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Developers Explain How to Make a 3DS eShop Game

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Patience and perseverance needed

Just recently we spoke to Trent Oster of Beamdog to learn about WiiWare from a developer's perspective, though his experience had ultimately been negative. Something that we touched upon was that the eShop on 3DS seems to be a better download platform that shows improvements over the Wii Shop, though specific details are of course locked behind non-disclosure agreements. Despite this, Official Nintendo Magazine has spoken to three developers to learn about the process of launching a game on the eShop, with some interesting details emerging.

When discussing the initial starting point for a project, Nic Watt from developer Nnooo outlined how Nintendo structures its support.

The prototypes can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, depending on how used to the hardware we are and how much experience we have of the technology behind the game.

Once we are happy with the direction in which the game is heading, we apply to Nintendo for a product code - a kind of ID that is unique to the game - and describe it a little bit further. Nintendo then asks for some more information, or gives us the product code, at which point we can start developing.

We are provided with tools and technology, as well as information on all the tests that will be run on the game. There are teams we can ask super-technical questions about how the hardware works, or how we can achieve a particular result.

Manfred Linzner from Shin'en Multimedia and then Nic Watt explain what happens next.

The so-called 'Nintendo lotcheck' is basically an approval of technical requirements; Nintendo doesn't approve gameplay features. Nintendo has a very high quality approval process and makes sure that games are really playable when they come to the customer.

Once we pass (Nic Watt, Nnooo), we then speak to the eShop teams in the EU and US about what date and price we release the product on or with. Finally we provide them with videos and screenshots so the eShop and the various Nintendo websites have all the info about our game.

It's good to hear that Nintendo does offer technical support and that the well known issue of pricing appears to involve dialogue with developers. The experience for these developers seems to be positive, which will hopefully encourage more companies to join the eShop platform.

[via officialnintendomagazine.co.uk]

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User Comments (22)

Kyloctopus

#2

Kyloctopus said:

If they talked to Nik Watt, they should have asked if Spirit Hunters Inc is still in development.

SonyFACE

#3

SonyFACE said:

Well, no one's shouting that they're never going to develop for Nintendo again because of it, so that's good.

eviLaTtenDant

#4

eviLaTtenDant said:

Pricing and release date process sound good.
Would be interesting to hear more on why it sometimes takes so long until certain games come to Europe. (Age ratings, translation, something else?) Don't know if it's the same in America.

"Nintendo has a very high quality approval process and makes sure that games are really playable when they come to the customer."
Actually it seems like the percentage of borderline unplayable games in the eShop is much lower than on Wii- and DSiWare so far. Hope this doesn't change in the future.

hydeks

#7

hydeks said:

Sounds like alot better process than WiiWare and DSiWare. Glad to hear Nintendo is learning from past failure's.

Nnooo

#8

Nnooo said:

Hey guys and girls.

We are still working on Spirit Hunters Inc. In fact we are in the final bug fixing stages. It's a pretty complex game for essentially two people to make so we want to make sure its a-ok before we release it.

The process for 3DS is very similar to both the WiiWare and DSiWare services. Personally I think some companies assume Nintendo's lotcheck process is for finding the bugs in the game. This is the wrong assumption. Lotcheck is intended as a sanity check to make sure that it works under the guidelines Nintendo provides us. If you use it as your own QA service then expect it to take a long time to find and fix all your bugs.

The main reason it takes a long time for some games to release in EU is that not all companies develop for all regions at the same time. We at Nnooo really understand how important it is to do so. Also the EU financially is still a much smaller market than the US and Australia even smaller which means for some companies it isn't worth their time (unfortunately).

At Nnooo instead of developing each region one after the other we do them all at once. It does make Lotcheck trickier as sometimes the EU will find something the US hasn't (or vice versa) and we can then have some tough choices to make regarding release dates.

Hope that helps?

Unca_LzStaff

#9

Unca_Lz said:

@Battletoad: From what I gather, Nintendo of Europe has a separate lotcheck, which could take a while. Plus translating to all the different languages takes a while.

Morphbug

#10

Morphbug said:

@Nnooo: Cool, I was wondering what happened to Spirit Hunters Inc.
It's really interesting to hear how things work, thanks a lot for the info.

3dbrains

#11

3dbrains said:

@Nnooo

Nice to here direct from a dev on this matter.
I have been speaking to another dev about an impending update to their already released eshop title and the update apparently even has to go through these same checks with Nintendo... so it will take a while.
Personally I would rather have good quality, finished products than rushed, poor efforts. 1UP to Nintendo from me.

Luigi_is_better

#12

Luigi_is_better said:

@Nnooo

Thanks for the info and for taking the time to talk to consumers like us. It really shows what great developers you are that you'll use this site (my favorite) and talk about the process you go through to make a great game/app. I, for one, have given you more support because of it. I've bought quite a few of your apps and can't wait for Spirit Hunters Inc. It'll be a day one buy! Keep up the good work and know that your openness and kindness has brought supporters like me!

Neram

#14

Neram said:

I had a feeling it wasn't all a completely archaic process. I think the developers that do cry about it are just angry that their games weren't good enough, or didn't sell well enough. If you notice the trend behind these "outspoken" independent developers is that their games aren't exactly.. that good, sorry to say. Not to say they are terrible or that nobody likes them, just that they obviously didn't gain a wide appeal for a reason.

C-Olimar

#18

C-Olimar said:

@Nnooo thanks for taking the time to comment! Me and my brother enjoyed watching the developer diaries on the Nintendo Channel and we both want to get a version of Spirit Hunters! I also have Pop+ Solo and MyNotebook and think they're great! Keep up the good work!

Nnooo

#20

Nnooo said:

Thanks everyone :)

We are really proud of Spirit Hunters Inc. The play testing in the office has been going well for a while now and the game is pretty stable so hopefully it won't be too much longer... There is so much content in the game! 96 normal spirits and then a rare (silver) and very rare (gold) version of each. Plus all the abilities and combos....

The guys are finding quite a bit of strategy to the game too. Can't wait to see @Corbs at E3 so we can let him play it and maybe... even take a copy away for a while...

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