Thursday, 27 September 2007

Why does this always happen to J2ME?

Telling people you make computer games for a living is a little like telling them you own a sweet shop: some look panicked while they remember where they left the kids, but most smile and say things like "Cool! What have you done that I might've heard of?". Then you say "Well actually my sweet shop only sells Pontefract cakes and horrible flying saucers filled with poisonous dust.", or "I make mobile games".

At this point things can go one of three ways:

  1. "oh right" followed by me mumbling how mobile games are a lot more advanced than "snake" actually and oh, you're not listening anyway
  2. "oh right, yeah - like snake?", followed by the same mumbling explanation
  3. "oh cool! I play a lot of mobile games - I got this zip off the web with 1000 games in it.."

Its a shame mobile games are held in a relative disregard (especially by the rest of the games industry) because a lot of hard work goes into them. The designers have the decidedly unenviable task of thinking how to get the same "experience" as a next-gen console game on a device with a 2" screen and a control system designed for a single thumb. The artists have a hilarious time satisfying license-holders demands about getting the personality of their beloved cartoon character across in a sprite that's only 12 pixels high. At the same time the programmers alternate between writing code (more on this later) and reminding producers that their latest suggestion, while clearly born of genius, might not be feasible as the target device has the processing ability of a Daily Mail reader, and only slightly more memory.


Pete said...

Here here! And UFO sherbet saucers were the best...

chrismcr said...

Madness. Nonsense. Crazy talk. Tish and pish!