nD sticks it to traditional gaming giants

What do you do if you’re a developer that gets shut out of the approval process for closed-shop gaming systems? If you’re [Robert Pelloni] you protest first, then establish your own startup to develop a gaming platform that is open and inexpensive. The hardware seen above is a rendering of the nD, a cheap and open gaming handheld. They plan to sell it at cost ($20) and let anyone develop games.

Check out the video after the break to see the pitch. The hardware is sparse; a plastic case and some buttons, a 320×240 LCD screen, a PCB with a system-on-a-chip, and a rechargeable battery. But if you’re writing great games the spartan hardware doesn’t matter (we still love a good game of Metroid when we have the time). Developers will be able to license games for sale in the nD online market. They’ll keep 90% while nD takes it’s 10%. Not a bad deal.

If you haven’t heard about [Bob] protesting Nintendo, give this article a gander.

[Thanks Wouter via OMG! Ubuntu!]

Comments

  1. Adam Outler says:

    WTH? Sell you products for more then your true value, because you will believe they do more then they actually do…

  2. Bob D says:

    Show me something other than a rendering and remove the words “plan to sell it at cost” and I might (might!) pay attention. Only companies the size of Sony get to sell consoles at or below cost, guys with copies of Blender have to sell things at a profit.

  3. Acedio says:

    Note that this is the same Bob behind the crazy hype-machine that was Bob’s Game. I’d love to believe that this will actually come to fruition, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

  4. ColdRush says:

    If they can actually produce these and sell them at a pricepoint of $20 I’ll be very surprised. Check out the GP2X Wiz and Caanoo, aswell as the Dingoo. Both have the same concept, and for the Caanoo gamepark tried the appstore idea, but it failed pretty badly.

  5. Jimbo says:

    Gonna start calling BS on this one now…

    When I first heard about it, it was $10 for the unit. Then the last time I heard about it, $15… now it’s $20 and it’s been several years since I first heard about it with nothing to show but WORSE renderings since the first ones I saw.

  6. dontpanic says:

    @Bob D,

    Why do they have to sell it at a profit? The idea is that they’ll be raking in the dough though game sales on their marketplace. Making the platform as cheap as possible is only going to increase market share and game sales (free $$$ in their eyes, minus cost of the web store). Also, it seems like they’re using existing hardware, so R&D costs are low.

    I totally agree though, that they need an actual product and not a 3D rendering before anybody should pay attention. I do love the idea, and would immediately jump on-board the development ship once it gets going. Very cool

  7. Aaron says:

    Holy crap, it’s a brand-new Derek Smart!

    …because one just wasn’t enough.

  8. Aaron says:

    dontpanic: Barnum woulda loved you to little bitty pieces.

  9. charliex says:

    I’m sure nintendo are terrified and are working on his application immediately.

  10. octel says:

    I normally don’t read YouTube comments, but the following comment on a “bob’s game” intro trailer was just pure gold:

    “Wow… a game about an emo teen examining boxes… good luck with that.”

    Bob wonders why no one sees his genius, meanwhile everyone laughs. It’s kind of sad once you think about it.

  11. Slanderer says:

    Oh, him…

    For those who are knew to this, this guy is actually mentally unstable. The internet has been making fun of him for a few years now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob's_Game

  12. Aaron says:

    Also, I love how his little “protest” was two and a half years ago and he has apparently done jack shit since then.

    What the hell is this nonsense even doing here? I’m starting to suspect that I have been trolled.

  13. Aaron says:

    Slanderer, where does it say he’s not well? Throwing a temper tantrum kind of doesn’t count, and neither do headaches and paranoia, not immediately after you’ve been locked in a room for a month with no human contact and likely not enough daylight to maintain your circadian rhythm. David Blaine’s stunts are similar, if more hardcore, and he frequently finishes them up with a fast trip to the nearest hospital — does this make Blaine mentally ill?

    I’ll grant Pelloni appears to have no sense of his own capabilities and a vastly outsized degree of self-importance, but neither of those in itself is particularly strong evidence of mental illness; granted they are listed as potential symptoms of a variety of disorders, but they’re also perfectly reasonable traits to find in someone who is a self-deluded, egotistical jackass.

  14. Mattster says:

    Reminds me of a product a while back called a Mattell Juicebox. I have a bunch of them and the r fun to hack

  15. Sideshow says:

    It’s nice to see so much support here for Bob – someone who has actually tried, and put a lot of work in, instead of sitting there like the rest of the knuckle-dragging critics.

  16. Hackerspacer says:

    “But if you’re writing great games the spartan hardware doesn’t matter (we still love a good game of Metroid when we have the time).”

    Disagree. I still play Metroid. But I don’t buy hardware that can only play Metroid level complexity type games. We have emulators these days.

