11, 16:11

Marathon should be free. I will take the source code you release and make my own free app if the original has a cost attached.
underworld : simple fun netmaps // prahblum peack : simple rejected netmaps
azure dreams : simple horrible netmaps // v6.0!!!: thomas mann's greatest hits : simple simple netmaps
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irons
(.Y.)

Post Jan 17th '11, 18:40

iGuy wrote:I do honor your contributions to the source, and, if you insist the application be distributed for free (in the $$ sense), I'll have to re-think releasing it.

If you're worried about recovering the distribution fee, there are options. You could make the purchase price optional by adding an in-app purchase that explicitly goes toward recovering your distribution fees. Users affected by the 5 device restriction could then download two copies, and make the in-app purchase in one, thus reimbursing you. You won't get rich this way, but I believe the community is generous enough that you'll break even.

When it comes down to it, irons is right: even if you do charge for the app, someone else can just recompile it, make some tweaks, and release it for free. So, I guess it doesn't matter that much to me whether you charge for it or not.

While the apps are in Beta, there is much work to be done, and to be successful on the App store, I'm going to need to invest in graphic design, artwork, marketing, etc.
I'm not sure I totally understand this--anything that can play the original trilogy decently will be successful enough. Still, there are plenty of people around who can help out with graphic design and artwork, and whatever marketing means for an old open source game.

...I would love to see Marathon in the hands of long time players like me, and new folks who have never even heard of it.

This is the most important part, and why irons and I prefer to see it be gratis.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 17th '11, 19:10

gratis!
What are you, if not seven different shades of stupid?
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CryoS
The Dungeon

Post Jan 17th '11, 23:18

irons wrote:Marathon should be free. I will take the source code you release and make my own free app if the original has a cost attached.

I agree, it should be free!
"My advise: V" - g pack
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brilliant

Post Jan 18th '11, 02:46

Treellama wrote:If you're worried about recovering the distribution fee, there are options. You could make the purchase price optional by adding an in-app purchase that explicitly goes toward recovering your distribution fees. Users affected by the 5 device restriction could then download two copies, and make the in-app purchase in one, thus reimbursing you. You won't get rich this way, but I believe the community is generous enough that you'll break even.

Hmmm, I hadn't thought about this. So everyone would be happy if the base game were free (with Bungie content distributed), but an in-app purchase to contribute/support the development? Apple won't let you use in-app purchases for donations, so it would have to unlock something, say cheats (like all weapons, ammo, extra levels, etc). I would be happy going this route; I never intended to get rich, but I would like to break even.

If you all agree with this, I'll continue.

Still, there are plenty of people around who can help out with graphic design and artwork,

If you know any, send them my way.
blezek

Post Jan 18th '11, 07:54

It depends on what work, and how much. because im already knee-deep in rendering for eternals weps. which i should be slapped for havent completed yet.

anything you would need from a simple, self learned 3D modeller?
What are you, if not seven different shades of stupid?
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CryoS
The Dungeon

Post Jan 18th '11, 14:02

iGuy wrote:Hmmm, I hadn't thought about this. So everyone would be happy if the base game were free (with Bungie content distributed), but an in-app purchase to contribute/support the development? Apple won't let you use in-app purchases for donations, so it would have to unlock something, say cheats (like all weapons, ammo, extra levels, etc). I would be happy going this route; I never intended to get rich, but I would like to break even.

Cheats are OK, but what about those of us who want to support you but don't cheat? :)

Will your port support plugins? Maybe you could come to some agreement with Goran and/or Tim Vogel to have an in-app purchase of high-res textures for M1A1 and Infinity, so people who want to support you can buy that. If you support installing mods through iTunes file sharing, people will be able to add these for free, but I think if it's an easy-to-install option you'll get a lot of buyers.

Bungie asserts you are not allowed to charge for maps created with Forge. I'm not sure how enforceable that is, but you might want to avoid extra levels in in-app purchases to be safe.

If you know any, send them my way.

Many of them hang out here, so just make a thread saying what you need. If I know of someone who might help that doesn't regularly read this I'll forward it on to them.

If you need any help from the coding or app store side, let me know. I don't have much free time any more, but I've gone through the app store submission process so I know how that works, and I know a thing or two about the engine too.
Last edited by treellama on Jan 18th '11, 14:02, edited 1 time in total.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 19th '11, 03:42

Treellama wrote:Will your port support plugins? Maybe you could come to some agreement with Goran and/or Tim Vogel to have an in-app purchase of high-res textures for M1A1 and Infinity, so people who want to support you can buy that. If you support installing mods through iTunes file sharing, people will be able to add these for free, but I think if it's an easy-to-install option you'll get a lot of buyers.

