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Nixot

Tablet PC Doom.

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I am looking to see if I can play Doom on my little tablet PC. Is it possible? Is there a source port that has tablet controls?

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From a computational point of view, it will probably run any source port that a similarly specified desktop or laptop with the same operating system will be able to run.

So, first of all, what platform are you talking about? "Tablet PC" is generic, and can meam Windows, iPad, Android, Windows CE, and possibly other stuff like Meegoo or even WinME or some weird custom OS.

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The difficult part isn't the challenge of getting it to run on a tablet, but rather the challenge of providing sensible controls for it.

You'll notice in the video in AXDoom's link, although it runs it's not pleasant to use. I switch to using the joystick control to move around after the game starts, but on an iPad-style tablet, there's only the touchscreen to work with. The PDA in the video is also stylus based, which is very different to a multitouch system.

Maybe if I get my hands on a tablet PC soon I can do some work to make things more usable.

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These inherent limits in the controls are exactly the reason why a game such as "Angry Birds" hit it big: often a platform defines what is succesful by function of its limitations.

So e.g. Facebook only gets point-and-click casual games, and touchscreen platforms get more of the same, with maybe some twists thrown in by the use of orientation/gesture sensing. And given enough market momentum, this can effectively kill traditional game genres.

E.g. a traditional 2D arcade platform game would never work with its original control scheme on a touchscreen device, and FPS are way more complex than that.

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Don't these things have USB ports to hookup keyboard, gamepad, more storage, etc? Just wondering, I never even saw an iPad or any recent tablet PC. The last one I physically handled was something manufactured about a decade ago. It had a Transmeta CPU and originally probably had Win98 or something, but the owner had installed Slackware Linux. It could be used in tablet mode (with a special stylus instead of mouse) or in desktop-mode, and there was a small (laptop size) keyboard that swiveled out so it was in the right position when the screen was vertical. Probably had USB ports too, but I can't remember for sure. It also had internal wifi chip, as well as ethernet port, and maybe even some other stuff like WinModem and serial port.

Anyway, I think even the Sharp Zaurus and Pandora game console have USB ports. Even the tiniest netbooks have several. It's really a must-have for any serious portable device.

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hex11 said:

Don't these things have USB ports to hookup keyboard, gamepad, more storage, etc?

hex11 said:

Anyway, I think even the Sharp Zaurus and Pandora game console have USB ports. Even the tiniest netbooks have several. It's really a must-have for any serious portable device.


Most low-end Android devices come with only a Bluetooth connection and a mini-USB port, which could be used to connect some wireless Bluetooth keyboards and mice (provided you have the right software that can use them, it's not automatic) and maybe a specialized USB hub for connecting more USB stuff, but using those contraptions requires that you have a working surface, which kinda defeats the purpose of using a Tablet PC/portable/subnotebook/netbook/whatever gimmicky and buzzwordy device you can think of for this sort of gaming.

Big tablet PCs actually have at least one or two proper USB ports, and, if you're lucky, a wired LAN port but it would still be more of the same. I have a 2002 Compaq Presasio 910EA laptop, and it amazes me how it still has a parallel port and a floppy disk drive, along with all the other crap.

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Maes said:

These inherent limits in the controls are exactly the reason why a game such as "Angry Birds" hit it big: often a platform defines what is succesful by function of its limitations.

So e.g. Facebook only gets point-and-click casual games, and touchscreen platforms get more of the same, with maybe some twists thrown in by the use of orientation/gesture sensing. And given enough market momentum, this can effectively kill traditional game genres.

E.g. a traditional 2D arcade platform game would never work with its original control scheme on a touchscreen device, and FPS are way more complex than that.

Indeed. I often thought that Doom RPG's turn-based approach was a very sensible way of adapting the game to the mobile phone form factor.

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All those proponents of NEW and ENHANCED!!! novelty control schemes should really take the time and read Donald Norman's The Design of Everyday Things, a leading expert on usability engineering.

There are designs and solutions which are elegant, simple, and well-adapted to human micromotor capabilities (e.g. joystick controls are employed in anything ranging from arcade games to flying very real multi-million dollar helicopters or controlling some few hunded tons of hanging ship components in a dock), as well as many which are broken, crippled, limiting or simply pathological.

