Monday, October 31, 2005

Deep in the Caribbean...

If you can't believe what you're seeing, then you're not alone. I couldn't either. But it's true! It's Monkey Island on a mobile phone. On my mobile phone! I can actually walk around with this classic in my pocket and play it any time I want. It might take some time getting used to, but I think this giddy feeling of euphoria might help me tide it over.

The porting of ScummVM to EPOC/Symbian has been in the works for a while now. I've known about it since the first EPOC patch was applied to the ScummVM CVS, but I never dared hope that they'd actually target the S60 platform. Surely, it had to be impossible?

Apparently, not so. The crazy genius who ported this made it work on my phone, and today the executables were released to the public. Well technically, it was yesterday, but time flies when you're having fun.

Now, this is ScummVM we're talking about, so suddenly I can play all sorts of games on my phone, not just LucasArts classics.

The screen is smaller than 320x200, so everything is scaled down to fit. Surprisingly, that's not at all noticeable for the graphics, but it quickly becomes painfully obvious that legibility is adversely affected. Basically, this means I can't read what anyone's saying in Beneath a Steel Sky. The font is rather narrow, and a lot of the outlines on the letters are missing. The strange love of ALL CAPS that the Revolution team exhibits in this game doesn't help matters; caps aren't exactly known for their readability.

LucasArts had a better font to start with. Their big blocky font has a nice and wide kerning. Apparently they weren't scrimping on screen estate, so their font doesn't suffer that much when it's scaled down. There's still the odd unreadable letter, but you can understand every word from context, especially if you've played the game before. On the other hand, that kind of goes for Beneath a Steel Sky too. I understood the intro dialog in BASS, since playing it again jogged memories of my three or four runs through it on the PC.

Unfortunately, the sound only has one volume setting as of yet: ear-piercingly loud. I'm hoping they'll fix this, because now I have to connect my headphones and use them as loudspeakers, which is not a great solution. On the plus side, it's sound! I can hear Michael Land's brilliant iMUSE music on my phone! I'm running out of exclamation marks!

Minor issues aside, the games work flawlessly. I can't understand how much processing power and memory my phone actually has. That these games even fit on my memory card is fantastic, and that they run without a hitch is amazing. It's ScummVM, for crying out loud! These guys know what they're doing, and it works so well you'd think the games were written for them, not reverse engineered by them.

Well... I guess it's simply a miracle.

1 comment:

Wilson said...

wow this is really cool man :)