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Introduction and NES/Film/Music project propsal (paid work)

Introduction and NES/Film/Music project propsal (paid work)
by on (#84447)
Hi my name is James,

I really hope this is the right place to post this, and if not Mods, please feel free to move :)

I'll just introduce myself quickly as i'm new to the forums, and i've come here with a couple of purposes. Firstly, i want to learn about development for the NES. I'm 30 now, and i've been playing games since my first machine, which was a Donkey Kong Game and Watch, back in 1984. My first NES came along in 1988 and i've been addicted ever since. I'm no programmer, but being both a musician (production and performance) and artist (freelance illustrator and graphic designer, currently embarking on a Masters Degree in the latter) i'm incredibly interested in these aspects of production for the NES. What facinates me most is actively working within both strengths and limitations of the machine, and of course the thrill of delving deep into the heart of something that helped shaped the course of my life.

The second reason i'm here is because i'm currently looking into hiring a programmer to work on a NES based project.

As i mentioned, i'm a musician. I play in a band called The Wailingest Cats: http://www.facebook.com/thewailingestcats?sk=info

Currently we're working on ambitious multimedia concept.

The central focus of this project is a film that we are producing.

We have also written and are currently in the process of recording the film's soundtrack.

The idea behind this is the integration of music and cinema. The story of the film is split into several different acts; each act is represented by a different piece of music.

This is where the video game side of things comes in.

Part of what i wish to explore as an artist is the notion of how a property such as a film is then disseminated into various different medium.

Essentially, i wish to create a video game version of the film.

I don't want to talk too much about the concept of the film on a public forum as it is still in development, but rest assured, it is very cool and would work exceptionally well in the context of a game.

This is where i need a programmer. Art direction, script/story, and music will all be handled by myself and my writer. What i need is someone who is able to code NES games and would be able to competently and coherently pull my ideas together.

This is a very serious project. The NES game will form part of a much larger conceptual body of artwork. It will be funded, and since i am essentially looking to outsource the programming, you will be paid for your work fairly and as the project progresses.

What i am looking for is interested and competent programmers and also recommendations from the community as to who might be a good fit for this kind of job.

I know i'm new here, so i hope i've gone the right way about this, and i'd really appreciate the help of the community in finding the right person for this project.

I'm happy to discuss it further here, but bear in mind much of the artistic and aesthetic direction of the film is still under wraps. Anything else is cool though.

If anyone wishes to get me on email to discuss further, just give me a shout: graphicblandishment@gmail.com.

Cheers guys, and nice to meet you all :)

by on (#84448)
Why don't you make and post some mockup screenshots to illustrate what you'd want from the game? Even crude stick figures will do.

by on (#84449)
There has already been several people with a post count of 1 to propose a "very serious paid project" and that never make a second post, this guy is probably just one more of those.

by on (#84450)
Hey! Thanks for your response.

As for what i'd want from the game; i guess this would depend slightly on the programmer and what genre he felt comfortable working with.

What i am most concerned about is that the game is fun, relatively simple in concept and well put together and flows well.

The nature of the film's story is that it encompasses a journey and a chase between two protagonists. This journey progresses deeper and deeper through variously themed levels of hell. It is not necessarily a traditional view of hell, but an underworld, another place. Think David Lynch, David Chronenberg, John Carpenter.

The tone is dark and surreal, but certainly not without black comedy.

I envisage some kind of story driven game, with elements of action and puzzle solving.

For these reasons i feel like a traditional point-and-click could work well; think Maniac Mansion.

Maybe a platform RPG such as Wonderboy In Mosterland.

Perhaps even better, something like Sweet Home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhRBXLn5lis.

Possibly a traditional Final Fantasy type RPG, albeit on a smaller scale.

I guess part of the reason i have come here is also definitely to seek help from you guys on matters like this. For example;

What would you say are practical genres to work within?
What is a realistic goal in terms of gameplay?

etc

I'm aware that creating a game like this is an ambitious project and i want to work with the limitations of the system and the development scene as opposed to imaging something so grandiose it wouldn't be possible, if that makes sense!

by on (#84451)
Sendo wrote:
I'm aware that creating a game like this is an ambitious project and i want to work with the limitations of the system and the development scene as opposed to imaging something so grandiose it wouldn't be possible, if that makes sense!

Here's a guide to the impact of NES limitations on some genres, along with an old discussion about the complexity possible in a freeware project by a single hobbyist with a day job.

by on (#84452)
Bregalad wrote:
There has already been several people with a post count of 1 to propose a "very serious paid project" and that never make a second post, this guy is probably just one more of those.


Hi. I understand that you guys have probably seen plenty of people like that. I staff a forum myself and i am more than used to time-wasters.

I didn't want to put too much in the first paragraph, but i can only try and tell you a little bit more about myself and my work. Hopefully you'll be able to understand a little more about me and what i've done over the years in music, art and also videogames. I am well known and trusted by the communities i am involved in, and i contribute heavily in all cases.