Just contacted Tim, that's a great idea. Mods are another good idea. Seems there are a lot of different ways this could go.

Bungie asserts you are not allowed to charge for maps created with Forge. I'm not sure how enforceable that is, but you might want to avoid extra levels in in-app purchases to be safe.
I think Bungie (if they care) has the resources to enforce that restriction. One feature that I added, mostly for debugging, was to start a new game on any level. I was thinking to make this "feature" an in-app purchase, not necessary extra levels. I may also contact the authors of some of more popular levels (Evil, Rubicon, Tempus, etc...) to see if they would give permission for me to distribute their apps.

If you need any help from the coding or app store side, let me know. I don't have much free time any more, but I've gone through the app store submission process so I know how that works, and I know a thing or two about the engine too.

Glad to have the help. I can push my code to github, just don't laugh. It very hackish, and not my usual code... I haven't implemented network play yet (wanted to do that through Game Center), and when the app returns to the foreground, the sound glitches. I may skip the network games, just to get it published, but the sound is a show stopper.

Again, thanks for being very reasonable about this. I'm sorry if I came off a bit mercenary. Frankly, I was dreading contacting this community, when my hobby of porting turned into an obsession... but it seems to have turned out much better that I had anticipated!

Cheers,
-dan
blezek

Post Jan 19th '11, 11:07

You have ALWAYS been able to start a Marathon game on any level.
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ukimalefu

Post Jan 19th '11, 14:44

iGuy wrote:Just contacted Tim, that's a great idea. Mods are another good idea. Seems there are a lot of different ways this could go.

I prefer Tim's textures for M1A1, Goran's textures for Marathon Infinity, and the built-in textures for Marathon 2. You probably only need one good in-app purchase for each game, especially once you get an iPhone version working. With 50,000 downloads of the last PC Aleph One release, even if you only get a 1% in-app purchase rate, you'll have your SDK membership paid for for years.

One feature that I added, mostly for debugging, was to start a new game on any level. I was thinking to make this "feature" an in-app purchase, not necessary extra levels.
Aleph One already has this feature--do you mean you added a touch screen gesture to activate it?

Glad to have the help. I can push my code to github, just don't laugh. It very hackish, and not my usual code...

You've seen Bungie's code, right? Being able to laugh at code is a prerequisite to being an Aleph One developer.

Anyway, if you like, we can create a directory in the project SVN for the iOS port and give you commit access. It might make merges from the mainline easier to have it in SVN than in GitHub, but it's just a suggestion. You would have final say over any changes in that line.

I haven't implemented network play yet (wanted to do that through Game Center), and when the app returns to the foreground, the sound glitches. I may skip the network games, just to get it published, but the sound is a show stopper.

Network games support seems super ambitious, and also pointless: I can't imagine the games will be very playable using touch screen controls, especially with Aleph One's already-laggy net code on top of the even-laggier cell networks. FPS on iPad/iPod Touch are really just toys to show off to your friends, you can barely actually play them.

Now, if you planned on rewriting Aleph One's net code, WELL!

I favor the "release early, release often" approach. Get something working, then add cool stuff later. Making the app free will take the pressure off having a feature-filled first release, especially if it's just iPad only. If you ever do get an iPhone version working, the code better be solid. Three free high quality shooters for the iPhone/iPod Touch, that will market itself.

As for the sound, our mixer relies heavily on compiler optimization to work correctly. If you're building Debug that might make your sound glitch.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 19th '11, 17:54

ukimalefu wrote:You have ALWAYS been able to start a Marathon game on any level.
True, but how do you hold down the "CTRL" key on an iPad, same with F8 for crosshairs, etc... I added many of these as "features" because of the platform's limitations. The core game is not hurt because you have to start on level 1, but people may like to start anywhere. They may also like to have infinite ammo, save anywhere, instant full shields, invincibility, etc... These you can do in AlephOne, but need to have different interaction models in a touch screen.
blezek

Post Jan 19th '11, 19:52

Treellama wrote:I prefer Tim's textures for M1A1, Goran's textures for Marathon Infinity, and the built-in textures for Marathon 2. You probably only need one good in-app purchase for each game, especially once you get an iPhone version working. With 50,000 downloads of the last PC Aleph One release, even if you only get a 1% in-app purchase rate, you'll have your SDK membership paid for for years.