I'm pretty confident that if Dr. Donald issued a revised version of that book, he would include touch interfaces as one of the most pathologically misused and worse designed user interfaces ever.

A touchscreen can be seen as an extension of the point-and-click interface, which by itself is actually near-optimal for its intended purpose (hitting one precise target on a screen), and as long as it's used only in that role, everything is fine and dandy, nothing to argue there. Even gestures such as dragging/sliding etc. all come from traditional WIMP mouse-driven controls.

But using it as an ersatz keyboard is already pretty bad (you get none of the tactile feedback of a real one and it's like hitting thin air), and any scheme I've seen that tried to emulate a directional gamepad (or worse, TWO of them) plus keys just didn't work well in terms of sensitivity, response speed, etc., stole usable screen space, and was almost impossible to get "mentally mapped" or acquire any sort of spontaneous feel for it.

The only touch control I've seen that sort of worked well for a traditional game genre was a slider control for an arkanoid/breakout clone on Android...and then again the problem was that you couldn't play well without looking at the control itself, rather than your controlled sprite (which you also convered with your finger).

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I've seen Chocolate Doom run on a very weird operating system:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxGZ36oRMEs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQwyLhe-_eY
But how do you do to make it run? I don't know this operating system but I'm sure a windows or mac build couldn't run on this. So how do you do to compile/build a version of the game for a operating system like this one? Do you need to find a specific program and is SDL working with every opertating system? OSWALD is not mentioned in the list of suported OS on SDL's website so I guess you need to write some lines of code if you want to make it run. With a device that have a touchscreen, if you can get something like a mini-keyboard, it should be confortable. I play to Doom on my GBA, the only control you need to be confortable is a d-pad (move), L&R (strafe), B (use), A (fire), Start (menu), Select (Automap). Maybe someday, somebody will get it to run on something like a toaster. But I think it's already possible:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD-X6H-O55U
You can use this computer as a toaster and run Chocolate-Doom at the same time.

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OSWALD huh? Seems like a typical "open hardware" educational contraption with an ARM CPU and some flavour of Linux powering it.

As for toasters...heh, can anyone explain to me why on earth a toaster would actually need computational power, like, at all? What happened to good old thermostats?

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OSWALD is the hardware. The OS is just Linux; nothing "very weird" about it really.

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Heh I am really, REALLY tempted to write a research paper to go with Mocha Doom, where I will also address the whole Doom portability issue from an objective point of view. If anything, to put things into perspective. Or perhaps write two different papers, one on each subject. If anything, it would make for a very good comparative overview of what has been done to Doom in nearly 20 years (I would avoid desktop source port genealogy however, that's another handful in its own right).

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Maes said:

As for toasters...heh, can anyone explain to me why on earth a toaster would actually need computational power, like, at all? What happened to good old thermostats?


So it can auto-update your facebook page about what you're making for breakfast?

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hex11 said:

So it can auto-update your facebook page about what you're making for breakfast?


FACEBOOK? FACEBOOK IS DEAD MAN! TWITTER IS THE INTERNET NOW!!! Die. *Bang*

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If you want to make Chocolate-Doom more confortable to play on a device like the one in the video that I posted before, you could use something like a On-Screen Keyboard (or virtual keyboard). But you can only include the important keys since it won't enter on the screen and the keys mustn't be too small. The screen on this Tablet PC is vertical, so you can put Doom running in aspect ratio correction mode at the top of the screen and a virtual keyboard at the bottom (or a virtual gamepad since only the necessary keys will be present). Their's a On-Screen Keyboard on this to write, so you could do something that looks like it. But the On-Screen control can be difficult. A d-pad could be a not good choice because if the screen is too small, you can touch another direction by accident, so instead you could give the choice to the user to use a circle-pad (like the 3DS).

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Have you ever tried to use a virtual keyboard? They are one of the worst input devices ever even when typing single characters, let alone a complex sequence of keeping down/releasing multiple keys, like any decent fast-paced game would require. If one really HAS to use a tablet, I'd implementent at least some aspects of the control through the orientation/accelerometer sensors, although the only real solution is the connect a real keyboard or at least a real gamepad.