Bit of a long post coming up, sorry about that.

As mentioned, i'm 30 years old. I'm not a young guy with loads of illformed ideas and deluded ideas of how things might work. I'm fully aware of how ambitious a project like this and hopefully so far you can see i've treated it with the respect it deserves.

As i also mentioned i am going to be studying for an MA in Graphic Design at Camberwell College Of Arts in about a weeks time. This is one of the worlds foremost design colleges. I have been working on my research project for the past 8 months or so. The NES project i am proposing here is a larger part of this research project. Which also includes the film itself, the music and various other collaborations in the world of music art and contemporary dance to name a few.

Furthermore i am a professional freelance graphic designer and illustrator. My new website is under work, so my portfolio hasn't been updated for a while but if you'd like to check it out much of my older work (including a lot of video game related stuff) can be found here: http://www.graphicblandishment.com/ If you're interested in my more recent work in things like character concept art, record artwork etc i'll happily post up some new stuff.

Musically, i run a record label: http://www.facebook.com/Decorumrecords
And have been in countless bands over the years. I've already linked you to my main one (The Wailingest Cats), but some other older ones if you're interested: http://www.myspace.com/anaxe http://www.myspace.com/capuchinorkitano http://www.myspace.com/justicehchrist I have worked within the DIY scene promoting shows and independent music for years.

I also staff the forums over at Neo Empire: www.neoempire.com as well as helping to plan and run the UK's largest fighting game tournament, Super Vs Battle: www.supervsbattle.com. I'm Sendo over there too, so come and say hello :)

This is just a bit of what i do, but hopefully you can see that when it comes to working with individuals and within communities i am most definitely not a time waster. This project has the potential to be enormously exciting, i am offering someone the potential to earn some money doing what they love, and i really appreciate any help you guys can give me with it.

by on (#84453)
tepples wrote:
Sendo wrote:
I'm aware that creating a game like this is an ambitious project and i want to work with the limitations of the system and the development scene as opposed to imaging something so grandiose it wouldn't be possible, if that makes sense!

Here's a guide to the impact of NES limitations on some genres, along with an old discussion about the complexity possible in a freeware project by a single hobbyist with a day job.


Brilliant. Thanks for this, will give these a read now. Very much appreciated :)

by on (#84455)
OK now that you made more post I guess I can trust you without a problem.
This kinds of projects are interesting, however it's so bad to have to collaborate with someone on the net strictly without ever knowing him in real life. I wish I'd be part of a band or something in real life that make games so I could program games and other people would design them however things didn't go as well as I'd liked them to do.

So yeah this project might be a little interesting, however I haven't done much nesdev lately so I don't know if I could start such another big project. Although if other people do the hard work and I just have to program what I'm supposed to program it might make things much easier than doing an entiere game.

A point and click game should be especially simple to code, although I haven't tried to actually code one so I can't really know but it sounds one of the easier genres to implement.

by on (#84456)
tepples wrote:
Sendo wrote:
I'm aware that creating a game like this is an ambitious project and i want to work with the limitations of the system and the development scene as opposed to imaging something so grandiose it wouldn't be possible, if that makes sense!

Here's a guide to the impact of NES limitations on some genres, along with an old discussion about the complexity possible in a freeware project by a single hobbyist with a day job.


Thanks again for this man. I read through the limitations. It sounds like my genre suggestions might be feasible?

I'm also working through the other thread, it's a bit more to read but what i've been interested in is the amount of people who have suggested that making a game is a lot easier if you have someone to do all the music and art for you. Just so you guys know, this is exactly what i'm offering. All i need is a programmer, just as i would hire a session a musician to play on a record.

Bregalad wrote:
OK now that you made more post I guess I can trust you without a problem.
This kinds of projects are interesting, however it's so bad to have to collaborate with someone on the net strictly without ever knowing him in real life. I wish I'd be part of a band or something in real life that make games so I could program games and other people would design them however things didn't go as well as I'd liked them to do.

So yeah this project might be a little interesting, however I haven't done much nesdev lately so I don't know if I could start such another big project. Although if other people do the hard work and I just have to program what I'm supposed to program it might make things much easier than doing an entiere game.

A point and click game should be especially simple to code, although I haven't tried to actually code one so I can't really know but it sounds one of the easier genres to implement.


Hey again man, glad i could help show you that this is a serious proposal :)

I agree with your concerns about location. I hear so many stories about games i was looking forward to seeing being cancelled because a member of the team in another country went AWOL and took their work with them.

For this reason, being UK based in an ideal world, i would imagine it would work best to do work with a UK programmer.
Are there any UK guys that you guys could recommend me of the top of your heads that you feel might be interested?

Having said that, as i've already mentioned i am also prepared to work with the the scene functions. And i realise that finding a UK programmer might be a tall order.

