Open GL graphics drivers + QNX Neutrino for games!

Judging by others questions about graphics drivers this is a real shot to nothing but I got into QNX because of the words “Real Time”. I installed it on my PC, with service pack 2, and it just comes with a slow vesa driver?

Now, if it had real-time 2D/3D drivers for PC graphics cards with vertical-blank syncing, and, let’s say, triple buffering thrown in. It would be an absolute KILLER PC platform for games… and any real-time 3D PC apps. Medical work, if you prefer your graphics mature.

Windows is rubbish for games because you have to wait an age to get CPU time. Even in exclusive mode and even when you don’t have to wait, the OS soaks up CPU cyles like a bathroom sponge.

*nix OSs spurred on by the free-ness of Linux (I use a Zen-Linux box) is most definitely Windows’ stalking horse and I expect Linux to take over in popularity in ten years in much the same way as VHS v Betamax and Clones v IBM PC… users can’t ignore choice combined with price competition.

PCs have always been more powerful than consoles but never looked it owing to the OS getting in the way.

I am a former games programmer of the eighties who still longs for those days to return: Open systems, low level code written close to the silicon, no OS to strangle my code.

If QNX… which is looking exciting again… could only carry that real-time message through to assemly coded graphics drivers it would immediately provide possibly the best home platform available… you only need nvidia and AMD to write drivers… better still write yourselves… and you’re done.

Imagine being able to walk into a computer store and finding a super-fast, super-responsive no messing, no fluff OS for PCs packed with assembler-coded graphics drivers, no OS layers to fight with and an optimised compiler or two… you will have found the platform to fill an aching hole that has been there in the market for more than ten years: A home development system that bedroom hackers can take very seriously, along with experts too, that is also lots of fun! Please do it!

PS While you’re about it write a 2D spec that puts all GUI elements… gradient fills, transparency, sprites etc in the silicon… it won’t be too hard to do and I’ll happily spec you out a comlete design in rough myself. Device modulo for smooth v-sync massive desktop scrolling etc.

Please do it!

Heh, I think it’s wrong place :slight_smile: Better write to blackhole^W QSS:

Paul Leroux
QNX Software Systems
+1 613 591-0931

He’s quite active lately: … le&sid=425

Hey noc, you deleted my reply :slight_smile: ?

No, must be a system bug, when both of us tried to post. Can you try again?

Funny cause at first a wrote a huge reply, commenting each point Kendall made, one by one. That I decided it was pointless and resumed it all in two sentences, then these two sentences got lost ;-)

Basicaly I was saying that Kendall was living in the past, he said it himself “I am a former games programmer of the eighties who still longs for those days to return”. Well thoses days are gone and will never come back…

"PS While you’re about it write a 2D spec that puts all GUI elements… gradient fills, transparency, sprites etc in the silicon… it won’t be too hard to do and I’ll happily spec you out a comlete design in rough myself. Device modulo for smooth v-sync massive desktop scrolling etc. "

This comment tells me Kendall is totaly out of touch (no disrespect intended) with todays reality. First these specs already exists. Further more writing an API around a specific silicon is bad business, all the one that did that are gone, Amiga, Atari, 3dfx, etc… To allow for good competition you need an hardware abstraction layer.

Also todays game are not about sprites and scrolling, they are about AI, portability, physics, sound, story telling etc.

Furthermore 3D GUI are coming (Vista) so who needs yet another 2d specs…

Ok, so what’s wrong with the idea of a home development system in principle?

Consoles are no different now, methodologically speaking, than they have ever been. They’re much more powerful, but still based around CPU, graphics and sound hardware. These machines have a life-cycle, no different from how it has always been, of around five years, before we all move onto the next thing, which is just the same but more powerful.

What’s actually on the technolgy curve is no different from what it was in 1980 when consoles and PCs entered the marketplace. A PC is still basically a PC with faster silicon. It’s much more complex, but it’s not so very different.

You’ve basically got two trends straddling the point… consoles that are powerful and responsive, good for games but inaccessible and on the other side, PCs which are powerful, accesible, but rubbish for games because of a fat OS that gets in the way of programmers doing business with the silicon.

Yes, I think hardware abstraction helps because an Nvidia card does the same thing as an ATi card just speaking a different language. So it’s handy to have something translate. What I’m suggesting is an OS that is designed for games devlopers that provides harware abstraction but also provides real-time responsiveness and scan-line synchronisation and does away with everything that isn’t important for gamers or developers. It would be great if it were available cross-platform… from PCs to PS3s. It would also be great if you could go into your local department store and buy the OS with a compiler as a kind of a game development kit you could use in place of Windows which does a lot of things that are useless for games and many of these services just slow things down and get in the way: I just want to be able to set up a screen and get going, asuming (with provisos) I’m the only app in the system.

