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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:51 pm 
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So I've been wondering about how homebrew will work on the more modern consoles like Xbox 360, Xbox 1 Switch, PS4 and such.

The older consoles were difficult to program for and didn't have game engines that allowed anyone to make a game. You had to have some kind of special talent or something.

But the newer consoles have game engines such as Unity, Game Maker Studio and more. So it begs the question, how easy will it be and what will the homebrew scene look like on the more recent consoles?

I'm sure there will be games made for the modern consoles which don't get the approval to be licensed onto the platform. All then a developer has to do is crack the security lockout and bam they are in.

Lots of people know Unity and so I'm thinking when some of these more modern consoles get discontinued by their companies will it just open up the flood gate for others to come in and easily makes homebrew games? Is there anything preventing homebrew on the modern consoles now?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:39 pm 
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I’d say the transition from 2D to 3D, as well as the scope of modern games getting exponentially bigger, would probably be the biggest hurdle for one person or a small team of people working on a game. Even with things like Unity and other engines / SDKs (I don’t know how much this simplifies things as opposed to programming directly for whatever graphics API the respective system uses), I feel like it’d still probably be mostly just demos.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:14 am 
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But here is the thing, just because you have a super powerful console doesn't mean that you can't make a creative short game.

I think there is a sigma that says that if you create a PS4 game then it needs to be equivalent to the newest God of War game. While there may be some standards for what a triple A game title may present itself as, a great game need not be long nor graphic intensive.

Take Donkey Kong the arcade back from 1981. It is a simple game and yet many people still play this game today because of the challenging and engaging game play.

One of my points that I tried to make in my original post was that the reason why we don't have much N-64 and SNES homebrew is because nobody really has the knowledge and talent to pull it off. But for the modern consoles, there are lots of tools which allow easy accessibility. So with that accessibility then would that make the homebrew scene for a modern platform different.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:05 am 
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While Unity and UDK will have version that are Wii/PS3/XBox360 compatible etc and CryEngine and a few others. They will never open up the licensing for Homebrew, they can only support those platforms by using the custom SDKs provided by Nintendo/Sony/MS which they won't unlock. So you are basically back to square one making your own engine.

The Switch being a NVidea Tegra is however really easy and there is a video of somebody porting Cannonball using the NVidea SDL support to it in an hour.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:24 am 
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I'd also think any homebrew developer is going to know there isn't much difference between a modern console and a PC hardware wise and would presumably take the easier (for reasons outside of the one Oziphantom gave too) and completely legal route. The only reason I could see why to develop for a modern console would be if it offered something a PC didn't, like the Wii U's Gamepad, but in the Wii U's case, it's hardware is just such a mess that no one would program for it regardless of its lack of popularity.

I also have to question by how modern you mean. There isn't any homebrew at all that I know of for the 5th generation consoles, but the GameCube and even the PS2 might fall under being too close too PCs to bother (the Xbox obviously is). I'm pretty sure you even have to deal with an API to interact with the GPU on the GameCube, so you can't code on the bare metal (which I would think would be a large part of the appeal) unless there's a way around it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:29 am 
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As was said, you don't have access to those engines unless you have an official license. For homebrew, you're on your own, just like older consoles. It is however fairly easy to get a "light" license for a current console, one that only allows Unity or some other similar babby-tier engine, not proper programming. Further, "just breaking the security" is not a light matter, the current consoles have improved their security over the previous ones.

Now, if you install Linux on it, then you naturally have access to Linux tools and engines; but expecting your users to do that is kind of too much. Wrapping a small distro that auto-boots your game could perhaps be done, but none of the current consoles allows easy piracy, which would be required for this too.

As for SNES, Mega Cat has recently turned attention there, and so it happened that I ended up doing SNES things before I could get to N64. That does mean there will be SNES things announced soon-ish. N64, well there's recent interest outside this forum, so you might see good things for it too; I'm still planning to get on it when time allows as well.

@Espozo
I actually had one idea that suited the WiiU pad well, but with the size of my TODO list... Haha. I have little interest on the modern consoles, it's just not an interesting target to code for. Cube and PS2 are nothing like a PC (I have done small Cube things, long time ago).

If by 5th gen you mean what wikipedia does, PS1/N64/Saturn/Jaguar, there's plenty of homebrew for PS1 and Jaguar, and some for Saturn. PS1 brew requires modded consoles, Saturn also requires some piracy tools, Jaguar I don't know but I believe it can have proper homebrew releases without requiring any tinkering from the user.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:01 am 
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My first foray into homebrew was writing some for the Wii 10 years ago.

