Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Discussion of hardware and software development for Super NES and Super Famicom.

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Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Yes if selling, no if not selling
11
44%
Yes for both selling and not selling
2
8%
Depends
6
24%
No
3
12%
I don't know
1
4%
I don't care
2
8%
 
Total votes: 25

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Nikku4211
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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by Nikku4211 » Tue Nov 03, 2020 7:47 pm

strat wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 6:06 pm
From what I know about programming gaming consoles, GBA is probably the easiest - more tools to aid in asset creation, devkitPro abstracts away all the start-up code you'd have to write (though I made a simple text demo all in Arm from scratch) and it's basically a much more streamlined SNES with most features available in some equivalent form (except the priority-per-tile deal - you can only set priority for the whole BG) plus affine transformations available for sprites. It might be a good alternative for someone who wants to do SNES homebrew without 65816, unless the lower resolution and sample quality are deal breakers.
Actually, the SNES has LibSFX for all your startup abstraction needs.

Also, the GBA has no set sample quality, since any non-Game Boy sound is done completely in software by the CPU itself, so some engines are more optimised and can push higher quality sample rates than others.
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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by gauauu » Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:26 pm

I've said this before every time this conversation comes up. I've never made SNES homebrew, so take that with a grain of salt, but I HAVE made homebrew games for a variety of systems (Atari 2600, NES, GBA, NDS, Dreamcast), so I think I have a little bit of perspective. That said, I think a few things:

1. If this is purely about maximizing profit on a homebrew SNES game, then maybe I'd be worried about audience expectations. Otherwise just make what you want to make. Loads of early NES homebrew games were made, and even sold well, and were significantly worse-looking than what people expected the NES to do. In general, people want something interesting from a homebrew game (and there will always be some detractors that complain about it being too short or too ugly), but the majority of people aren't going to write you off just because the games during the system's prime were better than your games.

2. If it's about art, (I'm speaking out of some bit of ignorance as a non-artist,) I'm not sure it's harder to get good SNES art than good NES art. Looking at RPG maker and opengameart, there's LOADS of SNES style assets out there. Of course, maybe they just "look" SNES style and wouldn't actually work directly. But I refuse to believe that it's THAT hard to get good art for SNES. GBA has similar art style to the SNES, and people were able to find quality artists to work with during the heydey of GBA homebrew. (I speak from experience there)

3. While some aspects of SNES programming are more complicated than NES, I don't think it's about the system being that significantly challenging. NES and 2600 are a pain in the butt to code for also, in different ways. I _DO_ think that Pokun is right -- there's a lack of resources, tools, tutorials, and centralized community.
I've heard from several different people that a big thing preventing people from getting into SNESDev is the expectation that their games live up to the standards of officially licenced SNES games from the 1990s.
Is there really more than just Tepples that thinks this? I've never heard from anyone else that they feel like they're forced to live up to someone else's expectations for homebrew development. And I've never heard that mindset in any other console's homebrew scene, whether earlier or later than the SNES.

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by Oziphantom » Tue Nov 03, 2020 11:55 pm

What makes a SNES game a SNES game.

It run on a SNES console.

well yes but also no. What makes a SNES game is a game that had the more complex controls, features and graphics that the SNES afforded. So you aim for the lower end of the SNES, a launch title. well that is Super Mario world levels still. But ok aim lower, Bubsy.

I suppose probably is the SNES doesn't need homebrew, it has piles and piles games. The GBA also has piles of games, but it is the realms of C programming which makes it much easier to develop for. Dreamcast needs homebrew so you actually have something to play on it. And Saturn well nobody wants to put up with it ;)

If you tread the SNES as a single 32K code bank, you will be fine. But once you get into multiple banks, well, what is your K, what is you B that LDA XXXX does it write to where you think it does? Did you jsr to a rtl function? jsl to a rts? is your A/X/Y the right size? Yes you can avoid all of these things, by only using 8 bit everything or going with 8bit a, 16bit XY etc but until we had Mesen-S it was a real pain to track and debug these things.

Which leads us to the other side of the coin.

A great way to get ahead with SNES is, you need an engine to play with. So people hack games, this gives them an engine and they then modify within it, starting assets, animation systems etc. This is why SNES hacking is massive, while the dev is a small.

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by Señor Ventura » Wed Nov 04, 2020 3:45 am

Pokun wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 6:08 pm
Well what you call retro is a matter of opinion. I guess the SNES do have the typical 16-bit look, and it's definitely no Neo Geo which kind of symbolizes the peak of 2D game graphics.
I strongly disagree.

A snes game with 95 megs + sdd1 is another thing. Not an 100 hours rpg, but a 25 minutes game with all that content.

The cpu is not definitely the same, but mostly an fatal fury 3, garou motw, or even an samurai shodown or art of fighting with some concesions, are perfectly possible.

Top hunter, metal slug, fatal fury 3, last blade... All that kind of games are visually possible with a good playability.

