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Thread: nD SDK released

  1. #1

    Cool nD SDK released

    This isn't my project, but I've been following it for quite some time. I just checked the site and this is also a bit of old news, but the nD project has released the SDK for development (http://the-nd.com/wiki/SDK). The good news is that the project is using SDL completely! The bad news is there will probably need to be a port of FPC to support nD development.

    Don't know what nD is, well, here is a quick overview (from the site):
    "we think there's a place in the market for a "Model-T" of handheld video game systems.
    with digital distribution, we don't need to rent out a huge section of retail stores to sell our system.
    we think that's boring and cumbersome, anyway! this isn't 1985!

    why would you leave your house and make a trip to a store just to buy something you could download in the first place?
    what if it's late at night and you see something interesting? why plan your schedule around buying a game?
    we've decided not to limit ourselves to just one point of sale- we're getting creative.
    the more units we sell, the more games we sell- and more developers want to make games for it!

    we can be insanely flexible! since the nD is extremely affordable, we can improve and remodel our design constantly.
    there are already several different form-factors in the works- so you aren't stuck with one system for years.
    don't like the buttons? want a bigger screen? give your nD to a friend and get new model!
    likewise, the nD hardware specs can improve with time as well- of course, making sure to keep backwards compatibility.
    the games you buy will only continue looking better and better! you'll be consistently surprised by our innovations."

    Basically, nD is a CHEAP (read less than $50 "sold at cost, price will vary based on manufacturing quantity. $10 is possible.") handheld gaming system made from the ground up. The truly funny part is the nD is a new open indie handheld gaming device currently under development by a team led by "bob's game" creator, Robert Pelloni.

    Basically Robert got pissed when Nintendo said no to him releasing his game and decided enough was enough. If you look around, nD is getting a lot of press and may be a really good thing for us Indy developers

    PS: I'm not dead yet, still, but just haven't had time to spend online outside of work

    - Jeremy

  2. #2
    PGD Staff code_glitch's Avatar
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    Finally, someone sticking it to nintendo and their ruddy SDK - I mean why would you pay over $1500 for an SDK in the first place and then ask Nintendo, 'do you want my work?' to get your game approved? Thought not. All we need is some nice, free, open source goodness into the SDK market and show nintendo that out of the worlds millions of programmers, its not because you have 20 decent ones the other 9,980,000 will ignore you and play by your rules...

    Its sort of where you draw the line between money | evil homebrew for corps, or innocence | common sense for the developers. At least microsoft understands: if the world pirates windows, we at least get a monopoly

    Not that I'm encouraging piracy but sometimes - really??

    And now its gotten to the extent where it got big enough for some worldwide coverage.......
    I once tried to change the world. But they wouldn't give me the source code. Damned evil cunning.

  3. #3
    hmm...very interesting indeed, thanks for sharing Jeremy

    PS. glad to see you are still around

    cheers,
    Paul

  4. #4
    PGD Staff / News Reporter phibermon's Avatar
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    Hmm, I've now looked at most of the material I can find regarding the nD.

    I followed the development cycle of the Open-Pandora for a long time, learning about the issues they faced and the costs invloved.

    With the nD, I can't find any discussions or information regarding the actual hardware or it's current position to market.

    An SDK and talk of their 'development prototype' (probably a beagle-board or other such embedded platform) don't provide evidence of a product that will be released any time soon.

    Now they could be keeping quiet on that front as most commercial hardware vendors do, but they are asking a lot for people to develop games for their system before offering proof that the system will come to market. (Ok, it's SDL so it's not as if it's a major risk)

    It would be incredible if they can hit the $10-$20 mark and I'd snap their arm off at that price, but when you concider these factors :

    Component Costs
    Manufacturing Costs
    Shipping costs
    FCC style red tape
    Stringent safety tests (as they're saying it's aimed at kids)
    Different processes for different countries
    Things I don't know about

    Well, I have my doubts that such a price can be met, especially given that initial runs are expensive and you need huge batches to bring costs down.

    But I will root for them! if they can get some commercial devs creating games too, there is certainly a space in the market for a cheap handheld device of this class, for the reason that they stated (cheap, expendable, 'give away' hardware) and because there are people that live on tight budgets.

    They won't add Wi-Fi, but if they can utialize the PC usb port to enable gameboy style 'link' games then that would be awesome
    When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie - that's an extinction level impact event.

  5. #5
    Having a background in Digital Engineering and working closely with many groups to get high BOM (Built On Mass, not Bill Of Materials) let me say this. If they can get the qty up high enough the price is more than achievable.

    Board Mfg costs when doing 10k+ is down around $0.02/sqin (and that's not including corporate discounts) for 4 layer
    Case/Body Mfg costs again come WAY down when you look at 10k+ builds, in fact I've seen molded costs in the $1 range for 6x8x3
    Shipping, really, have you heard of fixed cost shipping? Ungodly low, and they are not claiming free shipping (yet)
    FCC - Ok, granted, these licenses alone run 15-30k IF you reinvent the wheel. I'm betting they won't
    Parts (IC's, sockets, etc, etc) could be as high as $10/unit at 1k so I'm guessing $5 at 10k+ (and that's a high guess)

    I have my doubts too, but I keep in consideration that this guy spent the $$ to create a game company for a game he himself took 7 (maybe more) years to build. Funded the costs associated with attempting to license with Nintendo (15k+), and then had the balls to tell them "screw you, if you won't put it out, i'll build my own box" LOL

    Don't count WiFi out yet, if they are using some of the newer ARM11 or ARM-ME cores then WiFi is just an Antenna away. The costs associated with these cores is on par with ARM9's and there are pin compatible versions already planned by the big boys (Atmel, TI, etc)... Still it is a lot to ask.

    At one time there was info on the development system, and no, it isn't a beagle board. In fact it was pretty custom in general. They do have videos of the beta (alpha?) hardware running Bob's game, so the initial investment has been made... Now the REAL question is, will the big boys fight back, will it take another 10 years to get it done, will anyone back it or will everyone run, and can they get the teamups required to get 10k+ builds. One movie, Mc Donalds, or Dollar General is all that takes. Guess we will have to wait and see.

    - Jeremy

  6. #6
    PGD Staff / News Reporter phibermon's Avatar
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    Jeremy - You quite clearly have experience in these matters so I shall defer to your wisdom. I'm suprised to learn that there is room within the various cost conciderations to actually meet such a low price, makes me wonder if the pandora team could of got better deals.

    Reading what you say it seems that the right buy-in partner at this stage could make all the difference. Certainly what they offer is attractive and they seem to be marketing themselves well but it is concerning to think that a big name manufacturer could seek to push a small start-up out of pocket given they have so many strong ties to publishers and have the edge in marketing funds.

    I should expect that the Dingoo or various gamepark devices could also be sold for far less given they seem to be in the same ball-park hardware wise. I'll cross my fingers for the nD but in the end, I'd choose a pandora if only I could get my hands on one!
    When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie - that's an extinction level impact event.

  7. #7
    The entire problem is in numbers. An example, we were looking at doing a robotics platform based around an ARM7 from Atmel. The processor in low quantities was ~$5.00, but if we could figure out a way to get to 10k+ the price drop was like $1.79. Absolutely insane, but that's the way it goes .

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