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Is NESHLA still worth using?
http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=16595
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Author:  darkhog [ Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:48 am ]
Post subject:  Is NESHLA still worth using?

And if it is, are there any SDKs built around it, I mean complete toolkit with sfx/graphics/map editing. For music I'd obviously use Famitracker, but something for sounds is needed as well.

I've actually tried to get into NES dev for a long time, but it's really hard (not complaining, only stating the fact - it's the difficulty that makes me come for more every so often). I've tried assembler (I think it was the one bundled with NESICIDE), I've tried C, now I want to try NES HLA, but I don't know if it is complete enough to use - Provinciano obviously has other things to do thanks to the success of his non-nes games so I probably shouldn't expect any updates and would need to use it "as is" (unless there is a fork that is being updated, which I doubt).

Author:  calima [ Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

There can't really be a complete toolkit for NES like you describe, the needs of games are so different you cannot do it without major abstractions, which then fail due to storage, RAM or cpu needs.

Author:  darkhog [ Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

Then please explain NESICIDE's existence to me. I mean, it's exactly what I need, but it doesn't use NESHLA.

Author:  slobu [ Fri Oct 20, 2017 9:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

This is just my take: NESHLA was never really completed before the author went on to other things.

Technical challenges aside it's going to take someone with the right background and perspective to create higher level tools/compilers/languages. We're not there yet.

Author:  calima [ Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

Nesicide does not have map editing, I believe, which is the part that varies by game.

Author:  pubby [ Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

People on these forums are quite good at answering assembly and C questions. For that reason I can recommend assembly and C to use.

I don't know of anyone here that (still) uses NESHLA and NESCICIDE though, and that makes it quite hard to recommend them.

Author:  toggle switch [ Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

i use NESICIDE, and would absolutely recommend it, way before i would recommend using C, but that's just my opinion.

i'm actually honestly curious what you think is wrong with it? it has a few strange quirky bugs, but nothing i would consider to be a show-stopper.

Author:  GradualGames [ Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

darkhog wrote:
And if it is, are there any SDKs built around it, I mean complete toolkit with sfx/graphics/map editing. For music I'd obviously use Famitracker, but something for sounds is needed as well.

I've actually tried to get into NES dev for a long time, but it's really hard (not complaining, only stating the fact - it's the difficulty that makes me come for more every so often). I've tried assembler (I think it was the one bundled with NESICIDE), I've tried C, now I want to try NES HLA, but I don't know if it is complete enough to use - Provinciano obviously has other things to do thanks to the success of his non-nes games so I probably shouldn't expect any updates and would need to use it "as is" (unless there is a fork that is being updated, which I doubt).

It seems to me the greatest difficulty with NES development is simply that it is time consuming, which I suppose can be a significant obstacle depending on one's tolerance for how long things take. It's quite difficult to efficiently write software for it. I think only a few very talented engineers here at nesdev are able to move at anything resembling the pace of somebody writing a game for a modern platform. Hint: I am NOT one of them, LOL. If I'm lucky, an entire day goes by and I get something to move on the screen. Haha. It's not *quite* that bad, but many times...it's almost that bad. But it isn't bad because I enjoy every second of it, patiently plodding on to the next tiny detail.

It's not too bad to write a handful of one's own macros for doing repetitive operations. For example, if you are making a game which has a world that extends beyond the screen boundaries you will certainly be using a lot of 16 bit variables and operations. A set of macros for performing 16 bit operations can save you a lot of typing. Oddly I did not bother with such macros for my first couple of games; why I really don't know. I guess I just liked typing a lot. Haha! But now I'm finding them very useful.

I think to enjoy nes dev you either have to have an insane amount of talent, an insane amount of help, or an insane amount of patience. I would like to believe cultivating patience is within anyone's grasp but, I suspect I am kidding myself given the world I am surrounded by. :lol:

Author:  cpow [ Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

toggle switch wrote:
i use NESICIDE, and would absolutely recommend it, way before i would recommend using C, but that's just my opinion.

i'm actually honestly curious what you think is wrong with it? it has a few strange quirky bugs, but nothing i would consider to be a show-stopper.

Please feel free to raise issues here.
I can't guarantee that I'll have any time anytime to work on them, but I do *try*.
Also, NESICIDE supports C via CC65. Shiru's Alter Ego is a great example.

Author:  darkhog [ Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

toggle switch wrote:
i use NESICIDE, and would absolutely recommend it, way before i would recommend using C, but that's just my opinion.

i'm actually honestly curious what you think is wrong with it? it has a few strange quirky bugs, but nothing i would consider to be a show-stopper.

It's not NESICIDE, it's cc65/ca65. When I've read NESHLA docs, it was very clear how to use it properly, when I read ca65's docs... meh (insert ptsd flashbacks from emoji movie here).

Shame it was abandoned by Provinciano, but it seems like there is source available, so perhaps if there's someone with knowledge about NES hardware and too much free time (retirement? I somehow don't think kids code NES games these days, despite NES Classic's success)... *whistles*

Author:  mickbeaver [ Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Is NESHLA still worth using?

I looked into NESHLA briefly a couple of weeks ago. While it seems very cool, due to the limited usage, you will get stuck supporting the tool if there are any bugs. So, as part of my evaluation, I wanted to get the code compiling using GCC on a 64-bit platform (Cygwin).

It took a couple of hours of going through the relatively sloppy code before I even got the thing to link... then it crashed when running it. I gave up after that.

If you are good with C and want to support it yourself, NESHLA is probably an okay choice. I'd recommend getting it compiling with a 32-bit Microsoft compiler first, though, to deal with as few issues as possible.

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