The main target for the GATE framework is the desktop and server world.
But what if there is a chance to build a bridge to the mobile realm?
What if we can open the gates to Android and its device families?
It makes no sense to port classic desktop UI controls to make them work on smartphones and tables. The don’t look great on a 5 inch display and it’s inpossible to use them. Microsoft tried that with Windows CE and failed years ago.
But there is another techology from the nineties to target CAD and game development: OpenGL. Together with its little sibling OpenGL-ES we have an API that is available on all major platforms from Windows NT4 to Server 2019, from the first Debian to the latest Alpine Linux release and also on Google’s Android platform.
A new GATE demo app
gategames just proves that it still possible
to create a small 3D world in one single codebase and compile it without
further modifications to Windows, Linux and Android and it fills the
screen with the scene.
Platform specific details are hidden by the framework and also the gap
between OpenGL and EGL (GL-ES) was fixed with some glue code.
To ensure that a 3D GL app also works on devices without graphics hardware,
it is of course required to fallback to the old fixed-function pipeline
of OpenGL 1.3 or EGL 1.0.
And this means: No shaders.
This is a limitation we must take due to compatibility. But seeing the success of games like Minecraft where in large parts only cubes are rendered, we can learn that also limited capabilities can unfold great power.