I’ve been pretty quiet about game dev for a while, but that doesn’t mean it was forgotten. Since I went to MAGFest this year, I’ve been kind of obsessed with the idea of making retro development easier. The people I met made me realize that a lot of people want to get started, but aren’t sure how. While there are a lot of good options out there already, I realized there just might be a space for a code-based starter kit.
So, I made one!
nes-starter-kit is an attempt to make NES homebrew more accessible. It is presented as an intentionally short zelda-esque NES game, combined with a guide to update/change/replace every part of it. (Click above to play the game!) All changes can be done in C – no lower-level coding is required.
* The game uses neslib and some custom extensions written in 6502 assembly, which should cover your needs without modification. If you want to tweak these or write some code in assembly, there is some guidance in the 5th section for this.
This is still very much a work-in-progress. The game is functional – it has collisions, enemies, and a way to win/lose. There are plenty of features that could be added, and I have a couple queued up, but I want to leave a lot up to creators. I do have some concerns about performance – I am preferring readability and easy editing over everything else. So far I haven’t run into any major issues, but I am worried other developers might. I am also not sure how useful it is with NESMaker on the horizon.
The guide is broken into 5 sections, and is about 25% complete. My current plan is to focus on this for a while, sneaking in some new code changes when I get tired of writing.
Anyway, everything’s available on github: click here!
Squishy the Turtle is on display in the Indie Arcade at MAGFest this year! Thanks to the wonderful people at Babycastles, it is being showcased on a Super Gameboy, in a cozy turtle tent! If you’re here, check it out!
Of course, this warranted giving the game a little extra love – I released a special MAGFest edition featuring a high score table for fastest completion times! It also features some minor graphical/movement fixes, as well as some level tweaks to be more fair. The new version is not available on the site yet! I plan to do that after the dust settles post-MAGFest.
Anyway, that’s it; I hope some folks get to play it and enjoy it!
Results just came out for Ludum Dare 40, and I did the best I’ve done so far. I won’t go into numbers here, but you can check them out on the Ludum Dare page if you’re interested. I’m quite happy with the game I created, and it’s definitely reassuring to see others scored it well.
I thought I’d post a postmortem before I forget anything more about it. I might try to do this more with game jams; will see how it goes. It’s a bit long and rambly, so click in if you’re interested.
I spent some more time with my Gameboy game builder (AKA classicgb) recently, and the results are surprisingly good. I spent some time adding scroll animations, as well as tweaking the collision physics a bit. There have also been a lot of more minor changes in the builder. The end result is that created games feel much more solid!
There is still plenty to do; the editor still isn’t all that user-friendly, and the map editor is sorely missing some convenience features, to name a few. I’ll likely continue experimenting with this in the near future.
Most of my posts on this site end up being about something I’ve built, but I think it’s time to try something new. I recently participated in Ludum Dare for the 3rd or 4th time, and I realized that I had played a lot of really impressive games. Game jams are a fun test of skill, where you challenge yourself to go from nothing to a functional (and more importantly fun) game in a very short period of time. Success relies on having a commanding knowledge of your tools, and usually a strong engine to build off of.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or energy to go through all of the games I’ve played, but I thought it might be nice to highlight some of the cool games made for older consoles such as the NES and Gameboy. Details and screenshot and more beyond the fold!
It’s been a little while since I posted an update, so here’s one! I participated in my third (successful) Ludum Dare this weekend, and created another NES game.
This one is a bit of a puzzle game- you’re a rabbit trapped in space, trying to find his way back to earth. It’s a quirky little game, but I think it came out pretty well.
There was a theme of “the more you have, the worse it is”, which led me to make gems that slow you down as you collect them. You have to get them all to exit, so plan your escape carefully.
On a more technical note, this is one of the first times I’ve successfully used ppu scrolling in a NES game. I managed to do that in the last 2 hours of the contest. The scrolling is a little quirky – the hud tears a little. I could have sorted it out, but ran out of time.
This past weekend I built another game for Ludum Dare. For those unfamiliar, Ludum Dare is a contest where you have 48 hours to build a game from scratch. The theme this time was “A Small World”. I targeted the NES using my C Boilerplate library for the NES. As usual, it is tested and works on real hardware.
It’s a top-down action game featuring a frog in world with missing pieces. Your goal: to collect the missing pieces and restore your world.
Those who follow me on social media or elsewhere may already know, however I recently released a brand new game for the NES. (Yes, the Nintendo Entertainment System from the 1980s) It is free to play online, and also an entrant into the 2016 NESDev Coding Competition.
It’s a typical sidescroller, with a very obvious nod to the game Eversion. (Which is fantastic, and worth trying if you’ve never played!) You play as a duck, who was tragically removed from his own timeline, and needs to find his way home.
If you like retro gaming at all, give it a try! Games in the competition will also (eventually) be available on a multicart, playable on a real NES, too! Source code will be on Github once I have a little time to document some of the messier stuff. I’m hoping this will be a helpful reference to future NES developers.
Having just finished, I’ve also taken some time to reflect on how the game went, so for those who want to know more, click the full post.
If you grew up with the Gameboy, you might have wanted to make games for it when you were a kid. Thanks to the power of the modern internet, this is now something you can really do!
ClassicGB is a simple game maker that allows you to use your own assets (or some readily available under Creative Commons) to design a simple top-down adventure game.
The games built will be very simple in nature, however full source code of games is available, so you can expand these yourself. This could be a great starting point for a personal project, or a Game Jam entry. (Make sure the rules of the jam allow for source code generators, though!)