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The Evolution of Video Game Programming

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					The Evolution of
  Video Game
 Programming
    By: Jerad Waas
An Overview
   Video Game History
   Programming Disciplines
   The Game Development Process
   The Present and the Future of Gaming
Video Game History
   The   Origins
   The   1960s
   The   1970s
   The   1980s
   The   1990s
   The   2000s
History - The Origins
   Disputed origins
   1950s, 1960s, 1970s
   William Higinbotham
       1958
       Entertain guests at
        Brookhaven Ntl Lab
       Oscilloscope & Simple
        Computer
       Tennis For Two
History - The 1960s
   Tech Model Railroad
    Club - MIT
   Developed Spacewar!
   On a PDP-1
   9KB
   Firsts for industry:
       Game to be shared over
        a network
       Widely available
            $120,000
 History - The 1960s - PDP-1




Paper tape       PDP-1 replica
History - The 1960s
   Ralph Baer
       Developed a couple of
        games:
            Tag
            Volleyball
            Ping Pong
       Together with Bill
        Harrison
            Created the Light Gun
History - The 1960s - Light Gun
   How does it work?
       Photodiode
            Senses light on screen
       Screen blacks out
       Diode begins reception
       Portion of the screen is
        painted white - typically
        the target you are aiming
        for
       If diode senses black then
        white - hit!
History - The 1970s
   1972 - The first wave
    of Magnavox Odysseys
    were sold
       ~ $100
   Quickly sold 100,000
   Sales quickly
    diminished after
History - The 1970s
   Nolan Bushnell & Ted
    Dabney
       Turn Spacewar! Into a
        coin-op arcade machine
       1971 - They found a
        manufacturer in
            Nutting Associates
               Coin-op manufacturer
            1,500 machines
       To complex!
History - The 1970s
   Bushnell & Dabney
       Leave Nutting
       Start up a new company
            Atari
       Simple tennis game
            Pong
            ~ $1,200
   1972 - First units on sale
       ~ 8,500 units in first year
       ~ 19,000 total
History - The 1970s
   Atari reluctantly decides to
    test the home market
       Magnavox Odyssey
   Atari sells the idea to
    Sears
       $100 version of Pong
       Sears’ biggest selling item
   Home version of Pong
       Atari “on the map”
       Household name
History - The 1970s
   1972
       Steve Jobs joins Atari
       Technician
       Exposes Steve Wozniak
        to Atari and Pong
       They later form Apple in
        1976
History - The 1970s
   1975
       Midway
       Gun Fight
       Two firsts in the
        industry:
            First video game to
             utilize a microprocessor
                Intel 8080
                Random events
            First video game to be
             imported from Japan
History - The 1970s
   1976
       Apple founded
   Steve Wozniak
       Created Breakout
       Two firsts for the industry:
            Software was used to run
             a video game
            Breakout was
             programmed in a
             computer language
                Previously, machine
                 code
History - The 1970s
   Namco
       1974
            Bought the Japanese
             division of Atari
       1979
            Developed the first
             color video game
                Galaxian
                Instant success
History - The 1980s
   Pac-Man
       Shows the industry two
        things:
            Innovation is important
            Merchandising!
                Cereals
                TV-Shows
                T-Shirts…etc
History - 1980s
   1985
       Nintendo Entertainment
        System
            Bundled with Super
             Mario Brothers
       Dominated the North
        American market
       D-pad now became
        standard
History - The 1990s
   Shareware becomes
    popular because of:
       Doom
       Wolfenstein 3D
       Demo
            First portion of the
             game
            Good way to show off
             their game
       Many companies
        mimicked id Software
History - The 1990s
   1996
       3dfx releases the Voodoo
        chipset
       Quake was among the first
        to utilize standalone
        graphics cards
       Devoted 3D rendering
        cards
            Allowed CPU to handle
             other computations
History - The 1990s
   3D era
       32 bit era brings 2 major
        consoles to consumers
            Sega Saturn
            Sony Playstation
       After many delays…
            Nintendo 64
            64 bit system
            Revolutionary system
History - The 1990s
   Nintendo 64
       1.5 million units sold in
        three months
       Many critically acclaimed
        games
            Super Mario 64
            Goldeneye 007
            The Legend of Zelda:
             The Ocarina of Time
History - The 2000s
   Current Generation
       Microsoft
            XBOX
       Nintendo
            Gamecube
       Sony
            Playstation 2
       DVD capability
            PS2 & XBOX
       Backwards compatibility
            PS2
Disciplines
   Game Physics Programmer
   AI Programmer
   Graphics Programmer
   Sound Programmer
   UI Programmer
   Input Programmer
   Network Programmer
   Game Tools Programmer
   Porting Programmer
   Lead Game Programmer
Disciplines - Physics
   Developing the physics
    in the game
   Processor cycles are at
    a premium
       Efficiency is key
   FPS games typically
    demand large teams
    of physics
    programmers
Disciplines - AI
   Develops the logic that the game uses
   Has developed into a specialized area as of late
   Pathfinding, strategy, and enemy tactics
   According to Game Developer Magazine - 60% of
    time
   Real time strategy and first person shooters
Disciplines - Graphics
   Programmers who specialize in developing
    and modifying complex 3D graphics
   2D graphics abilities are still useful though
       Cell Phones
       PDAs
   Scarce in industry
       Demand high salaries
Disciplines - Sound
   Full musical scores - been around
   3D positional sound - recent
       First person shooters
   Programmers try to include the newest
    technologies
   Games with large soundtracks or advanced audio,
    demand teams of sound programmers
Disciplines - User Interface
   Very important!
       Must be intuitive, useful-feature, clean, and easy
        to use
   Most user interfaces are 2D
       Some interfaces are developed with the same 3D
        technology as the rest of the game
   Advanced interfaces allow custom scripting
Disciplines - User Interface
   LUA
   XML
   World of Warcraft

