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Blu-Play/Blu-ray Java, Small-scale homebrew games for Blu-ray players and game consoles.

 

Not directly talking about the actual Blu-ray "disc" itself, we're going to be talking about Blu-ray Java!


What is Blu-Play?

In short, Blu-Play is a term used by the homebrew community of game-developers to categorize "Small-scale homebrew games for your PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Xbox series game console", using a technology that makes it possible to run the same disc on all 5 consoles - without doing any hacking or modding whatsoever.

In contrast to big expensive mainstream full-blown 3D games released by the big game companies, Blu-Play games will always be much smaller cozy 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 there may also be developers who'll ask for a fair 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. BD-J allows bonus content on Blu-ray Disc titles to be far more sophisticated than bonus content provided by standard DVD, including network access, picture-in-picture, and access to expanded local storage.  All Blu-ray players run BD-J as part of the Blu-ray specification, which in turn means that PS3, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X all run Java games simply because they all feature a Blu-ray player. The whole idea with BD-J was exactly to offer games (among other things) on Blu-ray players.

In other words: Your console was designed for this!

When it comes to a BD-J game, it's obviously going to have limitations compared to creating native games, but that's okay! You can be creative when it comes to limitations, like SNES, Sega CD, Atari Jaguar, Turbo Grafx CD, etc. 


A special thing about a BDJ game is it can be read once and play anywhere on any Blu-ray device regardless of architecture or operating system! Example: PS3| OrbisOS/Cell, Xbox One| Windows Based OS/x86, and Sony BD player| Linux/ARM. 

Blu-ray tech features and limitations

  • All Blu-ray players have a mandatory 1 GB flash storage to install data content off the disc or download/upload content off the Intenet/LAN via Ethernet/WI-FI like updates, expansions, mods, and other stuff,
  • The official memory (RAM) of Blu-rays is 6 MB, but unofficially 96 MB, and you can do ALOT with that.  https://github.com/sleirsgoevy/power-of-bdj
  • Video Codecs are AVC, VC-1, and MPEG
  •  Audio Codecs are Dolby Digital, DTS Master Audio, and LPCM.
  • Images codecs are JPEG, PNG, and GIF. 
  • Java 1.3 and AWT only, no other graphics APIs available, such as SDL or OpenGL. And you don't have any 3D APIs available either.
  • Max disc compacity is 25,50,100 or 128 GB 


                                                            Fix that Gourmet!

Remember the advanced interactive menus on your Blu-ray movies? That's running BD-J software! Watch the video from Misthalu, a Java game from Disney's Ratotoue Blu-ray called "Gusteau's Gourmet Game".

I asked BD-J expert and homebrew developer under the name, Misthalu, owner of LuBlu Entertainment and Blu-play.com why Disney has discontinued making BD-J games, and his response. 

"Probably a mix of many things. Lack of popularity due to making wrong game genres. An arcade game like "Bolt's Be-Awesome Mission" wasn't really suitable for a remote control, and they didn't think ahead to make it 100% playable with a gamepad. Not sure we're seen the last of it though. It is suitable for smaller games that are too small for a native console release. Gotta focus on game genres that make sense for the platform. Like "Liar's Game". Any game that doesn't require fast responsive controls. Or make it controllable with a cellphone. That's also an option."

"Liar's game" is from Disney's 2007 Blu-ray release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At word's end and  "Bolt's Be-Awesome Mission" is from Disney's 2008 Blu-ray release of Bolt. There are other small Java games released by Hollywood including 20th Century Fox's ID4, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (pictured below) and Live Free or Die Hard.

                                                                    Who dares defy Galactus‽

I also asked him, I'm aware that BD-J isn't compatible with 3D, but is it compatible with "Binary space partitioning" or "Ray Casting", it was used on Doom to fake 3D. Doom was also ported on the SNES and GBA but wasn't really 3d.

He answered. 
"There are no 3D APIs available. No SDL or alike either. You only have AWT available. In other words, any 3D you want to make has to be done in software. That doesn't mean it's impossible. It just means it'll be much slower - and the platform is already slow as it is.

The "Funky Fresh" BD-J demo demonstrates a few such software renderings, but the YouTube video is a recording of PowerDVD playing it - not an actual PS3. Expect speed to be slower on a PS3.
Blu-ray isn't for 3D stuff. It is for simple 2D games.

