Before you ask if Game X can be done on the iPod...

Discussion in 'iOS Emulators' started by Mindfield, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. Mindfield

    Mindfield New Member

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    There seems to be a lot of misconceptions and/or ignorance as to what's possible on the Touch. I see tons of messages asking if Game X or Game Y is possible. In most cases the questions are perfectly valid, but some of them ask for games on the iPod that just are not humanly possible. Sure, it's a great little machine and seems to be pretty powerful at first blush, but really -- it can't do what some people seem to think that it can do. Before those of you who fall into that latter category ask whether this or that game can be done, please consider the following facts:

    The iPod Touch has a 412MHz processor.
    That's all. A single 412MHz ARM11 processor. One core. A great chip for portable devices, but it doesn't hold a candle to desktop processors made in the last 7 years. Furthermore, it's a mobile processor. It's made to run on as little juice as possible so as not to drain the battery too quickly, and runs on a slower bus than traditional desktop or even laptop computers. This further degrades its potential performance. Rule of thumb: If it couldn't run on a laptop of the same processor speed, it won't run on the Touch.

    The iPod Touch does not have 3D acceleration hardware.
    None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Don't even bother asking for a 3D first-person shooter made after 1995. Doom? Wolf3D? Sure, possible in a technical sense. Half-Life? SiN? Doom 3? You're dreaming. Rule of thumb: If it needed 3D hardware to play effectively on a desktop computer, it hasn't got a hope in hell of functioning decently on the Touch.

    The iPod Touch does not have any buttons.
    Well, that's technically not true. It has a sleep/wake button and a home button. Care to ask what these two can (and should only) be used for? If you said "sleep/wake and home," you get a biscuit. With that and everything above in mind, consider the control mechanism for the game you would like to see on the Touch, keeping in mind that every single game-button will have to be represented and used on the touch screen, and be large enough to stab at with a fat thumb. If you need controls for directionals, strafing, firing, jumping, crouching, crawling, weapon selection, inventory selection, and more to be available to the user at any given moment, then don't even ask. You'll have more screen area devoted to controls than game, and you'll need three hands or really dexterous feet to play. Rule of thumb: If you can't play it with an Super NES controller, and you don't have three hands or really dexterous feet, don't ask.

    The iPod Touch needs meat.
    The iPod Touch uses a capacitive touchscreen. That's a fancy way of saying it only registers touches when something that is electrically conductive (and of very low electrical resistance) touches it -- like your fingers. Or a sausage. This is different from most touchscreens you see on PDAs and smartphones, which use resistive touchscreens and can be touched with just about anything. What does this mean in practical terms? It means that, except for some fancy-schmancy stylus that can conduct electricity and has very low resistance (and I don't even know if one such exists), you've gotta use your fat, greasy fingers to stab at things on the screen. If the game you're thinking of needs fine accuracy -- like, you've gotta touch really small objects or control very fine things on-screen -- then unless you have fingers that terminate in a pencil-like point, control of such a game on the Touch will be wholly impractical. Not impossible, just frustratingly improbable. Rule of thumb: If your thumb can't control it properly, it ain't happening. And I really don't recommend sharpening a sausage to a fine point.

    ScummVM is not an all-purpose game converter.
    SCUMM stands for "Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion." It was created by Lucas Arts to aid them in writing game scripts for -- you guessed it -- Maniac Mansion. It went on to be upgraded, modified and used by Lucas as the basis for tons of other Lucas Arts games, from Monkey Island to Loom.

    But SCUMM games became increasingly unplayable on newer machines and newer operating systems due to incompatibilities, and soon not a lot of them could be played on modern hardware. That's where ScummVM comes in. ScummVM was designed as a virtual machine (hence the "VM" part) that could interpret and run Lucas Arts' SCUMM-based games on modern hardware. It was later upgraded to include support for Sierra On-Line's adventure game script engines "Adventure Game Interpreter" (AGI) and "Sierra Creative Interpreter" (SCI) which were used for all of the King's/Police/Space quest games, Leisure Suit Larry games, and others.

    To put it simply: ScummVM can only run games that were developed using Lucas Arts' SCUMM engine, or Sierra On-Line's AGI/SCI engines. It is not a generic game port engine that you can plug any game into and have it "convert" into some playable format. Those are called "emulators" and SCUMM isn't really an emulator, it just uses the graphics and sound from the original games and then interprets the scripts to run them on the native hardware.

