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Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:04 pm
by DashEightMate
I've been thinking about this since the N64 game jam a month ago or so. The n64 is extremely niche in terms of homebrew, yet it got a fair amount of applicants anyways. Why don't we do something similar? It would both bring the community together and invite new people into the SNES homebrew scene.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:28 am
by calima
As mentioned before, it wouldn't have much participation. N64 is C, and their discord had over a year of existence gathering interested folks before the jam. Discord being a closed platform it's not visible to the greater internet what happens there, so it's understandable it's not known.

But if you want one to happen, organize one. You don't need permission from anyone.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:07 am
by Pokun
We wouldn't know for sure without trying.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:47 am
by Nikku4211
DashEightMate wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:04 pm
I've been thinking about this since the N64 game jam a month ago or so. The n64 is extremely niche in terms of homebrew, yet it got a fair amount of applicants anyways. Why don't we do something similar? It would both bring the community together and invite new people into the SNES homebrew scene.
I'm with you m8. Especially since the SNES' North American release is going to be 30 years old in August. If that goes by with no fanfare, we could try the 30th anniversary of the SNES' European release in 2022.
calima wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:28 am
As mentioned before, it wouldn't have much participation. N64 is C, and their discord had over a year of existence gathering interested folks before the jam. Discord being a closed platform it's not visible to the greater internet what happens there, so it's understandable it's not known.
There are methods to make SNES games in C, such as PVSNESLib. Sure, it's not optimal for performance, but it probably will be faster to develop, especially for newbies who want to join the community and just have some fun.

Fun... That's a strange word...
calima wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:28 am
But if you want one to happen, organize one. You don't need permission from anyone.
I would happily want to collaborate with you or Dash8m8 for the jam.
Pokun wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:07 am
We wouldn't know for sure without trying.
Yeah, what could possibly go wrong?

It's not like we can destroy the community at large and cause a lot of flame wars when we fuck up or something, right?

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:08 pm
by olddb
We could do something like the nes dev comp but for the SNES.
Make a collection of mini-games.
Each entry could have a size restriction, let's say 256k or 512k.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:08 pm
by Nikku4211
olddb wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:08 pm
We could do something like the nes dev comp but for the SNES.
Make a collection of mini-games.
Each entry could have a size restriction, let's say 256k or 512k.
How about 64k (HiROM) or 32k(LoROM)?

That'd be a big challenge, but it means an Action 53 for SNES would be possible.

32768*53 = 1736704, meaning it can probably fit in a 2 MiB cartridge.
65536*53 = 3473408, meaning it can probably fit in a 4 MiB cartridge.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:54 pm
by olddb
HiROM and LoROM can both do 4MB. We will have to decide which to use, though.

Keep in mind SNES games tile data is 16bits and there are 3 possible planes to fill.
Also, graphics take more rom space, etc.
I was thinking more along the lines of 16 or 8 games in a cartridge.

I don't think we will get that many entries first time around anyway.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:27 pm
by Nikku4211
olddb wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:54 pm
HiROM and LoROM can both do 4MB. We will have to decide which to use, though.
I know. I was just saying the minimum size the ROM of an Action 53 compilation of 32768 bytes games can be.
olddb wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:54 pm
Keep in mind SNES games tile data is 16bits and there are 3 possible planes to fill.
Also, graphics take more rom space, etc.
What do you mean by 'tile data is 16bits'?

You actually have the option to store tileset graphics in 4 different formats:

- 4BPP planar, 15 colours, the most common format, and the only format that can be used by OAM.
- 2BPP planar, 3 colours, usually just used for text or HUDs.
- 8BPP planar, 255 colours, rarely used but can be very colourful.
- 8BPP chunky, 255 colours(127 when in priority mode), only used in mode 7.

If you wanted to save space, you'd probably try to use 2BPP whenever possible.

As for the 'possible planes to fill', the SNES actually can have 4 layers max.

There are several video modes, each one letting the SNES do different things. For example:

- Mode 0 is 4 2BPP layers.
- Mode 1 (the most common one) is 2 4BPP layers and 1 2BPP layer.

Note that sprites still remain 4BPP no matter what.

Besides, just because you can use multiple planes does not mean you have to.
olddb wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:54 pm
I was thinking more along the lines of 16 or 8 games in a cartridge.

I don't think we will get that many entries first time around anyway.
Yeah, we probably won't get 53.

Even then:
- 16 games in a 2 MiB ROM would mean that each game would need a limit of 131072 bytes.
- 8 would need each game to be at most 262144 bytes.
- 16 games in a 4 MiB ROM would need each game to be <= 262144 bytes.
- 8 would need each game to be <= 524288 bytes.

And then there's ExHiROM and ExLoROM. Apparently, these 2 cartridge types can store up to 8 MiB.

- 16 games in an 8 MiB ROM needs each game to be <= 524288 bytes.
- 8 would need each game to be <= 1048576 bytes, or a single MiB.

