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Ask Slashdot: Are The Days of Homebrew Gaming Over?

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the say-goodbye dept.

Programming 181

Croakyvoice writes "A few years ago the Homebrew community went from one console to another releasing some excellent software, from the Days of the Dreamcast the first breakthrough homebrew console, to the PSP which gave us the first handheld Nintendo 64, GBA and PSX emulators on a handheld. The last few years we have seen Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and Apple all bring out means to thwart homebrew development. The app store on both Android and iOS have taken many homebrew devs over to try and break the market. The major consoles have so many firmware updates that the days of Homebrew seem to be numbered, is there a way back for the Homebrew Community?"

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181 comments

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No (3, Informative)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821189)

Re:No (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821257)

I wish I had karma to spend on this.

Re:No (4, Insightful)

drinkydoh (2658743) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821333)

Homebrew isn't over, it's just been replaced by indie games. It's somewhat similar to shareware games from the 90's and early 2000's.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822011)

but i have karma and spent it on you.... negatively

Re:No (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822407)

They're moderator points, Jackass. Go back to the dregs of Reddit, where you belong.

Re:No (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822677)

Cute. If you had a profile you could click on it and see this on the top right: http://i.imgur.com/2fPxv.png [imgur.com] I'll give the troll attempt a solid 2/10. Also check out my 400,000s user number. Good day sir, or madam.

Re:No (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821289)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_Law_of_Headlines

Nope. [mane6.com]

Re:No (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821323)

Indeed. And I see a looong list of games for the XBL Indie section. Same for obviously amateur games in the Android market. Not to mention all the PC games I see in HIB's and the like.

Seems to me "homebrew" has become a more legit thing, embraced by various platforms. Not killed.

Re:No (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821429)

All the more reason that Homebrewers are the gaming hipsters, because now it is accepted and common its dead and uncool.

Re:No (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821613)

Indeed. And I see a looong list of games for the XBL Indie section. Same for obviously amateur games in the Android market. Not to mention all the PC games I see in HIB's and the like.

Seems to me "homebrew" has become a more legit thing, embraced by various platforms. Not killed.

It's a fake. It's the corporate distillation of a movement it saw as a threat into something that can "value add" and make money.

First example: XBox Live Indie Games. It's just like homebrew, except it's shackled and chained. You can't distribute XBL indie games for free, you must charge at least $1. The free demo 8 minute time limit is enforced by Microsoft, not the developer, and they can't bypass that. You can't deploy to XBox without paying the $99/year fee. Indie games are capped on size, no one can release more than X number of games, they can't run native code, they're capped on performance, they can't run online servers for simultaneous play, they can't be released without peer approval, they're content filtered... the list continues.

Android is much better, in fact, probably the best out of the bunch, sure, but that's just in contrast to the iOS developer programs. If it doesn't turn out to be complete vaporware, the Ouya will probably really get the arms race going. Still, Google removed emulators, so...

Humble Indie Bundle is just a brand now. The last "humble" bundle contained two major label releases, Psychonauts and Amnesia. If I were an indie game developer, chomping at the bits to get my stuff out there, that would really piss me off. Still, just a cash-in on the indie craze.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821741)

Actually, the latest Hunble Bundle is still in progress, and is their first go at music. http://www.humblebundle.com/ [humblebundle.com]

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821351)

Interesting. I've never heard of this. It's a pretty good point.

Re:No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821611)

Interestingly enough, if you answer it with "no", here on slashdot, the slashdot group think will censor you via negative moderation. So it seems, the correct answer is "no", but only so long as you are not part of the slashdot group-think. Which isn't exactly surprising. Almost without fail, the slashdot group think, while frequently holding poopular viewpoints, are almost always wrong.

Oh the difference a link makes.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821769)

I don't think censor means what you think it does.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822247)

When its oppressed by those in power (those with moderation points), that absolutely is censorship. We now know reality doesn't means what you think it means. Wonderful example of just how completely clueless the slashdot masses have become. You are a postchild the ignorance and unjustified ego so common with the slashdot group-think.

Must suck that reality is constantly reminding you how wrong you are every day. So glad I'm not you... but it still sucks what you and others like you have done to slashdot. It used to be great. It used to awesome. Now its just ignorant - like you.

