What's with all these fullscreen games?

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Post: #16
One strong reason why the developer might want to add the ability to run in a window is that debugging a fullscreen application is really difficult because you can't see the debugger. I added window support to my application framework for that reason alone, but I'm going to make the option available to the player anyway.

I'm curious... those of you who are writing fullscreen games with no window mode, how do you manage to debug your games?

Neil Carter
Nether - Mac games and comic art
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Post: #17
Quote:Originally posted by NCarter
I'm curious... those of you who are writing fullscreen games with no window mode, how do you manage to debug your games?

Debugging works just fine with CodeWarrior and Jaguar. It doesn't work so well with OS 9 and ATI cards, though. So it really depends.

Cheers,
Rocco
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Post: #18
I would love to see this turned into an article on the debate. Take both sides and sum them up.

Carlos A. Camacho,
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iDevGames
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Post: #19
The way I see it, *every* game should let you run it in a window. Now I can make a concession for a game that requires the mouse, like a FPS or a game like Maffia (I'll never remember how to capitalize that). But for a keyboard-only game, if you don't let me play in a window or at the very least let me switch apps without quitting, you're doing a disservice to your customers.

Now in my current project, I even draw direct-to-screen and I still let the user play in a movable window. I do this by hiding the cursor and intercepting standard window events. But a simple hit of esc or command-P and the game pauses letting the user move or minimize the window to their heart's content. The MacMAME-based emulators use a similar technique.

Custom game interfaces are all well and good, but I'd much rather play a game that conforms to Apple's guidelines first.
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Post: #20
Quote:Originally posted by NCarter
I'm curious... those of you who are writing fullscreen games with no window mode, how do you manage to debug your games?


Dual monitors. Grin
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Post: #21
Actually, I use both windowed mode and dual monitors. Windowed mode to avoid unnecessary wasted time and monitor stress from rez changes, and double monitors for the extra real estate. Of course, the extra monitor was very handy before S2 could switch between windowed and fullscreen mode while running Rasp
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death_himself
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Post: #22
Gawd, I totally, agree, fullscreen mode is up njear the top of my blacklist, alongisde OSX only games (what I really hate is that some people simply can't afford OSX, and its a bit tasteless for Apple to keep pushing people to convert, whilst I am nowhere near being poor, I can't afford it simply because I'm 16, but I can imagine people who have saved long and hard for a computer...and well...). Sorry, going off-topic there.

I have a few more reasons why I hate fullscreen too, firstly, it actually puts a halt to all other programs! I mean, seriously, how dare a program do that Sad. So, it basically stops me from having fun whilst I wait for a download to be completed, in a way, it actually goes against what games should be, a distraction, something fun. On top of that, it stops me from receiving IMs, so I end up frustrated at just missing catching up with a net buddy. And what do I do with these games? I trash them, simple as. I particularly think that, say, RTS or any strategy for that matter, simply aren't suited to fullscreen, I don't know why, just they seem particularly wrong (alongside MMORPGs). Sorry, not saying much here, yes, down with fullscreen games, BURN!
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Post: #23
Quote:Originally posted by death_himself
I have a few more reasons why I hate fullscreen too, firstly, it actually puts a halt to all other programs! I mean, seriously, how dare a program do that Sad.

Not entirely true. The reason your fullscreen games stop all other applications is that they stop processing events in order to run more smoothly. A windowed application that stopped processing events would also stop all other processing.

At the risk of winding you up, it's only an issue on Mac OS 9. OSX's pre-emptive multitasking allows you to play a fullscreen game and do anything else you want in the background, no problem! Wink

If it's any consolation, one of your previous posts convinced me to try to make sure my uDevGame entry supports OS9. It'll also run in a window.

Neil Carter
Nether - Mac games and comic art
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death_himself
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Post: #24
Quote:Originally posted by NCarter
Not entirely true. The reason your fullscreen games stop all other applications is that they stop processing events in order to run more smoothly. A windowed application that stopped processing events would also stop all other processing.

At the risk of winding you up, it's only an issue on Mac OS 9. OSX's pre-emptive multitasking allows you to play a fullscreen game and do anything else you want in the background, no problem! Wink

If it's any consolation, one of your previous posts convinced me to try to make sure my uDevGame entry supports OS9. It'll also run in a window.

Gimme a minute whilst I have a nervous breakdown... Rasp . I spose then developers who allow a windowed mode do so to allow multi-tasking and thus make sure their app doesn't stop processing events...or not, I'm not too sure. What bothers me is that fullscreen mode seems to try and control me, its taunting me, its saying 'you WILL play this game and do nothing else, because I said so and you have no other choice'. I also think fullscreen mode is completely wrong for the udevgame contest, to me, udevgame is about making a fun game, a diversion, something non-commericial...because of the way I find fullscreen mode manipulative, I associate it with commercial games. If that makes any sense whatsoever, I apologise for my lack of writing skills Smile .
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Post: #25
Whether a game uses fullscreen and whether or not it allows background programs to keep running under OS 9 usually aren't related.