Tight challenges can make this game jam more interesting and much more attractive, at least to more experienced SNES homebrew developers.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:17 pm
by Pokun
I think Olddb meant nametable data (SC data), not the actual pattern data. Each SC entry is 16-bit in most (all? I forgot) modes, and this could affect level map data in ROM I guess.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:05 pm
by olddb
Nikku4211 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:27 pm
Your right. I was assuming Mode1.
Pokun wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:17 pm
I think Olddb meant nametable data (SC data), not the actual pattern data. Each SC entry is 16-bit in most (all? I forgot) modes, and this could affect level map data in ROM I guess.
This is what I meant.

A different thing we could do is instead of multiple mini games, try to create a single game.
Create a main motif for the game and give each section to a different 'team'.

Lets say we create a jRPG:
1. Give the opening intro to 'team 1'
2. Give the title screen to 'team 2'
3. Overworld to 'team 3'
4. Worldmap to 'team 4'
etc.

Try to insulate each teams work from one another the most as possible.
Even split ram and give each team a 'budget'.
Then join it all together.
The result will end up being a complete mismatch of styles and graphics Frankenstein monster, and that would be the appeal. :D

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:13 pm
by Nikku4211
olddb wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:05 pm
Pokun wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:17 pm
I think Olddb meant nametable data (SC data), not the actual pattern data. Each SC entry is 16-bit in most (all? I forgot) modes, and this could affect level map data in ROM I guess.
This is what I meant.
Oh lol.

Guess at that point, you're going to have to make algorithms to generate tilemaps from small data.

Still, you don't need to actually use all layers. You can code your game to disable some layers.
olddb wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 6:05 pm
A different thing we could do is instead of multiple mini games, try to create a single game.
Create a main motif for the game and give each section to a different 'team'.

Lets say we create a jRPG:
1. Give the opening intro to 'team 1'
2. Give the title screen to 'team 2'
3. Overworld to 'team 3'
4. Worldmap to 'team 4'
etc.

Try to insulate each teams work from one another the most as possible.
Even split ram and give each team a 'budget'.
Then join it all together.
The result will end up being a complete mismatch of styles and graphics Frankenstein monster, and that would be the appeal. :D
I'm pretty sure the end result would basically be not too different from the minigame plan, since the mismatch of styles would probably also extend to the way the game is basically played.

Imagine leaving a town only to suddenly be playing some strategy game and then when you actually get to battle, it's actually just a match-3 puzzle game. And then when you finish the battle, you're still not done. You have to play an endless runner just to gain the experience points you have earned. And then when you go into the next world, you're suddenly playing a racing game where you must race against the darkness swallowing everything behind you, and if you fail, you'll end up in... the backrooms... There, you are suddenly playing a first-person shooter where you must kill all of the poor people who are also trapped in the backrooms just to get another chance at the racing segment. And if you succeed, you must play through a rhythm game just to operate a giant mech in order to storm the enemy's capital. And when you find the head of the enemy forces, rather than crushing them, you fight them one-on-one Mortal Kombat style. And then, the enemy actually has another form, and you must go into the woods, and capture some poor animals and slowly groom them so that you can eventually use them to fight the enemy's 2nd form. And then... you play a memory card game with the final boss' 3rd form, and then SURPRISE!!! you take out your Uno reverse card, and the final boss suddenly kills themself... And comes back as an animetronic, where you have to hide from him until he eventually storms your base. At your base, you must control all the doors and make sure he never gets to your security office. But then... the final boss eventually kills you no matter what you do, and then you are suddenly rowing the boat, making sure you don't steer the wrong way, until you meet all the developers of the game, and then you must spend a lot of time in a visual novel segment negotiating terms with them while using Evidence from your Court Record, composed of all the things you did in the game. If you don't succeed, the game deletes your saves. If you do succeed, you have to steer your way back, while defending your boat from all the people in the water that want to hitch a ride back to Earth. And then...

See what I mean? It's much more chaotic than anyone can predict.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:07 pm
by tepples
Is this a dream? Or is it WarioWare?

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:42 am
by Nikku4211
tepples wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:07 pm
Is this a dream? Or is it WarioWare?
You see, in WarioWare, each segment is at best a few seconds long.

In this game, these entire sections can last up to half an hour.

WarioWare is a minigame game. I was just demonstrating that the JRPG concept would probably end up like a minigame game anyway due to creative differences.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:47 pm
by drludos
This is a wonderful idea! I'd love to take part in such a jam / compo.

Regarding limitations, I feel that maybe, for a first event, it would be better to avoid any technical limitations / restrictions. Simply coming up a with "theme" so all the entries are somewhat linked together feels better to me (but this is only my personal opinion of course).

Regarding timeframe, PVSNESlib and C does allow you to make some (very simple) games quite quickly. I personally managed to make a very small game during a Ludum Dare game jam (48h timeframe) with this toolset. But I think a larger timeframe would allow more entries (a bit larger scope, ASM based, people with busy lives, etc.).

From what I've seen in other homebrew scenes (namely the Atari Lynx one), 2 weeks seems to be a "sweet spot". You'll have enough time to make something playable, but not enough time to try a large game / huge commitment project that you are unlikely to complete before the event ends.

Re: Why don't we have a SNES Game Jam?

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:19 pm
by olddb
So far we got:
drludos
Nikku4211
olddb

Let's get more participants and make this happen.
I still think we should limit the room space, so the end product fits under 4MB.

Anyone else wants to sign up?