I understand that you're based in Switzerland Bregalad, if this project interests you i'd definitely be interested to see your work. Do you have anything on the net, YouTube maybe, that is viewable?

I'm glad to hear you think something like point-and-click sounds simple. What did you think to the other genre suggestions?

by on (#84458)
I currently don't have any videos of my current game project on Youtube, but adding one is a good idea, although I don't want to reveal too much about the game, but again I haven't progressed on it for a year or so and this sucks.

Quote:
I'm also working through the other thread, it's a bit more to read but what i've been interested in is the amount of people who have suggested that making a game is a lot easier if you have someone to do all the music and art for you.

Well it depends, while I'm not expert I like to compose music once in a while even if sometimes they end up sucking, sometimes it turns out ok. Graphics aren't easy but I was able to pull out some decent ones by looking carefully at existing games and note a few tricks.

The really hard part to do is the AI for me, in a game where you should make enemies move in real time this is quite hard to implement, especially if you want them to do something original.

If the game is a point or click game or an RPG this problem does not arise, althoguh other problems I haven't encountered will probably arise as well.

Really the reason I haven't advanced on my project for a so long time is that nobody forced me to. If there was someone to actually force me to continue working on it I'd do it, so if I do a project for someone maybe it could end up help me for my own project and make me known as a good programmer...

Is it planned to put the game on a real cart or to distribute it as a ROM ?

by on (#84459)
Sendo wrote:
I envisage some kind of story driven game, with elements of action and puzzle solving.

For these reasons i feel like a traditional point-and-click could work well; think Maniac Mansion.

Maybe a platform RPG such as Wonderboy In Mosterland.

Perhaps even better, something like Sweet Home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhRBXLn5lis.

Possibly a traditional Final Fantasy type RPG, albeit on a smaller scale.

You should give this more thought. Since you didn't even decide the kind of game you want to make, you'll still need a long time to actually design the game before any development can begin.

Quote:
What would you say are practical genres to work within?
What is a realistic goal in terms of gameplay?

There are many talented programmers here, and I really think that the lack of free time is the most limiting factor for most of them. Making a big game (as opposed to single screen puzzle games, which is the most common type of NES homebrew) requires a level of commitment that few people are able to give. The technical knowledge is here, it's the time/motivation we lack.

by on (#84460)
tokumaru wrote:
You should give this more thought. Since you didn't even decide the kind of game you want to make, you'll still need a long time to actually design the game before any development can begin.


Thanks for you response man. I've actually given it a lot of thought, like i said i've been working on the ideas for this project for 8 months. I have many, many ideas. I have a basic structure in place for the progression of the game, level design ideas, themes, etc.

And, as i mentioned these are the genres i believe would work well with the subject matter. I could decide on exactly the kind of game i want to make right now now if i was asked to...

But surely that would force a situation where i'm asking a programmer to fit himself into a box i've created? In an already difficult situation, surely it's best to leave something like this more open ended at this stage to increase the likelihood of finding the right programmer? If there's one out there who could say: "Hey i saw your idea, sorry i can't do RPG or point-and-click, but i've got experience doing platform stuff, and some great ideas that would work with yours; we could go with that if you're happy"?

I don't want to then say: "No, sorry. I've already decided on what game i want to make".

See what i mean?

Or is that the wrong approach? I could happily do all the art and design the game myself in advance. Is that when it's better to approach a programmer? If that's the case then cool i see where you're coming from.

My only worry is that I guess i thought it would be better to work together from the ground up?

Would really appreciate feedback on that. This is why i'm here :)

Quote:
There are many talented programmers here, and I really think that the lack of free time is the most limiting factor for most of them. Making a big game (as opposed to single screen puzzle games, which is the most common type of NES homebrew) requires a level of commitment that few people are able to give. The technical knowledge is here, it's the time/motivation we lack.


I truly understand. I'm asked to collaborate in music and art projects all the time, and often i simply have to say no. Unless it's a really really interesting proposal (which i believe this is) and/or i'm offered enough money to make the project worthwhile. This is obviously a huge part of why i'm offering to pay fairly for work undertaken.

I'm hoping the person i work with would see this is a combination of the two; an exciting project that he wants to work with, and one where the financial recompense is a great part of the proposal as it justifies time spent.

I know it's hard to persuade people of the value of a project. I'm keen to do just that. I'd honestly be very surprised if there wasn't someone out there who would love to do it.

I really appreciate where your coming from. I hope you see my side too.

by on (#84462)
Bregalad wrote:
I currently don't have any videos of my current game project on Youtube, but adding one is a good idea, although I don't want to reveal too much about the game, but again I haven't progressed on it for a year or so and this sucks.

Quote:
I'm also working through the other thread, it's a bit more to read but what i've been interested in is the amount of people who have suggested that making a game is a lot easier if you have someone to do all the music and art for you.

