Nouvel 'HunoPPC' Hugues - game ports for Amiga!
It took a lot of time to publish this great interview. Sorry for this, but the last couple of months were without Amiga stuff. But now, you can read the great text with the great man! Interesting games and more! Point of view from developer side! Enjoy!
HunoPPC amuses us a lot. Its ports are the opportunity to play fairly modern games on AmigaOS 4. But HunoPPC is not only the game industry! He created the EGL wrappers library for OpenGLES 2.0, SDL benchmark charts, and FinalBurn Alpha. He is a member of the French Amiga Team.
1. Let's start with an introduction: describe your first contact with a personal computer. Was it Amiga or any other machine?
My first contact with a personal computer was a Sinclair ZX81, I started doing some small programs and it was a great discovery. The problem with this machine was the sensitivity of the RAM extension, which often disconnected if you moved too much. The backup on magnetic tape cassette which became a course of the combatant with problems of randomization of the head, it was the system D (disconnects) as we say with us.
Subsequently, I had an AMSTRAD CPC 464 which was quickly replaced by my first AMIGA.
2. What was the configuration of your first Amiga? Were there other models to follow?
The configuration of my first AMIGA was an A500 with memory extension of 512KB and external drive D7. Next came the MTEC 030 + 8 MB A1200 which was quickly replaced with a 060 + 64 MB Phase5 then the A4000 with CyberstormPPC 060 + Cybervision.
I have for my personal collection of: A500, A500 +, A1200 68060, A2000 68030, A3000D 68040, A4000D 68040, CDTV, CASABLANCA 68060, CD32 + SX32.
3. How did your adventure with Next Generation systems begin? It seems that you are concentrating on the AmigaOS 4 systems. What about MorphOS and AROS?
For the short story and I will surprise you, my first machine NG was a Pegasos 1, I was one of the first French beta testers to have this machine (Beta tester number 003 exactly), but I had a lot of problems related to the dealers of this machine and took me for the golden egg hen, a lot of promise (NDA), I ended up with a buggy machine unusable and I had to pay for most returns and change of cards while normally everything had to be taken into account, I had to cry to have the fix ARTICIA, the beta tesers 2 had immediately fixed machines and their software packs while I waited, Wait for my software and my G4 card in my contract. Following this story, I made a complete blockage and no longer want to hear about this machine by disgusting, unfortunately, yet MorphOS is a really great system and I get along very well with his community (I have also worked on MORPHOS projects like Hurrican, 1941DX, GngeoNG, Candy Crisis...). For AROS I only made the port of 1941DX and I have a hard time concentrating on several systems, so I preferred to limit myself to AmigaOS4 that I adore and that is my system of choice (a chance to prior for users of this system not?).
4. Please tell us something about your work and how did you actually start with "porting"?
It all started when I downloaded several games on OS4Depot at the time. By double-clicking on it, errors, crashes, no joysticks support, no full screen, no sound, huge CPU usage, no user documentation. Finally, I could not be satisfied with what I was recovering, most of the portages were sloppy and I was completely frustrated. I began to document myself, to buy books of language C #, to phone my friend Frédéric Rignault (POLYMER of the team MorphOS), gradually I got there and I had many failures and misunderstandings but I hooked up and as I am a very tenacious person, I do not let go, so I managed to get my first REMINISCENCE portage and then came the series of ZELDA's.
5. Your games are available for AmigaOS 4. Almost none is available for MorphOS or MorphOS. Why? Is it so hard to make a game for the three NG systems?
As I said above for personal reasons and also to be able to concentrate better on a job, do not scatter everywhere and do not do a good job.
I am more supportive of a job well done than badly done. No, it is not difficult to make games for several systems NG (although sometimes you have to make the code a bit), but you have to make a choice and mine is made for AmigaOS4. MorphOS is full of very good developers and I think I do not lack in this area, I think BIGFOOT, HENES, FAB1, SIXK and many others...