Then this could be the platform rather than the hardware, and anybody who used it could be taken seriously by software houses: It would make things much easier than they are now.

The old machines did grow up and die but that hasn’t changed: The same happens with CPUs and graphics hardware now on the PC. All that’s changed is that hardware abstraction means it can happen out of step. Consoles have their time and then fade out. They are going to continue to do so too, that hasn’t changed a bit. There was no such thing as perennial hardware then and there still isn’t now and there isn’t likely to be in the near future.

The differences that I’m identifying are twofold:

  1. Home users could get at the hardware and were given a greater sense of power over their machine and what it could do for them: In some ways it actually made hardware more useful.
  2. More or less as a direct consequence of (1) Computer hardware sold in substantially greater numbers back then. The existance of a software/hardware lifecycle hasn’t changed since the year dot.

Now, Linux means that we’re nearly seeing a rennaisance of those days and it’s pretty easy to see a not far distant future in which they return with abundance: You’ll be able to go into Curry’s or some average department store and buy “Game-Linux” for fourty quid with a selection of compiler software and OS manuals telling you how its done. I’m not saying do away with hardware abstraction, I’m saying do away with everything that is useless and gets in the way of development.

QNX could be it, but it isn’t it.

I’m willing to bet money that it’ll happen anyway.

PS. The reason the Amiga died was not because of anything being tied to the silicon… the Amiga died because it was crap. The other machines died because they were outdated… so… what’s changed? The PS3 will die for the same reason.

Nothing, just that in general nobody cares. Games developper represent a very very very small poll of people.

I disagree it’s very different in the way you use it, in the way you program it. In the way you use it to solve problems.

They are accessible technically speaking, it’s all about money.

Really and in what way? Games on PC are usually better looking, provide more feature and more performance then their console conterpart.

I’m no game expert, but I think scan-line synchronisation is a totaly outdated concept in todays game.

Get XP Embedded.

Home users do not care about this kind of stuff. They can hardly get email going…

Compiler software, for home user, really?

I’m not saying do away with hardware abstraction, I’m saying do away with everything that is useless and gets in the way of development.
What makes you think that what you think is useless is useless for the rest of the world.

QNX could be it, but it isn’t it.

I’m willing to bet money that it’ll happen anyway.
I’m betting my money it won’t.

Funny because to me the way I understand what you are saying, the Amiga was the closed think to it. In what way was it crap?

This isn’t turning out to be much of a discussion because you’re very much keener to eek out technical innacuracies you can find in what I’m saying than you are in trying to appreciate the point. I’m not trying to put forward a technically watertight discussion about how programs are developed… that would take years… I am just identifying a hole in the market for a product that doesn’t exist.

Your point about games developers being a small group of people is a peculiar one given that the global games market is worth over ten-billion dollars. What are you comparing it to, software wise, that it is dwarfed by? It’s about the same size as the home video market and provides well over a quarter of a million new job vacancies a year. In the UK the year on year balance of trade exceeds the country’s film and television industry. It’s not exactly tiny.

The reason I’m getting down to technical detail is because that is where the devil lives and we are not even getting to marketting details…

When I am talking about games developers size I am not talking about market size for games. I’m talking about market size for people that want to buy a systeme because they want to be able to develop a game.

Basicaly I am trying to say there is no such hole worth plugging business wise :wink: If you think there is a hole, then go ahead and plug it yourself, start a business, get the word out. Maybe in 3 years from now you’ll drop by, in your private air plane to tell me how wrong I was, which it would be my pleasure to admit.



The Amiga line was awesome for the time. 1985. At that time PCs were CGA graphics. There was nothing like it at the time. Pre-emptive multitastking os VS Dos.

Mario is right they used custom hardware and among other things (bad marketing, distribution) that killed it. As PC video cards progressed and you were able to upgrade your video card, the onboard graphics of my amigas stayed the same.

New models had very minor incremental upgrades to the chipset. At one point you became able to buy PCI graphics cards for the Amigas, but they were 10x (literally) the cost of the same video card for a PC. By the time windows 3.1 had become popular, 2d PCI video cards for PCs were blowing away the Amiga’s HAM interlaced display :stuck_out_tongue:

I started with a A1000, got a A2000, then at school an A3600UX. Then a 286 :stuck_out_tongue: and once the 386’s came out it was GG.

Actually look at the whole issue of consoles, xbox, xbox 360, PS2, PS3, Nitendo, Wii. No one never talks about the OS inside these things, simply because it is usually the think that matters the less.

I’ve spoken with a few console programmers about this. Since every xbox is exactly the same as every other xbox, same hardware, amount of memory, speed of processor, and since games are written to a specific console, you can be a very bad programmer. Meaning, write to hardware directly if you want, use fixed memory locations without allocating, etc. They usually end up writing their own mini GUI. When did you ever see two games whose interface was the same?