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Last updated on Oct-18-2019 Download

Let's make a Contra clone or something


by on (#34938)
In reply to this post:

In my opinion if NesDev wants to make a lot of progress or do something great they should band together their very best, most intelligent and active members into a team (of say about 10 individuals) and they should try to make a great platformer or action game like Contra, instead of just doing demos and small works. There's definitely people out there that can write original NES music and perhaps I could help with the art, if this place is more technically-minded than artistically-minded, as I know it is. It could be done on a new subsection of the Wiki, a lot of coding work, there would be both official ROM updates of the game and user-contributed ROMs. I know this idea sounds off-topic, but this is a good way to stop any of the bad feelings that may be going on in this group and if nesdev has been stagnating in any way in the last few year (I don't know), then it's also a good idea. Personally though I would just like to see a cool game be made here, whether it's something like Duck Tales or Getsufuu Maden or an RPG like Madara or Mother, whatever, I think it can be done. I mean there's a lot of possibilities. For instance you could do a survival horror game like Sweet Home or a detective game like Portopia and Deja Vu (that wouldn't require as deft of programming skills, I guess, than a good action game). I don't think it's the sort of thing that would interest Jeremy Chadwick since he has moved on, but I wish to see productivity here, except I really know next to nothing about programming and the NES (technically) :) So why is it me that comes up with these ideas? Well in the business world it's often some assholish outside guy, a producer or something, that wants to get something done and put people to work, when he doesn't really do the work himself. SO I guess that's how I am. But I thought I'd make the suggestion instead of starting a new thread.

by on (#34941)
It seems the short answer is no. If you want the long answer, just read the "i want a team"-style topics around. ;)

by on (#34942)
You guys should just disband and not bother hosting NesDev anymore. There isn't really any point in trying to reverse-engineer the NES and Super Mario Bros. You ought to use your knowledge for something. All of this data about how the NES works amounts to nothing if it isn't put into use. "The proof is in the pudding."

Why not form a team? I can be the leader. I will maintain a special website or adjunct of the NesDev Wiki and I'll be a thorough taskmaster. We can make any kind of game we want. The first Mega Man game was made with 6 people. Pac-Man was originally made with about 6 people. So if we get a dozen people together and work on a project for two or three years then we can come up with something good for the NES.

by on (#34943)
I'd be willing to work on it with you. I want to make something other than Tetris, Tetris, and more Tetris. But first, I'd need a couple mock screen shots and a sprite sheet, so that I can get started on a suitable engine.

by on (#34944)
Tepples! You are the first member of Matthew's design team. My name is Matthew. I will get to work assembling screenshots. There should be something of a group vote first before we decide on the type of game. I am thinking right now some kind of sidescrolling action.

Can you do sidescrolling? Vertical? I don't want any shoddy imitations of Metroid and Kid Ikcarus' engines, nor do I like it when the gameplay stops for the screen to pass by, like it does in Mega Man and Castlevania. I know that can be used for good artistic effect, but what about a fast paced action game? There you want to keep things moving continuously.

I also don't want to do a shooter (a spaceship flying game). Those are often made in the amateur community. I say we stick to action games or RPGs, or some kind of hybrid of the two, while sidescrolling, such as Getsufuu Maden, Legend of Zelda II, Faxanadu and Ys III.

by on (#34945)
Quote:
You guys should just disband and not bother hosting NesDev anymore. There isn't really any point in trying to reverse-engineer the NES and Super Mario Bros. You ought to use your knowledge for something. All of this data about how the NES works amounts to nothing if it isn't put into use.


I think that's a pretty egocentric thing to say. Maybe these people are more interested in the techincal side of things and don't care about making games? And don't forget that it's because of people spending time on figuring out the techincal details that you have all this information available - so that you can write a game, should you want to.

by on (#34946)
stalepie wrote:
I will get to work assembling screenshots.

Good deal.

Quote:
Can you do sidescrolling? Vertical?