Well it depends, while I'm not expert I like to compose music once in a while even if sometimes they end up sucking, sometimes it turns out ok. Graphics aren't easy but I was able to pull out some decent ones by looking carefully at existing games and note a few tricks.

The really hard part to do is the AI for me, in a game where you should make enemies move in real time this is quite hard to implement, especially if you want them to do something original.

If the game is a point or click game or an RPG this problem does not arise, althoguh other problems I haven't encountered will probably arise as well.

Really the reason I haven't advanced on my project for a so long time is that nobody forced me to. If there was someone to actually force me to continue working on it I'd do it, so if I do a project for someone maybe it could end up help me for my own project and make me known as a good programmer...

Is it planned to put the game on a real cart or to distribute it as a ROM ?


Hey man. The plan is absolutely to put it on cart. There's a very specific reason for this which relates to the artistic goals of the project.

What you said about AI etc is exactly why i figured point-and-click or RPG would work well in terms of programming. It just happens to work well that the game i want to make is story based, due to the nature of the source material.

I understand your difficulties with motivation, believe me! It's always hard, but as your portfolio of work increases the easier it gets. Really appreciate your feedback so far man.
Re: Introduction and NES/Film/Music project propsal (paid wo
by on (#84466)
Well, here's my three fiddy.

Sendo wrote:
This is where i need a programmer. Art direction, script/story, and music will all be handled by myself and my writer. What i need is someone who is able to code NES games and would be able to competently and coherently pull my ideas together.

By art direction you mean making the actual pixel art? You have to remember there are a lot of limitations when it comes to making NES graphics (and moreover, designing the graphics so that they can actually be used in a game), some of the limitations are discussed here. It'll take some time to learn those limitations and to learn to work with them.

Quote:
What would you say are practical genres to work within?
What is a realistic goal in terms of gameplay?

Personally I don't think the genre really matters much if the programmer knows what he's doing. That is, of course, given that you can find a skilled programmer. Both of the questions also depend on how well the game is designed and how much additional design work the programmer has to do.

By design I mean every little detail about how the game should function. Something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_design_document

tokumaru wrote:
You should give this more thought. Since you didn't even decide the kind of game you want to make, you'll still need a long time to actually design the game before any development can begin.

Was my first thought as well. At the moment it's hard to tell what parts of the process the programmers job would cover exactly. There are a lot of other unknowns as well (about the pay etc), but that's understandable.

That said...

Sendo wrote:
My only worry is that I guess i thought it would be better to work together from the ground up?

I agree with this, you will need feedback from the programmer to know what can and cannot be done, and the programmer will need feedback from somebody else to know if what he has been doing is what you want. :) There's no way you'll just be able to hand over the completed graphics, music and a design document and expect anything good to come out, communication is key.

Anyway, count me in as interested.
Re: Introduction and NES/Film/Music project propsal (paid wo
by on (#84474)
thefox wrote:
Well, here's my three fiddy.

By art direction you mean making the actual pixel art? You have to remember there are a lot of limitations when it comes to making NES graphics (and moreover, designing the graphics so that they can actually be used in a game), some of the limitations are discussed here. It'll take some time to learn those limitations and to learn to work with them.


Thanks for your response. Yeah, the limitations of NES graphics are what i'm excited about working with. If you check out my artwork for example (linked above) you'll see that much of it hinges on limitation. I only ever use block colours, and generally tend to limit myself to 3 or 4. I'm more than happy to learn and work with what the NES is capable of.

I relish a sense of limitation in everything i do. When producing music i always work with 8 microphones on a drum kit for example, instead of throwing 2 or 3 up on each drum. I like to limit the amount of tracks i use in the DAW, limit the inserts i use etc etc.

I find that these limitations create a tighter framework within which to work, which the decision process then hinges on. When you've got a stricter set of rules within which to operate this process becomes a lot clearer and more efficient than when you have infinite options.

Sorry for the long post, but honestly what you described is what excites me about making graphics for the NES. And thanks for the link man, it makes a good read. I'm definitely going to need a bit of help understanding how all this pertains to the NES specifically.

Quote:
Personally I don't think the genre really matters much if the programmer knows what he's doing. That is, of course, given that you can find a skilled programmer. Both of the questions also depend on how well the game is designed and how much additional design work the programmer has to do.

By design I mean every little detail about how the game should function. Something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_design_document


Again, great link, thanks. It seems that even without knowing the specifics of genre i can start to pull my written ideas into a draft plan format, and that this should be my first step.

tokumaru wrote:
You should give this more thought. Since you didn't even decide the kind of game you want to make, you'll still need a long time to actually design the game before any development can begin.


Quote:
Was my first thought as well. At the moment it's hard to tell what parts of the process the programmers job would cover exactly. There are a lot of other unknowns as well (about the pay etc), but that's understandable.


