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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:04 pm 
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I mean, it can be powerful when used right (I mean, I'm using it to make a top-down shooter as we speak), but it's also very easy to use and as such it may become a noob magnet in a similar way RPG Maker and Unity are. Aren't you afraid that it will just bring for the most time lazy, low-effort "games" (quotes used for a reason) for the most time? Sure, we probably get few gems, just like there are great Unity, RPG Maker or Clickteam Fusion games, but...

I really don't know what to think about the tool. On the one hand I can finally work on a NES game (my ASM coding skills in terms of interfacing with hardware are virtually non-existent), but on the other I fear that it will lead to attack of the clones: Low effort games using basic modules with little to no changes - default graphics, default enemies, only level layout being different.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:56 pm 
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I used to make these lazy noob stuff when I was a kid. Now I'm better in making stuff. People gotta start from babysteps before they can truly make good stuff. You know what the Angry Video Game Nerd said? You gotta take a hard shit before you can take a soft shit. So yeah, I'm not afraid that there will be bad games. The one thing I'm afraid is that these bad games will shadow the good games and the real projects and that real programmers will arrogantly harrass the young who are learning instead of teaching them and helping them. This could cause a total collapse of the community through the drama of the internet. I don't want that to exist here.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:03 pm 
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There were concerns about this ever since the project was announced. I don't think that generic/bad games take anything away from the good ones though.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:20 pm 
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There was a thread were some praise and concerns, mixed, were voiced on here.

Some things i wrote in one form or the other in that thread and some new things that i've thought since then.
1)It's great that so many caught an interested in the campaign. A community needs to grow to thrive.
2)But also - With lowered stakes comes a fair share low effort results. Which is okay too, i'll get to my concerns later. Since making an NES game has been considered hard, it has mainly attracted two groups at first: those who are happy to just get some result showing on the screen, and those who try to make the effort count. See super bat puncher, lizard, haunted halloween, etc etc. Usually, i think the former group is actually a little more productive, because they can grow organically from there. If you're like me (a self-critical perfectionist ad nasuem who hides a lot of the stuff in my drawer), it may take a very long time before a first title is out, and that is a riskier project (you might just give up halfway).
3)The more games that come out, the more i think some sort of journalistic effort to review and signal boost hi-quality games (made with NESmaker or otherwise) is going to be needed. Not to shade beginner efforts but to hoist nice things. Or a NESmaker compo to reward extraordinary efforts.

4)One thing that's different is that when you've written something that makes something happen on the screen for the first time, the experience is 100% your experience (in so far you did not just carbon copy a tutorial), and it's going to be quirky in your very personal way. That's one thing i appreciate a lot with homebrews, whether i think they're excellent, great, good, average or meh. The first thing that one pops out of NESmaker is, bluntly put, not as likely to have that personal charm. Finding an identity is going to be the real challenge of using NESmaker.

5)What NESmaker also does differently here from the former group i mentioned is that you can shake and bake a game and sell it on a physical medium, even if there currently is only one source of PCB:s it supports, the means to production have been decentralized with the hardware kit. I think that this is cool, but also can also become (maybe, it's just speculation) threat to the venture of kickstarting games. That market is on thin ice and needs to build on trust and serious, well planned campaigns. Hopefully it won't get swamped. On the other hand, why even consider kickstarter? Etsy would seem a more natural marketplace for a bit of DIY punk spirit. Do a thing, take a photo, write a text, and you have a store, make items as you have the time, put them on sale, rather stresslessly. Kickstarter takes time to set up and many seem to experience the campagin and the time after as a stressful event in their lives. It is a big effort in it self. So that might act as a natural filter for less serious ventures.

6) going further on speculations, i also think we might see more fangames popping up, with varying acceptance from the rights holders. It was NES fans, after all, who backed it. I noticed someone on nesmaker forums set out to make some sort of sonic the hedgehog spinoff already (good thing sega seems largely positively inclined), and someone else has adopted the name "tengen north".

7) NESmaker seems to have attracted a bunch of people with creative skills and professions. So i'm sure there'll come out a great deal of games with unique and wonderful assets, too.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:07 pm 
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I'm not sure of anything.

I sometimes wonder if spending so much time understanding the details of NES hardware and constantly rewriting and refining code is taking away from time that could be used to better design a game.

Maybe I'm a lousy game maker, and I use "it took me so long to rewrite the music code" as an excuse for not putting enough effort into game design.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:22 pm 
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Wait. NESmaker is out?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:25 pm 
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Yes, it is out of beta. I got my code a while ago but i haven't had the time to check it out yet, other than the tutorial videos.

