Open Game Platform – Lessons from SCUMMVM

I grew up playing (and loving) LucasArts’ SCUMM games, and I’ve been continuously thrilled by the extended life they are getting, simply from SCUMMVM being ported to a huge number of platforms.

It doesn’t matter that the games we made long ago, and never intended for Mac, PSP, iPhone or whatever the latest gadget is. Because of the way SCUMM was made, the games seem to have an ever-growing install base.

This led me to think: Could this be done on a larger scale?

What if an Open Game Platform was designed, which utilized technologies such as LVVM and standard graphics APIs, plus a lot of other standard functionality (asset loading, etc), to make a virtual, standardized platform to run games on. And then that platform could simply be implemented on a heap of devices.
So, if Company X decides to create a new set top box or a handheld, they could decide to implement the Open Game Platform, and then there would be a world of games that could be run directly run on their device from launch day, with no need to port or recompile the individual games.

I am not blind to the huge challenge of deciding the feature set and control schemes that would make this a good platform, but I think those things could be overcome, if you make one important decision: This platform could not and should not cater to every game that could possibly be made. It should simply be a reasonable feature set that would allow a lot games to work, and which would work for the many, many indie game developers.

I think it would be reasonable to make separate platforms for 2D games and 3D games.

I am aware that a number of platforms exist that could reasonably be used for this – for example, Java with JavaFX/Java3D/whatever. Or the .NET CLR with some additions -
but I think they are too general for that to really work well. I am sure you could possibly use some of these technologies as parts for the Open Game Platform, but in themselves they are too general.

It would make sense to build this heavily out of BSD/MIT licensed open source projects by the bulk.

Just a thought – but one that made me register opengameplatform.com/.org.