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Imagine being able to create a game that you can run on both the Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and Xbox One, using the exact same source and the exact same disc - without requiring your players to do any trickery such as jailbreaking or modifying their consoles. And also without having to go through a voting or approval process in order to publish your game. Sounds a little bit too far fetched, doesn't it? Yes it does - but it's actually true! "Wott?!?! How?! How is this possible???", you might ask. It's very simple: Use JavaME! All of those 3 gaming consoles features a Blu-ray player, and Blu-ray players has been able to run Java ever since the very first one was released back in April 2003. Being able to run Java is a requirement of the Blu-ray specification. It's called "Blu-ray Disc Java" and is abbreviated "BD-J". While this technology is mostly used to code cool menu interfaces for Blu-ray movies, it was also designed to be used for games - and is therefor quite capable as a game-platform. Unfortunately BD-J never really caught on as a game-platform though. Only two titles were ever created as pure BD-J games (as far as I know): "Dragon's Lair" and "Space Ace". The list of supplemental BD-J games for Blu-ray movies is also rather short. "Bolt" had "Bolt's Be-Awesome Mission". "Ratatouille" had "Gusteau's Gourmet Game". "Pirates of the Caribbean" had "Liar's Game". While those games are all great examples of what you can do with BD-J, it's just a very short list, isn't it? There was a lot of developer interest in BD-J back in 2008-2010, but it seemed to die suddenly for unknown reasons. Forums got archived and a lot of the links you can find are dead now. So I think it's safe to say that BD-J never became a hit, neither with game-developers nor with the gamers. And having personally tried playing "Bolt's Be-Awesome Mission", I am convinced that the main reason for this failure has everything to do with the games being targeted movie-watchers rather than gamers. Because movie-watchers use a normal Blu-ray player, which means lousy remote controls instead of an actual gamepad, and that makes the games very difficult to play. It would probably have helped a bit if the controls in the games had been re-definable, so that a gamepad could have been used instead, but no such luck. Since the PS3, PS4 and XB1 all feature a Blu-ray player, developers could easily choose to target these platforms instead of standard Blu-ray players, and thus eliminate the downside of the remote control. As a bonus, we also get a much faster CPU on these consoles. Adding those things up, we end up with a rather wide target group of gamers, fast platforms, good controls, plenty of features, in short; everything you need to create a good homebrew game. Considering how long these gaming-consoles has been on the market though, you must be wondering why then haven't we ever heard of any homebrew BD-J games. And that is indeed a good question. I think it's mainly because of two issues: 1) The 1st problem is that there's still a widely accepted misconception about BD-J that you can't really do anything with it. During my research, I've stumbled across statements like: "You can't use audio" and "You can only use 2 action buttons on the PS3 gamepad", and "There's no button-hold functionality". But there's just no truth to any of those statements. Also, when I mention BD-J on various forums and chatrooms, I'm often met with "Why would anyone wanna do BD-J dev? You can't do anything with it!". And I very much disagree with that. 2) The 2nd problem is that BD-J games never had any branding of its own. Something to set apart BD-J games from the rest of the content on the Blu-ray disc. Or just something to emphasize that the disc contained a game for this platform. Instead, BD-J games were kind of hidden in plain sight. Nothing on the "Dragon's Lair" disc or cover indicated anything about the technology that was used. It just said "Dragon's Lair (Blu-ray) For PS3" - which kinda indirectly says "Nothing to see here folks, move along". This "secrecy" also appears to have had another stupid consequence: A surprisingly big group of people today are convinced that BD-J is all about hacking and exploits - and any attempt at explaining real world facts to this group just fails. So the misconception about BD-J is somewhat of a multidimensional entanglement, all inevitably resulting in a complete lack of interest with both game-devs and gamers. To address the 1st problem, I will release a simple proof-of-concept game soon called "Ukko's Journey", to demonstrate that it's absolutely possible to create a decent homebrew game with BD-J with lots of various functionality, and run it on all three gaming consoles using the same ISO/disc. Xbox One owners can simply burn the ISO onto a DVD. PS3/PS4 owners need to use a BD-R though. The game will demonstrate 50+ fps on all 3 consoles, ingame music + sound-effects, remembering settings between disc-ejects, 11 buttons on the gamepad usable, internet uploads/downloads of highscores to UkkosJourney.com, and finally; installing the JavaME MIDP version of the game onto your JavaME enabled phone from the disc via Wi-Fi. That ought to be a decent first demonstration. To address the 2nd problem, I think it's pretty clear, that if BD-J homebrew is to become interesting for both game-devs and gamers, then it needs a new label and logo. So I have gone ahead and invented a clever one (if I should say so myself): "Blu-Play". I trust I don't have to explain it to anyone? This label should be described as "Small-scale homebrew games you can play on PS3+PS4+XB1 out-of-the-box" by news-writers. "Ukko's Journey" will be released as the first Blu-Play game to demonstrate Blu-Play to both gamers and game-devs, hopefully breathing new life into BD-J development and resulting in a lot more homebrew games for these gaming consoles. I have written this post because I'd love to see more interest in Java homebrew game-development targeting these consoles. (As a Java coder, I also think it's kinda cool to "show off" Java in this way). BD-J is obviously limited compared to native stuff, but having provided music to indie game-developers for about a decade now, I have yet to see a homebrew game that couldn't have been made as a BD-J release. So what do you say? Any JavaME developers out there finding this intriguing?
