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Nintendo shares more details on Wii U Web Framework dev tools

Nintendo provided a few more details for its Nintendo Web Framework development program for Wii U at GDC Europe 2013, including a few helpful libraries and third-party dev kits creators of web games can use to port their titles to Nintendo's home console.

The software was first publicly demonstrated at GDC 2013 in March, where it was revealed that the Wii Street U application was developed using the framework. The aim, Nintendo of Europe manager of developer relations Martin Buchholz explained, is to provide web game developers with a simple method of releasing their Javascript and HTML5 games on Wii U with very, very little alteration to their core source code. If successful, the NWF would basically allow titles programmed in Javascript and HTML5 — using applicable libraries — to essentially be copied and pasted onto Wii U.

Today, a handful of those libraries were discussed. Popular programming support libraries like jQuery, Underscore and Handlebars have been tested with the software, as have renderers and artistic tools like Processing.js and pixi.js. Animation and utility libraries like Tween have also been tested for the hardware; but the largest focus during today's panel was all-encompassing development kit libraries; specifically Impact and Enchant.

titles programmed in Javascript and HTML5 can be easily ported to the Wii U

A representative for Impact showcased how quickly a game programmed in Javascript could be iterated upon using the Wii U dev kit and Web Framework software. The sample game, an 8-bit platformer, was composed of elements divided into discrete layers; collision boxes, art assets and effects. After loading the game using the Framework software, it appeared on the networked Wii U devkit, with the GamePad showing important statistics and debug options for the software. The demo handler showed how valuable a tool the GamePad could be in this method, activating and deactivating layers to go under the game's hood, ensuring everything was working in a live environment.

The demo handler also showed how quickly games run through the Framework could be compiled on Wii U; using the Impact SDK, he quickly painted a new, blocky platform into the world, automatically updating the code in the Web Framework, and then updated the build, refreshing the live game within a matter of seconds.

The demo wasn't especially graphically impressive, but a second demo running in Impact showcased how many elements could run on screen through the Framework. The demo was a bullet-hell shooter, which rendered thousands of enemy bullets without causing a single framerate stutter. That was the sole purpose for why the demo was created; its developer said it only took him a week to get it developed, ported and running on Wii U.

Developers using the framework will have full access to all the GamePad's functions

The second dev kit library, Enchant, was not demonstrated during the panel. However, it was announced that Glandarius Wing Strike, an iOS game developed with the language, is currently in development for Wii U using the Nintendo Web Framework.

Developers using the framework will have full access to all the GamePad's functions, including its touch display, gyroscope, internal speaker and so on. They'll also be able to publish their games to the eShop using the same guidelines as a traditional developer; meaning they'll be able to set their own release date and price, bypass any concept approvals and post updates to the game (or post-launch DLC) without paying any certification fees.

Today's panel is one of two Nintendo is delivering in an attempt to court indie developers at GDC Europe — the second, which focuses on the Wii U-optimized tools for the popular Unity platform, will be delivered tomorrow at 7 a.m. ET.

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