The Portable Gaming


vaustein

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Feb 19, 2006
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After playing in the portable gaming "problem space" for a while now, I decided to summarize my thoughts. This is sort of a blog entry, but I'm currently unwilling to set up a blog :rolleyes:

-------------------------------------
PORTABLE GAMING: THE USER EXPERIENCE
-------------------------------------

--------------------------
NDS + DS-Xtreme
--------------------------
Remarks: As emulation matures, the emulator experience may surpass the hardware
experience. Example, Silent Hill (PSX) on ePSXe with OpenGL/DirectX video acceleration
versus on an actual PSOne console or PS2. NDS emulation has not reached this stage.
A hardware NDS currently provides the best user experience. Relatively long battery life.

Optimal:
- Conveniently play backups of original games legitimately obtained by the user.
Same rationale behind the PS2+HDD+HDAdvance.
- Unique homebrew, e.g. Dragon's Lair DS (DSLair)

Secondary:
- Point-and-click PDA-style adventure gaming, e.g. ScummVMDS, and GLK POGO for Frotz,
Level9, Mag. Scrolls. Inconvenient interface compared to mousing.
- Computer emulation (Spectrum, C64) potentially better with touchpad compared to
joystick, but still inferior to keyboard/mouse

Drawbacks:
- Console emulation. In its infancy, generally inferior to GP2X emulators.
Compare ColecoDS with GP2XMess, MarcaDS with GP2XMame, etc. Basically,
I'll believe it when I see it work well.
- Need additional hardware for playing GBA backups.

--------------------------
GP2X(32) + SD(MMC)-Card
--------------------------
Remarks: Console emulation stronger than any other handheld. The developer
and community support without the need to sabotage the BIOS balance the better
performance of some emulators on the PSP. Due to battery life and typical usage
patterns (minutes at a time on a plane, in traffic, at lunch), a better fit for
games that feel satisfying in brief intervals.

Optimal:
- Emulators running action or adventure games with pick-up-and-go value.
E.g. Castlevania or Solstice on GPFCE; Joust or Double Dragon on GP2XMame;
Sonic the Hedgehog or The Immortal on PicoDrive.
- Unique homebrew and plenty of it!
- Linux portage that works well on a handheld: UQM, SuperTux, Paradroid

Secondary:
- Not as good for more narrative or complex games calling for deeper time commitments.
E.g. Swords and Serpents or Dungeon Magic on GPFCE; Magic Sword, Black Tiger,
or Rygar on GP2XMame; D&D Warriors of the Eternal Sun or
Langrisser (Warsong) on PicoDrive.
- For similar reasons, not the best choice for the computer emulation experience, aside
from a few computer games that work well on a handheld and can be enjoyed in
spurts. E.g. Balance of Power on UAE4All2x and OutCaST2x.
- Basically, if you must start at the 320x240 LCD for hours to enjoy the game, consider
a laptop.
- Due to "unique" joystick design, can be difficult to enjoy action games requiring
precision movement. I find it much easier to pull off Ha-Do-Ken with a keyboard.

Drawbacks:
- Joystick interface very inconvenient and awkward both for point-and-click
adventures (ScummVM2x) and text adventures (GP2XFrotz+STerm)

--------------------------
Laptop + SD-Card
--------------------------
Remarks: This assumes a relatively light 6-8 pound laptop, not the 15-20 pound "portable
desktop replacements" like Dell XPS or Alienware. Also assumes a built-in SD card reader
and WinXP OS. Why an SD card? Simple: switching from laptop to desktop or laptop to
laptop without installing additional software.

Optimal: All emulation, all homebrew, all portage supported under Windows (most of it).
Mouse support for best possible point-and-click gaming. Keyboard for precision
movement in action games and text entry for text adventures.
Fully mature GBA, SNES, and PS1 emulation.
Secondary: You can do it all with a laptop.
Drawbacks: If you're going to play beyond three hours, or you plan to play while standing
up, you have a problem.
 

senquack

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purple_goat posted on Dec 13 2006 at 10:42 PM said:
um, thanks?
that was helpful?
what are you trying to do?

hey i have an idea howabout a blog section :p

If only I could harness the time & energy of 100 bloggers... Sigh, back to parse errors and segfaults.
 
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DaveC

Internal Development
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vaustein posted on Dec 13 2006 at 07:31 PM said:
After playing in the portable gaming "problem space" for a while now, I decided to summarize my thoughts. This is sort of a blog entry, but I'm currently unwilling to set up a blog :rolleyes:

-------------------------------------
PORTABLE GAMING: THE USER EXPERIENCE
-------------------------------------

--------------------------
NDS + DS-Xtreme
--------------------------
Remarks: As emulation matures, the emulator experience may surpass the hardware
experience. Example, Silent Hill (PSX) on ePSXe with OpenGL/DirectX video acceleration
versus on an actual PSOne console or PS2. NDS emulation has not reached this stage.
A hardware NDS currently provides the best user experience. Relatively long battery life.