    It is possible in the future that the ScummVM team may add support for other game companies' scripting engines, but that's up to them. If you really want to see a particular adventure game engine added to ScummVM, bug the team. If they do add it down the road, we all win.

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    Consider these facts before asking. It'll save a lot of time and maybe learn ya something without saying a word in the process.
  2. Virtualball

    Virtualball Well-Known Member

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    Well someone has a case of the Tuesdays XD
  3. rokrboy

    rokrboy Retired Moderator

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    Wow thats a lot of info. Ok so does the touch have a 412Mhz processor and the iPhone has a 600Mhz processor or is that some rumor that someone made up
  4. Virtualball

    Virtualball Well-Known Member

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    From Sysinfo on my iPhone:

    CPU Frequency: 412.00 MHz.
    Memory Size: 116 MB.
    Bus Frequency: 103 MHz.
  5. Mindfield

    Mindfield New Member

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    Just kinda tired of seeing the unreasonable requests -- and more importantly, some of the snarky, insulting responses some of them generate. Better newbies read this first than ask what some would call a stupid question and get tore a new one for their trouble.

    As pointed out, the Touch and iPhone are exactly the same: 103MHz bus speed, CPU multiplier at 4x (412MHz), 128mb RAM (116mb user accessible).
  6. deathclaw

    deathclaw New Member

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    Will there ever be a stylus for the ipod touch? that would make playing scummvm a whole lot easier
  7. lachlan438

    lachlan438 Member

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    this needs to be stickyed
  8. Mindfield

    Mindfield New Member

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    I didn't want to go into this in the original message because it would have been long and boring, but here's the problem with the idea of a stylus on the Touch:

    The Touch needs to be ... well, touched by an object that can conduct electricity.

    "But wait," you say. "Metal conducts electricity! Why can't you use a metal stylus?"

    Electricity 101: The first thing you need to know about electricity is that it likes to take the easiest way to get from point A to point B. Makes sense, right? Water would rather flow downhill than uphill. Electricity is the same way, only the "hill" is the resistance of the object it's trying to travel through (see below.)

    Electricity 102: Some things don't conduct electricity as well as other things. The harder it is for electricity to travel through something, the higher that thing's resistance is said to be.

    iPod Touchscreen 101: Capacitive touchscreens work by passing a very small amount of electricity across the specially coated glass from each of the four corners of the screen. When something that conducts electricity at a low resistance touches the screen, the electricity from the screen flows through that something and creates a disturbance in the force -- er, the electrical field. Sensors in the corners of the screen pick up that disturbance and work out where that disturbance is located and translates that into screen coordinates. Think of one of those plasma balls you see in novelty shops, with their writhing fingers of pink lightning spidering inside that little glass globe. When you touch that globe, the plasma gets attracted to your finger because your finger is offering all that electricity an easy path to take. Same thing is happening with the iPod Touch's screen, only on a much smaller scale, and without all the pink lightning.

    Metal isn't much of an attractive path to take for electricity if the voltage is so low that the metal's resistance is too high for the electricity to muddle through. Plus, capacitive touchscreens need a larger area than a pinpoint for the electrical disturbance to become detectable by the sensors. Not much more, if the thing touching it is low resistance, but a metal-pointed stylus doesn't cut it.

    Fingers -- and sausages -- work much better. They are low resistance, and they cover enough screen area that the electrical disturbance they cause is easily detectable by the sensors. (But don't use sausages. Really, they're greasy and they'll make you smell funny.)

    That's why a stylus would need to be pretty specialized to work on the Touch. It would need to conduct electricity easily and be large enough to trip the sensors, but still be firm enough that it doesn't flop around in your hand. Therein lies the problem. I'm sure it's possible, though. I just couldn't say how.
  9. Katryss

    Katryss Member

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    Anyone that IS interested in porting a game through ScummVM however (so you all shut up asking!) can visit ScummVM and find out how to do it yourselves.


    Stop asking if Game X can be ported!!! Game X never sold many copies and no one plays it anymore

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  10. GrimmGreen

    GrimmGreen New Member

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    #1 , a company already has made a stylus for the iphone/ipod touch , it's on the ilounge.com front page

    #2 , you really shouldn't say "rule of thumb" it's derogatory

    #3, thanks for putting all this info together , though i could have done without the air of arrogance that it was written with

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