Wii U dev kit
The Wii U dev kit, or Wii U development kit, is a set of software and hardware tools that game developers use to make Wii U games. Nintendo supplies software developers and publishers with Wii U dev kits and provides technical support as well. In addition to the hardware consisting of a Wii U console and controller, the kit also includes software tools and APIs for developers to use. These software packages and APIs can be freely used by developers without extra charge.
Wii U dev kit specs
The Wii U dev kit specs first and foremost support everything the regular retail Wii U console supports, and has the same hardware specs — the Wii U CPU and Wii U GPU are the same, as are the other features. However, dev kits usually have more storage and more memory to aid developers in compiling and creating games. The kit includes:
- Wii U console with added features such as extra ports, connectors, etc. The kit includes all the retail Wii U hardware.
- Nintendo-made software tools and libraries that can be freely used by developers.
- Royalty-free third party software and APIs licensed by Nintendo that is free for developers to use.
- Various tools to take in-game screenshots and in-game videos for trailers etc.
- Wii U games are usually written in C++. The Wii U dev kit includes a custom compiler.
- Tech support from Nintendo developers and experts on software, APIs, and the Wii U operating system.
Wii U dev kit software
The software included with the Wii U dev kit ranges from Nintendo-made APIs and tools, to third party software that Nintendo has licensed from other companies. Among those, Nintendo has an deal with Autodesk to offer the GameWare tools to developers free of charge. Another partner is Green Hills Software, which will provide advanced code and APIs to Wii U developers. Again, this will come free of charge. There are also numerous third party software suites that support the Wii U, including physics by Havok. In addition, there are various third-party made game engines such as Unreal Engine 3 and 4, and CryEngine 3 that developers can use. Nintendo also includes tools and online code for companies who wish to add online multiplayer components to their Wii U games.
Wii U dev kit availability
In order for a developer to get a Wii U dev kit, an agreement has to be made with Nintendo and the developer has to be licensed by the company to use the dev kit to make software for the company. In addition, the developer has to sign a series of contracts and NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements), and finally, the developer has to purchase the development package. The Wii U dev kit is rumored to cost around $5,000. This price also includes a set of software and other tools that are royalty free to the developer to use in their games.