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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 3:10 am 
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I think a lot of people out in the wild simply don't know that it is actually technically possible to program new games for the NES, and maybe for historical reasons - you weren't exposed to bedroom coders and their games back when the console was commercially active, like you'd see with zx spectrum, commodore64 (or abc80/800 here locally) which was all about programmer tips in magazines, computer clubs, sharing casettes/tapes with your latest achievement on them, and trying to get a publisher accept your software, and games you buy sometimes being very clearly made by people about your age or a little older, and maybe local people too. With NES it was always a big corporate gray magic box thing and the names in the credits would appear as professionals with areas of expertise way beyond your reach. Even the game medium itself is mystifying. I held a little homeparty for the release of the nesdev compo version of Project Blue. Even though i explained how you put a game on a cartridge and in sweeping terms how program and assets where made, they still felt it was unbelievable and a little magical.

On the mindmap of these people, they might've encountered hacks/mods though. So it wouldn't surprise me if a lot of people automatically assume that new games must, magically somehow, be hacks.

That's of course a misconception we should try to dispel whenever given the opportunity.

It'd also follow that'd when a person who currently believes that "new nes games can't be done" and becomes aware of NESmaker, then comes to the next conclusion: "new games can done with NESmaker". Whish is ..true, but the person is still unaware of the fact that new nes games are being made from the ground up. I still think putting out the root cause (at least i perceive it to be the root cause) of the misconception might be the practical way to go: Dispel unawareness of the nature of how nes games are made - and that they are made.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 4:32 am 
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There already are lazy noobs ;) *ducks*

I mean, on the C64 do we fear being overrun by SEUCK, or Garry's Game Maker games. No.
We put them over on the side in the own little playpen and just ignore them.
However on the C64 side we have the luxury of doing so, we have so many other releases that when one looks at the releases, those games can just be shunted aside and nobody would notice.
The Risk with the NES is you are going to have
NES
MAKER
MAKER
MAKER
MAKER
MAKER
MAKER
NES
MAKER
MAKER
MAKER
MAKER
To which the outside perception becomes Maker quality. This could be harmful. To be fair, the outside perception is already poor. In that in order to sell a not maker game, you have to then prove your game is not a maker game and hence should not be free like all the maker games are probably going to be. Then what happens when the Maker people want to start to sell a Maker game? ( there was a case of a not SUECK game being called a SUECK game recently in C64 land if you want to test your fireproofs ).

If it brings in more people who then start to move from Maker to C and then to ASM it will be good overall, but I doubt it will happen.

But it might bring more eyes to the scene and make "new NES" games seen as a thing, allowing us to hit larger audiences.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:22 am 
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What I'm more worried about - and this is insanely subjective and biased, I admit that. What I'm worried about is that it will subtract from the integrity and wonder typically applied to the production of video games for retro consoles.

One of the things that fascinates me about making games for the NES is that in the eyes of a lot of people (or more importantly: in my own perspective from around 3 years ago) it's kind of black magic. Like, the fact that you can get something running on even that old a system, is amazing. 3 years ago I had no idea how people were able to change the language of an old game without having access to the source code, and two years later I recreated the entirety of Donkey Kong on the NES. It wasn't even hard to do, but overcoming something that was previously unfathomable to me has been an incredible learning experience.
The idea of new games coming out for a classic system is something extremely exciting to me. I love buying homebrews when they are released on cartridges, and enjoy seeing what people have been able to build for one of my favourite consoles! Especially solid finished games like Lizard, Streemerz and Battle Kid 2 are the reason I dig this hobby in the first place! They don't have to be technically impressive. The fact that they are playable is what matters to me.

Now, I'm not really worried about games being "too easy to make". Rather, I absolutely enjoy the prospect of many more people joining the community and getting into the concept of NES homebrew.
But in a worst case scenario, you'd all of a sudden have 50 new games coming out, mostly being lazy mass produced crap, and would detract from the value of any actual great games coming out. Sure, said game would still be great, but I would hate for people to look at any new NES game coming out and just react with "oh, another one of those". Right now people have a good chance of getting small projects backed by Kickstarter. But if you have 100 new projects flooding the market, that will be a lot harder.
In a best case scenario, NESmaker will result in some incredible and highly enjoyable games that never would have been possible if the creators had to overcome the barriers of understanding 6502 and the NES hardware before creating them. I can totally get behind that.