  17. strider_mt2k says:

    Speaking from a strictly hardware perspective, this might not be that hard to do with a System On Chip (SOC)setup.
    There are enough crappy Chinese Android and Windows CE netbooks and tablets floating around to choke the large animal of your choosing and THAT is largely SOC stuff with some add-ons.

    I think simply making it open would attract folks, but it’s going to have to be at least as powerful as a Dingoo A350 or you may as well just get a Dingoo A350 or something along those lines and develop for THAT.

  18. daniel says:

    Check out this thing that you can buy right now, guaranteed not to be vapor-ware!
    http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKNN2
    (and it’s on sale!)

  19. kak says:

    remember that 199$ vaporware laptop from back when?

  20. andar_b says:

    That whole Bob’s Game wiki post was hilarious.

  21. emusan says:

    I’m a member of the nD community, and I have been for awhile now… To me it seems as though Bob really doesn’t know what he’s getting into. He has no real spec’s, sdk, or any idea where to get the parts fabricated, yet he wants developers to sign on, claiming they will sell “millions”. He also claims to not have enough resources to publish his game on the PC, yet somehow he does have enough to make a console? I’m still hoping its real and happens, though up to this point he hasn’t done much to dispel anyones fears.

  22. Limey says:

    The wiki made me laugh, although im not sure if I should feel sorry for him after basically wasting 5 years of his life after getting so worked up over them not giving him the SDK when he doesnt realise it would probably have been better for him to just release it for free on the PC like cavestory and THEN get it released for the DS (again, like cave story on wiiware).

  23. The Steven says:

    $20.00?? I’ll take two… Three if it runs Linux!

  24. lolwut says:

    whats wrong with the pandora (besides the cost)? open hardware, actually released, runs games, has a decent following

  25. marcus says:

    Question: why not play the simple game on my smart phone?

    The cpu/RAM/screen configure is even worst than a cheap android phone!

    Only 1 reason: the control buttons.
    In this case, why not build this device as a USB controller for android?

    ** any way, I like Open hardware!!

  26. ScottinNH says:

    Um… no. Pipe dream.

    There are a couple of open hardware platforms you can develop for, and they are TOTALLY old-school.

    Gameduino and Uzebox are 2 that come to mind. Plus when you get tired of the games, the platforms are very much hackable.

    At this point, phantom platforms are not interesting. However, if you extend an EXISTING open platform… that is nice.

  27. scotch says:

    Man I feel sorry for that kid, he wasted a massive amount of time, and managed to strip himself of all credibility by his whole ‘protest’. Seriously mentally unsable.

    I wonder what his parents think, given that he lives at home?

  28. scotch says:

    Additionally, given his level of web design, I bet the game sucks to all hell anyway.

  29. Hirudinea says:

    @ velociostrich – The offical laptop of North Korea!? Thats like saying the offical condom of the Vatican, the offical Ham of Israel, the offical beer of Saudia Arabia, the offical… well you get the idea. Anyway I will buy an nD when I see it in the store for $19.99.

  30. Devon says:

    I love how well the pads on the right side of the circuit board line up with the D-pad on the left.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Well, for $20, I’d sure as hell buy one.

  32. McNoob says:

    I got as far as the description of ‘Bob’s Game’ and couldn’t stop laughing…

    Not because itself was funny, but because it reminded me so much of Kramer’s ‘Coffee Table Book.’

  33. zacdee16 says:

    It would be great if this actually happen, but I have my doubts like everyone.

    I’m still kicking my sac from when I bought the dingoo. It’s fun and all, but there is only so much that can be done with it. No internet connection, no clock, hard to find chip expansion (minisd), and a relatively dead community.

  34. Dan says:

    I think I would get one just to check it out.
    If it sucks horribly I can use it as a door stop or paper weight.
    Could even use the parts to build something else.

  35. BobSmith says:

    This is from a crazy man who locked himself in a room and vandalized a Nintendo store because Nintendo doesn’t give out SDKs to crazy people. I’d love if this sort of idea came to fruition, but in this instance, it isn’t going to happen, namely because the person who’s talking about this is mentally unstable, and this is all a fantasy in his head.

    No hack here, hackaday. You’re just indulging someone’s delusions.

  36. ruben says:

    @BobSmith
    “This is from a crazy man who locked himself in a room and vandalized a Nintendo store because Nintendo doesn’t give out SDKs to crazy people.”

    absolutely agree

    @Sideshow
    Oh, come on…
    There’s millions of indie developers we’re not laughing at.
    This guy has simply lost his marbles…
    vandalized a Nintendo Store saying: “This is Level 50″

  37. nah! says:

    already have such a device (thouh its a nes on a chip)
    i want something like the wii u controller, for pc so its usable as screen and joypad

    i would play all games in my bed ^^

  38. Fili says:

    Yeah, sure, I’ll develop my games for this gorgeous console and totally ignore that crap appstore and android market.

