Intel’s March Developer Challenge

Posted by (twitter: @mikekasprzak)
March 2nd, 2010 12:18 am

NetbookHere’s something that may interest some of you… especially those missing GDC.

Intel has an App Store for Netbooks called the AppUp Center. It’s new, and scheduled to start being preinstalled on Netbooks from numerous computer OEM’s this year. So, Intel’s running a fun little promotion this month to get some more apps. Details about the contest can be found here:

In summary, 250x $500 cash prizes (Visa gift vouchers), 100x royalty profit matching deals (with a $2 value given to free apps), and further prizes to be announced March 9th.

Timeline: March 1st to March 31st (for the first 2 prize categories).

Join the Developer Program here.

No doubt you’ve seen the App madness of the iPhone App Store, and after seeing some of the apps thought “I could do better than that”. Well, here’s a good place to do it.

My thought has been, if you have a good LD game you can polish up (or two), you should consider doing something like that for the contest.  Or even shape a MiniLD 17 entry towards this.  We all know how talented the people in this community are, so really, those prizes are yours for the taking.  Remember, you can even enter a free minigame, and if you’re one of the 100, you can still earn up to $2 per download (capped at $5k).

I actually won and am a winner in their last contest, and will be doing some interviews with them at the show. I wasn’t asked to post this, but my time GDC week will be short, and I wanted to give you all a good head start on this.

Great! So what’s the down side you ask?

The SDK is technical, and currently only supports C and C++. *********

There might be some *cough* creative solutions to that though. 😉

Still interested?  Here’s some tips.

  • Must use Intel’s SDK (DRM), which currently only supports C and C++
  • On Windows you MUST use Visual Studio 2008 (grab a working 90 day trial here)
  • On Linux you use GCC
  • Must support Intel GMA 945 (950) graphics chip.  i.e.
    • Fixed-Function OpenGL (no shaders)
    • Limited Shading support with DirectX 9
    • or Software Rendering/Sprites
    • On the Linuxes, SDL comes preinstalled
  • Must support multiple full-screen resolutions and aspect ratios
    • Netbooks come in a variety of weird resolutions and aspect ratios.  1024×600 is the “standard”, but there are some slightly lower, higher, and wider. See section 4.4 of the validation guidelines for a list of resolutions Intel tests.
    • You could just “black bar” it, but actually filling the full screen will look better.
    • Full-Screen is required.
  • Think of the Netbook as a game console, but with PC controls.
    • A trackpad or touch screen (most will have track pads, but if you can be inclusive of touch screens, all the power to you)
    • A full laptop keyboard (with arrow keys, but no numeric pad)
    • Make navigating the game or menus clear and obvious. Have a clear way to exit.
  • Target OS’s include Windows XP, Windows 7, and MeeGo (formerly known as Moblin, i.e. Linux)
    • Pick one, two, or them all.
    • Yes, you can do Linux only, or Windows only.
    • Windows 7 (and Linux) requires you to store save data in the “correct” place
  • Read the submission docs carefully, to be sure your app meets their requirements!  Read them now!
  • Must have a proper .MSI Windows installer, and it should be capable of silent install
    • Visual Studio 2008’s built in Installer-maker does this automatically, and it’s pretty easy to use

Netbook owners are parents, students and kids.  Some may be core gamers, classic gamers, or casual gamers.  The potential market is pretty crazy if you think about it.  These silly little computers are cheap enough to be given to a kid as a first computer, so a fun exercise might be to think about your first computer, and the kind of things you enjoyed playing on it.

So hey, you’ve got 30 days left to make/port something.  250 and 100 are pretty good chances at winning a prize. I can’t say how many entries the contest had last time, but “nudge nudge wink wink”, if you know what I mean. 😀

And best part, you don’t have to only release it for the App Up store. The only rights you give up is the right for them to promote your game.  You can port it or sell it on anything else after you’re done.  So if you’ve been looking for compo with prizes as a motivator to kick you in to gear, here’s one for ya.

