Munkiki's Castles (found mobile game; 2002)

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Munkiki's Castles title.gif

Title screen of Munkiki's Castles.

Status: Found

Date found: 10 Jul '17 (Game) / 29 May '18 (M3D Class)

Found by: Qwerty36078 (Game) / David Richardson aka recompileorg (M3D Class)

Munkiki's Castles is a mobile game released in 2002, exclusively for the Nokia 3410 via the Club Nokia service. It was one of the first ever mobile games to feature 3D graphics and also one of the first ever mobile games released for the Java ME platform, albeit only for the Nokia 3410. The game features a character named Munkiki wandering around the 3D landscape by pushing and destroying the blocks to try and collect items to finish the levels.

Technically, it was one of the first ever mobile games to feature 3D graphics, one year before OpenGL ES was standardized. Because of the limitations of the original Java ME (known as J2ME 1.0), Nick Reed and Nick Slaven developed a proprietary API for this game, exclusively for the Nokia 3410 mobile phone, which allows rudimentary 3D graphics rendered on a black and white cellphone display.

The Club Nokia service has been shut down and only a very few Nokia 3410 handsets do have this game installed. Two videos of this game, as well as screenshots for this game, has been surfaced since on the Internet.

Availability

On July 10, 2017 Lost Media Wiki user Qwerty36078 managed to get the .jar executable.[1] Because the game is completely dependent on a specific set of Nokia 3410 firmware, it was previously thought that there was no way to run it in any form.

On May 29, 2018, an emulator called FreeJ2ME released an update featuring all the software required to emulate Munkiki's Castles. Due to the unique way FreeJ2ME handles errors, recompileorg managed to reverse engineer the M3D class.[2] Unfortunately, the emulator comes uncompiled and requires compiling on a Linux machine using instructions that could be found on the emulator's Discussion/Support thread. Luckily the pre-compiled and slightly outdated (yet capable of running Munkiki's Castles) builds of the emulator can be found on FreeJ2ME Sourceforge page maintained by recompileorg.

Previous research on the game and specific firmware set is featured down in the next section.

Attempts to Run/Emulate

Previously, lots of research has been made on Munkiki's Castles and unfortunately, the vast majority of it is of no use; however, some of the research results are worth sharing.

There are many different emulators present for PC, but on every emulator, including KEmulator 1.00, MicroEmulator and even the native Nokia 3410 SDK fails to run this game. This is because the proprietary Nokia 3D handling class "com/nokia/mid/m3d/M3D" is missing in both the game and the emulator libraries. In fact, it was previously thought to be missing on the Internet completely. Due to the lack of information on this class, it can be speculated that the M3D class was only used in Munkiki's Castles.

Teromene's Attempt on M3D(O) Class

Munkiki's Castles running on teromene's M3D(O) class. While the interface and the player are drawn correctly, the ground objects and the notes are not visible.

A person nicknamed teromene attempted to create a M3D class re-production. He successfully managed to emulate much of the in-game mechanics, however the game itself is not in a playable state due to many other M3D objects being yet unemulated. The most recent known version (as for July 28, 2018) can be downloaded here or here

Running on MAME

Among thousands of other architectures supported by MAME, various old Nokia phones are also covered, including Nokia 3410. However, as the MAME's official Nokia driver states, the "machine is skeleton",[3] hence Nokia 3410 emulation on MAME does not work[4]. In practice, when trying to emulate on MAME, getting past a static blank Nokia 3410 screen is not currently possible.

Search Effort on the M3D Class

Before we go, it is important to differentiate between the terms used in this section.

  • M3D(O) - A library called M3D [O here stands for old, M3D(O) itself is just a nickname] used in Nokia 3410. It contains a class of "com/nokia/mid/m3d/M3D"
  • M3D(N) - A library also called M3D [N here stands for new, M3D(N) itself is just a nickname] used in the latter budget phones. Most likely a newer version of M3D(O) It does have many files; however, "com/nokia/mid/m3d/M3D" isn't present there
  • M3G - A newer version of M3D(N) used in the late Nokia phones such as Nokia X3. Also known as JSR184. Again, "com/nokia/mid/m3d/M3D" isn't present there

Here are some bits and pieces that can help run the game.

  • M3D was greatly described in this scholar article. It is unknown if the topic is related to M3D(N) or M3D(O).
  • M3D(O) is present in all builds of FreeJ2ME from May 29, 2018, onward. Despite this, M3D(N) is nowhere to be found on the internet. The M3G library can be downloaded here

Running on a Phone

Many Discord members of the Lost Media Wiki community believe the found .jar executable can be run on physical phones. Although many of the non-touchscreen devices do run Java games very well, this game is certainly problematic primarily because, again, it uses the proprietary 3D engine class developed by Nokia. on which there is practically no information. In other words, to run this game, the phone is required to contain the "com/nokia/mid/m3d/M3D" class, which appears to have been used only on Nokia 3410. And to make things worse, a brief analysis of the Nokia 3410 firmware files available on the Internet shows that not every firmware of Nokia 3410 references this class, thus running this game may fail on even the game-native Nokia device. And the best example for this would be the Nokia 3410 SDK that fails to run this game although it natively emulates the Nokia 3410 firmware.

Gallery

Videos

morphzero's gameplay of Munkiki's Castles emulated with the recompileorg's M3D class
Gameplay Footage
A victory dance animation

External Links

References