2011-07-14

Farewell, DS Homebrew

It’s time for me to say goodbye to the DS. I’ve been working on DS homebrew projects in my spare time since March 2007, and I’ve learned a huge amount doing so. However, I’ve noticed recently that I’m not really learning much from any of the new projects I work on. It’s still hugely enjoyable, particularly now that I can get games whipped up in a few days and polished for release in a few weeks, but I’m just repeating the same patterns in the same language. Worse, there isn’t an audience for DS homebrew any more. The audience, and most of the developers, have moved over to iOS and Android devices. The DS itself is two generations out of date.

To be honest, I wanted to ditch the DS back when Quirky switched to Android development. In fact, I wanted to ditch the DS as soon as Apple announced officially-supported apps for the iPhone. I’ve stuck with it for three reasons:

  • I wanted to see Woopsi through to completion;
  • The iPhone’s input devices aren’t a patch on the DS’ physical buttons for the kind of games I enjoy playing;
  • Having grown up playing Atari, Sega and Nintendo consoles, actually writing software for one fills me with childlike delight.

I’ve achieved everything I set out to with the DS. I’ve written developer tools, libraries and games for a handheld console, and even entered a homebrewing competition. EarthShakerDS placed 7th out of 24 in GBATemp’s homebrew bounty competition, which isn’t bad for a game knocked up in a couple of weeks.

It’s time to move on.

I do have a few updates to release before I say goodbye to devKitARM - bugfixes to Woopsi, WoopsiGfx and EarthShakerDS, and Really Bad Eggs will get a final release as soon as the title screen is done. I won’t be starting any new DS projects, though.

Unlike Quirky, I’m switching to Apple development. My current project is to port Really Bad Eggs from C++/DS/SDL to Objective-C/cocos2d. I know that I could just use the C++ version on the Mac, but I want to learn Objective-C. Porting something I’ve recently written seems like a good first project. The game engine and AI are already running; I/O is next in the list.

Comments

Quirky on 2011-07-14 at 19:11 said:

A wise choice. Android can be pretty sketchy from a gaming point of view. I had fun writing a profiling library for it using Linux system calls, and pthread and friends are familiar at least, but the iOSes are the real torch bearers of the next generation of gaming. Having just one model of hardware to run on (or at least a really limited number of hardware devices) means that, like on the DS, if it runs on your own gadget it will run on everyone’s just as well.

As a minor challenge I’ve been trying to keep my old ports running on Nintendo and Android - usually it isn’t too much work for a port to do this - but if I actually get round to writing new stuff I wouldn’t bother trying to do a DS version at the same time. Apart from having to botch the design for the slower hardware (all my ports so far “emulate” the DS/GBA with OpenGL), testing on a DS is a pain compared to Android’s USB upload, with proper over-the-wire debugging and logging.

Another World on 2011-07-23 at 07:43 said:

Thank you for making EarthShakerDS and for being part of the DS scene. It is sad that Homebrew on the DS is starting to reach the long stretch. We will probably continue to see new projects for the next year but after that I do not expect to see much more. It is a great system and I have really enjoyed Homebrew on it. I love EarthShakerDS and I don’t know what my Flash Kits would be like without it. Good luck on the future!

-Another World

WoopsiGfx 1.4 — CONSOLE DEMON on 2011-07-24 at 14:07 said:

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