6. How does your workshop look like? Does your environment include cross-platform development? What is needed to create a port of game? Tell us about LibBoostyGFX technology?
The BoostyGFX technology is really very simple: all the rendering routines have been rewritten and no longer pass by SDL, the graphics filters do the same and this allows me to have more frames per second and more flexibility for my work. I had to write this bookstore because at one point I found myself in a dead end and I could not move forward. So I had to make a choice and I took time to write this bookstore which allowed me eventually to save an enormous time.
7. Some say that SDL is not a solution. But for modern AmigaOS 4, we have enough hardware power to bring SDL software to Amiga. What do you think?
False, SDL is a more than a good solution, just that our versions lack maturity, optimization and more Hardware rendering (example: I had to do my libboosty to overcome these shortcomings). The SDL2 version of Capehill proves it, it is the most finished version that we could have and I encourage him to work on it again, I gave him a gift because I respect this beautiful work (he realized very beautiful projects before, encourage the SVP).
8. How difficult is port advanced game to AmigaOS? What limitations have AmigaOS?
The most important difficulties are: bug workarounds in our native libraries, lack of functions in our SDK, limits OpenGL and NOVA (under development), graphics memory limit for large games (256 MB), lack of additional libraries such as GLEW etc.
9. Tell us about OpenGLES 2.0 Wrapper EGL? Together with Warp3D Nova, it can speed up or even make it possible to wear something like Doom 3, Ultimate Stunts or more advanced games?
My Wrapper EGL goes well but many limits are still present, I add functions every month according to my needs but it is very hard and long to advance alone in this adventure, finally when NOVA will have advanced well and will allow using modern shaders YES the porting of Doom 3 and other great games will be possible but again I can not give you time limits and I can not know the future. Keep in mind that my bookstore takes advantage of OpenGLES which in turn uses NOVA, everything is bound to the end, so if a link in the chain is not complete we can not succeed.
10. Did you personally realize all the works or have a team behind the projects? What about beta testers?
Yes, I have done all these works, my beta testers are there to point out the problems and without them, I can not advance, my team is made up of beta testers coming from several countries, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, Greece...
I think of Lio, KL, Mumu, Javia de Las Rivas, Pseudaxos, Salternaos, Samo79, Elwood, Zzd10h, Sinisrus, TommySammy, George Sakianos, Alain Thellier, Xray, CrashMidnick, Crisot, DaveBraco and my children Matthis and Sorhenn.
11. Your work is available free of charge. Do you receive donations from the community? To access new games, for sure you need a high-end system like AmigaOne X5000.
Yes my work is actually free because I can not evaluate the price of my productions, the community does me good and I thank once again all the donors of all the beautiful gifts I received by donations .
My DEV machines are: AmigaOne X1000 R280X Toxic and an AmigaOne X5000 5020 R7770 (bought recently after the sale of my SAM460ex and my SAMep440)
12. FinalBurn Alpha is a multiple Arcade emulator to emulate Neo Geo, Capcom, Konami and Cave games. Do you have plans to develop Final Burn Alpha or maybe in the future we can see other emulators?
FinalBurn Alpha has seen an evolution yet in recent days. The evolution of this engine will remain in version 0.2.97.40 because only the fix BIG ENDIAN will be my priority as this emulator will be stable and will take advantage of more than 10000 games integrated.
The latest emulators added are: Nintendo NES, Nintendo SNES, MSX.
I just plan to add the TAITO F3 because I love the games of this platform.
13. Many of your ports are based on open source games. What do you think of this initiative in software development?
I think if there were no open source games we would have nothing to date, it's a chance to have that. Ok it's free but it's not because I realized the work that you can not make a donation to the original creator, would not that be good too?
14. What are your plans for future development?
Perform a complete rewrite of the game Locomalito Hydorah in composite version and NOVA (lib EGL_wrapper), with level editor and full new bonus.