Actually, it probably does ... (1)

brokeninside (34168) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822531)

... a censor is a person who is tasked with reviewing material in order to decide "officially" whether or not it is appropriate. /. moderators fill _precisely_ that purpose. The whole point of having moderators is to mark up the most worthy comments and mark down the most unworthy.

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822403)

I would be remiss if I did not point out the meme that only governments censor [slashdot.org] --slashdot is a private organization, and if it manages to compete successfully with the government for the right to control what you read, it is to be applauded for its initiative, for undoubtedly it will exploit it more efficiently.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821753)

This is about the fourth time I've seen this in a week here and almost never before that.

But there may be a gaping flaw:

"Won't someone Think of the Children?"

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821817)

It's time to start trolling the trollers. Headlines like this deserve such a response.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821979)

It's time to start trolling the trollers.

If I wanted that I'd just go to 4chan.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822159)

Never heard of it.

Re:No (3, Funny)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821827)

Short answer: no.

Long answer: nope.

Please stop modding up Betteridge's Law (2)

gshegosh (1587463) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821867)

It's really getting old to have it under half of the submissions.

Re:Please stop modding up Betteridge's Law (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821913)

The real message here is that it's getting old to have submissions in the form of a question, "Ask Slashdot" excepted. Who's the real troll here?

Re:No (2, Informative)

ninjackn (1424235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822079)

Can we, as a community, get over Betteridge's Law of Headlines? Please? I'm seeing it all over slashdot recently and it really is just the latest incarnation of FIRST POST. While "no" may end up as a valid answer to the headline, it kills the discussion by religiously applying an adage instead of introducing replies to the summary with new facts, anecdotes or questions. Sure the headline might be crap but that doesn't mean we need to reply back with crap.

Re:No (1, Insightful)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822471)

There is no conversation to be had when a headline & story is so uninformed. It's just some writer trying to justify having their job. The article is wrong, the answer is no, nothing more can be said.

Re:No (5, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822183)

While i agree the answer to this submission is a resounding, "no", this is in ask slashdot. The very nature of these submissions are always going to be questions. isn't Betteridge's law intended to be invoked in journalism? This isn't a journalistic article. It's legitimately someone's question. BLOH doesn't state that the answer to all questions is no.

Re:No (1)

k3vlar (979024) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822557)

How about the headline "Can all newspaper headlines ending in a question mark, be answered with 'No'?" Ha, Mr. Ian Betteridge, I was wise to your little game, and I beat you!

Xgamestation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821191)

Is the Xgamestation still around in any meaningful sense?

Easy. (4, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821199)

You can write a "homebrew" choose-your-own-adventure text game in minutes or hours at most.

Without some understanding as to what the author means by "homebrew", this question can't really be answered effectively.

Perhaps if there were an article linked, we'd get that additional information...

Re:Easy. (2)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821217)

I should also add: perhaps coincidentally it sounds like someone is planning on pitching OUYA to us again very soon...

Re:Easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821487)

It does seem a pretty solid answer to the question:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ouya/ouya-a-new-kind-of-video-game-console?ref=search [kickstarter.com]

I'm a backer precisely because large deployments of similar hardware make for great indie games. Too often with Android games I don't have the device that the author had, so it either doesn't fully utilize my device (e.g. RoboDefender) or crawls on unaccellerated GPU hardware (e.g. Meteor). The OUYA may be the next Amiga-500... For the cost of two XB360 titles.

Re:Easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822561)

it looks promising, but i just hope they don't wall up the garden. i mean that anyone can develop and get their title on the store, especially without some bs developer fee.

Homebrew Sites have mostly gone to the wall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821213)

Even sites like http://psp-news.dcemu.co.uk/ [dcemu.co.uk] and http://dreamcast.dcemu.co.uk/ [dcemu.co.uk] these days are struggling because the vast majoriity of users have left these consoles behind and new consoles just arent getting hacked like they used to and the likes of Nintendo etc release so may updates that it seems genuine homebrewers dont stand a chance, hacking of consoles for pirating however is as strong as ever.

oh yeah (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821215)

gaming is lots of fun when everyone makes up their own rules

Re:oh yeah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821503)

Calvin Ball! Never plays the same way twice.

and nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821219)

it would be fantastic if homebrew had a trackrecord that produced meaningful software (outside of emulator ports). But for the most part, most homebrew turns out to be no better than Amiga demo scene at best.

