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Post news RSS Sphere and its many versions

So Sphere has been around for quite a few years now. Let me show you around!

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Edit: okay, so apparently IndieDB's system is even less flexible than I thought. This post was intended to be for the Sphere game engine, which apparently needs to be approved before I can even add this news to it. This entire system is stuck and assuming that you do everything in this one specific intended way, and it's really constantly stopping me from adding anything. You'd think these elements of the site would be improved after years of being online. Sigh.

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Sphere has been around for quite a while. So let's put all the important things in order!

Sphere has two sides: the IDE (integrated development environment) and the editor. I'll talk about the engines this time, info about the editors will come in a new post.

Different versions

There are different implementations of the Sphere engine, so it makes sense to give this a little bit of attention.

The original version

Chad Austin is the original developer of Sphere. His engine was the first one, and therefore it is simply known as Sphere. It can be found here. Pretty much any Sphere game is compatible with it, but the engine itself might not run well on your computer (or sometimes not at all). It's also difficult for the developers to port to Linux and Mac OSX. It also comes with the original editor.

Newer engines & reimplementations

Some community members became disgruntled with the issues the original engine has and have started writing their own versions of Sphere from scratch. There are several, and they all have different goals and aims.

  • Sphere-SFML, which reimplements the engine in .NET and tries to be as close to the original engine as possible. It tries to optimize for speed and high game compatibility.
  • TurboSphere, which focuses on implementing a high-speed JavaScript engine (like the one Firefox uses), uses a plugin-based system and has changes and enhancements over the original API in order to optimize for speed and performance on modern hardware.
  • minisphere, which attempts to be a drop-in replacement for the original Sphere. It focuses on being as small and compact as possible. It compiles into a single .exe file and uses the very minimal JS library Duktape. Games generally need a little bit of tweaking to work because of some differences between Duktape and most common large JS libraries.
  • JavaSphere Redux, which is a reimplementation of Sphere in Java in order to make Sphere more cross-platform. It also aims to be as compatible as possible with the different versions, from Sphere 1.x to all of the forks and offshoots.

So, which one to use? Well, it depends on your use case! Though it has to be said that none of the newer engines are quite ready yet and still in development, you could argue that's exactly why you should use them - so you can give feedback and report bugs to the developers who need it!

If you need a 'stable' experience, though, stick with Sphere 1.5 for a bit longer. If it works properly on your computer, of course. minisphere is following up closely but still needs some fixes here and there.

Next time: editors!

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