Getting Started with PlayStation Mobile

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(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)

The PlayStation Mobile (PSM) SDK represents an exciting opportunity for game developers of all stripes, from hobbyists to indie and professional developers. It contains everything you need to quickly develop a game using the C# programming language. Perhaps more importantly, it provides a market for those games. If you are currently using XNA, you will feel right at home with the PSM SDK.

You may be wondering at this point, Why develop for PlayStation Mobile at all? Obviously, the easiest answer is, so you can develop for PlayStation Vita , which of itself will be enough for many people. Perhaps, though the most important reason is that it represents a group of dedicated gamers hungry for games. While there are a wealth of games available for Android, finding them on the App Store is a mess, while supporting the literally thousands of devices is a nightmare. With PlayStation Mobile, you have a common development environment, targeting powerful devices with a dedicated store catering to gamers.

We are now going to jump right in and get those tools up and running. Of course, we will also write some code and show how easy it is to get it running on your device. PlayStation Mobile allows you to target a number of different devices and we will cover the three major targets (the Simulator, PlayStation Vita, and Android). You do not need to have a device to follow along, although certain functionality will not be available on the Simulator.

One thing to keep in mind with the PlayStation Mobile SDK is that it is essentially two SDKs in one. There is a much lower level set of libraries for accessing graphics, audio, and input, as well as a higher-level layer build over the top of this layer, mostly with the complete source available. Of course, underneath this all there is the .NET framework. In this article, we are going to deal with the lower level graphics interface. If the code seems initially quite long or daunting for what seems like a simple task, don’t worry! There is a much easier way that we will cover later in the book.

Accessing the PlayStation Mobile portal

This recipe looks at creating a PSM portal account. For this process it is mandatory to download and use the PSM SDK.

Getting ready

You need to have a Sony Entertainment Network (SEN) account to register with the PSM portal. This is the standard account you use to bring your PlayStation device online, so you may already have one. If not, create one at http://bit.ly/Yiglfk before continuing.

How to do it…

  1. Open a web browser and log in to http://psm.playstation.net. Locate and click on the Register button.

  2. Sign in using the SEN account.

  3. Agree to the Terms and Conditions. You need to scroll to the bottom of the text before the Agree button is enabled. But, you always read the fine print anyways… don’t you?

  4. Finally select the e-mail address and language you want for the PlayStation Mobile portal. You can use the same e-mail you used for your SEN account. Click on Register.

  5. An e-mail will be sent to the e-mail account you used to sign up. Locate the activation link and either click on it, or copy and paste into a browser window:

  6. Your account is now completed, and you can log in to the PSM developer portal now.

How it works…

A PlayStation Mobile account is mandatory to download the PSM tools. Many of the links to the portal require you to be logged in before they will work. It is very important that you create and activate your account and log in to the portal before continuing on with the book! All future recipes assume you are logged in to the portal.

Installing the PlayStation Mobile SDK

This recipe demonstrates how to install the PlayStation Mobile SDK.

Getting ready

First you need to download the PlayStation Mobile SDK; you can download it from http://bit.ly/W8rhhx.

How to do it…

  1. Locate the installation file you downloaded earlier and double-click to launch the installer. Say yes to any security related questions.

  2. Take the default settings when prompting, making sure to install the runtimes and GTK# libraries.

  3. The installer for the Vita drivers will now launch. There is no harm in installing them even if you do not have a Vita:

  4. Installation is now complete; a browser window with the current release notes will open.

How it works…

The SDK is now installed on your machines. Assuming you used default directories, the SDK will be installed to C:Program Files (x86)SCEPSM if you are running 64 bit Windows, or to C:Program FilesSCEPSM if you are running 32 bit Windows. Additionally all of the documentation and samples have been installed under the Public account, located in C:UsersPublicDocumentsPSM.

There’s more…

There are a number of samples available in the samples directory and you should certainly take a moment to check them out. They range in complexity from simple Hello World applications, up to a full blown 3rd person 3D role playing game (RPG). They are, however, often documented in Japanese and often rely on other samples, making learning from them a frustrating experience at times, at least, for those of us who do not understand Japanese!

Creating a simple game loop

We are now going to create our first PSM SDK application, which is the main loop of your application. Actually all the code in this sample is going to be generated by PSM Studio for us.

Getting ready

From the start menu, locate and launch PSM Studio in the PlayStation Mobile folder.

How to do it…

  1. In PSM Studio, select the File | New | Solution… menu.

  2. In the resulting dialog box, in the left-hand panel expand C# and select PlayStation Suite, then in the right-hand panel, select PlayStation Suite Application. Fill in the Name field, which will automatically populate the Solution name field. Click on OK.

  3. Your workspace and boilerplate code will now be created; hit the F5 key or select the Run | Start Debugging menu to run your code in the Simulator.

Not much to look at, but it’s your first running PlayStation Mobile application! Now let’s take a quick look at the code it generated:

using System; using System.Collections.Generic; using Sce.PlayStation.Core; using Sce.PlayStation.Core.Environment; using Sce.PlayStation.Core.Graphics; using Sce.PlayStation.Core.Input; namespace Ch1_Example1 { public class AppMain{ private static GraphicsContext graphics; public static void Main (string[] args){ Initialize (); while (true) { SystemEvents.CheckEvents (); Update (); Render (); } } public static void Initialize (){ graphics = new GraphicsContext (); } public static void Update (){ var gamePadData = GamePad.GetData (0); } public static void Render () { graphics.SetClearColor (0.0f, 0.0f, 0.0f, 0.0f); graphics.Clear (); graphics.SwapBuffers (); } } }

How it works…

This recipe shows us the very basic skeleton of an application. Essentially it loops forever, displaying a black screen.

private static GraphicsContext graphics;

The GraphicsContext variable represents the underlying OpenGL context. It is used to perform almost every graphically related action. Additionally, it contains the capabilities (resolution, pixel depth, and so on) of the underlying graphics device.

All C# based applications have a main function, and this one is no exception. Within Main() we call our Initialize() method, then loop forever, checking for events, updating, and finally rendering the frame. The Initialize() method simply creates a new GraphicsContext variable. The Update() method polls the first gamepad for updates.

Finally Render() uses our GraphicsContext variable to first clear the screen to black using an RGBA color value, then clears the screen and swaps the buffers, making it visible. Graphic operations in PSM SDK generally are drawn to a back buffer.

There’s more…

The same process is used to create PlayStation Suite library projects, which will generate a DLL file. You can use almost any C# library that doesn’t rely on native code (pInvoke or Unsafe); however, they need to be recompiled into a PSM compatible DLL format.

Color in the PSM SDK is normally represented as an RGBA value. The RGBA acronym stands for red, green, blue, and alpha. Each is an int variable type, with values ranging from 0 to 255 representing the strength of each primary color. Alpha represents the level of transparency, with 0 being completely transparent and 256 being opaque.

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