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Sponsored Post: A Developer’s Guide to Project Shield

Sponsored content: Since we announced Project Shield, we've had a flood of requests here at NVIDIA on how to get hardware and how to develop games on this exciting new mobile platform.
[SPONSORED POST: Since we announced Project Shield, we've had a flood of requests here at NVIDIA on how to get hardware and how to develop games on this exciting new mobile platform.] Here's your chance to get the jump on other developers by building games on what Digital Trends says "is every bit as amazing as NVIDIA claims."

Secret #1: Hardware

The first trick to building great Shield games is: You don't need Shield! Yes, we will be offering kits very soon, but the core of Shield is that it is an Android gaming device! You don't need special hardware to get started building games, since any Android development platform will let you get started NOW.

Secret #2: Software

You can start creating games for Shield using any Android device but with a Tegra powered device, all the features of the NVIDIA developer tools become available to you. We offer a broad array of tools that complement the Android SDK, all bundled up in NVIDIA's Tegra Android Development Pack. The pack includes a downloader and installer for the Android SDK and NDK as well as NVIDIA’s excellent free tools such as PerfHUD ES (for 3D profiling the Tegra GPU) and NSIGHT Tegra (which allows full Android development and debugging directly from Visual Studio). For full details, check out http://developer.nvidia.com/tegra-android-development-pack and join the Tegra Registered Developer Program (free) for full access to these tools that will help you get the most out of any Tegra-based hardware, including Shield. So are there any special game design secrets for Shield? Absolutely! Here are the top five:

Tip #1: Support Landscape Mode Gaming

This is particularly important for mobile phone game developers. The 720p form factor of Project Shield lends itself better to games that run in a landscape mode.

Tip #2: Don’t Require a Keyboard

This is a portable gaming experience, therefore it's important to minimize situations that require alphanumeric input. In cases where it is necessary, we recommend a basic keyboard popup that is accessible by using controller input. This leads us to our next tip...

Tip #3: Implement Controller Support

Considering that Project Shield has a built-in controller, this is practically a required step for all games. The process is pretty simple, and we've written a How To Guide for Android game controllers that’s available from http://developer.nvidia.com/tegra-android-development-pack.

Tip #4: Create a UI That Works on both Small and Big Screens

Whether you’re designing a PC game that will stream to Shield’s 5-inch screen or a native Android game that users can play on Shield or a big screen TV, you need to consider your UI for 5-inch, 55-inch or even a 155-inch screens! When creating your UI assets and when laying out the UI it's important to reassess your user experience to accommodate the current layout.

Tip #5: Optimize PC Games for Streaming All Over The House

One of Project Shield's exciting new features is the ability to stream games from your PC. This means that certain considerations must be given to ensure that your game is designed for the best experience possible. We will be publishing a tuning guide for PC games on Project Shield in the near future but as a quick pointer, make sure users can navigate the game menus, settings and can start a game (and get through any tutorials) using just a game controller.

Wrapping Up

If you have technical questions, feel free to post it in the Android Development section on our forums at http://devtalk.nvidia.com. We will do our best to answer them there. For a live presentation on Project Shield, we invite you to the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, where Richard Seis will be presenting “Programming Project Shield and Tegra 4,” on March 19th and James Dolan will discuss “Bringing PC and Console Games to Mobile: Tips and Tricks from the Trenches” on March 21st. It’s still not too late to take advantage of the 10% discount for the one-day pass or the full conference, just use code GM10ND when you register today. Happy coding!

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