Game development kit

Game development kits ( GDK ) are specialized hardware used to create commercial videogames . They can be partnered with game development tools, special game engine licenses, and other middleware to aid video game development . Typically GDKs are not available to the public, and require game developers to enter an agreement, partnership, or program with the hardware manufacturer to gain access to the hardware. As game consolegenerations pass, development kits often get sold through eBay like websites without repercussions. This is often because the console manufacturers discontinue certain development programs as time passes.

Overview

In the 1980s, computing did not involve 3D modeling or any complex programming due to the limitations of hardware. [1] This, combined with the hobbyist nature of early computer game programming, means that it would not be possible for consoles. Even when consoles become mainstream (such as the Nintendo Entertainment System), there is no need for them. For example, Nintendo had internal development teams for both hardware and software. [2]

By the fifth generation of consoles, game development kits were developed to encourage more developers to make games and grow the videogame industry. Game development kits began with a simple way to connect their computers to a hardware console, allowing them to compile software on their PC. Once more GDKs started becoming bundled with hardware-specific software, hobbyists or anyone not directly affiliated with a Xbox One’s Kinect or the Wii U GamePad.

Modern game development kits often come bundled with the specialized software, and are much more formalized compared to previous-generation GDKs. In older generations of console gaming, developers had their own hardware and write games at various levels of programming (such as assembly [1] ). Nintendo provides polished & powerful hardware development through their developer programs. Console console console even cons cons cons cons cons cons cons cons…………… [3]

Third-generation videogame development kits

Nintendo Entertainment System

For a significant portion of the NES lifespan, there was no official development kit. Video game developers creating games for NES would like to make their own development kits, such as Rocket Science Production with their “NES Mission Control” development system. At least two programs have been used in conjunction with the NES Mission Control hardware; NESTEST.EXE which would be used for hardware development, and HST.EXE which would be used for communication between hardware and NES development hardware. [4]

Fourth-generation videogame development kits

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System used specialized EPROM cartridges for development, [5] as well as various software. Similar to the NES, developers often made their own development software or relied on middleware made by other developers. [6] [7]

Fifth-generation video game development kits

PlayStation

The are several variations of the PlayStation development kit used for game creation. One of the development kits had only three components, [8] while the PlayStation Ultimate Development Kit included up to 26 components, including the complete Net Yaroze development kit. [9]

The Net Yaroze version of the development kit has been sold in a new and improved version of PlayStation development kit. The Net Yaroze Hardware was designed for hobbyists, while official developers would have access to the official PlayStation development kits. [10] There was also a version of the PlayStation made for developers that would read burned discs to allow quick testing of images of their videogames. While there were official PlayStation-branded CD-Rs that could be used with the PlayStation, regular CD-Rs were also compatible with the system. [9]

Nintendo 64 / 64DD

The Nintendo 64 development kit consists of multiple components, both for the N64 and its add-on, the N64DD. The main hardware used in N64 game development was the Partner-N64 Development Kit, [11] and used large cartridges for game development / testing rather than the short cartridges that were sold with retail games. Another hardware component in N64 development was the NU64 Flash Gang Writer, which was used by multiple cartridges simultaneously. This device was primarily used to create copies of games, and also relied on large cartridges instead of short cartridges. [12]

Other versions of the Nintendo 64 GDK are the SN Systems development suite, more SN Maestro 64 Music development system. The development continues to be a part of a computer directly to the console, and included a software package. The Maestro 64 Music system has been made to work on Nintendo 64’s hardware. [13]

Sixth-generation video game kits

Dreamcast

Sega Dreamcast units were unique in that they used “GD-ROM” discs; giga discs that held 1GB of data. This is a typical CD, but less than a DVD. While GD-ROM burners were used by some developers, since the Dreamcast was compatible with CDs and since most games did not have 1GB of data at the time, GD-ROMs remained uncommon as developers opted for more easily accessible CDs for their disc media. [14]

Xbox

When developers were creating software for the original Xbox , a prototype of the controller was used in early development kits. This controller was slimmer, had an elongated sides, and used a USB cable instead of an Xbox port-compatible cable. [9]

Seventh-generation video game development kits

Xbox 360

Microsoft manages the Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program, which licenses hardware and software to professional software developers working on tools and technologies for games. Access to this program requires good industry references, a middleware development and a non-disclosure agreement. [15]

PlayStation 3

The PlayStation developer program allows registered developers to publish their games across the PlayStation Network , making their games accessible on the PlayStation 3 , PlayStation 4 , PlayStation Vita , and PlayStation TV all through one program. [16]

The original Wii development hardware.

