AlephOne iPad Port -- Looking for Beta Testers!

Have a question, suggestion, or comment about Aleph One's features and functionality (Lua, MML, the engine itself, etc)? Post such topics here.
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brilliant
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iGuy wrote: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.
Yes, I agree with irons, it might be nice to remake the title screen, or at least take out the button, if you are not going to have online play. Besides, you will have to change some things in the Preferences menu if you are going to have the difficulty selection in a different place, right?
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herecomethej2000
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Or if you don't want to change the menu, perhaps somehow make the network games via bluetooth only. Although generally I always shut that off to conserve the battery.
Last edited by herecomethej2000 on Jan 20th '11, 03:17, edited 1 time in total.
blezek
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Treellama wrote:No more switching difficulty mid-game?
No, it's once and that's it for the whole game. You can have different saves for the tough parts.
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.
Are you using SDL or Core Audio?
I want to have the iPad all ship-shape, then I'll do the iPhone.

Audio is SDL, but it uses Core Audio. I switch my compile flags to -O3 and not using -mthumb, and that seems to have done the trick!
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goran
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iGuy, thanks for answering my questions! I have some more :)

What is the power of an ipad (cpu, graphics card etc)? Would that put any limit on the resolution of highres textures?
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goran wrote:What is the power of an ipad (cpu, graphics card etc)? Would that put any limit on the resolution of highres textures?
I don't know right off the top of my head, I'm sure Google will be more helpful.

However...

There are a few limits of the platform that put a cap on feasible textures in AlephOne. First, all the monsters are sprites, not 3D models. So we have a texture for each bad guy from many different viewing angles (I forget exactly how many). Then there are a few different colormaps. When I let the engine render from the bundled images, they took a lot of memory and the OS would kill the game after playing through a few levels. This is because the engine used 4-byte pixels for each image/texture. With 10-15 collections per level, we used upwards of 50-60M of RAM. The GPU shares RAM with processes, so we took a double hit (once in memory, once on the card). You could play, but the game would randomly be killed because of memory issues.

Enter compressed textures

The GPU can display a highly compressed texture format, called PVR. This lets me compress the textures to 2- or 4-bits per pixel, an enormous savings, and I generate MIP maps when creating the PVR file. Now I get a 8 to 16x savings in memory size. One problem is that the textures need to be square, not a big deal for wall textures, but the sprites are non-square. So I resized them to be square, and they end up displaying well enough (for the most part, some glitches, but I was able to find work arounds).

In the end, I use 128x128 for the sprites, 256x256 for most of the wall textures, and 512x512 for terminals (the animations flicker at lower resolutions because of compression artifacts).

All in all, I've learned a ton about the platform. I have to say, it's really great!

Cheers.
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treellama
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How does PVRTC help you if you have to download the data files from trilogyrelease? Don't the textures have to be prepared before hand? How would this work for M1A1?

Rendering square textures for sprites should require no workarounds in the engine. I'm curious what trouble you had with them. Maybe I should wait for the Github before asking more stupid questions :)

If the GPU is strong enough, you'd probably save even more VRAM by writing a shader to display the paletted textures directly. No need to precompress or use square textures, no need for an entire second set of textures for silhouettes and a third set for infravision.

It should also be pretty easy to change Aleph One to purge loaded textures from RAM, since they are only kept around for context changes, which I don't think you have to worry about on the iPad.
Last edited by treellama on Jan 22nd '11, 19:24, edited 1 time in total.
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Hopper
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I like the idea of an iPad port; it could introduce Bungie's games to a lot of new people. Charging for it or Marathon-related content, though, has me a little worried.

I'm concerned that people could be buying stuff from the app, thinking they're donating to the "creators of Aleph One" overall, not just the one guy who did an iPad port. On the one hand, if the port isn't there the money wouldn't be either. On the other, who is really qualified to accept that money and credit, when so much work wasn't done by iGuy or even by Treellama, but by Loren Petrich and Woody Zenfell III and Christian Bauer and so on back to Bungie itself? If hi-res textures are done from scratch, based on Bungie's art, sold through the iPad port, built on a nearly 20-year-old codebase; who should profit from that?

Aleph One's origins are much more convoluted than those of Battle for Wesnoth, and Bungie's terms have had a distinctly non-commercial bent (like the Forge mapping restriction). I have a feeling that Bungie hasn't given us a formal agreement for the content because a real license might leave a monetization loophole they can't legally close. By leaving it informal, they could lower the boom if we turn this into a potentially profitable endeavor.
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Drictelt
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If there's no way to get something on the iPad without charging money for it, you could always give it to some charity thing.
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Hopper
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iPad apps can be offered for free, and everyone here agreed that the app itself shouldn't cost anything. iGuy agreed to that, but is looking to collect money in some fashion, such as in-app purchases, to cover development/distribution costs. He lost his Pfhorums password, so he hasn't posted to explain what those costs are; perhaps the community here can provide hosting / make art / collect donations to get the port done without charging for in-app extras.
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George

Treellama wrote: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.
Just a quick suggestion. Check out http://www.testflightapp.com. You still have to be an Apple Developer, but you can email links to testers and they can install the app without being physically near you. I am developing an app in the Middle-East and have testers on the West Coast of the U.S. It's very easy to use and very handy.
Let me know if you still need beta testers. I have an iPad and am a self-taught Cocoa/Obj-C guy. I can also compile the source if you want some help with coding/testing.
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iGuy wrote:The port would only be the GPL code that is part of AlephOne, no Bungie IP nor copyrighted content.
You realize that the GPL code in AlephOne -- all GPL code everywhere actually -- is copyrighted? That's how the GPL works; if it was not copyrighted, the GPL would be unenforceable. Also, all of the original AO code is Bungie IP; I don't know what portion of that is left in the current code but I'm sure it's definitely greater than zero.
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Sam Lowry
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iGuy wrote:I don't know right off the top of my head, I'm sure Google will be more helpful.

However...

There are a few limits of the platform that put a cap on feasible textures in AlephOne.
Have you looked at Android tablets?
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iGuy wrote: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
I am not that great of an artist but I would be happy to help, with the artwork; I have a mac with photoshop cs2 so I should be able to get something done just tell me what you need.
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Elven wrote:I am not that great of an artist but I would be happy to help, with the artwork; I have a mac with photoshop cs2 so I should be able to get something done just tell me what you need.
He just finished Marathon for the iPad, and it's free.
Bandasha

Hi,
I went and checked this out on the app store - looks awesome!
I have an iPod touch, and would love to be able to have Marathon on it. Is the iPhone/iPod touch version still going to go ahead?
Thanks
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