"Ukko's Journey" released; the very first "Blu-Play" homebrew game for PS3, PS4 and XB1! Intro "Ukko's Journey" was originally developed as a cellphone game back in 2008-2009 by LuBlu Entertainment. Now here in 2017 the same team has ported the game to Blu-Play, proof-of-concept demonstration to show an example of a what you can do with Blu-Play. Blu-Play games are "small-scale homebrew games coded with Blu-ray Disc Java (BD-J), and which therefore runs on any game-console that comes with a built-in Blu-ray player", which at present time includes PS3, PS4 and XB1. In other words, you don't need a special version of a Blu-Play title in order to run it on your console. One disc runs on all. More about Blu-Play here. Demonstrated Blu-Play elements - Performance: The game plays with 50+ fps - Audio: Plays ingame music + sound-effects - Persistent storage: Remembers your settings between disc ejects - Controls: 11 buttons on the gamepad useable - Internet: Uploads/downloads highscores to/from UkkosJourney.com - Network: Sends the cellphone version of the game to your Wi-Fi connected JavaME enabled phone via your local network Download Ukko's Journey is 100% free. Download UkkosJourney-BluPlay.ISO here [83 mb] How can I get to play this? For a stock PS3 / PS4 you need to burn the ISO onto a BD-R or BD-RE disc, which means you need a Blu-ray burner. Luckily Blu-ray burners has become very affordable now, and a BD-R disc only costs about half a euro. If you buy a BD-RE, it can be re-used several thousand times due to the small size of Blu-Play games. For a jailbroken PS3 you can run the ISO from harddisk by mounting the ISO with webMAN or multiMAN from the BDISO folder. For Xbox One you can burn the ISO onto a DVD, which means you need a DVD burner. (If you have a Blu-ray burner, BD-R and BD-RE naturally works too). You can also play the ISO from harddisk on your PC if you have a software media-player that supports BD-J. More about this in FAQ. Setup If you wish to use the online highscore-system in the game, make sure your console's Blu-ray settings allows for the disc to go online. On the PS3 this setting is in Video Settings -> "BD - Internet connection" On the XB1 it's in Blu-ray settings -> "Enable BD Live to improve Blu-ray playback" Before starting a game, you may also want to redefine controls in the game settings, and enter your nickname for the highscores. Preview video FAQ Q: Which platforms will this run on? A: You should always expect Blu-Play games to only run on the gaming consoles that comes with a built-in Blu-ray player. These are the consoles Blu-Play is all about. However, Blu-Play games should theoretically also run on any other Blu-ray player. (Just don't expect any stunning framerates everyhere). Some examples: - Windows: Get your hands on a software media player that supports BD-J, like e.g. PowerDVD from Cyberlink. Play ISO from harddisk. Tested and works fine with a good frame (depending on your CPU of course). - Mac: Same deal. Find a software media player that supports BD-J. There's "MacGo Blu-ray Player", but I haven't tested that one. - Linux: VLC is getting BD-J support implemented these days. You may be able to run Ukko's Journey on one of the nightly builds, Just don't expect all features of the game to run - if it runs at all. (Keep in mind there's no official release of "VLC with BD-J support" yet). - Samsung Blu-ray players: It seems that Samsung players more frequently accepts Blu-ray content on a DVD than other brands, so you may be able to run Blu-Play games from a DVD on these players. - Other Blu-ray players: Burn the ISO onto a BD-R or BD-RE. - Other options: Dune HD Smart D1 / Popcorn Hour C200 / Popcorn Hour C300 lets you play the ISO from harddisk. Q: The graphics in the game looks very pixelated. Does this represent a Blu-Play limitation? A: Not at all. "Ukko's Journey" was merely ported from a platform with a resolution of only 240x320 pixels. We made HD versions of the fonts and the backgrounds and the foregrounds, but we had to limit the amount of time spent on this project, due to a combination of having a ton of other things on our ToDo list, while not knowing if anyone will take any interest in this Blu-Play idea at all. So we decided to not spend additional time improving the level-graphics yet. Q: When I try to upload/download highscores, it just says "No data found"! A: You have probably accidentally entered a highscore ID in Settings. Go back and type "0" for ID. (Never mind the Password field). The highscore settings allows a group of people to compete with each other on their own personal (hidden) highscore list, but you need a highscore-list ID and a password (from me) to be able to use that feature. Q: Under "Send to phone" it says "JavaME enabled phones only". What's that? A: JavaME enabled phones was what everyone was using before the arrival of Android phones and iPhones. Almost all phones ran JavaME back then, because it was either embedded into the firmware, or in the OS. If a stock phone couldn't run JavaME, you could always find an app that would let you run it. again regardless of what OS you were using. Nowadays this is still true for Android. You can simply install phoneME. However, since the MIDlets on this disc were all created for small resolutions, they aren't very useful on the big Android displays. Q: Do I have to burn the ISO onto a BD-R, or can I use a DVD? A: You can burn a Blu-ray ISO file onto a DVD, but sadly it won't play everywhere. Xbox One owners are in luck here. PlayStation owners are not. Testing standard Blu-ray players reveals that about 30%-40% of the players accepts Blu-ray content on a DVD, mostly Samsung players. Q: What exactly is Blu-Play? A: The Blu-Play label is an attempt of fixing a few widely accepted misconceptions about Blu-ray Disc Java (BD-J), by giving "BD-J homebrew games" a new and "fresh" label. One that sounds a lot better, emphasises that focus is on the gaming-consoles, is much more easily found when searching online, and isn't associated with all the false rumours about the limitations of BD-J. By demonstrating a lot of the functionality here that many people has claimed to be impossible, I'm hoping to breathe new life into BD-J development for the game-consoles. Read more about Blu-Play here. Q: I wanna buy a disc with this! A: There's a BUY link at blu-play.com. Note: I will not be making any money on this. The price on the disc is the fee EditHouse is charging.
Demonstrating Java homebrew on the PS3. Ukko's Journey was originally a cellphone game developed by LuBlu Entertainment in 2008-2009. (See www.ukkosjourney.com). In 2017 LuBlu Entertainment is porting the game to BD-J purely as a proof-of-concept project, demonstrating that homebrew for the PS3 + PS4 + Xbox One is possible with Java. Once this project is complete, the game should run on all 3 consoles - from the same disc! Here is a preview video showing the game running on a PS3.
What is Blu-Play? In short, Blu-Play is a term used by the homebrew community of game-developers to categorise "Small-scale homebrew games for your Playstation 3, Playstation 4 or Xbox One game console". And we're not talking 3 different versions. No, the same single disc will run on all 3 consoles. In contrast to big expensive mainstream full-blown 3D games released by big famous game-companies, Blu-Play games are typically much smaller cosy 2D games developed by a single individual, or a small group of enthusiastic hobbyists. Blu-Play games will mostly be completely free to download and play, but in time we expect developers to start asking for a low price for their games. The technology used to create Blu-Play games has been around since 2003. It's called Blu-ray Disc Java, often referred to as JavaME BD-J. All Blu-ray players runs BD-J as part of the Blu-ray specification, which in turn means that PS3, PS4 and XB1 all runs Java games simply because they all feature a Blu-ray player. The whole idea with BD-J was to offer games (among other things) on Blu-ray players. In other words: Your console was designed for this. How do I run Blu-Play games? The first step is to download the ISO file. An ISO file is an image of a disc. Once you have the ISO, you can play the game on various platforms in various ways: Xbox One: Burn the ISO file onto a DVD or BD-R or BD-RE. (Requires a DVD burner or a Blu-ray burner) Playstation: Burn the ISO file onto a BD-R or BD-RE. (Requires a Blu-ray burner). (If you have a PS3 DECR you can run the ISO from harddisk though) PC: Load the ISO file into a software media player that supports BD-J. For Windows such a player could be PowerDVD from Cyberlink. (VLC is also getting BD-J support these days. One of the nightly builds might work...). Blu-ray players: Although Blu-Play is focusing on the gaming-consoles, the games should theoretically also run on any standard Blu-ray player. (Just don't expect any stunning framerates). Most of these players requires that you burn the ISO onto a BD-R or BD-RE, but some of them (mostly Samsung players) also accepts a DVD. Other options: Dune HD Smart D1 / Popcorn Hour C200 / Popcorn Hour C300 lets you play the ISO from harddisk. Source: http://www.blu-play.com