7 Responses to “Intel’s March Developer Challenge”

  1. PoV says:

    This comment will be a Mini-FAQ, that I’ll update with details that don’t quite suit the post above. Try not to reply directly to this comment, as it’ll make the formatting look strange. :)

    – 70/30 royalty split (like every cool distribution system)
    – Royalty Payments are via Paypal.
    – Pay-outs appear to be every 4 weeks (28 days), though the contract says monthly.
    – The market is still very new, and though a beta client is available for Windows, don’t expect it to be a notably profitable market until an OEM (Acer, Dell, Samsung, etc…) ships the store on a device (coming soon).

    You can go “just Windows” or “just Linux” if you want. Practically speaking though, the Windows market will be bigger (meaning more chances to earn money from downloads). But for making the deadline, you could get away with just a Linux version. If I remember reading correctly, you need both an RPM and a DEB installer if you’re going the Linux route. I haven’t finished my Linux installers yet.

    MeeGo (formerly known as Moblin) is, as far as I know, is 32bit. There’s no reason it can’t be 64bit, but I’m pretty sure all the downloads at are 32bit. In the future they’ll probably support 64bit, but for now it’s all 32bit. You can grab a live disc, and put it on a USB key if you want to try it out.

    As for as libraries, I think anything you want is allowed. I used SDL 1.2 in my winning game, which is an LGPL library. The stock moblin installs also tend to include SDL as part of the distro, so that’s helpful.

    The DRM is a simple “.lib” file or “.a” file you link against. In the easiest case, they’re a very basic “am I authorized yes/no” C or C++ function you can call. Yes, you could technically put the DRM calls in a simple C program that then starts a python interpreter after passing validation.

    Do you think that (Linux only) will affect chances of winning? It’s really the bragging rights I’m after

    I think Intel will be fair. MeeGo (Moblin) is an important project to them. It’s a standardized alternative to Windows that will cost the PC OEM’s nothing to use. Plus once the store is filled with useful apps and games, it wont really matter that you’re not on Windows. MeeGo (Moblin) should eventually let the OEM’s shave like $40-50 off a price of a Netbook, which should some day bring them down to ridiculously low prices like $200 and $150. So in the short term, to make the most of it, I do think Windows is where to be. But in the long term, like 2-3 years from now, Linux will definitely become a cost leader.

    That’s just my opinion though. I’m a bit of a Netbook and portable/mobile gaming nut, and winning the prizes has certainly colored my opinion of the market. Truth be told, we have no idea what will happen, but Netbooks are certainly one market I’m optimistic of. :)

  2. Sos says:

    Just woooooooooow i’ve been waiting for this all my noetbook’s life!

  3. jovoc says:

    beauty. Just signed up for the dev program, though I don’t think my game will be ready by the end of the month.

    Their developer site is funny, it’s like a carbon copy of the apple dev site but tinged with cloying desperation. I wish the platform were more homogeneous, that’s one of the big draws of the iPhone, but seems like a good opportunity if I find some time for porting.

  4. Thanks a lot for posting this Michael! Unfortunately all my LD games have been made in Game Maker… now can I teach myself Python, figure out how to integrate C++ and the SDK, and make my game, in 20 days?

    P.S. Nice Bohnanza avatar jovoc.

  5. PoV says:

    I’ve already passed out this URL a few times in private now, and I don’t see a reason it really needs to stay private. This is what my Intel ADP store code looks like.

    There is a bunch of stuff going on here, but practically speaking, the Intel part is only the lines/calls with ADP in the name. Of course, you’ll want to butter-up the user experience a bit with error messages, just so they know what’s going on.

  6. PsySal says:

    I just want to say, thank you so much for this post. I finished my game (or… almost… or… is a game ever really 100% finished? or just cut loose?) tonight!

    I spent about 10 days on it, based on a very crystal clear idea i had, was able to re-use a lot of code (and particularly, /experience/, which sounds more obvious than it is). And now I’m happy because a) I’ve finished a game (my current project is going very well but is a large scale project) and b) maybe I’ll be accepted!

    I still have to get it integrated with their API, which I don’t consider to be risk-free, but fingers crossed!

    Ohhh my game is called Paradise Perfect Boat Rescue.

  7. I also wanted to say thank you very much for this post PoV! I just discovered that my game was selected by Intel as the “best educational app” winner:

    Without this post I never would have made that game, so again: thanks a lot!

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