E3: Impressions and Specs of the GPI

May 22, 2002 10:29 PM PST

Update!: Supplemental information and more pictures of the GPI in action! Also, pics of the GP32 playing movies...

Just today I've gotten a hold of Game Park's GPI prototype specs and features…it looks very promising. It uses the same graphics and sound processor as the GP32, so nothing has changed there. But they have added 16 Megs of internal memory…likely this is necessary for downloading and running applications. The GPI operates with a Linux OS: Kernel 2.4. It has built in CDMA (wireless internet application), Voice Call, and pack-in software. That includes at this time; web browser, PIMS (personal information management system), Email client, instant messaging service, flash and multimedia player (including Divx), image viewer, text viewer/editor program (aka word processor) and MP3 player. There are other features in the works which I will likely discover on the final day of E3. But even as it is this system will be packed with multimedia software. Interestingly it says that other applications can be added upon request, further info on that will be forthcoming. The GPI has a built in Li+ rechargeable battery with a purported 'minimum 3 hours use time'…not quite sure how to read that. It takes a maximum of 3 hours charge time to reach full power. Thankfully the power can charge while still in the unit, so one need not stop playing. Of course the GPI is fully compatible with all GP32 games past, present and future. As touched upon before, wireless network gaming seems to be imbedded in the system, but this will be fully confirmed soon.

Apparently Game Park has a P2P network of its own design set up for wireless gaming, but sadly this is only available in Korea. Here's an outline of the GPI server technology: TCP/IP protocol-based network game server, which supports up to 1,000 subscribers at the same time. This seems like something of a small number to me, especially if they reach their goal of 100,000 units sold. But maybe I'm misreading the situation. The server is scalable to retain performance when adding new services. There is also an auto matching/ranking system/client information management system which I assume pits players of similar skill against each other.

As an aside, the same release which outlines the specs of the GPI also has some info on the SDK which was news to me, but may not be to some. That is the differences between the basic and the advanced SDK, ie the homebrew kit vs the pro kit. The basic SDK has graphics, sound, key input, mike, system, memory management, extra communication and storage management libraries. The advanced SDK has all of these plus 3D graphic library, protocol stack, an OS kernel and undisclosed 'other features', which I will attempt to extract from the E3 officials. The GPI compatible SDK has an API mapping library as well.

For wireless the GPI supports not only CDMA, but also CDMA one, CDMA 2000, 1XRTT, GSM and UMTS, and promises unlimited scalability. There will be a flat rate subscription for the wireless service based on airtime/service charges of the mobile wireless network which will be involved with the system. Not sure who this is just yet.

The plan is to release the GPI by September of this year, but it will be released exclusively in Korea…there are no plans to export it abroad. However, this makes the system no less useful to English speaking gamers, as the text editor and menus will likely support English. It is important to note though, that the wireless aspect will be completely lost anywhere outside of Korea. This may well decrease its value here to some degree. Also if you take a careful look at the prototype, you'll see that the 'L' button is directly above the D-pad, which makes it all but inaccessible. Hopefully this will change before the official release.

That's all for now on the Game Park front. Look for more specific info on the GPI and GP32 tomorrow, as well as new/more exhaustive screenshots.

Brandon Sheffield


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