Nintendo has been acting characteristically un-Nintendo-ish the past few months. They have been focusing more on third-party developers and getting them the solutions they need to maximize gaming experiences on their platforms. Their latest license is further proof of their commitment to third-party developers.
Green Hills Software announced on Tuesday that they are supplying their MULTI Integrated Development Environment to Nintendo to supply third-party developers with the technology. Even if you haven't heard of Green Hills, you probably have used a product that integrates their technology.
Nintendo's senior managing director of integrated research and design, Genyo Takeda, says that they chose Green Hills because their software "because it generates highly optimized code, and Green Hills provides excellent global support."
So what does this MULTI IDE software provide to developers? Quite a lot actually as it focuses on creating software quickly with the least amount of bugs possible. According to the product page, MULTI IDE combines a "debugger, editor, code browser, configuration manager, and other tools into one integrated package." The software uses C, C++ and EC++ compilers to generate "the fastest and smallest code for 32 and 64-bit processors."
Another great tool from this software is the DoubleCheck. It's used to find bugs early in development so costs don't skyrocket. It makes perfect sense too since the later a team finds a bug, the more expensive it is to go back and fix. If you can find the bug during development, you can fix it at no cost to the team.
The debugging performance isn't just relegated to finding bugs during development either. It's pretty much a given that the Wii U is going to use a multi-core processor since it's on par with the Xbox 360 and PS3 which also have multi-core processors. This adds an extra layer of complexity to development and Green Hills claims their software can find bugs related to multi-core development faster than anything else on the market.
What may be the coolest development tool available, however, is TimeMachine. This tool allows you to find bugs that may be harder to reproduce. Take for example during testing you find a bug, but can't reproduce it. According to Green Hills, with TimeMachine you can go back to that moment when the bug first appeared to find out what caused it.
All in all, it's looking like a pretty great software suite for developers making games for the Wii U. This is on top of the previous announcement last month that Nintendo would be licensing out Autodesk's software development suite to developers making games for the Wii U. It's not explicitly stated in Green Hills announcement, but we can assume the contract is similar to the AutoDesk deal. Developers wanting to get a hold of this software will have to make their games exclusively for the Wii U.
Like I said, this is a brave new Nintendo that we're seeing here. They're getting aggressive about third-party support and combatting the image that they don't care about their third-party partners.
We must ask ourselves though: Who is Nintendo targeting with this software? Most developers work with publishers that buy these tools for them, so they have no need for it. It makes most sense that Nintendo is targeting independent developers, because most of these smaller studios can't afford the costs associated with these tools. Nintendo obviously wants the best content on the Wii U and giving smaller developers access to these tools will make games on the Wii U look and play better.
What do you think about Green Hills partnering with Nintendo on the Wii U? Do you see it as the gaming giant finally taking third-party developers into consideration? Let us know in comments.