This would be good.

Aleph One already has this feature--do you mean you added a touch screen gesture to activate it?
I revamped how games are started. You have to choose a difficulty on a new screen. If you enable cheats, this also gives a slider with the starting level.

Anyway, if you like, we can create a directory in the project SVN for the iOS port and give you commit access. It might make merges from the mainline easier to have it in SVN than in GitHub, but it's just a suggestion.

I like git way more than SVN, but would be happy to push changes to Sourceforge.

Network games support seems super ambitious, and also pointless: I can't imagine the games will be very playable using touch screen controls, especially with Aleph One's already-laggy net code on top of the even-laggier cell networks. FPS on iPad/iPod Touch are really just toys to show off to your friends, you can barely actually play them.
Apple doesn't like you to have inactive buttons on the interface. Since all the games have "Join/Gather Network Game", I didn't see much way around it. I was trying to figure out how to maintain the integrity of Bungie's screens, without implementing network play.

Now, if you planned on rewriting Aleph One's net code, WELL!

I'm fairly insane, but not that insane.

If you ever do get an iPhone version working, the code better be solid. Three free high quality shooters for the iPhone/iPod Touch, that will market itself.

I do hope to do the iPhone version, but it's a bit harder. AlephOne is more or less set up for a minimum of 640x480, but the iPhone is 480x320. Going after low hanging fruit first.

As for the sound, our mixer relies heavily on compiler optimization to work correctly. If you're building Debug that might make your sound glitch.
Debug sound is bad, but fine on release. Until you return from multi-tasking. Then it glitches. Still have not figured that one out. I'm going to try to completely disable sound when going to background, and re-initializing it after returning to the foreground.
blezek

Post Jan 19th '11, 20:06

iGuy wrote:Since all the games have "Join/Gather Network Game", I didn't see much way around it. I was trying to figure out how to maintain the integrity of Bungie's screens, without implementing network play.

What's stopping you from making a more mobile-friendly main menu? That might be refreshing, actually. I must admit that I'm not really that attached to the original menu style. In addition, I have Rise of the Triad on my iPhone and it uses that game's original menu system, which is an enormous pain. I quit the game or restore unwanted saves by accident because they stuck with the original dimensions/aspect of the game menus. MML makes it pretty easy to change this in Aleph One.

I do hope to do the iPhone version, but it's a bit harder. AlephOne is more or less set up for a minimum of 640x480, but the iPhone is 480x320.

Although I think Marathon would be pretty annoying to play on any of these devices, you might be underestimating what you can do with the design. The HUD would probably not resemble the original in any way, but you could use AlephOne's new features to make something akin to the FloatingX HUD, only with simpler graphical elements and (unless this is impossible) partial transparency. Note that resolutions as low as 320x240 exist, or used to exist, in Aleph One (just with the normal HUD hanging out detached from the gameplay).
underworld : simple fun netmaps // prahblum peack : simple rejected netmaps
azure dreams : simple horrible netmaps // v6.0!!!: thomas mann's greatest hits : simple simple netmaps
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irons
(.Y.)

Post Jan 19th '11, 20:09

I really hope you can pull this off! I probably won't use it myself, but surely the community will grow if you can do this, and that is awesome!
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Ares Ex Machina

Post Jan 19th '11, 20:24

iGuy wrote:I revamped how games are started. You have to choose a difficulty on a new screen.

No more switching difficulty mid-game?

I like git way more than SVN, but would be happy to push changes to Sourceforge.
Yeah, you can use git-svn. I'll add you to the project, I just need your SourceForge account.

I do hope to do the iPhone version, but it's a bit harder. AlephOne is more or less set up for a minimum of 640x480, but the iPhone is 480x320. Going after low hanging fruit first.

When you do get to that point, there have been ports to other handheld devices. Some of them take the lazy approach and scale everything down to fit the screen. Irons's approach of rendering the game at 480x320 (which Aleph One currently supports) and overlaying a HUD on that is probably the right one.

Debug sound is bad, but fine on release. Until you return from multi-tasking. Then it glitches. Still have not figured that one out. I'm going to try to completely disable sound when going to background, and re-initializing it after returning to the foreground.

Are you using SDL or Core Audio?
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 19th '11, 21:39

Oh, I see. Ok cool.
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ukimalefu

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