You answered this really well below. In a programmer i'm looking for someone who can pull my graphics, music, level (and overall game) design into a coherent package. But yes, this role would also be one that would rely on mutual feedback.

I guess until the specifics of the game are clear and thoroughly ironed out this will be a little bit fuzzy. In that sense i suppose this would also be a part of the role: someone who is capable of helping hone the idea in that initial stage into something he is able to work with.

Quote:
That said...

Sendo wrote:
My only worry is that I guess i thought it would be better to work together from the ground up?

I agree with this, you will need feedback from the programmer to know what can and cannot be done, and the programmer will need feedback from somebody else to know if what he has been doing is what you want. :) There's no way you'll just be able to hand over the completed graphics, music and a design document and expect anything good to come out, communication is key.


As above, this is very much what i'd be looking for in a relationship with the programmer.

Quote:
Anyway, count me in as interested.


That's great that you're interested. Do you have any stuff that you've worked on before that i could check out? Is there anything more i can tell you? Or anything more i can do specifically to help explain what i'm looking for?

If for example you did want to get involved, how would you approach the project in terms of what you would ask of me in the initial stages?

Thanks again for your post man.
Re: Introduction and NES/Film/Music project propsal (paid wo
by on (#84477)
Sendo wrote:
That's great that you're interested. Do you have any stuff that you've worked on before that i could check out?

I replied to you by e-mail.

by on (#84484)
Awesome thanks man. I'll get back to you as soon as i can, tomorrow is a bit tricky, but in the evening or Friday night most likely :)

Quick question to you guys...if i have some really noobish questions about working with graphics, and possibly music is it best to ask in the relevant forums or should i stick to the Newbie Help Centre?

I just have to say this site is amazing, i've already begun to understand a lot by going through old threads. So much great information.

by on (#84553)
Hello Sendo!

First of all, I would like to say that I do have interest in the project, but I question whether or not I would be able to commit to it adequately. You know, just with school, work, other stuff, etc. It can become a little too much to handle sometimes (without creating a mediocre/sloppy/rushed product).

But I will say one thing in particular I would be interested in is the art aspect. I consider myself to be a pretty good pixel artist and artist in general. I would be way more motivated to contribute in this regard than programming, but I don't know if that's just me or if that's how everyone feels, haha.

I am also working on my own project, which is a shooter/platformer. It's actually playable now. I was hoping to get a demo up for the community in the somewhat near future, I just have to design the other half of the demo level and expand on what I have a little bit. If you want to see what it looks like you can message me.

In terms of questions about graphics and how stuff works, I would recommend putting it in the Newbie Help Center, just to keep the boards a little more organized. Though you will see threads that are like 20 pages long in the Newbie Help Center due to people asking question after question after question, please don't follow these examples. It's best to split up the questions between separate threads.

by on (#84615)
Hey, thanks a lot for your response, sorry i was a bit slow in replying, my computer is temporarily dead (at least i hope it's temporary!).

Awesome that you're interested man, there's actually a few guys who have contacted me now and it seems like the best bet is for me to bring a design brief together which explains more about what i want to do so you guys can have a better understanding of my goals for the game, and then hopefully someone will be up for taking up the project.

Totally understand your issue with commitment. Although it's worth bearing in mind that since this project is going to be connected to my MA work, it will have a two year deadline, i'm hoping that should be enough time for a project of this type?

Regarding graphics, this part i'm actually hoping to largely take on myself, although having said that i'm in no way against a degree of collaboration in this department, so will certainly keep you posted on that if it's something you're interested in :) It's also an area that i'm going to need some help in developing my skills, so i'd love to pick your brains at some point over some ideas and techniques too. Did you draw the image in your avatar? It looks fantastic!

Your project sounds cool, would definitely love to see what you've come up with, especially how you've handled the art etc. When i''m back up and running on my own computer again i'll definitely drop you a message!

Thanks for your advice about my questions, again, when i'm back on my own machine i'll start a couple of threads in the newbie help centre.

Cheers man!
Re: Introduction and NES/Film/Music project propsal (paid wo
by on (#84616)
thefox wrote:
Sendo wrote:
That's great that you're interested. Do you have any stuff that you've worked on before that i could check out?

I replied to you by e-mail.


Hey man, also just wanted to add that i got your mail, thanks a lot, will get back to you properly as soon as i get back on my own computer :)

by on (#87413)
Hello guys, just wanted to let you know that i've still been working hard on this idea.