Yes, but how I do diagonal scrolling might depend on the cart type and the TV system (50 Hz or 60 Hz).

Quote:
I don't want any shoddy imitations of Metroid and Kid Ikcarus' engines, nor do I like it when the gameplay stops for the screen to pass by, like it does in Mega Man and Castlevania.

The "hallway scenes" in these four games (as well as Smash TV) come from the limited amount of CHR that can be loaded at once. If we're shifting between screens that use different CHR, we'll have to use only half the CHR (128 tiles) for each scene. It's a good thing I came up with a dynamic CHR RAM loading engine that can load 10 tiles per NTSC frame, which should provide some of the benefits of CHR ROM banking even on a CHR RAM cart.

Quote:
I know that can be used for good artistic effect, but what about a fast paced action game? There you want to keep things moving continuously.

SMB1 could move more or less continuously because all scenes shared the same CHR.

by on (#34947)
To me the graphics look just as good, if not better, in games like Batman and Ninja Gaiden as they do in Castlevania or Mega Man (haven't played that version of Smash TV). So hopefully we can get away with a continuous, smooth-scrolling game, even if will just be side-ways scrolling.

More people need to join the team before we decide these things, however. I have started a website for the project:

http://www.geocities.com/stalepie/

Mainly right now it just serves to express my enthusiasm. I'm not sure what to do about the mock screenshots, but I'll see.

Please, any who are interested go to this website and check it out. I'll be updating it as things move along, of course.

by on (#34949)
I'm not really one for the team side of things, but that's usually based on my past experiences with such things. But good luck if anybody bands together. A Contra-esque game would be neat. I'd like to try the platforming side of things myself.

by on (#34951)
I'm just adding the finishing touches to my scrolling engine. There are some complications that have arisen when scrolling diagonally though. It has been designed to work in pretty much any game that scrolls any direction at x<=8 pixels a frame. I plan to use it in all of the games I make.

You can call on routines that will scroll in whatever direction, and if you want, after you scroll you can call on a routine that will check if the screen needs to be updated. If the routine confirms that an update is necessary, then updating will commence at the beginning of the next NMI. It simply copies an array from RAM onto the name tables in the section that needs to be updated. It's up to the level-decoding engine to get tiles into those arrays when necessary.

It also allows the user to input an array of attribute values in an understandable manner, and there's a routine that arranges that data into data that can be stored directly into the PPU, so the user won't have to worry about trying to work with attribute borders and updating parts of attributes and the complications that come with that; the scrolling engine takes care of it.

I'm currently fixing the problems that come with scrolling diagonally (which are somewhat small), but scrolling in all 4 other directions is completely functional. I've put this routine into an RPG map engine as well as a platformer engine. The RPG map has absolutely no problem with it, but the platformer engine just has some problems with diagonal scrolling. So I'm sure once I fix those, it would be possible to just drag/drop this routine into another game.

EDIT: This is for vertical mirroring only though. I guess that's kind of important =).

by on (#34955)
Warning: more bluntness than usual

stalepie wrote:
You guys should just disband and not bother hosting NesDev anymore. There isn't really any point in trying to reverse-engineer the NES and Super Mario Bros. You ought to use your knowledge for something. All of this data about how the NES works amounts to nothing if it isn't put into use. "The proof is in the pudding."

And you should go to a forum you aren't ignorant of. People work with the NES for many reasons besides making games. In no particular order:
- Improve 6502 coding skills
- Learn about reverse-engineering
- Improve skill at applying the scientific method
- Learn about writing emulators, which aren't limited to game consoles
- Improve emulation of NES games
- Further effort to document and preserve the NES operation

Quote:
Why not form a team?