Dougeff: but a lot of the design is precisely in how to allocate hardware resources! For example, NESgamemaker makes the decision to divide the sprite palettes into two groups: monster objects, and other objects. Monster objects get 2 subpalettes, the other objects get 2. "Monster" really signifies anything that can be swapped out depending on what screen the player is on, while the other objects signify anything that is supposed to stay the same throughout the game.

I think that is a pretty good example of a vital and character-inbuing design decision that is going to affect all games made under the adventure module unless you go in and edit the code to the point where the GUI stops representing/controlling what is actually going on with your game

So while NESmaker may free you from some technical worries and focus on game design, it also has decided a bunch of design decisions for you, because it has to. I don't think there's any other way to go about it with a user friendly engine for the NES, since everything is so driven by very specific hardware.

So, i think that for it to work practically, a lot of the design choices are closer to the realm of software. You're very free to modify what is going to happen when some actor bumps into a certain tile type, what that tile type is supposed to be, etc etc.

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Last edited by FrankenGraphics on Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:29 pm 
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Regarding the "Tengen North" brand:

Tengen was the home entertainment brand of Atari Games. Williams bought Atari Games and later spun it off along with Williams' video game assets as Midway. Warner Bros. ended up buying Midway. And WB is no longer using the Tengen name at least in the USA if the following registrations on TSDR are to be believed:

Tengen®
Live trademark of Hangzhou Kaite Electrical (which has a website)
"Battery jump starters; Converters for electric plugs; Electric control panels; Electric switches; Electric wires and cables; Electrical distribution boxes; Electrical plugs and sockets; Electrical switches; Electrolysers; Junction boxes; Plug-in connectors; Remote control starters for vehicles"

Tengen®
Live trademark of Zhejiang Tengen Electric (which has a website with the same wordmark as the registration, both of which differ from the NES era wordmark used by Atari Games)
"Converters, electric; circuit breakers; relays, electric; sockets, plugs and other contacts electric connections; mutual inductor; motor-starter; conductors (lightning -); coils, electric; protectors (voltage surge -); fuses"

Tengen World Cup '92®
Abandoned (i.e. dead) trademark of Tengen Inc. [now Warner Bros. Interactive]
"coin operated and other play-for-pay video games, kits, and parts therefor; printed circuit boards, computer hardware, computer programs, computer chips, ROMS and peripheral devices, all for video games; non-coin operated and other non-play-for-pay video games, kits and parts therefor"

Tengen®
Invalidated (i.e. dead) trademark of Time Warner Interactive [now Warner Bros. Interactive]
"NON-COIN OPERATED VIDEO GAMES, INCLUDING VIDEO GAMES ON RECORDING MEDIA, SUCH AS DISCS OR TAPES, FOR USE IN COMPUTERS, HOME VIDEO GAME EQUIPMENT, OR OTHER NON-COIN OPERATED APPARATUS CAPABLE OF PLAYING VIDEO GAMES"

Regarding NESmaker:

People worry that NESmaker will lead to proliferation of what Steam operator Valve has called "fake games" and reviewers have called "asset flips". Do these cause a problem unique to NES format that doesn't exist in PC format? Is Cowering still trying to exhaustively catalog publicly released (PD) ROMs?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:46 pm 
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darkhog wrote:
Aren't you afraid that it will just bring for the most time lazy, low-effort "games" (quotes used for a reason) for the most time?
[...]
I fear that it will lead to attack of the clones: Low effort games using basic modules with little to no changes - default graphics, default enemies, only level layout being different.

I still hope that those noobs will not have the patience to actually create a full game, so their games will only consist of a bunch of screens.

I slightly fear that people now might automatically assume that you created your game with NESMaker simply because it becomes their default assumption, especially when you do the same genre as the game NESMaker came from:
I'm working on a top-down fantasy action adventure and I already see idiots saying stuff like: "Oh, like "Mystic Searches". So, you were using NESMaker to create this, right?"

I hope that people will be clever enough to recognize that a game with horizontal and vertical scrolling as well as a battery safe is obviously not an NESMaker program.
(Let's see how long it'll take the creators of NESMaker to include scrolling, though.)

Maybe the community should create an official counter label to the "Made with NESMaker" label, stating "Not made with NESMaker".
(Maybe with certain sub categories: "Written in pure Assembly", "Written in C, with Assembly parts" etc.)
Although I wouldn't want to taint my game's box or even the game itself with the name of a product for amateurs that I did not use, but it might be good to put this on the website where you sell or present the game.