Re:and nothing of value was lost (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821495)

The current generation of Consoles are getting old... If you are going to be doing home brew gaming then you want to work on the newer stuff. And most of this Home Brew computing was partially just to learn, but often in an attempt to make something that will be good enough to sell or get fame for. The new Software Store helps release software without the massive burden of before.

Forgot about XNA? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821231)

XNA, yeah you can homebrew some games for the XBOX consoles... also there is a whole indie game store to!

Re:Forgot about XNA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822587)

drop the bullshit dev fee and singular, controlled storefront, and we have a deal.

Depends, how much money you got? (2, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821239)

Well, in the U.S. at least, if you could come up with enough campaign contributions to buy repeal of the DMCA, then sure. But considering the deep pockets of Sony, Apple, Disney, etc. it's going to cost you a LOT. Otherwise your only real shot is to get the Supreme Court to rule the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA unconstitutional. And as conservative as the Court is these days, you can pretty much forget that. The DMCA appears to be here to stay.

Re:Depends, how much money you got? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821371)

Fuck homebrew. You want to write your own games? Do it on the PC. Until that's locked down at least. Homebrew is a distraction and a trick to build on a closed platform by prying it open temporarily with a hack. Don't do it. Put your effort into a platform that's actually open. Don't like the diversity of hardware and software? Well if you can build for a Nintendo Wii with it's underspec'd everything and still come out with something fun and usable, stop whining and build for the lowest common denominator on the PC

Re:Depends, how much money you got? (4, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821461)

I never understood why people target closed platforms as anything but a last resort. And the more people do it, the less open platforms there will be.

Re:Depends, how much money you got? (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821485)

Fuck homebrew. You want to write your own games? Do it on the PC. Until that's locked down at least.

The PC is never really going to be 'locked down'. If you look at the Apple app store, google play, etc. you can always release shitty student project games for free on those. The PC is no different, so long as you can download and run an executable you can play a homebrew game on it.

The consoles are fundamentally different in that they are intended to lock you out of running arbitrary code - that's both good and bad. Bad if you don't have any other means of getting software, good if you want a device that is safe to hand to your 13 year old and know he's not going to accidentally get a virus and blank your data or the like. The consoles also require a certain level of quality and so on for games to show up there, that means you know that whatever you buy on a console will behave a certain way to some degree, you have no such guarantees on the PC. Which is why there's a market for both, not everyone wants to use their brain the think about games.

But yes, generally, if you want to give away your product for free, and you don't want to be bound by onerous requirements the way to do that is PC or Apple or Google, not XBL/PSN/Wii.

Don't forget the Win 8 App Store (2)

DingerX (847589) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821939)

Which will be Microsoft's demonstration of how not to lock down a platform. Expect shifting requirements, app-breaking security updates, complete incompatibility with Win 9 and the endgame: MS screwing homebrewer, developer and gamer alike when they pull the plug on their ill-conceivef monstrosity.

Also No (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821251)

There are a number of games made by enthusiasts for the systems that I grew up with. People are writing games for the C64, Atari 2600, etc. Not in the kind of numbers as back in their heyday, but there is still life non the less.

These systems are well known, fully documented. All of the tricks are there to try out, lots of great sprite editors, assemblers, etc. There is no need to homebrew only on phones.

no links? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821275)

The Android store has taken over devs? Unless you define homebrew as "allowed to infringe on copyright." If you can make a great game, the Android store is going to have no resistance.

Look into XNA (3, Insightful)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821293)

As far as I know, you can still write a game in XNA, play it, distribute it, and indeed sell it in XBox Live.

Re:Look into XNA (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821841)

But why would you do THAT if you can hack it together in Linux with SDL?!

