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avatar NESHomebrew (21)

(Brad Bateman - Strange Brew Games)

Saskatchewan (Regina)
Joined : 04/28/2008 / Visited: 09/18/2018
Posts : 4236 (1.12 posts per day)

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February 11, 2011
Sidetracked Already...

Well, I have made no progress on my own stuff.  However, I have been having a lot of fun doing some work for other people.  I've been doing a lot of beta testing for a few different people as well as some artwork. I'm helping Kevin out with the backgrounds for his LSL game.  It's one of my favorite games from back in the day, and I jumped at the opportunity to help.  Besides, I wouldn't feel right if I wasn't working on more than 3 projects at the same time.

Also, to put another thing in the way, I decided to go back and take some more classes in May.  Like a full-time job, a kid (with another on the way  ), and the rest of my projects weren't enough already...  And it seems every time I go to sit down and do some work I get sidetracked with minecraft or one of the other homebrews I've been playing around with.

Whatever, I've still got time.  I am also running this competition, so that is going to be a lot of work right around the deadline.  On the plus side, if my submission is late I can still admit it    But that would be cheating......

January 14, 2011
Game Plan

I think that for me to finish my game by the competition deadline I am going to have to be organized and systematic. I tend to over-think things, and go off on wild tangents so who knows how this will go. I already have most of my ideas on paper, but a good number of stuff is still in my head.

I will be entering the NROM competition. For example, SMB1 is a NROM game, so really you aren't limited that much (especially if you use compression). My game will be somewhat similar to SMB1 actually. If you aren't familiar with the game Canabalt, then I will describe it a bit. For starters, the character doesn't physically "move" around the screen. Instead, the screen automatically scrolls around the character.So you only have one main control (jump). In the original game, the city is being destroyed by alien robots, and you are trying to escape by jumping across rooftops and smashing through windows in office buildings. Your speed gradually gets faster and faster until you reach a max speed. There are different obstacles which slow you down when you crash into them, which can actually make the game easier because you don't always have time to react to a tricky jump at max speed. You can die two ways, death by wall or death by bomb. Bombs randomly drop onto the rooftops and if you touch it you die. Some buildings also fall when you land on them. Canabalt goes forever, the higher score you get the better you are.

My game steps it up a notch. For starters, although there will be a "survival/pracite mode" where players can hone their skill, the MAIN game includes a storyline and multiple characters. Not only that, but there will be boss battles, and upgrades. Upgrades such as bridges between the platforms, angel wings (you don't lose a life if you die), timer freeze, and possibly more! Who knows what else I will come up with.

One challenge will be the boss battles. If you don't have "weapons", and you can't "move", how do you fight a boss. One solution I thought of was that once you reach the boss it will be more like a regular platformer where you CAN move. The downside of this, is that I'm afraid it will take away from the fast paced nature that I want this game to be. Think of it like Tetris, where it starts out fun but slowly becomes harder and harder with no chance of a break until you inevitably die. Only the best players can reach the end. Of course I wouldn't want to make it too difficult or people won't want to play. Anyways, that's enough brain dumping for one day.


January 10, 2011
Homebrew Competition

The idea was brought up in July 2010 to hold a homebrew competition.  A lot of people were onboard, but the original person who suggested it didn't plan anything, so it just kind of sat.  Some people started projects, some people were waiting for responses, etc, etc.  Anyway, I finally decided to say something, and do something about it.  I'm setting up a website, and getting some rules, deadlines, prizes and whatever else organized.

I guess I just really want to see the NES development community grow, and hopefully something like this will spark some more interest!  We already have prizes offered from Parodius.  Also, one idea was to make a multi-cart with all the games (well small nrom games anyway), that could be sold after the competition was over.  This could also raise funds for better prizes next year.  Oh yes, I'd like this to be a yearly event.

Now that I have got the ball rolling with this competition, it finally makes sense to go ahead with my less ambitious project.  Realistically, I should be able to get a decent product by the deadline.  A proposed deadline was April 1st.  However, nothing is in stone yet.  Also, if this is going to be a yearly thing we should probably think about when they best time to have it, not just "3 months from todays date".  To me, something like June would make more sense.  5 months to work this year, and then a whole year for next years competition.


Update: The site is up.

January 06, 2011
Ideas n Stuff

One of the hardest things about homebrew games is to come up with something new exciting.  Why would someone want to play pong on the NES, if they could play pong on a million other consoles?  Most of the advice I see on the boards say to start with a puzzle game, then work your way up to something better and better.  My problem is, I don't have a puzzle game that I want to make.  I also don't have the creativity to make an awesome puzzle game that people would actually want to play.

So what do I do?  Should I just dive right in with something totally original, or should I take the easy route and make a port of an existing game?  Right now I have two games that I will eventually make.  One is an original twist on a very basic game, and the other will be (hopefully) a pixel to pixel replica of a pc game. 

One side of me wants to start with the pc game because:
  • My drawing skills are limited
  • The level design/story already exists
  • It's a popular game and would get a good reception
  • By not having to worry about the above points, I could concentrate mostly on the engine
  • I could reuse the skills learned in my next game
However, the pc game port would involve 4-way scrolling which would be a very steep learning curve.  I also run the risk of getting a letter from a lawyer wanting to sue my ass for using their IP.  I probably wouldn't release my port at retrousb or anything.  If I ever get it working I would release it for free, or maybe make a limited run by myself then release the rom.  Basically, once the engine is in place, I can always change the characters, enemies, storyline and have a sweet 4-way scrolling platforming engine.

I guess the only thing that is really holding me back from tackling that project first is the learning curve.  I have a bit of MIPS assembly under my belt from university, but not enough to do anything useful.  Even seasoned veterans in the nesdev community don't have 4-way scrolling engines, so how is this newbie supposed to make this work.

My original idea will be MUCH simpler.  It only involves 1-way scrolling, limited AI, and fairly simple collision detection (unless I decide to implement slopes.  So far my design does not include slopes.  It will be based on the highly addicting flash game canabalt, but with storylines, characters, powerups, lives, bosses.

When you think about it, having a character stand in one spot and jump across platforms that move towards them should be pretty simple.  I guess I could always just rip some sprites from existing games until I get things working.
If anyone reads this, let me know your thoughts.  I need some guidance  


January 02, 2011
It begins...

It's time to quit treading water in the kiddie pool and move into the deep end. If you've been around here long enough you will know that I have a passion for NES homebrewing, but have yet to do anything worth mentioning. I'm starting this blog to keep me organized and motivated in this journey.

All the folks here have inspired me to put some serious effort into this. Special mention to Kevin, Swanson, John (bigjt_2), and others. You've all helped keep me interested and inspired.

I've got a lot of ideas and such on paper and in my head, and I'll be slowly transferring things here whenever I get the time to do some work. Wish me luck, I'll be needing it