Hooka: Would you like to introduce yourself a bit?
Hooka: Alright, lets start off with you introducing yourself a bit
KungPhoo: Uhm. OK. My real name is Gernot Frisch. I'm German, but I didn't choose to be though. I started programming when I was 13 on a C128 that I got for xmas. I waited to get my first computer for almost 2 years, that's where my strong urge to work with computers comes from. I worked towards an apprenticeship as a bricklayer then and coded games for the Amiga 500. Don't underestimate people by their education or job.
Hooka: I totally agree with that!
KungPhoo: My Mom forgot to buy games with the C128, so I had to read the BASIC manual. That's what got me started, and after a few years I saved up to buy an Amiga 500.
Hooka: Ahh, nice! what kind of games did you make for the A500?
KungPhoo: In the Amiga days, by coincidence, I met a friend who was into Amiga programming (He was way better than me!) and we made a lot of puzzle and platform games for the Amiga with AMOS and BlitzBasic.
Hooka: Very nice, are they online anywhere or have they disappeared with time?
That's one of my Amiga games from then.
KungPhoo: I can't get most of them running these days and I've forgotten the file format for the graphics unfortunately.
Hooka: That does happen ;) What inspired you to start making DiNGS Game Basic?
KungPhoo: When I got my PC, we programmed in QBasic. When Win95 came these games soon looked out-dated. So I wanted something more Windows like. I took a lot of time to learn C++, since there was no Windows BASIC capable of doing good games.
Hooka: Yeah, Visual Basic is still kinda sub-par for games... (without any extras like DirectX anyways)
KungPhoo: Programming with DirectX is always a mess. You can be sure to rewrite your engine every 2 years because it won't run anymore. At least that's the impression I got.
Hooka: Heh, I managed to make a crappy jump 'n bump clone using VB.NET without even touching DirectX (and I wouldn't recommend programming like that to anyone :P)
KungPhoo: Yes, VB6 was quite limited in fast graphics. I don't know about .NET, since it's very bloated and slow from what I see.
KungPhoo: After I launched Wumbo's Adventure, I decided to rewrite BlitzBasic. My coding skills were quite limited back then, though.
Hooka: And Wumbo's Adventure originally came out for which system?
KungPhoo: Windows 95. It didn't work on 2000 and XP, unfortunately. I made a port with GLBasic, which allowed it to be freeware for almost any other system then.
Hooka: Yeah, I noticed the GP2X port...
Hooka: How long did you work on DiNGS before you felt you had perfected it?
KungPhoo: DiNGS was far from being perfect. It was an interpreted language and very slow. I wanted to speed it up and then the idea of using a GCC backend arose. I then started GLBasic from scratch, keeping just a few graphic routines.
Hooka: Always a good idea to clean out the crud once and awhile...
KungPhoo: Yes. The very same thing happened last month, it was really a sad chapter. I had no idea about networking and tried to implement a network engine that didn't end up work properly. Now I finally got a book, learnt about networking and fixed the code. Acceptance is great and I'm working on a network game ATM, which is working very good.
Hooka: Very nice! Did you find the GCC backend to be a good choice? (Dependable, feature rich, and capable of what you wanted to accomplish?)
KungPhoo: Yes, it was the best choice I ever made. GLBasic is a fully compiled language, which gives very fast programs. The GCC setup size is quite an issue, though. A current GLBasic installation takes about 500MB or so, IIRC. Also, I can use C++ template techniques for sophisticated work and have full C++ "inline" support.
Hooka: Wow, that is a bit much! But at the same time, I don't think there are too many other SDK's that are quite as feature rich that are any smaller... and having inline C++ support is definitely a nice bonus!
KungPhoo: I have to install a toolchain for every platform. Every new platform takes ages to get the compiler running and remove non required files, though.
Hooka: Ouch, so alot of work on your end to get things running smoothly for your users...
KungPhoo: That's the only drawback. Porting to another platform really takes effort.
Hooka: what other platforms are you interested in supporting in the future?
KungPhoo: The iPhone. Oh, how I wish I had a working compiler for the iPhone.
Hooka: Ahh, yeah, that'd probably be quite a hot ticket for you...
KungPhoo: I already changed all the code to be compatible with OpenGL|ES, so it's really just a matter of the compiler now, but Apple is not very cooperative. But then, why would they be. I think the iPhone / iPod Touch is a very interesting market for us hobby programmers, where you might easily end up running your own business for a living.
Hooka: Agreeable, the target market size and online store definitely has it's advantages.
KungPhoo: The easy click+buy iTunes Store is the best thing that has come along in a while. I heard GPH tries something similar for the Wiz. Let's hope for the best!
Hooka: Indeed, I have troubles with believing anything GPH tells me nowadays, but we can always hope...
KungPhoo: From my experience, this time GPH is trying to listen to the community. They are really trying to get things right and they respond quickly to development problems.