Re:Look into XNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821915)

1) consistent platform
2) it just works out of the box
3) 'app store'
4) linux just isn't that cool...imho
5) larger install base for the target market

Re:Look into XNA (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822435)

Some of us have a skill set that's all Microsoft. My kid and I downloaded XNA and hacked out a rudimentary 2D game and a map editor in a couple of hours. I suspect I would spend at least as much time downloading SDL and getting it to work with Visual Studio. Run anywhere approaches usually mean a lot of work getting things to run correctly on the target platform. No thanks.

Days of consoles (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821295)

Doesn't that kinda incorrectly assume the days of consoles haven't already ended?
I suppose homebrewers can release long after industry support goes away.

Its getting kind of bad in console land. My son's favorite game to play on the big screen is angry birds on the roku, when he's not playing on his ipod touch. At his age I was a little atari 2600 / Coleco monster. He does occasionally play some wii games, but the streamers and the app developers will eventually figure out multiplayer and then its bye bye consoles.

Re:Days of consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821463)

Fact Bother. I have been desperately trying to get my 4 year old to play some good old games but he's happy to tool around with some meager Kinect games and ipad stuff. When I was little you couldn't tear my away from mah console.

Re:Days of consoles (5, Interesting)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821475)

You incorrectly assume that there is only one gaming market. This is like assuming there is only one car market.

The gaming tastes of the Xbox/PlayStation audience can't easily be stripped down to work on iPhones and Nooks.

What will likely happen is that portable gaming consoles will die off for all but the most demanding gamers. Portable gaming in general will move to general purpose mobile devices (smartphones, tablets.) Home consoles will stick around because there's a substantial market that wants them. Gaming on PCs will likely consist of two main markets: console ports and indie titles, with frequent overlap between them (indie PC games being ported to consoles, vice versa, etc.)

This is actually a great time for "homebrew" development, if by "homebrew" we mean "people with ideas making them into reality without the financial backing of a corporation." The barriers to entry in game development have come down quite a bit in the past few years, as people realize you don't need to spend tens of millions of dollars to make a good game.

Re:Days of consoles (1)

rjr162 (69736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821937)

What's funny is angry birds on the iPad/roku is also something my 2 and a half year old son likes. Along with doom on the iPad...

BUT he *loves* the atari arcade on the iPad, he'll play it more than the others. He also goes into the spare bedroom and turns on the C64 himself and plays Clowns (he loves that game as well)

I didn't force any of the games on him.. He freely chooses what he wants. In the Atari arcade his favorite would be.. Honestly I forget the name and never played in when I had a 2600 growing up.. But some game where it shows a ship and 3 guys standing next to it, one guy runs over and hops in. You then have to shoot some emeny ships that hide around some big square. After that you have to land the ship on some white line landing area, which takes you into some area where you have to get to some object before your O2 or reactor runs out and escape back to your ship (then rinse and repeat)

Re:Days of consoles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822861)

OMG you mean you can outskill your son at videogames?
SOCIETY IS DOOMED I TELL YOU!

Raspberry Pi (1)

bool2 (1782642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821305)

Given that you can buy a completely functioning computer for about £30/$50 then I would say they've just begun again!

Re:Raspberry Pi (1)

macdude22 (846648) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821481)

Is the xgamestation around still in any meaningful sense? I had played with one once in a tech club in high school.

Not really. (4, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821319)

Unless homebrew means "writing software by breaking through console security", there's plenty of homebrew out there.

The fact that Android is mentioned means the original question is vague to begin with!

First off, Android has basically no restrictions - you can install any app any which way you want. There's no "security" to break through so homebrew is basically legitimized - anyone can download the Android SDK and whip out an app. For iOS, it's mostly true as well - homebrew apps games well, they just get the SDK, pay $99 and publish it.

If you want apps that Apple doesn't approve, there's jailbreaking (all Apple devices except AppleTV have a method to do so - all iPhones through (and including) the 4s, iPod Touches and iPads), of which there's a homebrew community as well.

And the Xbox has a homebrew games community they call Xbox Live Indie Arcade as well.

Then there's the venerable PC which even with Mountain Lion can still run any valid executable code.

Of course, if the question is about people breaking security for fun, there's iOS jailbreaking and console security busting.