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by Pokun » Wed Nov 04, 2020 5:06 am

Maybe it is. If we look at most released SNES games, I think it's a step bellow the peak of the 2D arcade era. Though, I also think that the SNES' potential is still comparable with peak 2D games, which was my original claim. It doesn't need HD for that. Modern games might be smoother, faster and have more graphical effects, but the SNES is not really that far behind. The PC-Engine and Mega Drive aren't much behind either, especially not with their CD hardware available.

gauauu wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:26 pm
2. If it's about art, (I'm speaking out of some bit of ignorance as a non-artist,) I'm not sure it's harder to get good SNES art than good NES art. Looking at RPG maker and opengameart, there's LOADS of SNES style assets out there. Of course, maybe they just "look" SNES style and wouldn't actually work directly. But I refuse to believe that it's THAT hard to get good art for SNES. GBA has similar art style to the SNES, and people were able to find quality artists to work with during the heydey of GBA homebrew. (I speak from experience there)
Yes, if you are using other people's material or hiring an artist there probably isn't a problem. 16-bit era-style graphics is very popular, and there should be plenty of artists specializing in that.

If you do it yourself on the other hand (or are looking into learning pixelart for any reason), I personally think a slightly higher resolution means there is more work and more things that can go wrong than in a lower resolution. It's simply faster to get used to the smaller resolution restriction. But it's also a question similar to the hardware one. With the higher resolution you have more tools, and can do things more easily once you figure them out, while on the smaller resolution you have often to be really creative and abstract small details into very few pixels. Some people draw a high resolution drawing and shrink it to the desired resolution, then corrects it manually. I don't do that, but I guess if you do it that way, the higher resolution the target is the better.

In the end, the artist must get used to draw in the target resolution for good results. Just being good at drawing isn't enough. If you are used to only the 16-bit era graphics, the 8-bit era graphics will feel harder to work with and vice versa.

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by dougeff » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:22 am

If you can't do pixel art you have these options...
-hire an artist
-use free assets
-port an existing game
-use a minimalist style
nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by gauauu » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:24 am

Oziphantom wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 11:55 pm
I suppose probably is the SNES doesn't need homebrew,
I'm not sure most homebrewers care what the system _needs_. They care about making the things that they want to make. NES doesn't need most of hte stuff that gets released by brewers (you could argue that there's a few gaps being filled by 4-player games, and things like Tailgate Party)

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by gauauu » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:25 am

dougeff wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:22 am
If you can't do pixel art you have these options...
-hire an artist
-use free assets
-port an existing game
-use a minimalist style
Also: convince an artist to join you as a partner on the project.

But yeah, I've used all 4 of these at different times, and been happy with the results.

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by Nikku4211 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:53 am

gauauu wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:26 pm
1. If this is purely about maximizing profit on a homebrew SNES game, then maybe I'd be worried about audience expectations. Otherwise just make what you want to make. Loads of early NES homebrew games were made, and even sold well, and were significantly worse-looking than what people expected the NES to do. In general, people want something interesting from a homebrew game (and there will always be some detractors that complain about it being too short or too ugly), but the majority of people aren't going to write you off just because the games during the system's prime were better than your games.
I still can't believe people are still trying to sell their real SNES indie games to the collector market, especially if they sell the games exclusively as cartridges at prices that rival the less common SNES cartridges. They think they, one person bands, can compete with a game made almost 30 years ago by an entire team of people.

How can I make a homebrew game 'interesting' enough for people to pay at least $5 for a digital copy of the game's ROM? No, I'm not dumb enough to sell my games exclusively as cartridges.
gauauu wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:26 pm
2. If it's about art, (I'm speaking out of some bit of ignorance as a non-artist,) I'm not sure it's harder to get good SNES art than good NES art. Looking at RPG maker and opengameart, there's LOADS of SNES style assets out there. Of course, maybe they just "look" SNES style and wouldn't actually work directly. But I refuse to believe that it's THAT hard to get good art for SNES. GBA has similar art style to the SNES, and people were able to find quality artists to work with during the heydey of GBA homebrew. (I speak from experience there)
Bruh, if you're making a homebrew game by yourself, you're likely doing the art yourself. Whether it's because:
- You can't afford hiring another person
- You don't want anyone else to get involved in your own personal passion project
- You can't find anyone who specialises in drawing the kind of art your game needs or in drawing whatever content your game is about

OpenGameArt is just that: assets for everyone to use. If you use assets from there, your game will have a harder time standing out from other games that use the same assets. Also, unless you're making an extremely generic title, the different assets you use might not even fit with each other, because pixel art isn't a single style, it's a general visual medium that happens to be low resolution.
gauauu wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:26 pm
Is there really more than just Tepples that thinks this? I've never heard from anyone else that they feel like they're forced to live up to someone else's expectations for homebrew development. And I've never heard that mindset in any other console's homebrew scene, whether earlier or later than the SNES.
Maybe it was just Pin8, I don't remember if someone else said it, too.