At the time, most of the interest in the scene was for jailbreaking the Wii to run pirated content. I suspect that's the same for other newer systems too. It's just not interesting to code games for systems that are virtually identical to PCs.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:35 am 
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More modern consoles feel very much like PCs. There's nothing special about them. They are just not fast enough as the even newer consoles. For that reason I have absolutely zero interest in homebrews for them. What's the point, really? You make a 3D game "for xbox" it's the same thing as making it for windows and lowering the resolution.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:42 am 
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From the time that consoles became comparable to contemporary PCs (beginning roughly PS2 generation), the big differences between PlayStation and Xbox on one hand and a PC on the other are at least these:

  • A larger fraction of users actually pay for games.
  • A larger fraction of users are willing to use a console as a source for a living room monitor than to carry a desktop PC back and forth to the computer desk.
  • A larger fraction of users are willing to connect multiple controllers to a console, rather than having to take turns at one mouse and keyboard or take a gamble on a PC game's controller support.
  • Less time==money spent working around defects in a wide variety of third-party drivers.
  • For users: No modding and little hardware variation mean your opponents in an online pickup match against strangers are less likely to be cheating.
    For developers: Reach users who value this.
  • For users: Less time spent picking parts or blocking malware.
    For developers: Reach users who value this.
  • For users: A more curated selection of available games without quite as much of the low-effort work that Steam refers to as "fake games", leading to less choice paralysis. Consoles make sorting through 90% crap to find a worthwhile game faster.
    For developers: Reach users who value this.
  • For users: Start playing an offline disc or cartridge game without having to download gigabytes over a slow and/or capped Internet connection.
    For AAA developers: Reach users who value this.
  • For users: If you play only a single console's exclusive games, a console that lasts eight years costs less than the estimated $1,000 that a PC built to last eight years might cost.
    For developers: Reach users who value this.

See also "Consoles are easy".

People who go with Nintendo products from the past 12 years do so largely because of experiences that only its input devices provide, plus longstanding beloved product identities such as the series from which most Super Smash Bros. Ultimate characters come.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:25 pm 
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Erockbrox wrote:
But the newer consoles have game engines such as Unity, Game Maker Studio and more. So it begs the question, how easy will it be and what will the homebrew scene look like on the more recent consoles?
...
Is there anything preventing homebrew on the modern consoles now?

If you use Unity or GMS etc. there are export options for these consoles but they only work with licensed setups. If you want to "homebrew" for them you will have to crack both the console and your engine export, and also if you want to distribute it likely others will have to crack their console to run it.

Also, if you're using these engines there is really nothing special about the program as it will run on a console vs. PC. You can already make the same game on your PC.

I'm personally of the opinion that the last console with "interesting" hardware was the PS3. I don't really see the appeal of "homebrew" on the latest gen, unless the act of simply getting it to run on that specific machine is exciting to you. There will be no unique hardware challenges if you go this route.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:52 pm 
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One of the most interesting things in homering for me is the challenge of making limited hardware do what you want it to do. Modern consoles don't have the same kind of fun limitations, they can do pretty much anything, specially anything that a single person or small team can put together, so I really don't see the point.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:50 pm 
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However, modern consoles are where the audience is. And if you can complete a game, even one of a modest scope (in 2010s terms) comparable to Lizard or The Curse of Possum Hollow, there shouldn't be too much of a problem to get your studio licensed on a modern console.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:45 pm 
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Oh but therein lies the distinction I didn't get from this topic's op. I thought this was about modern consoles that are not the most modern consoles. As in wii u, ps3, xbox 360 or lower.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:45 pm 
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PS3 had an official Linux option for a while, which was actually a pretty neat way to play with the Cell. The GPU was not directly accessible in this mode though, so it wasn't really that suitable for trying to make 3D games, but you could still do quite a bit of interesting stuff. I actually wrote a software 3D renderer for fun on it, and it was good for emulators too. Unfortunately they removed this option at some point in the firmware...

Though at this point the PS3 has been completely cracked anyway so you can do whatever you want with it I guess. I don't actually know what I'd try to do with a cracked PS3 at this point though. I had a lot of fun with that hardware while it was current, but now that its time has passed I'm not sure that I would have any ideas or aspirations that would be a good fit for it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:38 pm 
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Well for me the reason to create homebrew for older consoles was not for the challenge, but for the love of the system. I grew up playing NES and SNES and Genesis so the appeal for me to make homebrew is to honor these older systems that were a big part of my childhood.

While some may have stated that there is no point in doing a homebrew game on a modern console because you can release it on PC instead. Imagine the following situation. Say there is some young kid who grew up with the PS4, then fast forward into the future the kid is now in their 30's. He then wants to make a game for the PS4 for no other reason other than that this was his go to console when he was young. So yes, he could make it for PC, but that is not the point. The point is he wants it for PS4 for personal reasons.


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