Between the PC, Xbox Live Indie Arcade, Android, and iOS, there's an outlet for one's programming talents that has legit paths that require no work to customize, really. And since the signing keys for the PS3 are public as well, the PS3 is also an open target that no firmware update can remove (though you can get your console banned from PSN if they discover "strange packages" installed on it).

Perhaps the better question is - what is the real question?

Of course homebrew gaming isn't over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821321)

But the odds of being a success is drastically reduced. There is a race to the bottom, cheap and simple games are now produced by large companies in bulk. Takes a real diamond in the rough to stand out these days.

if there was only a gen purpose personal computer (4, Informative)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821331)

that did not have any vendor lock-in problems ...

PCs (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821337)

What's so special about running code on a console? Why not just run your code on a PC, a Raspberry pi or a rooted Android phone? They all have HDMI ports and work with console controllers.

Re:PCs (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821417)

Well, all the reasons people tout consoles do apply and here are a few I don't argue against:

Consoles have more unified hardware. Excepting HDD sizes, most consoles are almost exactly the same underlying hardware from machine to machine. All Wiis should have the same graphics card, all PS3s the same CPU.

Handheld consoles have, in general, better controls and graphics hardware than Android phones.

Homebrew on consoles can be a toe dip in the water to see if you want to pay for a dev license so you can join the indie channels on that console.

In addition, consoles are mysterious hardware wrapped behind forcefields. Anyone can fire up Eclipse and make a Java program for Windows. It's a little more work to get a Pong clone on NES for me. Some find that fun.

That said, I'm a huge fan of PC gaming for a number of reasons including zero opportunity cost graphics upgrades -- when I re-up my video card old games I still play look better in many cases -- and mods. If the Ouya makes it easy to support mods then any new gaming work I do will probably target it, possibly exclusively.

Build your own hardware. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821355)

n/t

What specifically is the problem? (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821361)

I don't understand what it is that people are being prevented from doing. If you want the widest possible audience for your DIY game and want to make a few bucks, go for iOS; $99 isn't that big a barrier to entry. If you don't want to pay the $99 and/or want to do one of the specific things with your game that Apple says you can't, write for Android. Or just code for a standard PC operating system. There is nothing special about modern consoles; they're basically just restricted and usually outdated computers. You can hook any modern PC up to your TV through the HDMI port.

Re:What specifically is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822489)

IIRC, it's also possible to target jailbroken i-Devices if you don't want to jump through all the hoops that Apple put in the way.

What? (4, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821419)

Between XNA, Steam, flash games, iOS, Windows Store, Kindle Store, Google Play, and the upcoming spectacular failure Ouya, the homebrew gaming scene is better than it has ever been.

Re:What? (2, Interesting)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821673)

Yes, and that's precisely the trouble. All the big names actually like and promote indie games now, and provide their own polish to the entire experience. Because of homebrew's terrible loss of obscurity, mediocrity, and hassle, hipster douchebags have precious few places to turn in these dark times.

Frontalot [grooveshark.com] explains this better than I can.

Re:What? (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822627)

If OUYA pushes hardware out the door and it functions , its a success. Anything after that is pure gravy. I really dont care about OUYA either way, other then id like to take advantage of the man-hours they are putting in making a viable android console. IM more interested in the detail of how they do it then if they are commercially successful.

Complexity (0)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821437)

Older consoles were not particularly complex and used moderately common parts so you could hack them and make your own games since things were generally well documented.

These days consoles are generally far more powerful than your average PC with custom hardware (so you're not emulating it) and good luck making games without manuals, etc to tell you where to even begin coding. Without an emulator you can't code and test on your PC. Every change has to go through the process of loading it onto the actual console.

In addition, with certified channels, you don't need to go through the hassle. If you want to make games, anyone can for iOS and Android and if you have talent you can get picked up by a developer with the proper tools to work on consoles. XBox is pretty much a standard PC so you can use DirectX and if it runs on your computer there's a very good chance it will run on the XBox. MS released XNA to make XBox development accessible to people.

