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Wii U Web Framework Tools Outlined in Detail at Game Developers Conference

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

As easy as 1, 2, 3

Currently underway in Cologne, Germany, GDC (Game Developers Conference) Europe 2013 is bringing together hundreds of companies and studios for various presentations, demonstrations and networking opportunities. As we've reported before, Nintendo is in attendance and also hosting two developer sessions to promote the Nintendo Web Framework and Unity support for Wii U eShop publishing and development.

The first of those sessions, focused on the Nintendo Web Framework, has taken place today. As reported by Polygon, Nintendo of Europe manager of developer relations Martin Buchholz explained the role of the framework in allowing web game developers to quickly and flawlessly port their content across to the Wii U architecture; with preset libraries to assist, developers can bring their HTML5 and Javascript games to the platform almost immediately and with minimum fuss. Popular programming support libraries such as jQuery, Underscore and Handlebars have been tested, as well as rendering and art tools such as Processing.js and pixi.js.

The main focus of the demonstration was reportedly on specialised dev-kit libraries, namely two called Impact and Enchant. Impact was shown in practice, with the GamePad showing key debug information, and perhaps the most impressive aspect was that, in the case of an 8-bit platformer, a demonstrator "painted" a new platform into the game world, and the framework's code was automatically updated in the live game. A bullet-hell shmup was also shown that performed with no issues, and the demonstrator stated that using the tools in the Framework development of the demo, porting and running on Wii U had only taken one week.

It was also confirmed that Glandarius Wing Strike, a four year old iOS game developed with the language incorporated in the Framework, is currently being ported to the Wii U. While that iOS shmup may not set pulses racing in its own right, the assurances that Framework developers enjoy the same pricing and release freedom as others opens the door for more content to come to the platform. Aside from understandable concern at the prospect of some disappointing games potentially flooding the eShop, there is scope through these tools for more developers to come onto the system and boost its library.


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User Comments (14)



Azooooz said:

Nintendo, from my perspective, need as many indies as they can for Wii U to be able to survive for at least 2 years, and this is where it starts.



IxnayontheCK said:

Yeah this is really great. I like the angle of sure, we're missing some 3rd party stuff but indie games abound inside the WiiU (wiiuniverse?). It could/should be advertised big time!



FiveDigitLP said:

This is really cool. I know nothing about programming with the traditional languages used for game development, but I do know a thing or two about web technologies. I really think this has a lot of potential, especially if it's as easy to port as Nintendo claims it is. I mean, a week for that demo they showed? You've gotta be kidding me!

EDIT: I just reread that and realized that it took a week to develop AND port the demo. Even better!



rjejr said:

This is nice and all, but does NL have anybody at Gamescom? I know it doesn't start until Wed., I'm just wondering how much coverage we'll get. Those demoes aren't going to play themselves



Quickman said:

I spoke to a guy from Two Tribes via twitter regarding the Web Framework, he didn't seem overly impressed with it, he did say that it may be useful for rapid prototyping but I got the impression from him that it's mainly going to serve as a portal for mass shovelware,



element187 said:

"porting and running on Wii U had only taken one week."

I have to shake my head everytime i see a big name developer claim its difficult to develop for or the port would cost too much..... There is really nothing alien at all inside that box. And if you can program your game to take advantage of two monitors (which is the majority of PC games) than you can develop for the Wii U gamepad just fine.

There is some really talented small indie groups that have already made some pretty great stuff, and if these 2 to 4 man teams can bang out a game, yet these 200 person teams at EA can't get a handle of the platform.... Maybe those AAA developers are no where near as good as they think they are... as a programmer myself (not a games programmer, sadly) I don't see anywhere on this machine that would be difficult to develop for.... Although I can understand working with the Wii remote might be difficult at first. But the gamepad works just like any other controller, only you can send output information to the user through it.

as far as architecture... Both use a powerpc based CPU. Both use a ATI/AMD based GPU, with DDR3 memory and taking advantage of super fast eDRAM as cache.. The only differences is the Wii U's processor is far more advanced and efficient, even at a lower clock rate, the GPU is much more modern and up to 2-3x the grunt, 4x the ddr3 memory, and heck of alot more of and alot faster of the ultra fast eDRAM.... If a developer can port their game to x360, moving it over to the Wii U should be a breeze. So I don't buy this nonsense that the system is difficult to develop for.

Heck a small dev team did Pikmin 3 pretty much all on their own. Could a small team like that really do a game with that much polish on hardware thats difficult to use? I mean naughty dog has a team almost 10x the size that did TLOU and Pikmin 3 easily outclasses it on visuals. (TLOU did have a fantastic story telling, though)... the PS3's hardware is so exotic that it takes a lot more man hours to squeeze something incredible out of it.



aronatvw said:

Between the gamepad for inventory and miiverse to share creations do you people realize how awesome minecraft would be on wiiu?!?! huh do you?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!



xtndedPlay said:

How about online MMOrpgs? Tag all PC control "1,2,3,etc." to icons on the game pad and then you get responsive controls and keep the MMO buttons.



Araknie said:

@Azooooz Yes, autumn 2013 will be the years for Nintendo fans to rejoice and 2014 starts the appeal for non-Nintendo gamers, really.

Well during the last Nintendo Direct they already shown tons of Indies so there is a great commitment in that part.



kdognumba1 said:

I really can't wait to see Wii U start getting flooded with games. This is really awesome that Nintendo is doing this.

@swordx I would love to play Minecraft on Wii U. Same goes with Dungeon Defenders. I think they'd both be great on the Wii U pad.

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