(Although, there's a different kind of 3D that some Blu-ray players support; the kind you see in 3D movies. And there's actually an API for coding games with that. But it obviously won't work on PlayStation, so...)"

                                                                               Meh

He showed me a link to an experimental BD-J demo, it was quite impressive what you can do to the platform. Indeed I can imagine it being slow I guess depending on the device and CPU power. Pre-rendered 3D is always optional. 


                           Watch the graphical capabilities of Blu-ray Java!

Xbox One and Xbox Series X run 3D BDJ content very sluggish and slow due to the Blu-ray app being slow despite having a powerful CPU. 😒



Misthalu (through LuBlu Entertainment) created two original games for the BDJ platform.

"Ukko's Journey", a Blu-Play version of the JavaME cellphone game from 2009 by LuBlu Entertainment. The game is very impressive, the game plays with up to 170 fps on PS3.


"The UFO Game!" A small but cute space shooter can be considered a kind of remake of the 38-year-old game "Satellite Attack" for the Philips Videopac G7000 (or "UFO!" for the Magnavox Odyssey2).


Developer, sleirsgoevy, ported Id software's classic FPS Doom to the platform and it really runs smoothly on PS3 and faster on PS4, but very sluggish on all Xbox systems due to the Blu-ray app being slow. The developer took out the music because he and MistaLu believe it would be "copyright infringement", which in my opinion is stupid, respectively. 🙄 But anyway it BDJ Doom or BluDoom is an awesome port! 



Totally badass!

You can download BluDoom, UFO game, and Ukko's Journey on Mistalu's website  Blu-play.com/games



Now there are 20 small Japanese BDJ games available to download and burn on a Blu-ray disc, ranging from puzzles to arcade. You can download these games on https://bu-nyan.m.to/BD-J/bdj.htm
The website was from a time where the PlayStation 3 could run BD-J off of USB. So it was popular back then. But sadly Sony removed that possibility, forcing people to burn a BD-R or BD-RE instead, and then the interest dropped.


This is not a complete list but here are some mainstream movies that were released on Blu-ray that came with mini-games, some were developed by the one and only Van Ling. 

Batman: Death in the Family (Interactive story, full game)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Skynet Edtion 2011
Speed (2008)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Live Free, Die Hard
Independence Day (2007)
Disney's Ratotoue
Pirates of the Caribbean: At word's end
Disney's Bolt
Dragon’s Lair (full game)
Space Ace (full game)



Now, not only BDJ can create games but they are also capable of game emulators!

Developer Sleirsgoevy, ported a C64 emulator Frodo to the platform, letting you play your favorite Commodore 64 games!  https://github.com/sleirsgoevy/bdj-frodo

Will we see more emulators? Maybe, but there is an NES emulator called "Filer" created in 2008 but has no sound because audio is one of the main issues for emulating on the platform. With just one emulator a single chad Blu-ray Disc could easily contain all games ever made for a system. 


Misthalu said a Gameboy emulator has also been made, and an Apple II emulator, but can't find any of them; he also said he'd love to see an Amstrad CPC emulator.

If you only have a PC, Blu-Play developer Sleirsgoevy made a BD-J emulator called "Blu-Player". It's meant to be an alternative testing tool for the software media players like VLC, Kodi, and PowerDVD.


If you're a developer and are interesting in developing games for the platform. Here are some useful links. The Java language is one of the easiest programming languages out there so you're in luck!  (You can write it in other languages too) 

Video game systems for Inspiration, SNES, PC-FX, Atari Jaguar, Sega CD, Turbo Grafx CD, and Amiga CD 32. There are games that have pushed the limit on these consoles, I wouldn't be surprised if it did the same with BDJ.

Useful links
https://bu-nyan.m.to/BD-J/bdj.htm (Japanese, use Google translate)
https://yun.cup.com/bdj.html (Japanese, use Google translate)


In conclusion, BDJ or Blu-Play is a very open platform with great potential and it can be compared to the openness of PC/Linux gaming. BDJ is so open you don't have to have restrictions, licenses to create your game, you can add mods, expansion packs, updates, LAN, online functionality, emulation, etc. just like PC. 



 

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