  39. KillerBug says:

    This looks really cool…I wouldn’t want to use it for gaming, but $20 puts it into dev board territory.

  40. xorpunk says:

    super easy to do with a ARM POP. The plastic manufacturing and PCB(because of BGA mostly) is just pricey.

    An ARM 3530 or better(whatever TI is selling to us poor people these days) would be best for this. If you put one of the new TI quad cores in it, it’d actually be competitive..

  41. Pup says:

    Why don’t the buttons match up to the board? :p

  42. Daid says:

    Anyone who get’s excited by this should follow the past development of the OpenPandora. Which was an exciting project. But from early prototype to shipping took them 2 years!

    It’s also saying that it’s faster then the Nintendo DS. But the NDS speed comes from the GFX chip, no word about the GFX chip, so my guess would be, software rendering.

    I have a GP2X, it’s a nice machine, and it has about the same specs as this mystery machine. And the biggest flaw of the GP2X is it’s weak GFX chip. (It can do some accelerated 2D blitting, but that’s it)
    People can do amazing things in ASM, but it’s time consuming.
    It’s second flaw is the lack of touchscreen, DPad controls don’t work for all types of games. So it’s limiting itself to certain games.

    It’s biggest plus over the GP2X will be the Wifi. When we can order this device I might get one, just for the WiFi and to tinker around with it. An average ARM development board with LCD costs more.

  43. t&p says:

    Loads of assburgers detected.

  44. Dataflashsabot says:

    Ahaha the SDK is just “make an SDL game at 320×240″. How the fuck is this “16-bit” system-on-a-chip $20 shitthing going to use a software 2D library the sole purpose of which is to sacrifice performance for portability? Even the DS and its brethren require optimised, platform-specific C to get sensible performance. This is a joke, right?

  45. Olivier says:

    Even if this thing could exists, I would never buy something from Robert Pelloni. This guy is crazy.

  46. scotch says:

    The more I read about that kid, the more unstable he seems. t&p is right, he shows almost every attribute of asburgers. The fact that he supposeably worked on a game for 5 years, without ever checking that the thing was even viable, or that he would get approval. If nothing else, that’s utterly fucking stupid.

    I doubt that there is any hardware design, or any real software design. Dataflashsabot is right, there is no way that any sort of game is going to be running on this hardware without some serious optimisation.

  47. scotch says:

    I especially liked this post by the kid. No wonder nintendo wants nothing to do with him. Quote follows.

    THAT IS NOT ME!! IT’S NOT ME!!!
    SOMEONE CAME INTO MY HOUSE
    THEY CAME INTO MY HOUSE!!!
    THEY WENT THROUGH EVERYTHING, WENT THROUGH MY PC, FILE TIMESTAMPS CHANGED, FOOTPRINTS, EVERYTHING MOVED, DOOR UNLOCKED
    THEY TRIED TO OPEN THE SAFE
    MY PC IS KEYLOGGED
    12 HOURS OF CAMERA FOOTAGE WAS DELETED
    CAMERA WAS UNPLUGGED WHEN I WOKE UP
    I WAS SLEEPING!!
    THEY DID IT WHILE I WAS SLEEPING!!
    THIS IS NOT PART OF THE PLAN
    THIS IS NOT A JOKE
    THEY MADE HANAFUDA CARDS FOR 50 YEARS
    THAT IS A YAKUZA GAME
    THEY ARE THE JAPANESE MAFIA
    THEY ARE THE JAPANESE MAFIA
    THEY ARE THE JAPANESE MAFIA
    THEY ARE THE JAPANESE MAFIA
    THEY ARE THE JAPANESE MAFIA
    THINK ABOUT IT!!
    THEY WANT TO SILENCE ME
    FOR A REASON!
    IT’S EITHER THEM OR ALIENS
    I’M PRETTY SURE IT’S NOT ALIENS
    I’D RATHER IT BE ALIENS !

  48. Steve says:

    Anyone with any hardware background _knows_ there is no way this could ever be made for $20… I’m surprised Hack A Day fell for it. I bet Bob _believes_ he can, but I think he’s falling victim to the “All you have to do is…” trap. As I was watching the video of Bob’s Game, all I kept thinking was “How sad…” I sort of wish I could write games, but heck, my attention span isn’t long enough to even _play_ video games, so my dreams of a software artist are dashed…

  49. blue carbuncle says:

    Bought my PSP knock off for a PENNY plus $20.00 shipping on lastminuteauction. It is under media players as an MP5 player. Can run any Nintendo based game system emulator up to n64. Also has an FM radio and plays 264 xvid. Good luck.

  50. Flavor says:

    At best, this is the next Pandora.

    At worst, this is the next Bob’s Game.

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