Porting to Xbox (a more serious discussion attempt)

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rsalerno
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Porting to Xbox (a more serious discussion attempt)

Post by rsalerno » July 28th, 2006, 10:46 pm

I know this has come up before, but not very many times, and not with a lot of up front information.

I think it would be a great idea to port Wesnoth to the Xbox. Softmodding an Xbox (being able to install linux and run homebrew code without even opening the case) takes about ten minutes and couldn't possibly be more painless. Modchips are cheap and very prolific. There is a great community of Xbox homebrew enthusiasts who would be willing to help if the effort is a little more organized on the front end.

The SDL library is available, and the XDK relies on standard C/C++ so the Wesnoth source should port without the need of a drastic overhaul. The graphics may suffer somewhat at standard resolution, but the Xbox natively supports HD resolutions, so I don't think that's a valid limitation. There is enough hardware support for at least the current versions of Wesnoth, and the Xbox has built in network support so multiplayer is still an option as well.

There is a huge fanbase for the game (as you well know), that would only get larger if it included console gamers. There is a huge installed base of Xbox owners, a significant enough portion I would wager with an already modded box, or that knows someone who could mod it for them.

The controls should transfer well enough (if this is a big argument, it can be tested before trying to port with the XBCD that allows Windows to recognize an Xbox controller adapted to USB), but even for those who claim to really need a mouse or keyboard, there is plenty of support for adapting them for use on the Xbox anyway.

Sounds like someone dove in over their head to try this last month (link), but a more concerted effort should make this a fairly easy reality. Also in current news, someone just typed up a somewhat informative page on porting to the Xbox.

Let's hash out some more pros and cons here. I can't code it, but I'm trying to wrangle up some friends who might be able to. I'm willing to organize and research anything necessary, and I can field Xbox specific questions so we have everything straight up front.

Somebody say something.

Prometheus
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Post by Prometheus » July 29th, 2006, 2:45 am

1) Doesn't Xbox require license fees for software?

2) Doesn't the Xbox SDK use Microsoft Foundation Classes, thereby making any port automatically non-standard compliant?

3) Isn't the Xbox essentially a PC crippled in various ways to accomplish goals 1) and 2)?

4) Why would the open-source community (as opposed to pirates and hackers) have anything to do with Xbox? Is it even POSSIBLE for the open-source community to have anything to do with Xbox?

rsalerno
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Post by rsalerno » July 29th, 2006, 4:59 am

Prometheus wrote:1) Doesn't Xbox require license fees for software?

2) Doesn't the Xbox SDK use Microsoft Foundation Classes, thereby making any port automatically non-standard compliant?

3) Isn't the Xbox essentially a PC crippled in various ways to accomplish goals 1) and 2)?

4) Why would the open-source community (as opposed to pirates and hackers) have anything to do with Xbox? Is it even POSSIBLE for the open-source community to have anything to do with Xbox?
1. You need to pay a license fee to sign the code to run on an unmodified Xbox. I definitely wouldn't suggest that as being worthwhile. On a modded Xbox all you need is valid code and you can run what you like. Here we get into gray areas of the DMCA, but certainly porting Wesnoth's code is neither illegal nor in need of a license.

2. I don't know enough about this to change your mind (I'm reading into your comment that you think this is a bad idea). There exists an open source XDK with which to compile the code legally. As for the standards compliance of the code itself, again, i can't say. I certainly wouldn't expect the port of the code to be trivial, but I do think it would be an easier job than some fantasy idea like porting it to the DS. I won't argue with you on this, but I sense that your argument stems more from not seeing the point, and that someone who wanted to see Wesnoth on an Xbox would not see this as much of hurdle.

3. Yes. But it accomplishes other things besides 1 and 2 in the process, some of which are [arguably] directly beneficial to the game (see initial post). Also, the fact that it's just a computer makes the port significantly easier, so really 3 here is actually in favor of porting....

4. First, I'm going to semantically object to your using of "hacker" in the pejorative (see number one here). Second, I think this is something to be discussed, hopefully at a little more length in this thread. I don't think it's a good idea for Wesnoth to distribute a compiled version from their servers, no. But I think that's an unfortunate situation to be in, and perhaps worth fighting for improving.

There are many ways of distributing an Xbox version through the "usual places," but I don't see those channels as bearing negatively at all to Wesnoth the ideal/source/communtiy. Xbox Media Center was part of Google's Summer of Code and wins Sourceforge awards. It's a legitimate, glorified, exciting, wonderful open source project. I think that shows there is a lot of potential that the open source community can have a lot to do with the Xbox, and that great things can come of it.

To directly answer your question, I think "because it can" is a good enough justification to do something (I sense that we disagree here), but more than that, I think for a lot of people it would be a great (arguably superior) alternative/experience/chance to play the game.

commander keen

Post by commander keen » July 29th, 2006, 6:17 am

Xbox? Wesnoth?
Those two things are as close as a vegetarian and a hunk of beef.
Game Consles never are a good idea for real-time or turn-based strategy games. Consoles were designed for action games, not wesnoth. People who play Wesnoth are not the same people who play console games in most cases. Sure, if it works, try it. But it's questionable legal ground and who doesn't have a PC anyway?
People who enjoy games like Wesnoth already have a PC and to get Wesnoth need one anyway, so it makes more sense to play it on a pc anyway. Most people who have an xbox will have a pc and can use it instead.