So again, the whole "homebrew" thing is either supported or not. If it's not supported by the console maker, it's just not worth the hassle. If you really want to get into the game programming business it doesn't matter what platform you work with. Most people now just use the PC, Android or iOS since that captures the bulk of the market and proves you value to any development company.

Homebrew hasn't gone away. The historical "hacking" aspect of that term has just been rendered mostly moot.

Re:Complexity (2)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821579)

Older consoles were not particularly complex and used moderately common parts so you could hack them and make your own games since things were generally well documented.

These days consoles are generally far more powerful than your average PC with custom hardware (so you're not emulating it) and good luck making games without manuals, etc to tell you where to even begin coding. Without an emulator you can't code and test on your PC. Every change has to go through the process of loading it onto the actual console.

In addition, with certified channels, you don't need to go through the hassle. If you want to make games, anyone can for iOS and Android and if you have talent you can get picked up by a developer with the proper tools to work on consoles. XBox is pretty much a standard PC so you can use DirectX and if it runs on your computer there's a very good chance it will run on the XBox. MS released XNA to make XBox development accessible to people.

So again, the whole "homebrew" thing is either supported or not. If it's not supported by the console maker, it's just not worth the hassle. If you really want to get into the game programming business it doesn't matter what platform you work with. Most people now just use the PC, Android or iOS since that captures the bulk of the market and proves you value to any development company.

Homebrew hasn't gone away. The historical "hacking" aspect of that term has just been rendered mostly moot.

Wow, spoken like someone who's just guessing.

The consoles are NOT more powerful then PC's, do you even read what's going on?

Programming the consoles haven't been a problem. The Wii, Xbox 360, and the PS3 all have active "homebrew" and programming tools.

Homebrew is almost NEVER supported by the console developers, we hack the system, then get it to run what we want, then release tools so others can, which in turn, usually gets more tools released.

Sure, it's not big, it's not about making money, and it's sometimes a bit primitive, but that is what makes it fun.

Re:Complexity (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821737)

It would be awesome to create some open hardware gaming console with much more humble specs than the big ones (PS3 etc.), but something that one person could tackle. Make full specs available, open source OS, build a community and so on. It would be a wonderful artistic platform to create stuff on.

other methods (4, Interesting)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821505)

Starcraft II implemented the best custom game making system in gaming history. Since SC1 ran steady for like 12 years and set records for the longest time on store shelves primarily because of user-made content, that makes sense. They're both RTS games but I made a board game out of a map :-P It's practically a programming language wrapped in a premade graphics engine so you can make any kind of game you want inside it. Many, many people have made tower defense and full blown RPGs with leveling and saving. Some are even D&D-based. So just because the big name consoles are blocking people out left and right doesn't mean people can't design their own games anymore.

Re:other methods (1)

WraithCube (1391567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822301)

This might not be the best example considering the various complaints about blizzards TOS making any custom map/game their property. That and the actual ability to find custom games has been pretty terrible (thus the update to arcade scheduled to come out tomorrow).

Emulators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821507)

I'm not sure if this article is just asking about emulators of older systems on the new handhelds, or things like pspdev's psptoolchian... But my main two cents is that what homebrew gaming is right now, might live on in HTML5 apps.

Homebrew isn't over (4, Informative)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821513)

http://www.wiibrew.org/wiki/Main_Page [wiibrew.org]

Wii homebrew still gets made, emulators get updated still. It's slowed down, but after we hack the Wii U, I imagine there will be a bunch of new stuff.

Stuff still gets made for the Xbox 360, the PS3.

Wouldn't even need to ask the question if you googled the various scenes.

When I homebrew... (4, Funny)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821521)

When I homebrew, I create a batch of beer. Then I put it in a keg marked "BUD LIGHT (but better!)" and sell it to bars. But Anheuser-Busch served me a C&D and now I can't do that anymore. Is this the end of homebrewing?

The most interesting homebrewer in the world (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821699)

I don't always homebrew, but when I do, I put it in a keg marked Dos Equis.

Stay thirsty my friends.

Re:When I homebrew... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822067)

You set the bar pretty low. Piss filtered through a dirty sock is better than Bud Light.