The reason OS 9 games tend to take over the entire computer is that a) allowing background tasks has a much bigger speed penalty for the foreground task on 9 than on X and b) it's reasonable for the developer to assume that when you choose to launch a game, it's because you *do* want to play the game and do nothing else Rasp
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PuppyHelmet
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Post: #26
Quote:Originally posted by death_himself
because of the way I find fullscreen mode manipulative, I associate it with commercial games. If that makes any sense whatsoever, I apologise for my lack of writing skills Smile .


This is a fairly good reflection of how I see things - fullscreen mode is the fashionable way to do things these days, and (perhaps unconsciously) we developers tend to emulate these sorts of trends. Going fullscreen adds a sense of polish and makes the game seem more professional or commercial, which, ideally, impresses the player. In practice, however, that cool fade-to-black effect that signals a switch to fullscreen can be frustrating if you just want something to play with while waiting for a download to finish.

Above all, if you do use fullscreen and switch resolution, be absolutely sure, when the program is hidden or when the player quits, that everything returns to the way it was. I was about ready to kill myself with a grapefruit spoon after the umpteenth time Myst III - an otherwise incredible game - sent all my desktop icons to the top left corner in random order.

Functionality vs. flashiness is a whole 'nother ballpark - don't even get me started on the 5-minute CG intros to DVD menus - but the fullscreen/window "problem" (and I use that word hesitantly) seems to be one that's well within our ability to "correct". It's clear that both formats have advantages, both for the player and the developer, so why not put in the extra effort and implement both? Have your cake and eat it too, as it were. It's not the easiest way, but flexibility, done correctly, is the most impressive feature of all.

- Chris
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Post: #27
Quote:Originally posted by PuppyHelmet
Above all, if you do use fullscreen and switch resolution, be absolutely sure, when the program is hidden or when the player quits, that everything returns to the way it was. I was about ready to kill myself with a grapefruit spoon after the umpteenth time Myst III - an otherwise incredible game - sent all my desktop icons to the top left corner in random order.


Ugh. I forgot about that "feature" of full-screen apps. And why do I still see games that do that? Even some modern ones written recently shrink my windows to a tiny size and move around all my icons. It's simply inexcuseable.
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Post: #28
Fullscreen only all the way. Apart from the technical issues of speed etc. one of the big things a game is trying to do is to draw your senses into itself and make you focus on the game. If it does this, you'll be more 'into' the game and it's easier to create a better game. If the game is in a window with other apps going on around it then it's difficult to leave the real world behind and get into the game world, so don't give the gamer a choice to play your game in a bad environment.

Another less important aspect is look and feel. If you make your game run in a window, the look of your game is defined by the window and OS around it, not the graphical style you've done for your game.
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Post: #29
I guess the choice of whether or not to have a windowed mode depends on the type of game and the developer's goals for the game (an immersive experience vs. a quick diversion), but all games should at least allow the player to pause the game and switch to the Finder; Cmd-H usually works for this, but some games aren't expecting the player to leave the game and act a bit strange when he returns to the game (e.g. choppiness, visual artifacts). For turn-based games, where the user doesn't need to respond to the other players' actions directly (all interaction occurs during the player's turn), the game could open a window when the player puts it in the background that shows the current game status (i.e. current player, current phase, chat messages, maybe a headline-style report of game events) and signals when it's the player's turn, so the player can follow the game while doing other tasks without having the entire game screen on his desktop.
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PuppyHelmet
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Post: #30
Quote:Originally posted by Zwilnik
Fullscreen only all the way. Apart from the technical issues of speed etc. one of the big things a game is trying to do is to draw your senses into itself and make you focus on the game. If it does this, you'll be more 'into' the game and it's easier to create a better game. If the game is in a window with other apps going on around it then it's difficult to leave the real world behind and get into the game world, so don't give the gamer a choice to play your game in a bad environment.

Another less important aspect is look and feel. If you make your game run in a window, the look of your game is defined by the window and OS around it, not the graphical style you've done for your game.


Again, this is not always appropriate. For an RPG, adventure game, or FPS, yes, the mode of presentation demands that the players immerse themselves in the game world. Scrabble does not. Ultimately it has to be the player's decision how much screen space to give to your program, and if they don't want to have their screen covered up, they won't play a fullscreen game.

This also applies to sound - games that have no option to make their sound effects and music quieter (or to shut them off entirely) are extremely irritating to players who might prefer to listen to their own music or who don't want their coworkers to know they're playing games. Rasp

If the sound and visuals are integral to the game experience, the player will want to play the game in its proper environment, in fullscreen and with the volume turned up. It's just a bit presumptuous on the developer's part to assume the player will always be in that frame of mind. If you don't want your game to be played casually, that's fine, but it could lose you some business.
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