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					Assignment 1 Gaming Company: Nintendo Gaming Engine: Irrlicht Engine Due: Wed Jan 12, 2007

Andrew Jobin

Part 1 Company: Nintendo

To better understand what credentials an ideal employee would need and what the company requires, these questions were researched and answered. 1. What is the (complete) range of products that this company currently markets? Nintendo is such a huge company with a broad range and variety of products. These products go from console home entertainment like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super NES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo Gamecube, and the new Nintendo Wii, to handheld systems like the Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance/Advance SP, and Nintendo DS/DS Lite and these are just the well known ones. Besides creating the systems themselves they do mostly licensing and developing games1 for their own platforms, distribute a monthly magazine (Nintendo Power) and Player’s Guides.

Top Left: Nintendo Entertainment System, Top Right: Nintendo Wii, Bottom Left: Nintendo Power, Bottom Right: Nintendo DS Lite

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2. What programming languages does the company use for developing their products? Because of the variety in gaming platforms there are many programming languages that Nintendo uses in their products. Nintendo uses Lua, Python, C++, C, amongst others. Lua is used for the Nintendo DS2. Python is used for both the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Gamecube3. C and C++ are used over any console and handheld system4. 3. What development environment(s) does this company use, either for developing their products or for other internal purposes? I was unable to find any information on this subject. 4. What can you find out about how their developers work on a daily basis? According to an old article I found on the internet5, the Nintendo phone staff and calling center work in a lax environment even if they are in separate cubicles. The employees were encouraged to play as many games as possible to better understand and comprehend the games that Nintendo developed and licensed. 5. What is the company's direction for future developments? Are they branching out into new platforms, new development environments, new languages, and new business models? The company’s direction at this moment is innovativeness and broadening the gaming audience. Good indicators of this are the release of the Nintendo DS. With not only the two screens, the handheld has a neat little stylus to use on the bottom touch screen. On top of that their line of touch Generation games6. After that the Nintendo Wii came out with its revolutionary motion sensing controller. Because the Nintendo Wii just came out Nintendo isn’t planning on releasing a new console until a good five years but that doesn’t mean the innovativeness will stop there. Every new Wii game finds a way to integrate the functionality of the new controller.

Links:
1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Oven_Fresh/List_of_video_games_developed_by_ Nintendo 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lua_%28programming_language%29 3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Python_%28programming_language%29 4 http://www.gamesindustry.biz/jobs_view.php?category=&job_id=6174&location=3& start=480 5 http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.07/hogan.html?pg=1&topic= 6 http://www.touchgenerations.com/

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Part 2 Open Source Engine: Irrlicht

To research an Open Source gaming engine I was given the Irricht Engine. To better understand what the engine was all about here are some questions that were answered. 1. What well-known (ie. not necessarily popular) games has it been used to develop? To be completely honest I haven’t seen or heard of any of the games that were made with Irrlicht, as a matter of fact I have never even heard of Irrlicht to begin with. Irrilicht was created by Nikolaus Gebhardt and “…is a cross-platform high performance real-time 3D engine written in C++. It is a powerful high-level API for creating complete 3D and 2D applications like games or scientific visualizations” – 3D Engines Database. Here are a few games that I found: Penguin Hunter, Quattro, Galactic Dream, and Gekkeiju Online. Below are some pictures of each game name above in relative order.

For more games and Game Engines based on the Irrlicht Engine, visit their main website1. 4

2. How widely it can be run (ie. multiple OS types, multiple OS versions, requires low-end or high-end computer system)? Irrlicht can be used on Windows, Linux, and MacOS and is programmed in not only C++ but C, C#, and VB.NET. Because this is a semi-powerful realtime 3D engine, Irrlicht requires a good but not high end computer system. It’s not at powerful or as good-looking as the commercial engines but its free.

3. Can it be readily used for applications other than games (eg. architectural modeling, medical imaging, educational software)? Because the Irrlicht engine was created and developed for gaming it cannot be readily used for applications other than games.

4. How difficult is it to get started? What is the simplest possible “game” you can implement? How many lines of code and how many hours does that take? Looking at one of the tutorials on the Irrlicht website2, the easiest and simplest program/game was HelloWorld. This was made in approximately 43 lines of code and depending if you were to write all of the code out or copy and paste it from the site will determine how long it would take (my guess would be 20 minutes). The final output would be a female model appearing on the screen and having an output of "Hello World! - Irrlicht Engine Demo" in the top corner.

5. What are the costs involved for initial acquisition, ongoing support, and royalty/licensing fees for a developed application? Are there different options for student/educational use vs commercial use? As stated before, Irrlicht is a free Open Source gaming engine; therefore, there is no licensing fees or options for student/educational use. As for any ongoing support, the development team is always fixing bugs, adding, and testing the engine for the next release3. At this moment they are working on testing it on Win64 Support, Solaris Support, COLLADA Support (Loading of COLLADA files), and Scene serialization (Reads and writes scenes from and to disk via XML).

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Here are some pictures of the Irrlicht Engine:

If you want a better and enlarged version of these pictures, visit the Irrlicht website1.

Links
1 2

http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/development.html http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/tut001.html 3 http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/development.html

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Part 3 3.1 Company Comparison Nintendo vs. Sega

Similarities One of the biggest similarities between Nintendo and Sega is that they both develop games for the same console; therefore, they use a lot of the similar programming languages like C, C++, and Lua. Differences Seeing how Nintendo is one of the biggest gaming companies and Sega was on of its biggest contenders, Sega’s console, the Sega Dreamcast, was Sega’s downfall and fell out of the console wars to go more into the arcade industry.

3.2 Engine Comparison Irrlicht vs. 3D Game Studio

Similarities One of the similarities of both engines was that they could both be coded in C and C++. Another similarity was that they both support DirectX as the graphics API and both run on Microsoft Windows. Differences The differences that I found with the two gaming engines was that Irrlicht was an Open Source engine while 3D Game Studio. I also found that even if they are both supported on Windows, Irrlicht is also supported on Linux, and MacOS. Another difference is while Irrlicht is free; you need to pay approximately $800 USD for 3D Game Studio. The last difference I will mention is that while 3D Game Studio is productive and stable, Irrlicht is still an Alpha.

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