Ouya, Raspberry Pi (1)

belgianguy (1954708) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821549)

I think the Ouya (or any of its clones that recently sprung up) would actually offer what these people were after: a platform on which they can run their own software, and even distribute it. Sure, the fact that they no longer need to break into their intended platform through a vulnerability might not make it as "edgy" as it used to be, but one could state they now should "go legit" and not fear crippling firmware updates but rather applaud modifications that enable extra possibilities.

IMO homebrewers want to develop and share. As more open-minded hardware configurations become available and are somewhat standardized, to me it would seem to be the ideal growing ground for the homebrew community. Any actual homebrewer that wants to address this assessment?

I don't get it (2)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821655)

He says they lack homebrew, but I can go and get a XNA or playstation mobile license quite easily and make games. It seems what the GP has a problem with is the lack of easily accessible pirated content, which of course the platform makers try to fight.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822571)

a) No it won't.
b) If and when it does turn up it will be shit.

Homebrew computing is more important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821669)

Generalized homebrew computing, hardware and software, is more important. From this, all specialized homebrew computing is dervived, including homebrew gaming.

There is a woman (yes!) who homebrews here own transistors. Her IC fab tech is probably just a handful of transistors now. Figuring out sand -> computer is the ultimate answer to corporate DRM; but we don't have to go that far. As long as you can buy components, you can build a computer. As long as you can build a computer, you can homebrew whatever software you want on it.

No, it won't be handheld in the foreseeable future... or even safe to leave plugged in unattended; but it'll exist. Our guys are out there. You can't beat us.

Not at all (1)

SpiceWare (3438) | more than 2 years ago | (#40821761)

from the Days of the Dreamcast the first breakthrough homebrew console

Say what? The Atari 2600's first homebrew came out in 95, a few years before the Dreamcast was even released.

I've got a few 2600 projects underway. One's Space Rocks, an updated version of Asteroids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi2r8hnH9B8 [youtube.com]

another is Frantic, an updated version of Berzerk/Frenzy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRxdl2T8nlQ [youtube.com]

ROMs for both can be found at my AtariAge blog. They can be played in Stella (cross-platform 2600 emulator) or on the real thing using a Harmony Cartridge. http://www.atariage.com/forums/blog/148-spicewares-blog/ [atariage.com]

The third (and possible fourth) project will be announced later this year.

Re:Not at all (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40823089)

"This is another Atari game I'm working on that takes advantage of the ARM processor found in the Harmony/Melody cartridge.The game logic runs on the ARM processor while the Atari's 6507 CPU updates the display and other things which the ARM does not have access to."

Cheater.

Wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40821999)

At this point, the hardware and dev tools have become advanced enough that developing "homebrew" games for a modern console is no longer significantly different from developing games for a PC or Android or iOS. If you want to make a game, you just make it for Steam. If you want to make a demo, you just make it for an old system and people run it on an emulator. If you want a portable clone of another game, you make it for Android/iOS. It's not that homebrew is "over," it's just changed to suit what makes sense on modern platforms.

Why homebrew when you can go legit (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822103)

Homebrew was necessary in the past because there was no outlet for hobby game developer to develop on "closed" game platforms.

Today, there are SO MANY outlets for hobby game developers to create content that it is no longer necessary to "hack" a device to get your content on it.

I don't think its a question that manufacturers are finding ways to "lock down" their systems, just that they have provided alternative ways to independents to get content on those boxes.

For instance, why "hack" a homebrew game onto an iOS device? Apple opened the door for anyone to develop content for their platform, and while Apple's platform isn't as "open" as many would like, you have to either be blatantly discriminatory or outlandish to not have an application posted on iTunes. If iOS isn't open enough a platform for you, then Android welcomes all the rest of the apps Apple won't touch. That too closed for you, then fire up a website with flash/HTML 5 and build your own game online directly without much censorship.

It's kind of lame to pursue hacking a system that embraces independent development. While some companies haven't quite figured it out yet (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo), companies like Apple, Google and Valve are new champions of relatively open hobby game platform. I know people get a rush out of doing something they are not supposed to do, but spending a lot of time and effort to break into a system when your buddy already posted, and perhaps making a profit, on a hobby game on the same system is silly.

