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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > Game developers forced to support Apple TV remote for gameplay

Game developers forced to support Apple TV remote for gameplay
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Sep 15, 2015, 05:51 PM
 
Game developers working on apps for the new Apple TV may have to contend with another restriction when using the hardware. The App Programming Guide for tvOS advises that games "must support the Apple TV remote," an issue which will force developers to take the remote into account when working on the game's control scheme, a decision by Apple that may create some problems for those working on more complicated releases.

As reported by Touch Arcade, the guide specifically states that games "may not require the use of a controller," that simultaneously permits the use of Bluetooth-equipped devices to control games, but at the same time making sure developers make the game playable on the remote. This won't be a problem for some developers, but for fighting games and other genres where a large number of buttons are typically in play, those developers need to work out how to simplify the controls down considerably.



It is noted that these new restrictions were only recently made, with the report claiming the policy change was made just last week. Previously, Apple allowed developers to defer all gameplay commands to a secondary game controller, leaving the remote for launching the game and not requiring to support it for gameplay use. The change reverses the thinking, but it is likely because owners of the new Apple TV may not want to acquire a separate game controller for the set-top box.

The new restriction is the latest obstacle app developers have to contend with. Last week, it was discovered developers are restricted to a 200MB limit for the main app binary, with other files able to be temporarily stored and downloaded when required by the game.
     
DiabloConQueso
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Sep 15, 2015, 07:09 PM
 
Perhaps this will be relaxed in the future once the AppleTV and TV app store prove to be worthy contenders, but it's understandable that Apple would like users to be able to experience the entirety of the app library without having to purchase additional equipment above and beyond the AppleTV itself.

Not to mention that allowing apps to be developed with different, specific controllers in mind and bypassing the included controller (the remote) has too big a potential to make the AppleTV a graveyard of specialized, once-used, collecting-dust-in-the-closet controllers.

The alternative is a MAME-style, kludgy way of having to custom-assign buttons from different controllers to different functions within the game, which is nothing but an exercise in frustration.

It may seem like an unrealistic restriction upon first glance, but as a consumer, I would certainly love to be able to enjoy all the TV app store has to offer without having to sink another $50 to $200 for various controllers. Different, 3rd-party controllers should enhance the experience, not be the experience.
     
iphonerulez
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Sep 15, 2015, 07:21 PM
 
Why is this considered a bad thing to support the remote? It's what comes with the box so I think consumers should be able to use what's already there to play games and such. However, I expect games to support other BT controllers as well. I think developers will make enough money to do a little extra work. They can't just think about this first new streaming and gaming box. Developers need to think long-term about all the other AppleTV boxes that will follow if consumers take to gaming on AppleTV. It's weird how pundits always have a beef with Apple for trying to enforce uniformity on their platforms.
     
b9bot
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Sep 15, 2015, 07:45 PM
 
Well since it is part of the Apple TV I think they should support it along with any 3rd party controllers they want to add. I don't want to buy another controller if I don't have to with other applications.
     
Charles Martin
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Sep 16, 2015, 12:47 AM
 
This is "forced" in the sense that you are "forced" to register as a developer with Apple in order to sell goods on the Mac or iOS App Stores. You are of course free to support *other* gaming controllers as well, if they are available for the Apple TV (and at least one third-party controller is already).
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MarkTime
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Sep 16, 2015, 12:57 AM
 
Reality also "forces" your hand here, you have to support the controller that comes packed in, on pretty much every game machine on the planet.
     
driven
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Sep 16, 2015, 01:53 AM
 
I mean ... how else are you going to control anything if not with the remote?
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
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DiabloConQueso
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Sep 16, 2015, 11:47 AM
 
You can control it with a 3rd party controller, like this one:

http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/09/11/say-hello-to-the-first-third-party-apple-tv-controller

What Apple is saying is that if you develop an app for the AppleTV, you can't develop an app that requires the use of a 3rd party controller (like the one above, with clearly more buttons and inputs than what the supplied Apple Remote has) and does not support the AppleTV controller.

Developers are free to allow use of 3rd party controllers with their apps, but they're not free to develop apps that *require* a 3rd party controller.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 16, 2015, 11:57 AM
 
Or, you know, our article on the same controller.

Apple TV page highlights Steel Series Nimbus Bluetooth controller | MacNN
     
DiabloConQueso
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Sep 16, 2015, 12:00 PM
 
Whoops, sorry! I knew I saw that controller somewhere on here.
     
Grendelmon
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Sep 16, 2015, 01:03 PM
 
I fail to understand the point of this article... doesn't it just really mean that app devs can't solely rely on a third party controller? Isn't this the case with every game console ever made (I guess with the exception of Guitar Hero, for obvious reasons)?

But on the flip side... good luck with the controls for shooters and likes.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 16, 2015, 03:44 PM
 
"Previously, Apple allowed developers to defer all gameplay commands to a secondary game controller, leaving the remote for launching the game and not requiring to support it for gameplay use. The change reverses the thinking, but it is likely because owners of the new Apple TV may not want to acquire a separate game controller for the set-top box. "

So, yes. Devs can't rely on a third party controller. If you can't play it with the Siri Remote, then you can't play it at all.
     
   
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