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axdoom1 said:

If you want to make Chocolate-Doom more confortable to play on a device like the one in the video that I posted before, you could use something like a On-Screen Keyboard (or virtual keyboard). But you can only include the important keys since it won't enter on the screen and the keys mustn't be too small. The screen on this Tablet PC is vertical, so you can put Doom running in aspect ratio correction mode at the top of the screen and a virtual keyboard at the bottom (or a virtual gamepad since only the necessary keys will be present). Their's a On-Screen Keyboard on this to write, so you could do something that looks like it. But the On-Screen control can be difficult. A d-pad could be a not good choice because if the screen is too small, you can touch another direction by accident, so instead you could give the choice to the user to use a circle-pad (like the 3DS).

I was actually planning to add a pop-up keyboard feature for use on touchscreen devices. It's the main thing missing from the Windows Mobile port.

Whether I'll actually ever get round to doing it, I don't know.

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Maes said:

A touchscreen can be seen as an extension of the point-and-click interface, which by itself is actually near-optimal for its intended purpose (hitting one precise target on a screen), and as long as it's used only in that role, everything is fine and dandy, nothing to argue there. Even gestures such as dragging/sliding etc. all come from traditional WIMP mouse-driven controls.

But using it as an ersatz keyboard is already pretty bad (you get none of the tactile feedback of a real one and it's like hitting thin air), and any scheme I've seen that tried to emulate a directional gamepad (or worse, TWO of them) plus keys just didn't work well in terms of sensitivity, response speed, etc., stole usable screen space, and was almost impossible to get "mentally mapped" or acquire any sort of spontaneous feel for it.

You're right, but as FPSes go, if there's any that's worth trying to squeeze into a tablet interface then it's Doom. Doom, unlike more recent FPSes (that as a minimum require Jump + Crouch), Doom is playable with just a 2-button mouse and arrow keys, not counting weapon selection (I don't mind moving my hand over to the number keys for that - at least that's not as bad as a mouse wheel, and I'd be happy with smallish icons on a tablet.) Those controls don't all have obvious counterparts on a tablet, but with so few dimensions I have a hunch that it would be possible to fit in easy-to-use versions of all of them.

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Maes said:

...although the only real solution is the connect a real keyboard or at least a real gamepad.


I don't know who's gonna bring a keyboard with him everytime he wants to play Doom on his little Tablet Pc (exept if you have on of those wireless mini-keyboards, see my explaination on gamepads below because it's a bit the same thing).

A gamepad is a better idea but it's not always confortable.
e.g.: you are in a bus, you have Doom on your Tablet PC and by chance, you brought your GamePad. You start the game and hold the GamePad with your two hands. Where will you put your Tablet PC? Their's only a seat in front of you, so their's not any place and not any table where you can put your Tablet. So you'll need to hold the Tablet between your two legs and be placed in a ball-like position so the Tablet can be close enough to you so you can see a thing.
It's easier if the controls are on your Tablet.

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I always thought the "eraser" style mouse was half decent for fpsing; it's actually not all that different than the thumbsticks that console players use. And it can easily be integrated into a small package like a handheld gaming console. Unfortunately, tablet designers don't have me pre-approve their designs.

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natt said:

I always thought the "eraser" style mouse was half decent for fpsing; it's actually not all that different than the thumbsticks that console players use. And it can easily be integrated into a small package like a handheld gaming console. Unfortunately, tablet designers don't have me pre-approve their designs.


An "eraser" style mouse, do you mean this? If it's this, it can be a good idea but like you said, tablet designers don't seem to use this on their machine. But a button that is working like that could be added with more buttons on the screen. But I like much more the circle-pad. Something like this could be drawed on the screen with only the necessary buttons to play and you use the touchscreen to push, move and press these buttons.

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axdoom1 said:

A gamepad is a better idea but it's not always confortable.
e.g.: you are in a bus, you have Doom on your Tablet PC and by chance, you brought your GamePad. You start the game and hold the GamePad with your two hands. Where will you put your Tablet PC?


Well then it's about time they start making Tablet PCs with at least the decency of a hardware d-pad, like they did once. On a big-ass tablet PC, it's not going to steal a lot of space anyway (and there are novel solutions like e.g. putting it at the back of the device, if you really really really don't want to ruin that whole "I wanna look like an iPod/iPad/iPhone!" thing.

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