Ouya, the Android based System’s Hardware Explained and my Chaotically Haphazard mind

One thing that I am absolutely in love with is gaming. As much as I enjoy thinking myself into complex fractal like corners, I love gaming. And before the thought crosses your mind, I love BOTH pc and console gaming, so leave your cleverly prepared Negative Nancy quips to the wayside, because that’s where they belong really.

Now to the meat and potatoes of this post, my main topic is the Ouya, and as my title says it is android based. It’s being spec’d for cloud gaming, but that said it is going to have some tasty hardware. Such as

>1. Tegra 3 quad core processor
>2. 1 gig of ram (i’d probably add an extra gig or two personally)
>3. 8 gigs of internal storage (flash type, as if they’d throw in a 8 gig hdd)
>4. Support for 1080p output (which is amazing)
>5. 802.11 b/g/n WiFi cuz it’s pretty much a standard thing now for hardware
>6. Bluetooth LE 4.0
>7. One 2.0 usb port, (I’d like to add maybe three more, possibly an arduino 3.0 frankenstein thing)
>8. A rather nicely designed wireless controller if I must say.
>9. They’re going to be loaded with android jellybean (I wonder if they’ll change the os when other distro’s come out)
>10. Ethernet (that’s all the site says so I’m guessing it’s just one ethernet port which is all you need really.

Those tasty tid-bits said, one major draw of the Ouya is the ability and affirmation by the console’s creators that hacking the hardware and software of the system is ok… They are encouraging the hacking of their system… It seems that little fiasco with Sony’s PS3 hack Key shows(along with other instances in the past) that gamers really do want to make their systems do what they want them to do. Well the Ouya promises such things so rejoice and be merry Hacky Hackerton! Do what you will to this fine little marvel. But keep in mind if you hack it “too much” you may destroy your own ability to access the content from their cloud. That’s just a personal thought though.

What does that all mean really? Well here’s a bit of simplified tech jargon, Why? Because I’m not up to date with some of those things myself. If you already know then either skip to the next purple section below or stop reading, cuz it’s more of my 2 cents after I explain …^that.

1. That tegra 3 quad core? It’s basically the based on energy saving yet high performance calculating. It’s a cpu put together by the Nvidia Corp, aimed at mainly mobile applications, tablets, cellphones, and the like. The way it’s put together has been refined to help with heat build up and the way numbers are crunched. Quad core means you have 4 “people” working on different parts of the same task, so it gets done faster. Also multiple cores are what allow you to play a game on your phone while listening to music, smoothly.

2.1 gig of ram…that has to be one tiny ass ram… How does it eat? RAM is an acronym for Random access memory. It’s like pulling out the pieces from the box your furniture from Ikea came in, and putting the different parts in easy to reach spots around you while you read the instructions. 1 gig means it can put 1024 megabytes of info off to the side while it figures out what to do with it. Think of it as around 15 hours of music if your music files have .mp3 after them.  A healthy amount of ram this day and age but I’d feel more comfy with 2 or more, personal preference really.

3. 8 gigs of flash storage, no your not gonna be blinded by some naked guy (or girl) in a coat, think of it like a polaroid picture crossed with an etch-a-sketch. You take a picture of your friend, and you don’t need to have it connected to a battery to keep it intact. (everyone knows this by now right?….right -.-?) When you don’t want the picture anymore or you want a new one, you erase the old and save the new.

4. Yeah my Tv does that 1080p stuff….That “p” means your picture on screen is just that, one whole picture, instead of lines of lights that flash on and off in patterns to create the illusion of a picture. Like those clocks with persistence of vision tech, with swinging pendulum that spells out good morning “in mid air” That would be what 1080i is, one line flashes part of one picture and another line flashes part of another separate picture and your brain processes that as movement. The 1080 means that there are 1,080 lines on your screen, from the top to the bottom. Think of them like sentences, they go from left to right, the same distance across your screen 1080 times. The more lines there are, the smoother and cleaner the picture on  your tv will be… basically.

5. Okay so you’ve seen 802.11 before, but wtf is all that b/g/n business? Primarily 802.11 was just the name of the group of people who made this wonder of wireless device communications. What it is, can be thought of like your radio. You change a station you hear a different song. Now b/g/n are different wave types. Think of them like waves at the beach, some waves (b) are easy to surf, so more people will paddle away from shore to ride them. The consequence you may run into someone else (interference like hearing your mom on the phone while your listening to music) and make the wave less fun to ride. The next wave (g) is bigger, so alot of the rookie surfers will stay on the shore while only the more experienced surfers go out to ride it. It’s bigger and faster and if you can ride it, you won’t have to worry about wiping out because of someone else. Now this last wave (n) you’ll only see maybe 4 people paddle out to meet. It’s that tube like wave, that curls into itself and it moves the fastest. It’s further from shore, and most other people don’t know how to approach such a thing, so there is definitely less of a chance you’ll wipe-out because of someone else.