I personally would never buy a SNES homebrew game even if it did live up to the best SNES game ever.
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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by gauauu » Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:52 am

Nikku4211 wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 8:53 am
I still can't believe people are still trying to sell their real SNES indie games to the collector market, especially if they sell the games exclusively as cartridges at prices that rival the less common SNES cartridges. They think they, one person bands, can compete with a game made almost 30 years ago by an entire team of people.
I don't know about TRYING. People make homebrew games, and they do sell. I don't think "competing with stuff made 30 years ago" has much to do with it.
How can I make a homebrew game 'interesting' enough for people to pay at least $5 for a digital copy of the game's ROM? No, I'm not dumb enough to sell my games exclusively as cartridges.
You make a reasonably complete and enjoyable homebrew game, and people will buy it, on cart and as a rom. History has shown this to be true.
Bruh, if you're making a homebrew game by yourself, you're likely doing the art yourself. Whether it's because:
- You can't afford hiring another person
- You don't want anyone else to get involved in your own personal passion project
- You can't find anyone who specialises in drawing the kind of art your game needs or in drawing whatever content your game is about
Bruh, If you refuse to work with other people, then yes, you'll have to do the art yourself.
OpenGameArt is just that: assets for everyone to use. If you use assets from there, your game will have a harder time standing out from other games that use the same assets.
Exhibit A: Twin Dragons. Sold quite a few NES carts, art was from OpenGameArt.
Maybe it was just Pin8, I don't remember if someone else said it, too.
Tepples, Pino, and PinEight are the same person.

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by calima » Wed Nov 04, 2020 10:43 am

"But free art isn't congruent" that's why opengameart did the Liberated Pixel Cup thing. Art made with guidelines, and the LPC assets happen to fit well for SNES. There's enough to make a small RPG, or RPG maker-style game, with all art looking like it belongs.

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by Nikku4211 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:30 pm

gauauu wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:52 am
I don't know about TRYING. People make homebrew games, and they do sell. I don't think "competing with stuff made 30 years ago" has much to do with it.

Exhibit A: Twin Dragons. Sold quite a few NES carts, art was from OpenGameArt.
May I please get some sales figures?
gauauu wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:52 am
How can I make a homebrew game 'interesting' enough for people to pay at least $5 for a digital copy of the game's ROM? No, I'm not dumb enough to sell my games exclusively as cartridges.
You make a reasonably complete and enjoyable homebrew game, and people will buy it, on cart and as a rom. History has shown this to be true.
Okay, how can I make a homebrew game 'reasonably complete and enjoyable' enough for people to pay at least $5 for a digital copy of the game's ROM?
gauauu wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:52 am
Bruh, if you're making a homebrew game by yourself, you're likely doing the art yourself. Whether it's because:
- You can't afford hiring another person
- You don't want anyone else to get involved in your own personal passion project
- You can't find anyone who specialises in drawing the kind of art your game needs or in drawing whatever content your game is about
Bruh, If you refuse to work with other people, then yes, you'll have to do the art yourself.
I also mentioned other reasons like not being able to hire someone else, or not being able to find an artist who is good enough at what content or style you want in your game.
gauauu wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 9:52 am
Tepples, Pino, and PinEight are the same person.
I know. I use those 3 names (and 1 more) interchangeably.
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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by gauauu » Wed Nov 04, 2020 1:43 pm

Nikku4211 wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:30 pm

May I please get some sales figures?
Here's the kickstarter for it. I'm sure he's made some sales afterwards as well. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/14 ... or-the-nes

Note that there wasn't a rom option, so we don't know how that would have turned out.
Okay, how can I make a homebrew game 'reasonably complete and enjoyable' enough for people to pay at least $5 for a digital copy of the game's ROM?
That's left as an exercise for the reader.

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by tepples » Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:35 pm

gauauu wrote:
Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:26 pm
I've heard from several different people that a big thing preventing people from getting into SNESDev is the expectation that their games live up to the standards of officially licenced SNES games from the 1990s.
Is there really more than just Tepples that thinks this?
I got the idea to some extent from that one Sydney Hunter review.

I also inferred it by making an analogy from guidelines that Nintendo made available to Game Boy Color licensees. After the underuse of color in Super Game Boy games, Nintendo reportedly required that each GBC game look significantly more colorful than one would get from the built-in colorization of games made for the original Game Boy. Furthermore, games needed to look coherent in their use of color, with each object having the colors that one would normally expect from the object when depicted in other visual media. (See the end of Christine Love's review of SGB enhancement in Kirby's Dream Land 2.)

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Re: Are High SNES Homebrew Expectations Justified?

Post by Nikku4211 » Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:59 pm

tepples wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 2:35 pm
I got the idea to some extent from that one Sydney Hunter review.

I also inferred it by making an analogy from guidelines that Nintendo made available to Game Boy Color licensees. After the underuse of color in Super Game Boy games, Nintendo reportedly required that each GBC game look significantly more colorful than one would get from the built-in colorization of games made for the original Game Boy. Furthermore, games needed to look coherent in their use of color, with each object having the colors that one would normally expect from the object when depicted in other visual media. (See the end of Christine Love's review of SGB enhancement in Kirby's Dream Land 2.)
Okay, so that's an inference based on what one person had to say about one homebrew SNES game and based on Nintendo's GBC compatibility guidelines.

I wonder how many people would say the same that person said when reviewing a retro-style indie PC game...
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