I'm just about to finish the first semester of my Masters Degree, so far the work i've been doing has been invaluable towards understanding how i want to go about designing aspects of this game and how i want to implement my ideas. I have a basic idea together and i've also been working on some short film sketches that explore some of the themes (noir, body horror, bio technology, dance, abstract narrative, working within limitation etc) i wish to employ in the game. If anyone is interested in those you can check them out here:

http://vimeo.com/33264729
http://vimeo.com/31410070
http://vimeo.com/32550028

Anyway, after receiving some much appreciated advice from Shiro a while back, i've decided that the best way forward for the project is probably if i go ahead and create much of the art and lay out the design brief before any programming begins. I'm in a position financially and time wise to do that now, so i'll be asking a few questions over in the Newbie Help Centre, and i really hope you guys might be able to help me out :D

by on (#87461)
I'd also consider going as far as making your own prototype game. Use Game Maker or Construct for the PC. These programs drastically lower the bar for multimedia and game programming. Who knows, you might choose to just use your prototype!

by on (#87462)
That's an interesting idea. I definitely want to have a fully functioning NES cart by the end of the project, but a prototype which illustrates the nature and flow of the game might be a very good idea, thanks!

by on (#87463)
The first thing: Two of the vimeo links link to the same thing.
The second thing: Have you seen or played this game?

It seems to be very similar to what you want to do, especially in terms of atmosphere. IS it?

The third thing: If it is, why oh why oh why does this need to be on NES?

I'm a guy who can program for things that aren't NES, and is currently making a project for NES that is more complex than most NES games go. (Making an 8way scrolling platformer with slopes+two players simultaneous co-op) And as that guy, I really, really want to know. I realize a lot of people have subtly tried to talk you out of this before, but I have to try as well.

To be honest: With my current project (one that I am in complete control of and answer to no one) I feel like I am wasting my time with NES. I've been on the game for like two years and I keep having to optimize things so that it doesn't drop frames because NES is slow.

In a WEEK I could get done what I have done for NES on anything modern. And it'd be better and never drop frames. In fact, the only reason I'm STILL DOING IT for NES is that I've started at got this far... may as well keep going. Starting a new complicated project? I'll go for PC, thanks.

For more perspective: I'm probably totally capable of doing what you have in mind for NES. (If it's like Limbo without slopes, I might even call it easy) But... Limbo's atmosphere can't really be created on NES. Throughout the entire project, I'd question why we weren't working with something that could really bring it home.

I understand your want for a game, I really do. But NES?

If it's a nostalgia thing, I get it. But then, you could hire out an easy NES game to say you did it.

Because sticking with NES makes things intentionally difficult for your programmers. You making NES music, and NES graphics is fine. In fact, I could take those things and make a retraux game (think Megaman 9 or 10) in no time at all.
(I write a lot, and people skim. So I'm making the following text larger because it is important)

Here's another way to think about it. Whether you make a retraux game (Megaman 9 or 10), or an actual NES game you are doing the same amount of work, correct? All the graphics and music will be the same either way. But when the switch is made from retraux to NES and you are the programmer for the project, the workload SKYROCKETS!

If it were me, you'd probably end up paying me at least 8 times as much for this on NES than if I made it for... PC, or whatever else.

Edit: Oh yeah, and prototyping is a very good idea.

by on (#87464)
Wow, thanks for the response man, that's a great post. I have lots of answers to your questions, but i'm literally just about to jump in the shower, will get back to you as soon as i get out!

Thanks for the heads up on the link, it was supposed to be this: http://vimeo.com/31410070

Edited the original post too.

But, yeah, thanks again man, really appreciate the feedback. I'll get back at you ASAP. (Limbo looks great by the way!)

by on (#87469)
Hey man i'm back.

Ok, i'll explain the project that i'm working on in a bit more detail. I certainly see where you're coming from but there's several very important reasons why i want to make a game for the NES.

Firstly it's not just about wanting to make a game for the sake of making a game. This is important. The NES game that i want to make is a smaller part of larger project that studies the dissemination of media within a specific era, that being the late 80's early 90's.

So the idea is to make a film, and to create a game of the film that functions and represents within the limitations (both physically and aesthetically) of that time period. It has to be historically accurate in every way (or at least as far as is physically possible).

The integrity of this is massively important and it's for that reason that i can't make it for PC for example.

It's for the same reason that the film i'm making (the digitally shot links above are merely aesthetic sketches) is being shot on 8 or 16mm film. Of course i could shoot it on digital, saving a lot of time and expense, but that would completely defeat the object of the project.

In preparing for this i looked into the possibility of making a game for Master System, Megadrive, SNES and NEO GEO since these consoles also fit in terms of what i'm looking to achieve. However, it was suggested to me that NES was the way to go out of the five. This was coupled with the fact that the NES holds a particular resonance with me as it was the first real console i had as a kid back in 1989.

So yeah, essentially, it's a lot more than just a project to make a fun game. It is part of a much larger artwork. The content is crucial, of course, but what is equally crucial is the integrity of the physical aesthetic as this is the vehicle for the message i wish to explore and a huge part of how i want people to engage with this aspect of the project. I want people to be able to see something that is indistinguishable from the past, to evoke memory, for them to open the box, take out the cartridge, put it in the machine and experience whatever it has to offer.

