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Things And Stuff: Thursday News Roundup

(Updated throughout the day.) Engine Software becomes DS developer, Neversoft porting engine to Xbox 2, Datel launches MAX Drive for GameCube - including homebrew dev support.

Dutch firm Engine Software has become a licensed Nintendo DS developer as of this week, something the company describes as a "logical next step" having supported Nintendo platforms and handheld from the Super Nintendo and Game Boy right up to the Cube and GBA. No specific titles were announced, but Engine will rewrite its GBA Music Replayer Library middleware to support the fledgling handheld format. Head of development Ruud van Moosdijk said he was personally "very glad" to have expanded their relationship with Nintendo. "No matter how long you work with Nintendo they keep amazing you with new innovative ideas, which simply result in an explosion of inspiration. I am confident that the DS will bring new enjoyment to developers and consumers alike."

Tony Hawk developer Neversoft is advertising for Xbox 2 programmers openly on its official website. There's no mention of other next-generation formats, but the developer apparently wants to split its development team into a two halves - one focusing on Tony Hawk and the other on an as-yet unnamed title. Details are sketchy, but with Tony Hawk's Underground 2 on its way to the current run of console formats this Christmas it seems entirely plausible that the "other" project could be an Xbox 2 - or even multi-format next-gen - title. "We're looking for an experienced console engine programmer who will deal with porting and extending the Neversoft Engine to Xbox 2," read the ad.

Following the recent launch of USB Flash-drive based "MAX Drive" products for PS2 and Xbox, Datel has just announced a MAX Drive for the GameCube, consisting of a 64MB (1019-block) memory card, a USB cable to connect it to a PC, and a disc with Datel's Memory Manager PC software on it. Obviously this means gamers can download Action Replay codes and swap saves with other folks who have the MAX Drive, but opting for the more expensive MAX Drive Pro also opens the door to running executable program code stored on the memory card, effectively allowing homebrew programmers loose on the console. MAX Drive is £19.99 and available in shops and online at, while MAX Drive Pro is £29.99 and only available on the web.