6. (omg this has turned into something way more than i thought it would be) Bluetooth LE 4.0, the only time I had blue teeth was from those blue-raspberry dumdum pops… yeah I made the joke, so sue me :p Bluetooth! Think of a room with a 100 metre radius with people walking around with whiteboards on their chests. You walk around in this room and write happy on a certain amount of boards and joyful on the other half. Now only the happy people can communicate with other happy’s and only the joyful people can communicate with other joyfuls. If you write happy and joyful on a quarter of the boards these select people can now talk with everyone. LE means Low Energy, so that’s simple. It uses less electricity to work, awesome. 4.0 is just the latest version, like the difference between owning a 2013 honda accord , and a 2010 honda accord. Same basic looks but little differences that change the way it drives.

7. (shoot me now x.x) 2.0 usb port. USB means Universal Serial Bus. It was made as a hardware communication tool in order to exchange information between devices that cannot always be connected physically or by wireless means. 2.0 means it’s the 2nd incarnation of the technology, basically harder, better, faster, stronger.

8. It’s a remote control specifically designed for the Ouya by the creative/development team. It’s got a little touchpad, the four buttons on the right we’ve seen on playstation and xbox, the d pad, (up, down, left and right buttons) and two analog joysticks that have become fairly common place in game system controller market, as well as shoulder/trigger buttons. This will be hackable as well, so people can add even more buttons to it, because deep down, we all want a Steel Battalion Controller ~ http://www.steelbattalion.org/controllerNew.jpg ~

9. Android Jellybean, apparently each distribution of android has to be named after a snack food. What is jellybean? It is the operating system. Like your windows 7/8, Apple OSX, or Linux Precise Quantal Hyper Hippopotamus, (not a real linux operating system). It is essentially the shiny coating with everything labeled, so us less computer code inclined individuals can use those fancy hyper expensive amalgamations of silicon, plastic and metal we call desktops, or laptops or tablets.. or cellphones, without having to know algebra or one of the myriads of computer languages…. Only Android, much like Linux actually, is open sourced. Meaning it allows those who can do magic with their keyboards to make something no one has made before on a computer… Or fix someone else’s mistake on line 1278 of their code that isn’t allowing the menu button to show up where it should be.

10. Ethernet, this is a port, much like the usb, that allows devices to communicate with each other. However Ethernet looks like a super beefy telephone wire, truth be told it probably ate a few telephone wires for lunch. Widely it is used in the same spirit that telephone wires are used, communication, but not for people. Ethernet provides a constant means of wired communications for multiple computers, which is called a network. Through this port/wire information can be transmitted much like on the WiFi waves I spoke of earlier. Except it is much harder for these to incur some kind of interference with regards to the interference of our beloved WiFi. But it is still a possibility.


NOW I’m done explaining everyday things…

Now not too long ago, (about 10 minutes really) I had my horrible memory jogged about this system and unlike the first time I heard about it I had a “brain-splosion”. I had just finished watching Nixie Pixel’s vid ~ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLlBtxiadP8&feature=relmfu ~ on the system and it happened. Now, I have a python compiler, 3.0 to be precise, a java compilier, as well as access to a java class online, courtesy of a certain college on youtube. I have them, but you see I have yet to teach myself anything besides remembering this,

#this will show up only when looking at the code in Python

where as anything beyond a simple understanding of an “if statement” I have to look at my notes.

So I decided to visit the Ouya site, ~ http://www.ouya.tv/ ~ and I started thinking. If I actually hunker down, and teach myself (finally) how to use these things, I will actually be able to put out content for the Ouya.

They explicitly state on their site that the system itself is essentially the dev kit. It comes with the debug utility built in and they state a myriad of positions they are looking to fill. Unfortunately their operations seem to be only in California, so had my coding skills been on par for a job, a New York to Cali commute would bee a little lengthy. But I digress, the mere fact that they also have  AAA dev’s creating content such as Square Enix of Final Fantasy fame, I as a monetarily deficient gamer, was overjoyed seeing as they state that all games would be free to play, from one extent to another. Of course not EVERY game will be free, but as it is open source we will see quite a few FULL free games.

Now that, I think, is the best part of the Ouya. The fact that as an open source system, the high school hacker, would have their game out on a system, along with publishers such as Square Enix, is probably the most amazing things to happen to gaming since the power glove!….wait… power glove was a nightmare and a travesty…umm… physics! The best thing since physics!

What am I trying to say… well basically… I’m beyond excited for the Ouya and I just really wanted a reason to post that picture above because I think the system looks sexy. Yeah that’s it. 😉


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