Homebrew with JoGL (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822261)

I'm currently working on a homebrew modern jet combat flight simulator. For this I'm using JoGL+JOAL+JInput+JOCL. These contain embedded native libraries that work on lots of platforms (including, but not limited to Microsoft's platforms). The tools are all free/Free which means you can share everything with collaborators and clients without them having to get additional licenses. I use these technologies at the moment and apart from small variations between AMD and NVidia drivers on different platforms (which affects you no matter what technology you use) the code just works. I can move the same binary between Linux, Mac and Windows and it runs sweetly (and with very high performance since you can use the GPU as well as if you used C/C++).

For this particular genre (combat flight *simulation*) neither consoles nor phones have enough power to be viable targets. PCs (Windows and Linux) and Macs have sufficient hardware to be useful. Perhaps the next generation Playstation may have enough Video RAM to make it worthwhile as a target, but the expensive development kit, system limitations, and (most importantly) different target market (twitch gamers who don't really have an interest in simulations) make it more than 'low hanging fruit' (unlike Windows/Mac/Linux).

So, homebrew gaming is alive and well for myself and others. It's just not on consoles. Consoles are out of my field-of-view to the same extent that PCs&Macs are similarly out of the field-of-view of console/phone/tablet gamers (and the publications that serve them). I do have a PS3 but the games don't appeal to me (the PC versions of the same games are vastly superior, thanks to the vastly superior resources of a decent PC).

Re:Homebrew with JoGL (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40823023)

linky please!

Ouya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822265)

Go to kickstarter and look at the "Ouya". Basically, it's an Android console but it's WIDE open. It has had a huge backing and is looking to release next year. I think homebrew will make a nice comeback. It has a bunch of other cool things about it. (Look below for the haters).

Sad decline (1)

gauauu (649169) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822495)

While I agree with other posters that "homebrew" carries on but just looks different on different platforms, it is disappointing to see homebrew communities for older platforms fade out of existence. I was quite involved with the GBA/DS homebrew scene, but that has mostly disappeared by now. It's a ghost town over at gbaDev [gbadev.org] these days.

There will always (hopefully!) be somewhere for hobbiest and independent game developers to show off, but homebrew console gaming as it has been defined during the last 10 years is certainly declining.

I do miss it though -- there was a certain excitement about getting something running on your GBA that isn't quite there when I write code for modern portable devices. (Although I also wonder if part of that is nostalgia).

uber homebrew... Uzebox! (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822521)

You want homebrew? Now THIS http://belogic.com/uzebox/index.asp is homebrew!

Its the graphics stupid (2)

physburn (1095481) | more than 2 years ago | (#40822611)

Writing a computer game hasn't really got much more difficult, but the standard of graphics is constantly improving, without an easy way to produce the stacks of graphics needed by a modern computer game, the home brew developer is stuck produce games that are further and further behind the curve of professional game development.

---

Retrogames [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

work at home (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822705)

what Peter implied I'm blown away that some one able to get paid $8171 in 4 weeks on the computer. did you look at this website http://goo.gl/UUZFR

What are you smoking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822943)

What are you smoking. The Xbox and the Apple hardware are perfectly capable of homebrew without hacking the damn things.

The problem, as others may point out is that there is too much crap in the API which makes Windows development a huge mess. Linux and OS X aren't in any different of a boat.

First you need drivers
then a HAL
then a Windowing system
and a rendering compositor
all before you draw a damn thing.

And if you're doing game development in a browser, you add the browser as another abstraction layer.

OUYA Should fill this niche (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40822989)

It's a $100 and is developed on android and will be open. I expect plenty of homebrewers and hobbyists to get into the homebrew console market using OUYA. There won't be a need to hack like other locked down consoles, or ridiculous hardware and software startup costs, or monthly fees.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40823001)

One Homebrew is starting to get some helping hands the xbox comuity games being a good setup. Minimal up front costs and it becomes a pool to find new tallet for the big boys. Two andriod and to a lesser degree IOS are great places for home brew. If the Ouya flys (and its looking more and more likley) it will bring it to the TV.

but (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40823051)

I'm still coding Amiga demos you insensitive clod.

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