Hooka: Well, that's encouraging! Did GPH send you a Wiz for free to port GLBasic?
KungPhoo: Yes, I got a Wiz. Otherwise porting would've been impossible. It was because they wanted to have a game on the firmware for release that was a GP2X game written with GLBasic.
Hooka: Ahh, that works out good for you then :) Are you still working on improving the 3D on GP2X, or is it a little too much for the GP2X?
KungPhoo: I used Trenki's 3D library, and it's quite usable. Even for GP2X. I think that's the best we can get without using the 2nd CPU. The gpu940 project is GPL, so I can't use that. Also, since you cannot buy a new GP2X anymore, I think this platform will soon lose importance, which is very sad. They should have at least made another batch for the long waiting times we have now.
Hooka: Unfortunately, we always seem to move onto the next new toy (I wish my GP32 was still getting releases though). Totally agree there... as interest is still out there for the GP2X.
KungPhoo: I hope people will try to support the GP2X, too. I like it a lot, especially the fact that you can have a batch of batteries in the dashboard when travelling long distances.
Hooka: Heh, yeah that was always a nice bonus... GP32 was nice because any old AA's lasted minimum 6 hours it seemed...
KungPhoo: Wow, that's great. I've not tested how long my Wiz lasts yet :/
Hooka: Yeah, that'd be an interesting thing to know... How many schools have you given out copies to?
KungPhoo: 30 or so. Quite a few...
Hooka: That's quite impressive! What 3rd party stuff for GLBasic has impressed you the most?
KungPhoo: Trucidare managed to get a LUA script parser and finally a Tcl/Tk connection working. So, that's an available scripting language in GLBasic... Totally awesome!
KungPhoo: The Xors3D wrapper is quite a workhorse, too.
Hooka: Are there any games made with GLBasic that really make you impressed with what has been done with your language?
KungPhoo: This one. It's only German, though, a real shame! It's a complete tower defense game.
Hooka: Nice, tower defense is addictive (I like to blame Alex for allowing me to waste alot of my time playing sqdef ;) ) How did you feel about the turnout for the GP2X Programming competition last year (ish)?
KungPhoo: That was an excellent event. I gained a lot of very high quality programmers for GLBasic, and most of them stuck to GLBasic as their language of choice afterwards. The games were partially top class.
Hooka: Cool. Did you ever figure out a viable way to network GP2X's?
KungPhoo: No, the F200 seems very crippled here. With a break out box, maybe, but that would limit the number of users drastically.
Hooka: Do you support usb joysticks/keyboard/mouse at all with breakout box?
KungPhoo: No, but I link to SDL, so you could easily do that with INLINE.
Hooka: Ahh, nice! How do you feel SEUCK turned out?
KungPhoo: I kept close to the original. It is better than the original, but it's 2008, so... Well, there's better game makers out there, I guess. Also, graphics is the hardest part, where SEUCK doesn't really help you. But it is quite usable and for kids it might be worth a look, since it's very easy to use.
Hooka: Do you know why Pixe threatened to kill you on retroremakes?
KungPhoo: lol. No idea, I think he got the impression I'll pedal him.
Hooka: Heh. Are you Hello Kitty's bastard love child, Kitty Hello?
KungPhoo: Uhm. I can't find a translation for "bastard love child". Is it bad?
Hooka: Heh, bastard means a child conceived out of wedlock (parents weren't married), does that slightly clear it up or does it need more of an explanation? (it's a joke)
KungPhoo: No, I got it. ;)
Hooka: Regardless, I need to say this: It's like saying Hello Kitty went out to the bar one night and got knocked up :D
KungPhoo: I sort of like the Hello Kitty look and style. I bought the game for X-Box, but it was too violent for my little one.
Hooka: A Hello Kitty game was too violent?!? *shrugs* I guess that makes sense, given that there are Hello Kitty thongs...
KungPhoo: The game was about hammering and beating up cute aliens.
Hooka: Heh, sweet. I always thought the Hello Kitty style penguin was cool, evil looking, but cool
KungPhoo: I like that frog, Keroppi.
Hooka: Ahh, yeah... well, I'm kinda running outta questions and stuff, anything you'd like to add or comments you'd like to make?
KungPhoo: Not really. Thanks a lot, was nice talking to you
Hooka: For sure, was nice trying out GLBasic when you held the competition (I didn't get anything done as college stole my time). One of these days I'm going to buy it, if only for prototyping purposes... mind you it's well more than a prototyping tool, I'm just used to C/C++ by now ;)
KungPhoo: University gave me time to make GLBasic. You must have done something wrong :D. Girly, usually :P
Hooka: Heh, was awesome interviewing you, and I'm glad you're a part of the GP2X scene, and hope to see you continue on to the other handhelds spawned from our community!