Optimal:
- Conveniently play backups of original games legitimately obtained by the user.
Same rationale behind the PS2+HDD+HDAdvance.
- Unique homebrew, e.g. Dragon's Lair DS (DSLair)

Secondary:
- Point-and-click PDA-style adventure gaming, e.g. ScummVMDS, and GLK POGO for Frotz,
Level9, Mag. Scrolls. Inconvenient interface compared to mousing.
- Computer emulation (Spectrum, C64) potentially better with touchpad compared to
joystick, but still inferior to keyboard/mouse

Drawbacks:
- Console emulation. In its infancy, generally inferior to GP2X emulators.
Compare ColecoDS with GP2XMess, MarcaDS with GP2XMame, etc. Basically,
I'll believe it when I see it work well.
- Need additional hardware for playing GBA backups.

The main optimal for NDS is it's own unique games.

To me the main drawback for emulation on the DS is the lack of screen resolution to properly emulate anything newer than a Speccy. You only have 256 x 192 to work with. Most emulated systems are higher, Megadrive for example at 320 x 220.
 
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vaustein

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Good point. For instance, ScummVMDS relies on frequent, annoying panning and resolution switches. Also, DSnes looks quite small compared with GPFCE2X.
 

vaustein

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Messages
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How you get the backup ROM file - with your own cartridge and a special cartridge reader or by downloading a ROM file from the Internet - is not the point. The point is that the DS-Xtreme bills itself as a convenience for homebrew enthusiasts and for licensees of commercial content (that is, anyone who buys an NDS game).

Of course, devices like the DS-Xtreme for NDS and the HDAdvance for PS2 often enable casual piracy.
 
S

Shikkers

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Don't answer his question for 2 reasons:

1. This is that old famous spammer that spammed shock images a while back
2. It's so easy to search for the answer that if he can't find the answer himself he doesn't deserve the answer (and we/other people don't deserve his questions on how to do it).

Edit: It seems he was deleted...
 

shinneri

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vaustein posted on Dec 13 2006 at 02:31 PM said:
--------------------------
Laptop + SD-Card
--------------------------
Remarks: This assumes a relatively light 6-8 pound laptop, not the 15-20 pound "portable
desktop replacements" like Dell XPS or Alienware. Also assumes a built-in SD card reader
and WinXP OS. Why an SD card? Simple: switching from laptop to desktop or laptop to
laptop without installing additional software.

Optimal: All emulation, all homebrew, all portage supported under Windows (most of it).
Mouse support for best possible point-and-click gaming. Keyboard for precision
movement in action games and text entry for text adventures.
Fully mature GBA, SNES, and PS1 emulation.
Secondary: You can do it all with a laptop.
Drawbacks: If you're going to play beyond three hours, or you plan to play while standing
up, you have a problem.
Please mention that even a "light" laptop is in no way portable or convenient like the other two options. Also, keyboard isn't even close to as good as d-stick/pad and buttons for most emulated consoles (though you can add a controller, of course..). And why aren't you mentioning PSP here? That's certainly a better option than DS in this regard.
 
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S

Shikkers

Guest
Repeat just to make sure (don't feed).

It seems he was deleted...
 

vaustein

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Messages
240
One point I forgot to make - it's too bad that there is no compatibility between GP2X and WinXX emulators. For instance, it would be nice to do the following:

- Play Castlevania 3 on GPFCE with headphones while on the bus to work
- Return home, pop the SD card into my home theater PC
- Continue where I left off by loading a saved state (or SRAM, though CV3 uses passwords) and continue the experience in home theater surround and HD monitor goodness.

Too bad really :(

shinneri posted on Dec 15 2006 at 01:41 AM said:
Also, keyboard isn't even close to as good as d-stick/pad and buttons for most emulated consoles (though you can add a controller, of course..).

In general, I prefer keyboard control for precision - if I press UP+RIGHT, there is no possibility of the keypress being misinterpreted as RIGHT or UP. I find it much easier to pull off HaDoKen with keys than a joypad or joystick. Actually, when I first played Mike Tyson's Punch Out, I couldn't beat King Hippo until I replaced my NES Advantage joystick with the included D-Pad. I kept pulling down to block, but with the joystick, I'd be off a bit and do a dodge instead.

Then again, I used to beat Castlevania 1 with a NES Advantage and my eyes closed, so maybe I just need more practice.
 
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Draken

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I own a DS + supercard/superkey to play new and original games.
A zodiac + 3gb sd cards for watching movies and series. (big screen with a high resolution)
And in a week I'll finally have a gp2x + 4gb sd card for retrogaming and homebrew gaming.

I don't have a lot of money to spare (It took quite long to get each of those) and I'm much more of a handheld gamer so I don't really bother with consoles nowadays..
 
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