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Post by Ranger M » July 29th, 2006, 6:40 am

Are we talking about Xbox of Xbox 360 here? (Or both? Some of my old Xbox games have been working on my 360)

commander keen wrote:Xbox? Wesnoth?
Those two things are as close as a vegetarian and a hunk of beef.
Game Consles never are a good idea for real-time or turn-based strategy games. Consoles were designed for action games, not wesnoth. People who play Wesnoth are not the same people who play console games in most cases. Sure, if it works, try it. But it's questionable legal ground and who doesn't have a PC anyway?
People who enjoy games like Wesnoth already have a PC and to get Wesnoth need one anyway, so it makes more sense to play it on a pc anyway. Most people who have an xbox will have a pc and can use it instead.
I have an Xbox (original and 360), and not only do I play Wesnoth, but I also create my own content for it. I guess that I'm just not most people then.

I also recently saw (a demo came with my Xbox) a real time strategy game for the Xbox (battle for middle earth 2), and it actually worked well, really well (I'm considering buying it, which I would never do if it didn't play reasonably well)

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Post by zaimoni » July 29th, 2006, 6:42 am

Regarding a port to an unaltered XBox:
* SDL is not ported to the XBox. The Irrlicht Engine does have an XBox port; none of the other "obvious" graphics libraries I have researched have an XBox port. Making a Wesnoth fork that uses the Irrlicht Engine should be a routine search-and-replace conversion, but note that the prebuilt DLL for Irrlicht Engine is ~2.5MB instead of very roughly 300K.

Such a port would be intellectually interesting, in verifying whether the performance problems are the rendering engine or algorithmic problems in Wesnoth itself.

* The FSF believes (mentioned in the documentation for gettext 0.14.5) that binaries from GPL'ed code, compiled on MSVC++ 7 or higher, are illegal to redistribute, under both the GPL and Microsoft's EULA. I haven't personally verified either half of this, but consider the FSF more authoritative for the GPL.

rsalerno
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Post by rsalerno » July 29th, 2006, 7:43 am

zaimoni wrote:Regarding a port to an unaltered XBox:
Not unaltered. Just unopened. You can't run the code without modding (hard or soft) the Xbox first. And yeah, distributing the binary is a no-go, but there are already plenty of channels for that. Tooling the Wesnoth source to run on an Xbox is still legal, and distributing the source is legal. That's all that really needs to happen from this end.

@Ranger: Original Xbox. The game could conceivably be distributed on Xbox Live Arcade for the 360, but that's a whole other ballgame. The original Xbox has no real secrets left and hackers (the good kind) have all kinds of options available for running all kinds of awesome code.

@Commander Keen: I strongly disagree and so do many other interested parties. I think it's a matter of preference, and allowing people to choose where they play it could never be a bad thing. I would never push for developing exclusively for a console and abandoning the PC version--I just think it would be great to have the option to play on a console.

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Post by Elvish_Pillager » July 29th, 2006, 10:19 am

Prometheus wrote:(as opposed to pirates and hackers)
I know rsal already objected to the term "hackers"; the term "piracy" used in this sense is also objectionable.
It's all fun and games until someone loses a lawsuit. Oh, and by the way, sending me private messages won't work. :/ If you must contact me, there's an e-mail address listed on the website in my profile.

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Post by scott » July 29th, 2006, 11:10 am

Basically none of the discussion so far has addressed anything the original poster wanted to know. There has been some legal and technical discussion of things the poster did not propose, but nothing regarding the actual proposal. rsalerno, maybe the technical help you want can be found on an xbox mod forum.
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Prometheus
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Post by Prometheus » July 29th, 2006, 12:49 pm

Basically none of the discussion so far has addressed anything the original poster wanted to know.
There wasn't anything the pirate wanted to know. Garn! He just wants someone to port Wesnoth to the Xbox.

tsr
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Post by tsr » July 29th, 2006, 1:39 pm

Prometheus wrote:
Basically none of the discussion so far has addressed anything the original poster wanted to know.
There wasn't anything the pirate wanted to know. Garn! He just wants someone to port Wesnoth to the Xbox.
Ok, since you refuse to move OnT I have question (I'm not meaning to feed a troll here, it's a real question): How is modding a xbox piracy or hacking?

/tsr

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Elvish_Pillager
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Post by Elvish_Pillager » July 29th, 2006, 2:04 pm

It's definitely hacking, but only because hacking doesn't mean what Prometheus seems to think it does. It definitely isn't piracy because to be a pirate, you have to wear an eye patch and say "Arr!" a lot. :wink:

On a more serious note, I think that Prometheus's most recent post is rather inappropriate, even if it's meant as a joke. :|
It's all fun and games until someone loses a lawsuit. Oh, and by the way, sending me private messages won't work. :/ If you must contact me, there's an e-mail address listed on the website in my profile.

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Post by Dragon Master » July 29th, 2006, 2:19 pm

I have to say this idea is a definite NO, it sounds slightly illegal and has illegal possibilities.

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Post by Kiba » July 29th, 2006, 2:57 pm

I thought it will just void your warranty if you mod the Xbox.

I might be wrong.
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Post by scott » July 29th, 2006, 3:02 pm

Is it illegal to load linux onto your XBox? I don't see how a computer company can tell you what to do with the hardware after you purchase it.
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