The good thing is: I assume that none of these noob games will ever appear on cartridge while my game pretty much is guaranteed to come out complete in box, with a high quality shell, label, manual and box.
That's the good thing with NES games: Unlike Steam, your game doesn't have to be digital-only. If you really created something of worth, a publisher might be interested to sell it on physical media.


Besides, Tengen North (whoever that guy is and who knows why he actually took an existing brand name) seems to have no idea of what NES games are and aren't capable of:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-aXKeDPaGE&t=49s
The number of colors of the two characters already exceed the four NES sprite palettes.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:04 pm 
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When I downloaded NESmaker, it crashed. I have Windows 7 32-bit.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:32 pm 
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DRW wrote:
I still hope that those noobs will not have the patience to actually create a full game, so their games will only consist of a bunch of screens.


That will in fact happen but it also happens with others programming in assembly.

DRW wrote:
I slightly fear that people now might automatically assume that you created your game with NESMaker simply because it becomes their default assumption, especially when you do the same genre as the game NESMaker came from:
I'm working on a top-down fantasy action adventure and I already see idiots saying stuff like: "Oh, like "Mystic Searches". So, you were using NESMaker to create this, right?"


It's not that people are idiots,it's because they don't have the same knowledge as you(there can be many reasons for this,not interested in programming,don't have the required time to learn,only interested in playing games ect..",it's not that difficult to correct them.

DRW wrote:
Maybe the community should create an official counter label to the "Made with NESMaker" label, stating "Not made with NESMaker".
(Maybe with certain sub categories: "Written in pure Assembly", "Written in C, with Assembly parts" etc.)
Although I wouldn't want to taint my game's box or even the game itself with the name of a product for amateurs that I did not use, but it might be good to put this on the website where you sell or present the game.


Official Counter Label? :lol:


Last edited by OmegaMax on Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:01 pm 
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My view of NES Maker has been somewhat flippant, meaning my initial opinion is different from my present-day opinion.

Initially, I had the same concerns as the OP and what's in the subject line. Not so much "about noobs", but more along the lines of "is this tool really going to amount to some fun NES homebrew titles?" Since it hadn't come out yet, I didn't want to judge it, or the results of its use, prematurely. But in a way, I suppose I already had.

After talking to a couple colleagues (who tend to share similar "critical" views of things (software, PLs, frameworks, pretty much everything in tech these days)), I was surprised to hear that they were generally in support of such a program. The view they presented was that it would make a good "starter" tool for getting people interested in "NES stuff", and even if the games put out were wonky and stupid, at least people were doing something they had a passion for. Their point (and hope) was more or less this: say a hundred people make some "sub-par" titles with this tool -- if even 5 of those people say "well that was fun I guess, but I REALLY want to learn this system" and begin down the path of making their own NES title from scratch (using assemblers, learning the arch, reading the wiki, putting time into code + debugging, etc.), then it's worth it.

That viewpoint, once presented, made me really think. In the end, I ended up changing my viewpoint to mimic theirs. In other words, I'm hoping NES Maker acts as a positive "stepping stone" for more new homebrew folks to get involved with the NES, and hopefully work together to make something cool (read: a good quality game) in the future.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:14 pm 
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koitsu wrote:
Their point (and hope) was more or less this: say a hundred people make some "sub-par" titles with this tool -- if even 5 of those people say "well that was fun I guess, but I REALLY want to learn this system" and begin down the path of making their own NES title from scratch (using assemblers, learning the arch, reading the wiki, putting time into code + debugging, etc.), then it's worth it.


+1


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:38 pm 
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From what I've heard of NESmaker, it doesn't sound like lazy people will be successful at it.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:41 am 
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OmegaMax wrote:
It's not that people are idiots,it's because they don't have the same knowledge as you

People once considered "Haunted Halloween" to be a "River City Ransom" hack.

The gameplay is totally different: One is a side scroller, one is a beat'em up where you can move in four directions.

The idea that it was a hack was purely assumed on the basis that the main character has a similar visual style.

And this is stupid. You don't need much technical knowledge to know that graphics can be replaced easier than game physics.
So, the "hacker" was able to create a completely new game feeling from the ROM, but he wasn't able to change the graphics enough, so that the sprite doesn't resemble "River City Ransom" anymore?
That is pretty stupid.

And in the same way, I fear that people might say: "Oh, you're doing a top-down fantasy action RPG? You do this with NESMaker, right?", even though they wouldn't have said the same if I had made a futuristic science fiction floating in space RPG.

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