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Re: Tools

Chris Purnell wrote:

> > I have a Quake3 icon on my Window Maker dock. Whenever I feel like it, I
> > double click into Quake and blast a few rockets. *That* rocks.
> > And the newbie users will not think that it rocks, they think of this as
> > ORDINARY. Having to Ctrl-Alt-F1 out of X Window (because they use an X
> > login, of course) and having to log in *again*, just to run a game, it
> > rings "SUCKS" to them, however cool you might find that.
> At home I don't, as a rule, run X.  So to play Quake3 I have to first
> start X.  That SUCKS.  Also with the svgalib 1.4.* you can launch an
> svgalib application from X.  It will allocated itself the next
> avaliable virtual terminal.  The code where the in earlier versions
> but non functional until I submitted a one line fix.

Yes, I agree it is nice to have working console support in games. But if
you are a commercial game developer and you have to choose *one*,
console is so stupid a choice.

First, for a newbie, console basically doesn't work. On my system, with
a freshly installed Red Hat 6.1, a Matrox G200 and a working X, starting
Quadra in console mode locks up the console SOLID or really CRASHES the
machine (I'm not sure, but I think I couldn't even telnet in). fbcon
isn't configured either, so fbcon games plain wouldn't start. If you go
in X, Quadra works the first time.

Second, the astounding majority of people work in X, not the console.
Gamers are people. Maybe *you* prefer console, but console-loving people
with properly configured libvga.config and/or fbcon are an incredibly
small number of customers compared to the hordes of people that their
stock Linux installation puts up a working X server. They most probably
answered "yes" to the question "do you want a graphical login" and use

This is a business, I need CUSTOMERS!

Also, Svgalib hardware accelerated support is dismal, even worse than X
for that matter. fbcon seems much better when you have a card-specific
module (vesafb is not accelerated at all).

> Just so long as people don't only provide binaries that have been
> statically liked to a version of the SDK with only X support.
> Also these SDKs need to stop breaking binary compatability and
> bumping their sonames.

Our internal SDK is being improved so that the video drivers are in
dynamically loaded libraries, with a specified interface so that you can
easily add your own (it supports multiple drivers and switching between
them). We statically link that library to the game for releases, much
like what Loki is doing with its SDL games (with an optional dynamic
binary included I think, to comply with the LGPL), and we plan to also
statically link the Xlib driver.

For the curious, we plan to open source our SDK after we get it stable
again (like ESR said in one of his paper, open source development need
working code to start improving on, we agree). We already did an
informal snapshot release of a prototype testbed for the dynamic loading
system, which is NOT just a wrapper around dlopen! Find it at

Also, our SDK will be much more integrated with the windowing system
(with support for a fullscreen mode in the API), allowing multiple
windows and some window manager control. It is portable to Win32 and
Linux for the moment, BeOS maybe coming later. This has the downside
that before you can write a console video driver, some kind of windowing
layer will have to be done, simulating X and the window manager. This is
planned in the design, as we *want* people to add drivers for console,
but will not be in the initial release.

> The reason I'm in no hurry is that I'm already able to do
> console mode 3D with my 3dfx Voodoo 2.  However as some
> point I will be wanting to buy a newer card.  And then I'll
> be wanting a new way to do console mode 3D.

Voodoo3 also supports console mode 3D with Glide, right? But of course,
if you want an nVidia, you're screwed...

That's why I think going with X is a safe bet. What advantage does
console mode 3D has over fullscreen X 3D like Quake 3 does?

Pierre Phaneuf
Ludus Design, http://ludusdesign.com/
"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you.
Then they fight you. Then you win." -- Gandhi