Python for Commercial Games?

Mark 'Kamikaze' Hughes kamikaze at
Mon Jul 2 19:43:43 EDT 2001

Fri, 29 Jun 2001 16:58:08 -0700 in <tjq5huamq17k11 at>,
John Roth <johnroth at> spake:
>  However, you're not going to do any modern, graphics intensive
> game completely in Python.

  I disagree.  You can indeed do graphics-intensive games entirely in
Python.  I'm currently working on Umbra
<>, a roguelike RPG with 3-D
graphics and a simple interface.  Doing 3D on the Tk canvas is very slow
(I get ~1 FPS in complex areas on my machine now, and it's all wasted in
the drawing methods) and my placeholder graphics are cheesy as all hell,
but the engine's holding up just fine.  When I replace the canvas with
OpenGL, it'll look as good as any commercial game...  I've already tried
a few independant test cases, and it's fast and *sharp*-looking.

  And this is a one-man weekend project.  If a commercial project can't
outdo me on the "shiny bits", they don't deserve to be in business (I'll
still make a better game, though).

  Pygame <> provides some really nifty graphics
and sound libraries, including an OpenGL canvas now, and there are
several games in the Projects area...  The applications are entirely
Python, and just use the native-code SDL library as components (and no,
I don't think that's "cheating" - Python itself is, shockingly enough,
implemented in C).

  Working in two languages, or calling a high-level scripting language
from low-level base code, is almost always a bad idea, in my experience.
Speaking from  hard lessons learned from embedding Java, you're better
off working in the high-level language and using a minimal number of
low-level components, which should be kept as single-purpose and
stateless as possible.

>  You could do a wizard text adventure,
> however. I don't think there's any market for them at the moment.
> <sigh>

  The market for text adventures is a weird case these days: there are
still many fans and writers in the genre (see and, and there's been some revival of the form for
wireless devices with limited graphics capabilities; there'd be more if
these devices had real keyboards or graffiti.  I play IF on my Palm
Pilot all the time.

  I suspect that Infocom-style interactive fiction, with good production
values and nice packaging, could sell again just fine.  You'd have to
sell it outside of most computer game shops, though, because the games
publishing and distribution networks just won't carry it, and the games
magazines won't review it (they're all run by and for hyperactive
adolescent males (of all ages))...

 <a href=""> Mark Hughes </a>
"I will tell you things that will make you laugh and uncomfortable and really
fucking angry and that no one else is telling you.  What I won't do is bullshit
you.  I'm here for the same thing you are.  The Truth." -Transmetropolitan #39

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