The box, the case, the manual, the cartridge, the physical interaction. All of these things are as important as the game itself.

(This is also why the film is only being duplicated on VHS and film)

In the same way, it's the reason why i actively want to work with and within the limitations of the console. I'm not concerned with making a complicated game and trying to push the NES beyond what has previously been capable; i want to look at the architecture of the system with a programmer, i want us to study my design brief and say, right, what's the most effective way of achieving the expression of this idea, bearing in mind what we have to work with. In exactly the same way as people did back in the day, condensing a much larger and more complex piece of work into something simple and effective. This is artistry that i really respect and i think it has a really unique beauty.

I hope that all makes sense!? Would love to hear your thoughts. You guys have been really helpful so far, so i appreciate everything you have to say :D

by on (#87475)
Most games based on film licences sucked in the '80s and '90s (and that's probably still the case today but I don't follow today's games).

So does this mean the game has to mimic film based games from the late 80s - early 90s and suck intentionally ?
Of course there was Batman which was okay but that's the only one that comes to mind.

by on (#87476)
Ooh! Ooh! Listing the few good movie-licensed games! This is fun!

There's always Gremlins 2, New Ghostbusters II, Little Mermaid, and Little Nemo.

by on (#87477)
Bregalad wrote:
Most games based on film licences sucked in the '80s and '90s (and that's probably still the case today but I don't follow today's games).

So does this mean the game has to mimic film based games from the late 80s - early 90s and suck intentionally ?
Of course there was Batman which was okay but that's the only one that comes to mind.


Haha, yeah...in a way, i do kind of want to explore that.

It's not so much that it has to suck, but i really like the aesthetic of how film games totally changed within the confines of the system, and sometimes you were just left saying WTF?

They were what they were, and that is important to this project. When i was a kid it didn't matter if a game sucked, i only had a few of them so i played it to death anyway. I remember one year we got Home Alone for the SNES. Christ that game was bad, but i had nothing else to play so i found ways to enjoy it, and i found fun in the suckiness. Sometimes i'd want to smash the cartridge, but i'd still go back for more!

I think this is something missing from modern games, particularly of late with the 360 and PS3. Expectations are insanely high, and in many ways the culture is quite throwaway. It takes a lot more effort on behalf of the developer to cause a gamer to really engage with a piece of software now. Average gamers are too quick to drop a difficult title, whereas back then i think there was more perseverance (even if the difficulty was abstract and frustrating), it was more hardcore in many ways.

I also like the way that film games often bent the film to suit the system. Just as almost all arcade ports where 'run and gun' or scrolling beat em up, NES games were often very action based, regardless of whether that fitted the vibe of the film. Batman was a great game, but i don't remember any point in the film where Batman walked along the street punching little robots that looked like wind up trains.

It's exactly this kind of irreverence i want to achieve. I'm not looking to re-create the film in the form of a game, i'm looking to use the NES to capture the meaning and expression of the film in the form of a game, but in a form that is inherently dictated by the style and aesthetic of the NES as a development and artistic platform, if that makes sense?!

by on (#87484)
Color palette will be the least of your worries; the NES can do four grays just fine.

As for "capture the meaning and expression of the film", that'll depend on what you consider "the meaning and expression of the film" to be.

by on (#87486)
tepples wrote:
Color palette will be the least of your worries; the NES can do four grays just fine.


Lol, well, it won't be strictly greyscale, but a lot of it will be film noir esque, with splashes of colour.

A bit like this kind of vibe - Image

I think it should make for quite a striking feel.

Quote:
As for "capture the meaning and expression of the film", that'll depend on what you consider "the meaning and expression of the film" to be.


Well, it will certainly be quite abstract and interpretive, and i'm hoping to bring that to the game. As if David Lynch had made an experimental NES game in 1989 :D

by on (#87488)
Same deal. Splashes of color is easier because you've got four palettes. If you'll use three colors (like blue, dark blue, and black) everywhere, then you have one extra color four times for the background.

Sprites have fewer colors, but I'm sure it will be no issue at all for your game.

Everything you've said really sounds like Limbo. Journey through hell, ambiguous ending. Very desaturated. A Limbo like thing is possible on the NES, but its atmosphere would likely be severely affected. But that doesn't seem to bother you. In fact it seems you may even allow the game to suck.

So, I'm out of reasons. I could do even do it, I'm just not sure I'd want to. I guess I understand your goals with this whole thing. You're a person that likes trouble. :wink:

If I see a prototype/good mockups I'll be less of a killjoy about this. Especially if I can just slightly modify the engines I've already got. Because, hey, I wouldn't mind being paid for this. But bleh. Like everyone else, I play the waiting game until I see something that has something to do with NES to get me excited about the project.

