[Developer Musings] ‘A Flawed Paradise': Three devs weigh in on the good and bad of Nintendo’s eShops

Posted under 3DS eShop, Developer Musings, Wii U eShop
April 20, 2014 by (@NE_Brian)
Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 9.47.16 PM

We’ve brought in three more developers for the next entry in our new feature series, “Developer Musings”. This week, we have a few words from Ripstone (Knytt Undergroud, Pure Chess), Image & Form (Steamworld series), and Two Tribes (Toki Tori 2, EDGE) as they share some thoughts about the eShops. Head past the break for their comments.

Unsure as to what Developer Musings is about? Check out our first entry here for an explanation.

Phil Gaskell – Ripstone

ripstone_logo

Previous Works: On Nintendo platforms, Ripstone has published Knytt Underground on the Wii U eShop. They also recently brought out Pure Chess for the Wii U and 3DS.

Upcoming Games: Stick it to the Man, developed by Zoink. Check out our interview with the developer here!

Wow, the last 6 months have been crazy and flown by so fast. It doesn’t feel that long ago that we released Knytt Underground on WiiU, our first ever eShop game. If you haven’t checked it out then you should, it’s by the talented indie developer Nifflas and is simply epic in size. Well worth the money, it’ll have you exploring for hours and hours on end. It’s also quite hypnotic to watch other people playing it too!

We recently launched Pure Chess on both Wii U and 3DS eShop last month, and that ended up being quite tricky in the end. We (naively) told everyone it would launch in December, “how hard can Nintendo’s testing be to get through?” we thought. We certainly didn’t expect it to take over 3 months!! To be fair it was all down to the bold ambition we set ourselves regarding cross-platform multiplayer. Not as easy to get working as we first thought. We’ve even had to make a few server fixes since we launched to get it working right. But you can now play Wii U vs 3DS vs Android vs iOS!! How cool is that? I just wish Microsoft and Sony were a bit more like Nintendo when it comes to this sort’ve open thinking. One thing people might not know about Pure Chess is that on the WiiU we managed to squeeze in quite a cool use of the Gamepad. When there are two humans playing you can lay the gamepad down end-to-end on a flat surface, and it detects it’s at rest, so it locks the camera into top down mode to emulate a real chess board! No need to pass and play, just duke it out mano-a-mano instead!!

Now our third game is hurtling towards release now, and it’s not long before Nintendo gamers can get their hands on Stick It to The Man. Genuinely one of the weirdest and most fun games I’ve ever worked on, and all credit to Klaus and his team at Zoink! During development one of our play testers had a few problems with one of the puzzles and when I started making games 20 years ago, I never thought I would read an email that said “he needs to take the can of tomatoes and pasta strand and combine them in Arlene’s thought bubble to make an intergalactic phone which the Orangutan will shoot into space for you.” but that’s why I love what we do! Again we’ve added some unique uses of the Gamepad, this time you can lift it up to the screen and use it to access mind-reading mode. It feel soooo much more natural to play the game this way.

So we’ve had a lot of fun launching games on the eShop and I hope we can continue supporting Nintendo with our games in the future. It’s not always been easy, some of the tools and processes used to get games on to the eShop are a little bit old fashioned let’s say. I’ve not had to use a command prompt to run a devkit for a while, that’s for sure. But the team at Nintendo are some of the most passionate and supportive people I’ve worked with, and they’re embracing the indie movement as much as anyone. I think there’s never been a better time to be a gamer!

Continue on for thoughts from Image & Form…

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Around the Web

  • LordDisco

    Awesome featurette, Brian! Lots of great insight, as well as professional compliments and criticisms towards the eShop. I found myself glued to this post and read every word. Great stuff!

  • ecoutercavalier

    I feel bad for Two Tribes. Their games just don’t appeal to me, despite how competent they seem. Their take on the eShop is one of the most interesting.

    And I’d always love to hear more from shin’en, although it’s always hard to tell how truthful these guys are being about their experience. I think Indie developers carry a lot of drama with them.

    • D2K

      Yeah I picked that up too. Especially the comment about the command prompt on the dev kit.

    • CommonSense

      Shin en? Aka the Pc demo group called Abyss? Been around on the bleeding edge of graphics creation technology oh, 20 plus years? Yeah, theyre on the level guy.

  • RCMADIAX

    I got to love Two Tribes for their honesty. I can definitely relate to most of what they consider “cons”.

  • cusman

    Nintendo problem is they don’t look at competing services before they come up with their solutions. They are like that stubborn person that must learn only from their own mistakes if at all and never from the cumulative wisdom of others.

    This willful ignorance of the world around them allows them to “create” as a crutch/excuse for not being on par with other solution providers in the field. I applaud Two Tribes for working with Nintendo and at least giving Nintendo that wider perspective that its own developers would never have, on how things like the eShop could be better.

    • ecoutercavalier

      I think they definitely look at the competition when implementing services. They just make choices about what to use based on their own personal needs, rather than what someone else might want.

      • cusman

        It is actually well documented that they don’t. By their own admission on their philosophy that they don’t want others ideas to influence their own critical/creative thinking and also from 3rd party impressions working with Nintendo and finding that Nintendo is very unaware of how XBL or PSN work for enabling online services.

        • ecoutercavalier

          “By their own admission on their philosophy that they don’t want others ideas to influence”

          I would say that too, but there is no denying that they look to competition for ideas. Just look at the nfc tech in the gamepad, given what we know about the approach they recieved from activision. Or even the disc format they finally implemented with the Gamecube.

          They don’t hold back as a result of ignorance. Implementation is based on their own personal interest in the technology, as well as the financial benefits of implementation. Only the gaming press is dumb enough to think that Nintendo simply doesn’t see the things around them.

  • Rowdy

    Brian, thank you for posting this Developer Musings feature! It was really interesting to see the pros and cons that these three wonderful indie developers/publishers had to say. I am glad to see several positives mentioned about the eShop :) I also hope that Nintendo listens to the constructive criticism that these developers present, as it will make the eShop better for both developers and consumers :)

  • SecretX

    really like the articles. nintendo should fix some of that, they should read this :P

  • stealth20k

    Is this really representative of the whole?

    I think generally they do a good job

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