Wii

The Wii development kit was a bundle of the “NDEV” hardware – a big black box full of debugging / testing hardware that looks like the slim white Wii consoles sold to consumers – and a disc containing the developer software tools. [17]

Eighth-generation video game development kits

Xbox One

Microsoft maintains multiple developer programs for people wanting to develop games for their platforms; ID @ Xbox for Xbox One game development , and the Windows Dev Center for Windows 8 , Windows 8.1 , Windows 10 , and Xbox One game and application development.

  • The ID @ Xbox program allows qualified game developers to self-publish their games to the Xbox One, as well as access free middleware and two development hardware kits for free. [18]
  • The Windows Dev Center allows developers to create apps and games on Windows 8 , Windows 8.1 , and Windows 10 platforms as part of the Universal Windows Platform system. [19]

PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita

The PlayStation developer program allows registered developers to publish their games across the PlayStation Network , making their games accessible on the PlayStation 3 , PlayStation 4 , PlayStation Vita , and PlayStation TV all through one program. [16] The PlayStation 4 development kits have been known as “Orbis”, though this was just a codename. [20] Academic institutions can register to receive PS4 development kits for educational purposes, and are not regionally restricted PlayStation Developer Program members. [21]

Wii U

Nintendo maintains a unified developer program for both its Wii U and Nintendo 3DS families of platforms. This developer software provides software and middleware to developers, and allows developers to self-publish their games to the Nintendo eShop. [22] Games and applications published through this program are considered “third-party” and do not belong to Nintendo, allowing independent developers to publish their games on multiple different platforms.

The Wii U development hardware consists of a system called “CAT-DEV”, with its accompanying peripherals such as the Display Remote Controller (presumably the Wii U GamePad [23] ) and sensor bar. [24]

Nintendo 3DS Family

Nintendo’s developer program allows developers to use Nintendo 3DS development kits, and allows developers to self-publish their games to the Nintendo eShop. [22] As mentioned in the Nintendo Wii U section above, games and applications published through this program are considered “third-party” and do not belong to Nintendo, allowing independent developers to publish their games on multiple different platforms.

Strangely, some 3DS development kits can not play retail games . [9]

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:b “The Life and Times of year 80’s Game Programmer – Putting it all together | Play It Again” . playitagainproject.org . Retrieved 2015-12-22 .
  2. Jump up^ “Here’s How Nintendo’s Internal Teams Are Organized” . www.gamnesia.com . Retrieved 2016-02-05 .
  3. Jump up^ “Microsoft: Every Xbox One Can Be Used To Make Games [UPDATE]” . Kotaku . Retrieved 2015-12-22 .
  4. Jump up^ “NES Mission Control Development System” . devkits.handheldmuseum.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  5. Jump up^ “SNES 8 MB EPROM Cartridge” . devkits.handheldmuseum.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  6. Jump up^ “NES / SNES Utilities – Zophar’s Domain” . www.zophar.net . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  7. Jump up^ “SNES Development Wiki” . Super Nintendo Development Wiki . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  8. Jump up^ “Store | PSXDEV” . www.psxdev.net . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  9. ^ Jump up to:d “Things you can not ever have” . www.platypuscomix.net . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  10. Jump up^ “15 Years Later: How Sony’s Yaroze Net Kickstarted Indie Console Development” . www.gamasutra.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  11. Jump up^ “Nintendo 64 Development | level42” . level42.ca . Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  12. Jump up^ “NESWORLD.COM – NU64 FLASH GANG WRITER (NINTENDO64 DEVELOPMENT TOOL)” . www.nesworld.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  13. Jump up^ “Nintendo 64 SN64 Dev Kit and SN Maestro 64 Music Dev Kit” . devkits.handheldmuseum.com . Retrieved 2015-12-22 .
  14. Jump up^ “Things you can not ever have” . www.platypuscomix.net . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  15. Jump up^ “Xbox 360 Tools and Middleware Program” . www.xbox.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  16. ^ Jump up to:b “Develop” . PlayStation . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  17. Jump up^ “This is the original Wii dev kit that shipped to developers 10 years ago” . wiiudaily.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  18. Jump up^ “Independent Developer Publishing Program for Xbox One” . www.xbox.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  19. Jump up^ “Get started with Windows apps – Windows app development” . dev.windows.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  20. Jump up^ “Report: Xbox 720 and PS4 Codenames And Details – IGN” . IGN . Archived from the original on 2013-01-15 . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  21. Jump up^ “PlayStation® Academic Program” . PlayStation . Archived from the original on 2015-11-26 . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  22. ^ Jump up to:b “Homepage – Nintendo Developer Portal” . developer.nintendo.com . Retrieved 2016-07-09 .
  23. Jump up^ “Wii U dev kit | Wii U” . wiiudaily.com . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .
  24. Jump up^ “Wii Devkit U (CAT-DEV V3) – VGLeaks” . VGLeaks . Retrieved 2015-11-25 .

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