LittleBear says: It's six-dozen of one, half the other.

03.09.12

OUYA

Posted in everything, games, mobile at 4:03 pm by the2bears

OUYA interests me for a variety of reasons, though the obvious one is it’s a new bit of kit that shares a common technological pedigree I’m very familiar with. It’s an Android based game console proposed for a $99 price tag.

So, random thoughts on its interesting nature:

Wow, over $8M in funding via Kickstarter. Impressive. This sort of validates my recent thinking on using commodity hardware and software for solving real problems. I think there are a number of possible products out there that combine various open source software solutions with open hardware based designs. Though, of course, I’m not sure this works when targeting gamers and home consumers.

I both like and dislike the Android choice as the platform. I like it because I understand it. I work with Android distributions at a low level, I run phone(s) with my own builds. I work with it in a professional capacity and I prefer it to the alternatives. However, I hate that it’s going to be judged on its ability (or lack of) to run AAA games. Which is what most will expect once the screen is the living room TV. Still, no matter the game it would be kind of cool watching someone playing it on their TV, from their own bean-bag chair.

It’s interesting as it’s an “open platform”. This means that, at least in theory, the barrier to entry for someone wanting to try their hand at a game is small. Development software is free, the devkit is the same as the end-user gets. It seems a good platform for indie development, at least how I view indie development. Then again, if it sees any kind of success you’ll see real indie pushed out in favor of Zynga and Popcap.

Ultimately I think there’s more success to be had pushing back into the living room, but not onto the TV. I think an Android based bit of hardware, similar to something like Sifteo does, is ideal. Interactive, multi-player gaming with cheap bits of commodity hardware. Imagine Risk, or Canasta with family or a group of friends. Only the games would be different, and would utilize the strengths of the hardware and interaction provided. The idea isn’t how to force Call of Duty onto the new kit, but what can you make with the new set of assumptions.

5 Comments »

  1. owen said,

    September 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

    first time I saw it I thought “oh no, no another bloated android device”. Maybe my impression of the devices are rather tainted but they seem to eating through more and more hardware like in the days of old when a new Java version would come out and it would swallow up all your RAM and the people would say “oh look its 10 times faster now” when infact you had to double your processor speed just to get the dam thing running correctly. And to add insult to injury it would be running 10 times faster doing the same stuff you did the year before but with a interface refresh and 10 more APIs. I hope it turns out better than a super nintendo with a browser.

  2. the2bears said,

    September 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Owen,

    I know what you mean regarding machines, their specs, and always using more than what’s available. Seems to me that shmups these days should still run on my old laptop – after all, has the genre changed that much?

    However, I don’t get this feeling with Android phones as strongly as you do. I hope that continues to be the case.

    Bill

  3. owen said,

    September 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I think I am just waiting for a point when it settles down, right now I am overwhelmed with the chaos.

  4. Piku said,

    September 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Hmm, sounds good but … Java :-( Garbage collection randomly eating frame times, JNI and the near impossibility of using C++.

    There does need to be an “indie” friendly console of some sort though. iOS is fun and all, but the lack of gaming controls as standard is a bit of a pain.

  5. the2bears said,

    September 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Piku,

    Normally, yes. All things working as they *should*, then we’d have a decent and open binding to a common OpenGL layer.

    However, having worked with Java SOC hardware in the past, there are some very interesting (and good!) algorithms for GC. At least with Linux/Android there’s a chance these alternatives get pushed through to the common build.

    Bill

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