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Thinking about buying a Gizmondo

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evolutional

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Gizmondo

I was trawling around London last week and landed myself in the Gizmondo shop. The sale pitch was impressive, the games looked 'ok' so far and the price, at GBP130 for an ad-supported version was not too hard on the pocket. I'm extremely tempted to fork out the cash and buy one... but I didn't. Why? I'm not sure, but I think it has something to do with the homebrew scene. After quizzing the guy in the shop, he said there was a small scene of people working away at running code on the Gizmondo but he wasn't really supposed to talk about it.

As some of you may well know, I've been bitten by the cross-platform development bug and am currently working on making my hobby games run on Linux, Windows and the Dreamcast. As fun as DC dev is, the scene seems to be slowly dying as the hardware is aging; people are moving onto bigger and 'better' things. What I want out of a handheld is something that I can pick up and code for, as well as play purchased games. I currently own a DS and am aware that I could probably code for that, so I may just do that...

But the Gizmondo looks like it could be a nice bit of kit. I'm afraid to take the plunge just in case they release a new version which leaves the Homebrew scene cold and me with a lump of plastic that is useless for coding on...

So what to do? What would you do GameDev? Suck it up and buy one now, or wait for a bit and see what happens?

jsInvaders

jsInvaders 'fans' will be pleased to hear that after literally months of hacking around, ripping out the code and generally pulling my hair out I have FINALLY solved the bug that caused a crash in the SpiderMonkey VM. It was stupidly trivial, but largely down to the (quite frankly) shitty documentation for the scripting system. It amazes me really. SpiderMonkey has been around for a good while and represents a 'standardised' language, but aside from the lacklustre API docs and a few notes scribbled from users, there's a hole that needs to be filled.

I've decided to resume the XML and Scripting series, with me roughly planning part 2 out last night. I've come to the conclusion that although jsInvaders is based on SpiderMonkey, the article itself should be largely scripting language agnostic. The reason behind this is that most of the basic principles behind the languages are the same, it's the the implementations that differ. This would lead nicely onto a separate article series on using SpiderMonkey (much like the GameMonkey articles I just wrote) so that anyone so inclined can pick up and use the language with ease.

So there we have it.
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The Gizmondo II comes out next year. It is a widescreen edition and is NOT reverse compatible with the current spate of games.

Tiger Telematics, the company behind it, is under heavy investigation after its founders misappropriated company funds for cars, vacations and payments to development companies for work that they didn't do.

In addition, the homebrew community for it does not exist (there are some steps towards a loader, but at the moment the platform is largely considered DOA). Wait for a GP2X.

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Isn't mobile phone gaming more likely to be a good target for "homebrew" game development these days?

Sure it isn't exactly a games console, but it has some of the qualities of a handheld/portable games system - and last I checked the basic SDK's/Tools weren't too hard to find/get.

Jack

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Ahh, thanks for the info Rav. If that's the case, I will definitely not be buying one - may as well wait for the 'advanced' version.

Instead I may buy a cheap GBA and a cable and work on that sucker instead. I wonder if the DS is 'hackable' using the same cable; it'd save me buying a £10 GBA for sure.

As for mobile devices; I'd still have to shell out for a new (better) phone. The one I have right now is pretty sucky and I don't know anything about the JavaVM inside it (plus it means learning Java).

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I did some product analysis on the Gizmondo over the summer. I think it would be safe to experiment with the developement kit, but I wouldn't pay up for it. I don't think it has enough promise as a platform for that kind of investment of your time and money.

-IV

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