View Full Version : Is N-Gage ever coming and do we need it anyway?


Haggisheed
19-12-2007, 12:52 PM
Hi everyone,

After another missed release date for the N-Gage project I have now begun to wonder if it is ever going to come and even if it does come, do we need it anyway? Obviously, on a site called "allaboutngage" this is a pretty loaded question but whilst waiting for the official N-Gage games to arrive I've bought some other non-N-Gage games and I don't know what the difference is (apart from the online community aspects). The normal Series 60 versions of Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood and Asphalt: Urban GT3 are available direct from Gameloft for 2 each and other games like Sky Force and K-Rally (which have been mentioned here before) are keeping my phone busy. Not to mention Lament Island and Tomb Raider:Legends. So, I was just wondering - will the official N-Gage games be that much better and if not, what are we actually waiting for?

Haggisheed

nj7
25-12-2007, 09:52 PM
Seems that nobody cares about:frown: Nintendo DS Lite is there for a reason:)

krisse
29-12-2007, 09:32 PM
Well, to some extent things like Lament Island and K-Rally are indeed examples of how good independent phone games can be. If there were lots of phone games like this then N-Gage wouldn't be needed. The trouble is these games are very rare, and for every Lament Island there's a hundred rubbish shoot-em-ups or dull platform games.

IMHO the problem isn't really about S60 game development, it's about the indie developers getting paid. S60 games are incredibly complicated to install compared to PC or console games. Most of the people who know how to install S60 games also seem to know how to pirate them, so they never actually pay the developers. If the developers don't get paid, the games stop appearing.

Even if S60 games were easy to install, most S60 owners have never even heard of S60. Ask them what kind of phone they have and they'll reply "it's a Nokia". Because Nokia has refused to put any kind of S60 logo on the phone or interface, there's not really any reason for S60 owners to know that they have a compatible device, so they simply won't have any reason to go looking for S60 games.

The point of N-Gage is that it makes it extremely easy to find, buy and install S60 games (N-Gage games are the same thing as S60 games technically). You just click on the icon labelled "Games", select the game, click buy (and enter your details if you haven't previously) and the game downloads straight onto the handset, even if you're away from your computer. If it's that easy to buy the game, then a lot more people will do so, which means the developers are more likely to make more games.

One thing N-Gage definitely ISN'T though is a competitor to consoles. They're completely different markets, very few people buy a phone specifically for gaming, whereas almost all console owners buy consoles for gaming.

Kazutoyo
23-03-2008, 04:44 PM
do we need it anyway?
I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Java games have improved quite a bit over the past 2 years.

Back when the original N-Gage was out, it was needed to get relatively deep story driven phone games, such as Rifts or Shadowkey.

But now we get games like Blades & Magic (http://www.fishlabs.net/en/games/adventure_rpg/blades_and_magic_3d.php) and it's a java game!

Not only that, but the java games also have the advantage of working on every phone. If you got a java game 5 years ago, you will still be able to play it on a modern device (the game resolution will be wrong, but still). While it's impossible to play Rifts or Shadowkey on a modern device.

Granted, this is due how Symbian built their OS and I don't put any blame on Nokia, but what if Symbian do that again when Symbian 11.x is released? Then we will have our N-Gage games and won't be able to play on our new shiny device, yet again.

So the main advantage of N-Gage this time, doesn't seem to be the deeper games, but the distribution of games. At least in my opinion. I do, however, hope for some seriously good deep games for N-Gage, though, and Dirk Dagger seems like a reasonably good game. I'm also interested in the golf game for some reason. Could be nice for some quick casual gaming. But I got several good java games, so I'm not in a hurry for N-Gage at the moment, even if I wish that my next phone will be N-Gage compatible cause it would be a good thing incase some golden games appear.

nj7
23-03-2008, 08:34 PM
I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately. Java games have improved quite a bit over the past 2 years.

Back when the original N-Gage was out, it was needed to get relatively deep story driven phone games, such as Rifts or Shadowkey.

But now we get games like Blades & Magic (http://www.fishlabs.net/en/games/adventure_rpg/blades_and_magic_3d.php) and it's a java game!

Not only that, but the java games also have the advantage of working on every phone. If you got a java game 5 years ago, you will still be able to play it on a modern device (the game resolution will be wrong, but still). While it's impossible to play Rifts or Shadowkey on a modern device.

Granted, this is due how Symbian built their OS and I don't put any blame on Nokia, but what if Symbian do that again when Symbian 11.x is released? Then we will have our N-Gage games and won't be able to play on our new shiny device, yet again.

So the main advantage of N-Gage this time, doesn't seem to be the deeper games, but the distribution of games. At least in my opinion. I do, however, hope for some seriously good deep games for N-Gage, though, and Dirk Dagger seems like a reasonably good game. I'm also interested in the golf game for some reason. Could be nice for some quick casual gaming. But I got several good java games, so I'm not in a hurry for N-Gage at the moment, even if I wish that my next phone will be N-Gage compatible cause it would be a good thing incase some golden games appear.

Good point, indeed!

krisse
26-03-2008, 03:34 PM
So the main advantage of N-Gage this time, doesn't seem to be the deeper games, but the distribution of games. At least in my opinion.

Excellent post by the way, thanks for writing it.

I'd definitely at least half-agree with what you say. Even if N-Gage just did Java games it would STILL be a good idea because it makes it so easy to find, try and buy games that are compatible with your phone. It also provides a good framework for multiplayer online gaming, which could work just as well in Java as in Symbian, though Symbian may have an edge when it comes to multitasking and interacting with other applications.

I also think Java is very good now, I gave the Java version of Sola Rola one of our ultra rare "mega game" award in its All About Symbian review because I think it's just about as good as phone games get ( here's the review by the way: http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/reviews/item/Sola_Rola_for_Java_J2ME_Review.php )

However, there are things that Symbian games can do that Java cannot do, for example Java still can't do the graphics in Hooked On COTD or System Rush Evolution, and Symbian will probably always be ahead graphically because it allows the phone's hardware to be accessed more directly. I know gameplay is king, but for me the graphics really lifted Hooked On and made it feel a lot more ambient and atmospheric (the water slowly dripping down the camera lens after you catch something for example).

What's more these N-Gage games now are just the beginning, we know from experience that as developers get to know a platform they do amazing things with it, and Symbian has a lot more potential technically than Java. GPS gaming for example may be a lot easier to do on Symbian than Java, and the same may be true of camera gaming as well.

But this is all to some extent irrelevant, because the N-Gage platform can distribute both Java and S60 applications, so there's always going to be the potential for the best of both worlds. Who cares what platform a game is written for as long as the game is good! :-)


If you got a java game 5 years ago, you will still be able to play it on a modern device (the game resolution will be wrong, but still). While it's impossible to play Rifts or Shadowkey on a modern device.

I see what you're saying, but I think 99% of people don't go back to old games on their phones, especially games from years ago. Phone games are (rightly or wrongly) a lot more throwaway than games for computers and consoles.

Having said that, you're absolutely right that Symbian should avoid these "binary breaks" because they destroy the platform's back catalogue, so when the new version is released even very recent applications won't work on it. It means that the amount of software available for the new version goes back to zero.

Symbian said they did the binary break with Symbian 9 because they wanted to lock down the security compared to Symbian 7 and 8. Hopefully they've now done that and will make future versions backwards compatible.

(Symbian 8 was backwards compatible with Symbian 7 by the way, so they have had backwards compatibility in the past.)