While Sony is just gearing up for PSP to Android ports, HyperDevbox already made two of them. This studio brought Generation of Chaos and Spectral Souls, two PSP (actually PS2!) games to Android. Carlo Perconti, CEO of HyperDevbox, explains the processes and is interested in bringing PS3 and Xbox 360 games to Android devices.
I didn’t realize this earlier, but HyperDevbox ported a bunch of PS2 games to PSP. How does this process work and what roadblocks did you overcome since the PS2 hardware is more powerful than the PSP?
Carlo Perconti, CEO: The first thing we had to do was to convert the graphic data from the PS2 4:3 screen to the 16:9 480×272 screen. This task may sound trivial at first but depending of the amount of graphic data it is a very heavy task to do specially for any RPG like title. Once we have all the graphic data done in the right format size, we need to ensure that those data are compatible with the graphic GPU and graphic libraries available on the PSP.
It is a very well known fact by PS2 developers that to take advantage of the PS2 hardware, most of the graphic data must be pre-compiled in a sort of GPU language in order to speed up the drawing process. Unfortunately PS2 compiled graphic data are not compatible with the PSP hardware so we had to write a different graphic engine and re-convert all the assets. Finally, we start to port the code part, trying to optimize for the PSP on the fly while taking in account the memory footprint which is smaller on the PSP than on PS2. Audio like music and sound effects are very easy to convert.
And now you’re bringing PSP games to Android. How do you handle these conversions and all of the different Android configurations on the market?
For HyperDevbox porting PSP to Android is the exact same type of work as for porting from PS2 to PSP, the only advantage that we have is that most of the graphic assets are already in 16:9 (or widescreen) format so we can save some extra work. Since the resolution is not that big on the PSP, we must re-make some of the graphic data that look too low resolution when displayed on screen like 800×600 or higher. Regarding the memory footprint, most of the Android devices have more memory than the PSP so that is not really an issue, and we have no problem handling fast loading from a SD card compare to a UMD. We have also developed a dedicated sound engine for Android (which is used on ExZeus, Lovecatch, Spectral Souls, and Generation of Chaos) that offers multiple 3D stereo channels, music, and voice streaming with low latency to be played with a very good quality.
Finally, we have dedicated graphic data for all the major GPUs available on the market and our unique SD card installer will install the optimized data at runtime, that means, we deliver the best gaming experience for each devices and no the average gaming experience for all the devices.
It seems like you have a long history with Idea Factory. How did you start working with them?
We have been working with Idea Factory when the PS2 was released in Japan. As a matter of circumstances, Idea Factory was looking for a company which could handle the new PS2 hardware quickly and help them to develop specific engines for the PS2. We cooperated by moving some of the staff in Tokyo and participate to some of their early PS2 development titles, and we have had a long relationship ever since then.
Are there any PSP or PS2 games that you would like to port to Android?
Yes, but there isn’t a set list yet. I would like to extend our collaboration more with Idea Factory and bring more exciting RPG titles and original action titles too. To tell the truth, because Android hardware is getting more powerful month after month, we are starting to look closely how possible will it be to port PS3 or Xbox 360 games on Android instead of PSP or PS2.
Have you tried porting PSP games to iOS or other mobile platforms like Windows 7?
iOS is a platform that HyperDevbox already developed on when we brought our ExZeus arcade before Android OS was available as a mobile platform, we had a pretty good success with the sale of this title, I think it is possible that we may develop more titles for that platform even if right now we really focus on Android .
Regarding Windows 7, we are waiting Microsoft to open Native code development to developers as most of our programming assets are in C/C++ and not in C#.
What about Vita or the 3DS? Have you tried or are working on any PS3 or Xbox 360 to Vita ports?
Not yet. We have not ported any title on the 3DS. As a publisher now, we need to assess if a new portable platform like the Vita will be enough popular in a market so competitive. Our vision at HyperDevbox is that portable and mobile platform will merge in some near future.
I saw HyperDevbox creates original games too. Can you tell us about some of your projects and what platforms you’re starting to work on?
Thank you for asking :) Well, we are currently working on our ExZeus2 title (ExZeus the sequel), an exclusive new action shooting title for Android. With ExZeus 2 HyperDevbox will bring a new exciting arcade action style of game taking advantage of all the latest technologies available on recent Android hardware. Please stay tuned for more information about ExZeus2 when we will release details in the next coming months.
ExZeus Arcade for Android
Regarding new RPG games, we have demonstrated that HyperDevbox is capable to develop and publish huge RPG game on Android market and we would like to take the occasion to thank all the Android audience for all the support we received until now. This is really a huge incentive for us to do more and more on Android so …do not expect us to stop soon :)