Achieve 3 new game portages for the community and of course always some small gifts for Christmas. Some new presentations were made in NEUSS for those who were there to meet me ;-).
15. What are the misses on the Amiga platforms (tools, memory protection, etc.)?
We lack a lot of development tools that would really make us move faster in our work. This would also avoid using other systems in parallel. The limitation of the RAM and the graphics memory will be a real barrier in the next high-end games because the textures are bigger and bigger and the memory is quickly saturated.
16. The current Amiga market is divided into 3x NG and 68k systems. This is less than perfect to develop a new software that would work on all the previously mentioned systems, for example, MUI is different for AmigaOS and MorphOS, AROS owns Zune. Perhaps we should have a core team for MUI / Odyssey / Blender, etc., then port software for the other three major systems?
I think dynamic libraries could be used (eg Odyssey) and the GUI should be able to contain the same calls to remain retro-compatible as a little SDL, but since everyone wants to make their own software that does not remain unfortunately not compatible. I was discussing with CORTO versions of Shared Objects libraries, there is also a big problem, just adding internally versions would suffice instead of putting .so.1 .so.2 etc..., incomprehensible and especially unmanageable, stack everything in the directory "SObjects" and it becomes the mess quickly.
17. Lack of time generally equals lack of software development. Let's take Odyssey - it's an excellent browser without major development over the past four years, and as we all know, a browser-free operating system is nothing today. The battle is lost, or is there a chance for the new guy responsible to keep Odyssey? Or maybe better is to carry tenFOUR Fox?
Yes it lacks a good WEB browser on our machines, besides I do not use OWB (it crashes too often and I do not have time to have fun to restart several times during my search for the DEV), I use NETSURF (version DEV) which does not crash but is actually less complete and less compatible but that is enough for my research on the WEB.
I think we should stop focusing on OWB which is largely outdated, incompatible then resume the development of QT in order to have access to some good WEB browsers like "QupZilla" "QtWebBrowser" and may be others I do not know. I remind that this remains my opinion, but as long as working on something as much take back something clean.
18. Many Amiga users state that porting is not a preferred medium for our future. Is not it better to use QT and modern port software instead of developing everything from nothing?
I answered in part to the previous question. I'm sorry to say that but a question passes my mind: is that Amiga users who declare that porting is not a preferred way for our future are willing to give all their evenings and weekends to develop or help development, or donations for something that will come out in 8 months or more? I think they do not realize the work, the time, the tests, the debugs, the adaptations, the colossal work.
Take this review as a constructive criticism ok, we have QT (to improve) and a lot of maintained and supported application of the Unix or Windows world. Why reinvent the wheel when it already exists and it works. Of, course some parts will have to be rewritten (BIG ENDIAN) but we will lose less time if we were to make a new program from A to Z or take back something completely buggy.
19. You are known for game ports. But can you tell us if it is possible to publish, for example, video editing software for AmigaOS? Besides the modern browser, we do not have a tool like OpenShot.
Yes it is possible taking into account the QT improvement quoted above.
In fact !!, many things are achievable but time, the number of developers, and money limits us.
20. What Amiga could you advise for the newcomers? Classic, NG or emulation?
I will advise to immediately take an X5000 (I speak of the machines currently available), this machine has it under the hood and it is not finished, many improvements make it the fastest machine I could have in the hands.
In the future for small budgets you can indulge yourself with an A1222 but do not compare this card to an X5000 remain consistent.
For information: I paid more for my X1000 than my X5000 a few years ago, so it's up to you to see ;).
I wanted to thank you for this interview which was very pleasant. I also greatly thank the community that supports me and remains very supportive and helps us move towards a better world for our Amiga's.
PS: I want to make an ad: I am looking for a person or several people (motivated) 2D or 3D graphic designer to make a game (OpenGL). So if you feel ready to work with me, I will be ready to share my adventure with you. Thank you in advance.