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GDC 2010: How Palm is pushing mobile gaming with its C/C++ PDK

GDC 2010: How Palm is pushing mobile gaming with its C/C++ PDK
Palm's highly regarded webOS is based on Linux, with many general applications created for it using web technology such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

When it comes to games however, developers usually require low level access to hardware. That's why Palm has come up with Palm's Plug-in Development Kit (PDK).

This was released in beta form this week.

This brings C/C++ capabilities, OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 support, plus the Simple DirectMedia Library (SDL). This provides support for things such as event handling and some image, rendering and audio libraries.

"C/C++ is great for developers who want to leverage an existing code base, or use technologies that aren't standardised in web technology. And sometimes you just might have a compute intensive task," explained Jeff Bush, Palm's director of webOS, Graphics and Gaming.

A different approach

One result of this low level approach was the speed of porting Epic's Unreal Engine 3 to webOS; something that happened in about two weeks.

In contrast, Epic has been working on an iPhone port of UE3 for a couple of months which is still not complete, while Microsoft has rejected support for C/C++ code for its new Windows Phone 7 platforms. Instead developers will have to use XNA Game Studio and C#.

The beta version of PDK will be updated regularly, although it's not expected to be formally available, and games developed using it released on Palm's App Catalog, until mid-2010.

More details can be seen on Palm's developer website.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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