GP2X Wiz handheld developer speaks

GP2X: Wiz - games dev Jeff Mitchell talks homebrew

The Korean open-source handheld GP2X Wiz is nearing release, but the world at large remains largely in the dark about Game Park Holdings' business plans for the machine.

TechRadar spoke to Canadian BattleJewels developer Jeff Mitchell about GP2X Wiz, his role creating games on the format, and his thoughts on the console's place in the handheld market.

Game Park Holdings working closely with homebrew developers?

"The GPH machines pretty much make it on homebrew, so they know the value we developers add into the ecosystem," said Mitchell. "And this time, they're trying to work more with all of us."

Mitchell went on to say that GPH have appointed people to liase with developers directly, in the hopes of gaining their influential co-operation, as well as offering physical assistance in games assets such as artwork, localization and interface designs. This, he says, should help differentiate for-sale games against their previous homebrew incarnation.

"I know there are some boxed titles in the works, and I suspect an online store," he added.

GPH's "buying up" of homebrew titles?

Mitchell explains how GPH emailed him around the start of this year, informing him of a few in-progress details of an "upcoming device" and asking for BattleJewels' source code "so they could do some rework to ensure it would operate on the new device and possibly do some upgrades along the way," he said.

Eventually, he says, GPH must have realised that "some of the people they were approaching were professional software developers, and started working towards more commercial games in the traditional sense - delivered on SD rather than UMD on a PSP for instance."

"GPH emailed me some time ago - around the beginning of the year - informing me of a few in-progress details of an upcoming device, asking for source for the BattleJewels game so they could do some rework to ensure it would operate on the new device and possibly do some upgrades
along the way," said Mitchell.

Will it gain a foothold against DS or PSP?

Mitchell doesn't think so. "Just like SanDisk selling mp3 players doesn't dent the iPod market - but it keeps SanDisk going," he said.

He likes to think that the more commercial approach this time around will help to legitimize the console with those who think "emulation is bad and that the Wiz is "just another Chinese MP4 device."

"And it helps pay a few bills here or there to a few people, hopefully. But mostly it's a lot of fun," Mitchell added.

Read the full interview on TechRadar to find out more about Mitchell's role in the game-making scene, his dealings with Game Park Holdings and the wider development scene.