One last question: Is all this going to be released at once? (seems so, but I gotta ask)

Since the film could (maybe) possibly inspire game ideas if it could be seen first.

Edit: Oooh, another question.

For things like source code, what will you need? I imagine that source of the actual game, but that may or may not be useless to you. Say you have a falling out with a programmer who has a completely custom map format, and you never get the source or exe for his map editor?

by on (#87490)
Kasumi wrote:
Same deal. Splashes of color is easier because you've got four palettes. If you'll use three colors (like blue, dark blue, and black) everywhere, then you have one extra color four times for the background.

Sprites have fewer colors, but I'm sure it will be no issue at all for your game.


That's good to hear. Again, it's very much my goal to make the best of little. In my art and film work i only ever use a limited palette. Keeping things simple is often the most effective way, and it definitely suits my style.

Quote:
Everything you've said really sounds like Limbo. Journey through hell, ambiguous ending. Very desaturated. A Limbo like thing is possible on the NES, but its atmosphere would likely be severely affected. But that doesn't seem to bother you. In fact it seems you may even allow the game to suck.


Lol, well i definitely don't intend to allow it to suck! Yeah Limbo looks very cool indeed, i'll check out more of that for sure. I think an uneasy atmosphere can definitely be created on the NES, with the right narrative and visuals, the right scripting etc. I remember being scared just reading Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, or playing games like NES Robocop. When ED209 came on the screen i nearly shit my pants. Of course, todays gamers may not feel this way, but they're not exactly the target audience. Also, i should mention that part of the fun of this project will be presenting it as a game made in 1989, as opposed to a game that has just been developed. A lost game, so to speak. One of the enjoyable things about that is that people will be forced to look at the game in context, even if its an unknowingly fictional one.

Quote:
So, I'm out of reasons. I could do even do it, I'm just not sure I'd want to. I guess I understand your goals with this whole thing. You're a person that likes trouble. :wink:


Haha, well i can't deny that in some respects. I'm definitely looking to cause a bit of mischief with the way the viewer engages with the work, but in terms of creating the game, i really just want to do something a bit different.

Quote:
If I see a prototype/good mockups I'll be less of a killjoy about this. Especially if I can just slightly modify the engines I've already got. Because, hey, I wouldn't mind being paid for this. But bleh. Like everyone else, I play the waiting game until I see something that has something to do with NES to get me excited about the project.


I totally understand yours and everyone else's reservations about any project proposal like this. Everyone here has been a really good sport about it though, and i've had so much help already, not to mention a fair bit of interest in involvement, so i definitely realise it's up to me now. I'm not going to try and forcibly persuade anybody of my intentions; i realise that i need to pull this brief together, some design ideas, as well as some audio and visual work. I hope then people will see the potential to be excited about what i want to achieve.

Quote:
One last question: Is all this going to be released at once? (seems so, but I gotta ask)


Esssentially yes. The film and the game and a couple of other facets will be part of an exhibition in the summer of 2013 (and then hopefully many other exhibitions after that, i already have a great deal of interest from people in this) It's also a project that i intend to keep expanding. I have a LOT of ideas for this expansion, and i'm happy to take my time doing them. The deadline for the film and the game is essentially two years from now. I plan on spending much of this year working on more prototype sketches for the film, art and music etc and then the second year (late 2012 - late 2013) executing the final works.

Quote:
Since the film could (maybe) possibly inspire game ideas if it could be seen first.


Absolutely. The film won't need to be finished to do that. In many ways i want to actively work on them in parallel. Already, they've begun to inspire each other which is great. I have one moment planned in the film for example where a character performs an action. Over the last day or so i've realised that this will provide an excellent central mechanic for a game. In turn i decided to re-incorporate that mechanic in greater depth in the film.

Quote:
Edit: Oooh, another question.

For things like source code, what will you need? I imagine that source of the actual game, but that may or may not be useless to you. Say you have a falling out with a programmer who has a completely custom map format, and you never get the source or exe for his map editor?


This is my main worry. I'm not worried about falling out with a programmer, i'm a very easy person to work with. I am however worried about commitment. This is a serious project and it has a very real deadline. Commitment is crucial. This is why i want to bring money to the table in some capacity; so that the person working on the programming not only feels appreciated and is being compensated for their work, but also that it is a professional engagement. I'm very much looking to have a great working relationship with a programmer and good chemistry, but the bottom line is i'm hoping to hire someone to do a job and treat it professionally.

For these reasons i will be looking towards safeguarding the situation from the get-go so that should that person be unable to finish the work, it would be possible for another to continue the work. I imagine we would have to enter into a contract of some sort, but as of yet, being very noobish myself, i'm unsure of the best way to do this. I don't want to worry about this too much right now, i'm not eager to get all serious about things during a phase where i think it is important to be creative, i just want to make sure i'm aware of potential problems, and again this aspect of the process is something that nearer the time i'm hoping you guys will be able to help me with!