   n!
Disciplines - Input
   Writes code that
    determines how the
    player will use the
    input devices
       Controller
       Joystick
       Keyboard & Mouse
   Wii controller
       Motion sensing
        technology
Disciplines - Input
   Programmers must
    recognize and adhere
    to controller standards
       WASD
       A (X) - accept // next
       B (triangle) - back //
        cancel
   If standards are not
    followed, gamers will
    be confused
Disciplines - Network
   Writes the code that allows
    players to play the game on
    a LAN and or on the internet
   Very important in Massively
    Multiplayer Online (MMO)
       Latency control is especially
        important
   Programmers cannot assume
    all consumers have
    broadband
       Must be efficient
       Might be dial-up gamers
Disciplines - Game Tools
   Write code to handle
    tasks like scripting,
    converting art,
    batches, modifying the
    game and levels
   Half-Life 2
       Source SDK
            Create levels (Hammer)
            Facial animations
Disciplines - Porting
   Porting is very important,
    especially for companies
    like EA
       Games available on almost
        every platform
   May involve the tools
    programmer to help
    convert content
   Some code may have to
    be re-written to utilize
    different hardware
Disciplines - Lead
   Keeps the programmers focused, and on track
   Quite often a middle man between the client and
    programmers
   Should have a general base knowledge of all
    aspects of the game
       Sound
       Graphics
       Networking
       Etc.
The Game Development
Process
   Prototyping
   Game Design
   Language
   API & Libraries
   Production
   Crunch Time
   Maintenance
Process - Prototyping
   Very similar to normal applications
   Test ideas and algorithms
   Give the customer and early glimpse
   Early screenshots
       Good way to gain early popularity
Process - Language
   What language to
    use?
       Many dependencies
            Staff
            Platform
            Language of the game
             engine
   Most popular
       C++
Process - API & Libraries
   Which API & Libraries to use?
       Tons of libraries out there
            Sound processing
            Input
            Graphics rendering
            Pathfinding
       Also depends on target platform
            Libraries for PS2 may not be available for XBOX360
       Graphics API?
            DirectX
            OpenGL
Process - API & Libraries
   A collection of APIs
        Direct3D
             The 3D graphics API
   Not portable
        Designed specifically for
         Microsoft products
             Pocket PC
             XBOX
             Windows
   Revised more frequently
    then OpenGL
        Utilizes the latest features of
         3D graphics cards
Process - API & Libraries
   Portable 3D API
       Easily ported to and
        from
            Windows <-> MacOS
             <-> Linux
   Revised infrequently
Process - Production
   Bulk of the time
   Code…code…code
   Design documents are constantly changing
   Lead regularly reports status to supervisor
   Develop game tools
Process - Crunch Time
   Towards the end of the production phase
   Productivity is not proportional to extra
    hours
       2x hours != 2x productivity
   Adding extra staff may not increase
    productivity
   Quality decreases as time increases
Process - Maintenance
   Console
        Pre-current generation - next to impossible
        Hard drives and online- now possible
             Patches and new content
   PC
        Numerous hardware / software combinations
             Patches are inevitable
        MMO Genre
             Extensive maintenance phase
             New content is always required
The Present and the Future of
Gaming
   Multithreaded Gaming
   HD Gaming
   Next Generation
Present & Future - Threading
   Split up processes
   Games w/ multiple threads
       Run more efficiently on HT or multicore
        processesors
   XBOX 360 and PS3
       Multiple processors
Present & Future - HD
   Popularity of HDTV
   Red - Green - Blue
       Instead of Yellow
   HD offers:
       Improved textures
       Improved character
        models
       Higher pixel count
Present & Future - “Next Gen”
   Microsoft
       XBOX 360
       HD-DVD
   Nintendo
       Wii
       November
       Motion sensing technology
   Sony
       Playstation 3
       November
       Blu-ray
References
   Computer and Video Games
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_and_video_games

   Game Programming
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_programming

   History of Computer and Video Games
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_computer_and_video_games

   Game Programmer
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_programmer

   History of Video Game Programming
      http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1185238

   How does the light gun for a video game work?
      http://www.howstuffworks.com/question273.htm

   History of the video game industry
      http://www.pong-story.com/intro.htm