Microconsole Development

so Im interested in targeting androidTV and other set top boxes/ micro-consoles.

At the moment, you have the following contenders in the arena:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Razer Forge
  • Mad Catz MOJO
  • Playstation TV
  • Nexus Player
  • nVidia SHIELD

Of these, the shield stands out as the most powerful in hardware and my personal choice. It is also the newest.

The MOJO is getting a bit old now, so is the playstationTV, also, the PSTV is a more closed loop system. The nexus player is more a proof of concept.

That leaves the Forge, FireTV and the SHIELD. Given that FireTV is not directly an AndroidTV device and already a year old, the Forge and the Shield are all that remain. Out of these two devices, the Shield is clearly and notably more powerful. As a long time Quadro user, the notion of putting the same hardware I like to run in my workstation, in my console of choice simply makes sense.

There has been a lot of talk about where the Shield fits into the console gaming spectrum. In simple terms, the Shield is a Wii, for guys. My girlfriend has a Wii(the first one). It is a console built for moms, from the games, t the ergonomics to the avatars that talk, it was built for moms. Consider the most popular Wii title Ive ever heard of, is Wii fit, or possibly Wii Sports. To me, the Wii, is a girl. Now Im not saying anything bad about that, women in games have gotten a bad rap and undercredited for a long time. Having played the Wii, holding the controller, navigating the menus, listening to the sound effects, that console is female.

The Shield on the other hand, is a guy. The angles, colors, marketing, features and specificayions are masculine. Consider the price point, its higher that a standard set top box. Most weigh in a $100, many of which you need to add 40-50 for a good controller. Compare to $399 for a top line console, twice the cost of the shield. The Wii hit a price point that allowed it to stay popular in an age of rising prices. $100 remains a price point for nongamers and casual users. At $200, the Shield Console fits right inbetween the two dsparate markets. The Shield, is a Wii, for guys. It is masculine, or at least not built for most moms ;)

Now what draws me most to the Shield, and microconsoles in general. Since the lost glimmer of the Indrema, home consoles that allow for small studio development have been a strong interest. The Shield allows one to simply buy the console outright and begin developing for a console, that uses traditional game input (a game pad) and display that on a television right away. You cannot do that with a Wii, PS4, Xbox or other various proprietary consoles. with tools like Unity, this process is even more accessible.

Now, I personally could care less about 4K, right now. I dont have any plans on buying a 4K tv in the next 2-3 years. I just bought my first 1080p TV this year, using my PC for most tv watching on hulu or netflix. I primarily bought the tv (a nice 40") to use for development. I also dont have much use for the grid. I dont play first person shooters or a lot of PC games. So, while I recognize some users may really love these features, they simply mean nextto nothing for me. What I do see, is a powerful, easy to access set of hardware, I can develop and optomize for over the nxt 4-5 year cycle inherent to console gaming and game technology in general. Dont get me wrong, 4K means the Shield will still work on my next TV. Grid gaming means I have an option for distribution. It shows network capability for MMOs. Streaming from a computer in my house? Just not something Im terribly interested in. So, there are somethings I wont use much of, but I am happy to see innvation and exploration in technology in general.

So, I have a large number of games in my design journal I am interested in developing. Some are very simple demostrations of a concept, others are full blown MMOs. For the most part, they are games similar to what I played as a child, brought up to modern standards. Several platform games, a few rpgs, a puzzle game or two and a highly involved turn based strategy game. Most of these are 2d games, that simply do not do well on a PC. They need that 10’ experience. The TV display, the gamepad input. The Shield Console, makes this reality, so much more accessible.

I look forward to exploring the Shield Console and seeing what can be accomplished with an open, accessible, stable set of hardware over the next 5 years. I eagerly await launch day at my favorite online retailer.


you probably already know this, but SHIELD Android TV is now available!

I got my Pro yesterday. I have the loose power cord defect, Amazon is shipping me a new one.

In the first 12 hours, I was able to:

  • unbox and connect my Shield
  • install all OTA updates needed
  • browse the selection of games
  • install unity
  • install visual studio (community)
  • install AndroidWorks
  • watch some netflix while everything was installing
  • paint a picture on my laptop
  • use Cast to watch something from my laptop to my tv
  • drag the picture into unity and setup a scene
  • configure and build that unity project to an APK
  • use my usb drive to take that unity app/apk to my shield
  • run the unity project (albeit simple) on my Shield TV

I want to make it very clear, that day 1 unboxing, I was able to go from nothing, to a full development environment and run my application on my TV.

This is groundbreaking, and a milestone not only for me, but for all developers. Day One Compile and Run to Consumer Platform. Pretty awesome of you ask me.

The shield is the first console I have purchased in over 10 years. I grew up on Atari,NES, SNES, TG16, Dreamcast, Playstation, PS2. I have never had a ps3 or xbox. I chose the Shield over a PS4. It is the console I am developing for, at this point, exclusively.

At the moment, Iam setting up gamepad mapping and basic navigation of menus and scenes in unity. After that, I will be releasing a simple platform game demo.

I look forward to working with nVidia and the development community over the next five years, my estimate for life of this console. I cant wait to see what kind of performance I can pull out of this machine. I have many stories to share with you.

Can’t wait to see what you create!