Here's where I get critical of other members... Why? Because people who come here are very individualistic and do not want to sacrifice their ways of doing things in order to work together on a larger project. Lots of this is hobby work whose specific nature varies based on the mood of the hobbyist; a project could become dormant at a moment's notice. And I don't think anyone here has the skills to write a complete game of the calibre you talk about. It's partly like open-source, where software only has features that "scratch the itch" of the developer, but also there are overlooked aspects of games that I don't think anywhere has the skills to do. It's like some of Apple's more lucrative products, which have lots of subtle work in the user-interface which knock-off companies cannot duplicate, because they don't even realize it matters.

Since you want to get serious, here's my serious prediction: even if you get a team together, you will not come up with an end result. I'd love to see a real team project be completed, but I just don't see the dedication and planning on this board. It may sound like I hope people fail, but that's not the case; I want people to simply be realistic, so that they don't waste time with grandiose plans when they could have been working on a smaller project that would actually succeed, and pave the way for a larger one afterwards. Not that I know everyone's skills, just what things seem to be from my viewpoint.

by on (#34958)
Another reason why I think making a fun game to play for the NES would be beneficial to the community is that the source code would be commented and freely released and explained and the development would also require this. What a great learning tool! Seriously, I can think of no better way. Doing graphic tests here and there and starting a solid platforming engine like Bill World is one thing, but imagine a complete game that is similar to many of the greats that are what made the NES such a memorable and beloved system! Games like Ninja Gaiden, Mario, okay so we won't be able to touch the genius of Mario, but nonetheless I think a total game, one that has a title screen, 7 or 8 levels, music, bosses, an ending... this would show everyone what all this knowledge at NesDev has amounted to!

Who cares if we fail?

This will be a great learning project. It will force people here to put their knowledge and skills to the test. Plus it will be COOL!!! Unlike most other things in every other dev community.

We could be the first to come up with an original game that rivals the likes of Mega Man 9. Or we could fail and just make some crappy half-level of an action game that doesn't even have a boss or sound effects and freezes if you press up on the directional pad at the wrong time. And only works in 2 out of the 79435 emulators available.

I mean, we could always try writing that 79436th emulator, right? I mean that would be a lot of fun. Right?

I say we make a new game. It's been like 19 or 20 years since the NES was in its heyday. I know Chris Covell made a whole game and some others, but as far as I know there hasn't really been a completely awesome game. It will take a long time. No one will get paid. The odds are against us. Hell, even most members here are against us. :P

However... I say again: it will be a great learning tool. The knowledge can be combined with the Wiki and nesdev.parodius. I mean, if it's a success. When someone here asks "how do I get my game to scroll without repeating the background over and over" or "how do I put a digitized graphic into an NES game," they could point to a section of The Game that's been made and show not only how to just do that one little part, but how that piece of code relates with the whole program.

People will learn better with a project like this in the works.

OK, i'm going to get back to reading some books now. I got out The Golden Bough, Strange Wine, A Treasury of Jewish Folklore, 6502 Assembly Language Programmed by Leventhal, The Illiad (robert fables transl), Greek Mythology by Paul Hamlyn, Dreams by Carl Jung, and a collection of Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales to serve as inspirationan and idea-springers. Maybe I can cobble together the beginnings of a story synopsis or somethin' tonight. Who knows. I'll probably fail. Nobody's ever successfully written a story on the internet before! :p

by on (#34959)
I mean, I don't care if I'm like Ed Wood in that Tim Burton movie. Even if we only end up making a z-grade game, I'll still be really happy with it. But I don't plan on making a z-grade game!

So anyone out there -- even if you're reading this months from now -- hit me up on email or visit my site. I don't want to be a nuisance to these people here, at this forum.

by on (#34960)
Quote:
Hell, even most members here are against us. :P

I think they're against unrealistic attitudes and uncritical thinking. I'm sure you can find plenty of enthusiastic proposals like yours that fizzle out once it's realized the work involved in meeting them. The developers of good NES games were talented and had plenty of education in game design and implementation. I think this fact is discounted or ignored too often.

EDIT: quoted smiley properly

by on (#34964)
Hey, blargg, you forgot to quote the smiley-face at the end of that sentence.