As many of you know, the scientists here at OUYA have been working around the clock tweaking knobs, patching cables and calibrating tubes in a concerted effort to get you, the OUYA developer community, the tools and knowledge needed to make great games for the OUYA platform.
Though there’s still plenty of work to be done before the December first release of our SDK and dev portal, we wanted to cover, at the very least, a general overview of the system’s capabilities and, at most, a general overview of the system’s capabilities (yes, you read that right).
“Now, why would OUYA do such a thing?” you ask? Because you’re smart. That’s why… And smart people don’t need no stinkin’ SDKs to develop amazing games. All you need is a shot bottle of whiskey and the below information, which was compiled by our ridiculously talented development team (I just work here).
Though the OUYA SDK will include further documentation to help you really understand how this will all work, this post will cover some general technical considerations for you to keep in mind as you start making OUYA games.
As you now know, the OUYA console is based on Android Jelly Bean and though developing games for OUYA is very similar to developing standard Android games, here are some special elements of OUYA you should know:
(First off, although we’re not going to get into the habit of creating cutesy names for all of our tools, from now on we will “officially” be referring to the OUYA SDK simply as the OUYA Development Kit or “ODK”).
- Controller and system buttons. OUYA’s controller will be similar to a standard gamepad in the number and configuration of action buttons. Games should use the controller buttons for all input. We will supply key mappings with the ODK documentation.
- Touchpad. OUYA’s controller also has a touchpad (but no touchscreen). The touchpad will only support single touch.
- System buttons. There are no back, menu, or volume buttons on OUYA, so don’t plan to use them. There will be a single system button on the controller that will bring up an OUYA-standard pause menu, and allow you to send a gamer to your own settings menu.
- Soft Keyboard. OUYA will include a soft keyboard for text input — just remember that gamers will be using a controller, so input will be slower than on a touchscreen.
- Screen resolution and format. The OUYA firmware will return display density, and you’ll want to test against 720p, 1080i, and 1080p, for widescreen aspect ratios.
- Full screen. OUYA games can use the full screen — there is no carrier bar or navigation bar.
- All games are free to download. Just a reminder that, on OUYA, there is no such thing as a “paid app” so all games are free to download. This could mean your game has a free demo or level before a paid experience begins, or that it is a “free-to-play” game with in-app premium items, content, or other purchases.
- In-App Purchasing API. In-app purchases can either be “entitlements” that are purchased once (e.g., “unlock the full game” or purchase a flaming sword) or “consumables” which can be purchased repeatedly (e.g., coins or tokens). The ODK will have payment APIs to sell in-app items.
Settings and Software:
- Game settings. After a gamer presses the OUYA system button, the game will pause and bring up an OUYA-standard menu that gives a gamer an option to exit the game or enter game settings. You, the developer, will have an API to insert your own custom game settings.
- Permissions. Instead of the standard Android behavior where each app has its own custom permissions, we will define a default set of application permissions that will apply to all games.
- System resources. OUYA is designed to run one game at a time. Game developers can tune performance with the confidence that there will be no other games running in the background using up valuable system resources (though we will have some light services running to support basic system monitoring, in-app payments, etc.)
- No notifications. OUYA games will have no push notifications (at least not yet).
Store Listing, Metadata, Game Art:
When we release the Alpha ODK to the OUYA developer portal in December, we will also provide the specifics as to icon sizes, listing requirements and OUYA store policies. We designed our interfaces with you and your common assets in mind so you will be spared the busy work of cropping your app icons by 3 pixels.
Last, a note on hardware:
OUYA’s board is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. So, if you’re on a kamikaze mission to ship the first ever game for OUYA and can’t wait to receive your dev unit to begin testing your game’s (or games’) performance, just pick up any Tegra 3 Android tablet… That’ll give you an accurate representation as to how your game will perform on an OUYA.
So that’s about it.
While you’ll have to wait until December for our Alpha ODK, there’s a lot you can do today to get started developing your games. And hey, you Kickstarter backers who pledged at the developer reward tier: you’ll also be getting your dev units in December. For those of you who didn’t — but would still like to get your hands on one — they’re
for sale here **sold out.
As always, we want to hear from you. So please let us know if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org…
Now get out there and make some OUYA!