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How Does Porting Work?

post #1 of 4
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I always read about how companies port 360 games to PC and 360 to PS3, and vise versa.

How is this possible?? Doesn't each have a totally different coding system? I don't know anything about coding, but I'd imagine it's sort of like speaking two different languages.

So do they just copy paste, say the 360 code into a PC, and add AllowPCFunctionality=1?

I just don't understand it.

And yes, I know that 360 and PC are similar, don't mention it. If you can't answer the question that way, then think it in terms of 360 to PS3 port.
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post #2 of 4
Microsoft's XNA language was supposed to be a universal codeing language like .net was supposed to but for some unknown reason it only works on Micro$haft products. :thinking

IOW if you use XNA it will compile for both with limited modification.
post #3 of 4
With 360 games I believe all you really need to do is change a few headers and recompile, since they are actually made on the PC then recompiled. I doubt its any harder than porting a linux app to windows.

Due to the PS3's complexity most multiplatform games are programmed for the 360 first, then painstakingly ported to the PS3, so again its fairly straightforward. Its also why you don't see any PS3 exclusives ported to the PC.
    
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post #4 of 4
Porting can happen in many ways, at many different levels.

At the simplest level, you just change the specific code that only works on one hardware so that you get the same effect on the new hardware, then recompile.

At a more complex level, entire segments of the code and/or the game data may need to be redone to work on the new platform. This could be because of incompatible hardware...e.g., the original platform had a controller with two shoulder buttons on each side and you used all four buttons, but the new target console only has one shoulder button on each side...how do you work around the lack of two shoulder buttons? An example of changing game data would be porting something to the Wii, where the hi-def images (textures, models, whatever) on the other platforms are not supported and must be down-res'ed.

And at the most fundamental level, you're actually just creating a new game from scratch, using the same design documents as the original game or as much of them as possible. You saw this a lot in the old days: games for different consoles or computer platforms were completely redone and looked very different, but were essentially the same game. I don't think you see as much of this anymore, although you do see entirely different games marketed under the same brand on cosoles vs. handhelds. Hard to call these a "port" though, they aren't really the same game.
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