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2.3.1. Commercial Games Java is nowhere near as popular a gaming language as C or C++, but it is being used, and in games which have become bestseller. Commercial Java games are mostly CD-based applications, and use dirty Java (often Java and C++). Tom Clancy's Politika (1997) from Red Storm Entertainment (http://www.redstorm.com/) was written in almost pure Java. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six (1999) started out by mixing C++ and Java, but they dropped the Java when the code grew too complex [Upton 2000]. Both Shadow Watch (2000) and Tom Clancy’s ruthless.com (1998) were written in Java mixed with C/C++. Roboforge (2001) by Liquid Edge Games (http://www.roboforge.com) was coded in Java and Java 3D; it was given an "Excellent 87%” by PC Gamer Magazine in December 2001. IL-2 Sturmovik (2001) by Maddox Games (http://www.il2sturmovik.com/) used dirty Java, with part of the game engine written in Java but all the graphics in C++. At QuakeCon 2001, Fullsail Real World Entertainment showed a Quake clone called Jamid and F1 Grand Prix Demo, both written in Java using Java 3D. However, nothing much has been heard of them lately. Dirty Java was used by Jellyvision (http://www.jellyvision.com/) in their popular Who wants to be a Millionaire (2000) and You don't know Jack (1995) games. They utilised C++ with Java for the game logic, which was also the approach in Majestic (2001) by Electronic Arts (http://www.ea.com/). Java was used as a scripting language in the acclaimed Vampire - the Masquerade: Redemption (2000) from Nihilistic software (http://www.nihilistic.com/). The company was very happy with Java, although it only used JDK 1.1 [Huebner 2000]. Star Wars Galaxies from LucasArts (http://www.lucasarts.com/) is being scripted with a ‘slimmed-down’ version of Java. Runescape (http://www.runescape.com) is a massive 3D multiplayer fantasy adventure game. It is probably the largest pay-to-play Java online game, with over 5000 paying members and 1 million free registrations. Clients can use a Java applet to play, or download a Windows-based client application. A telling exception from this list are Java games on consoles. The only examples to date are the Sega Dreamcast games Skies of Arcadia (2000) and Daytona USA (2001), which contained a PersonalJava virtual machine [Patrizio 2000]. However, the Dreamcast is no longer in production. 2.3.2. Freeware/Shareware Games There are many Java games out on the Web, but finding an entertaining game requires a careful search. Games Programming with Java and Java 3D 5 First some history: JDK 1.0 was released early in 1996, JDK 1.1 in early 1997, and Java 2 (JDK 1.2) at the end of 1998. Back then, there was a lot of hype promoting Java as a perfect way of programming networked, graphical programs (i.e. as applets), and this is reflected in the very large number of freeware game applets dating from 1996-1998. Unfortunately, the early versions of Java were very slow, leading to disappointing game play. Also, many programmers ignored the overheads of downloading large code, images, audio, etc. Applet security restrictions and weaknesses in Java’s media APIs (graphics, sounds, etc) were further problems. All of this contributed to a general feeling that Java was a toy language. Recent versions of Java are quite different: speed is much improved, and APIs crucial to gaming, such as graphics and audio, are of a high quality. Also, there has been a move away from the use of applets towards the downloading of client-side applications. Java applications require less configuration, and once downloaded they don’t need to be downloaded again. Java’s backward compatibility allows the applets from 1996-8 to be executed, and they will often run quicker than originally. However, it’s probably best to steer clear of these Java dinosaurs, and look for more modern code. There are many Web sites with Java games. The emphasis of the following list are on applications/applets for playing: • ArcadePod.com, http://www.arcadepod.com/java/ Over 700 Java games, nicely categorized. • Java 4 Fun, http://www.java4fun.com/java.html Similar in style to ArcadePod, and a good set of links to other sites. • Java Game Park, http://javagamepark.com Organized around game categories. • Java Games Central, http://www.mnsi.net/~rkerr/ A personal Web site which lists games with ratings and links. • jars.com, http://www.jars.com This is a general Java site, but contains many games. • Java Shareware, http://www.javashareware.com/ Another general site: look under the categories: applications/games/ and applets/games. Programmers looking for source code should start elsewhere, as detailed below: • FreshMeat.com, http://freshmeat.net/ Freshmeat maintains thousands of applications, most released under open source licenses. The search facilities are excellent, and can be guided by supplying game category terms. The results include rating, vitality, and popularity figures for each piece of software. A recent search for Java games returned over 100 hits. • SourceForge, http://sourceforge.net/search/ SourceForge acts as a repository, and management tool, for software projects, many with source code. A recent search for Java games returned over 250 hits. Games Programming with Java and Java 3D 6 However, many of the projects are at the planning stage, with some inactive for long periods. • Code Beach, http://www.codebeach.com CodeBeach has a searchable subsection for Java games that currently contains nearly 90 example. • Programmers Heaven, http://www.programmersheaven.com/zone13/ It has a ‘Java zone’ containing some games.