Yesterday, Stuart Dredge was speculating over the news that mobile operator 3 was bringing BREW phones to Europe, probably including the UK. But while he's chasing that up, we thought it might make sense to remind everyone just why this BREW thing could be a bit tasty.
And the best way to do it is show a comparison between the various technologies used to make mobile games.
There, it's pretty simple isn't it?
On the left, is a version of Superscape's Ducati 3D Extreme game made using Java, which is the bog-standard technology that runs in all mobile phones. Not only are the graphics basic, but the game isn't really a 3D game. Instead you're just moving the 2D bike sprite between the left and right of the screen while the track updates.
In the middle is the Java 3D version. This is much nicer. Not only does the bike and rider actually consist of a 3D model, but the track is more detailed too. However, there are some problems as the game only runs at 10 frames per second, so it doesn't feel very fluid. The standard for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games for example is 30 frames per second.
On the right is the BREW 3D game. Clearly it looks a lot better than the other versions, especially in terms of the background details, and there are some subtle gameplay differences such as the track can now have varying heights; something Superscape couldn't fit into the Java 3D version.
Still, it too only runs at 10 frames per second, unless you're lucky enough to have a phone that has 3D hardware acceleration (basically, this means your mobile has an extra silicon chip, which is designed to work out all the 3D calculations required to make the game work). Powered by one of those, Ducati 3D Extreme races along at a fairly decent clip of 15 frames per second.
Now, the main reasons that the BREW 3D game looks so much better is that the BREW hardware and software is controlled by one company, Qualcomm, and tends to be used in high-end phones. In comparison Java is an industry software standard that's designed to work on a huge range of mobiles from all manufacturers.
So let's hope 3 continues its commitment to gaming and brings BREW to UK mobile gamers. (For more, check out our huge and slightly out-of-date but still worth reading feature on mobile game platforms).