Just to make things even more subjective though... I'm worried about coming out with a game, and people assuming I "just" made it in NESmaker. In reality it shouldn't really matter how I made it though, so I hate feeling like this.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:32 am 
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Quote:
hat I'm worried about is that it will subtract from the integrity and wonder typically applied to the production of video games for retro consoles.


If my homeparty was anything to go by, you can rest assured. It was impossible to insist that writing a copy to a cartridge is not all that much different than burning a CD, because look - "it runs on the NES! OMG!!! Is this black magic?" haha. Note that they were impressed from the moment it went from an emulator to the actual pal unit in our living room, so i think it had little to do with the software itself.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:42 am 
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But will they be the same in a year when Nesmaker games are everywhere? (they probably won't be, but let's entertain the thought)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:37 am 
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Yeah... i really do hope that if asset flips catches on, the same mentality that motivates making asset flips in the first place is also going to naturally prohibit them from launching KS campaigns. It takes a lot of time to prepare, run and manage a campaign (and its aftermath), and it's time these people aren't willing to invest.

If you on the other hand made a punk rock equivalent of a game with a sense of pride, it seems reasonable to sell them on/at etsy, game convensions and directly to friends and skip the hassle of KS altogether.

On KS, we ocassionally see the occasional scam project or someone just being very naïve. Some book or board game that obviously never will make it to the finish line, someone who promises to release a NES game tie-in as a stretch goal that never will happen, and so on. They're typically easy to filter out: First time campaigner with few or no relevant projectsthey've backed themselves. The campaigns typically look like they were more or less improvised. If you stay a while on the page, maybe you'll catch the sense that the math just doesn't add up. And then you stay clear off that campaign.

The sad news is that because these exist, everyone else with serious, well-prepared products must go the extra mile to display that they are indeed serious. So they need to spend a lot of their time building a very professional campaign and be good at communication. That is a problem for people who might be genius at making the product they want to campaign, but don't have the marketing skills to match.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:18 am 
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So I feel like I should put this in perspective of the larger game dev crowd as well. Take GameMaker or Unity for example. A lot of devs don't want to recognize them as a "real" gamedev tools. Sure, by lowering the barrier to entry there are a lot of mediocre games made, but there are also some really fantastic (critically acclaimed, award winning) games made with them. In the hands of the right person, they are very powerful tools. Lately there has been a wave of backlash against games made with them. Really nothing original, it's the new "BASIC".

In my local gamedev community, just about everybody uses Unity. Regardless of why they use Unity, saying that Unity games don't count effectively means saying that their games don't count. That bothers me, because some of their games are really quite good. Sure, they might contain some telltale Unity fingerprints, but they are still fun. In the end, you get more games made by people that aren't primarily programmers, and that's a good thing. Personally I wish people would try making simple engines for simple games instead of writing twice as much code to get Unity to do something simple it wasn't made to do, but that remains but a wish. :p

All the FUD in this thread seems like much of the same. "People will think less of my shader code because Unity has a GUI shader editor now." vs "People will think less of my 6502 assembly code because NES Maker lets you make games without it." I guess it depends on who you want to be appreciated by. Regular Joe on the street doesn't have any idea how NES games are made (much less what assembly language is). A couple weeks ago the game I'm contracting on (made in Unity of course :p) was at a local game convention. I made a NES demake of it as a weird joke because people would be confused. I got exactly the reaction I wanted from some people. Comments ranged from: "Was this originally an NES game?", "Did you export that from Unity somehow?!", "I thought you weren't allowed to make NES games anymore.", "It's still possible to make NES games?", "That's awesome!", "Don't you have to write those in assembly?" I don't think the average gamer has *any* idea whatsoever what making NES homebrew entails. Take it how you will, but much less than 10% of the people that played the real game even tried my NES version, and these were people that love video games enough to pay to attend a convention for them. If it helps, I'm terribly impressed with what people on this forum have made, and having done assembly programming myself can better appreciate the achievement. ;)

The NES isn't getting any newer or more appealing to program for to younger devs. Why risk letting the community dry up if you could use this to tap into a large pool of new and possibly talented members?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:52 am 
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In direct response to OP: No, I think it's great that NES Maker exists and I will be glad to see more noobs coming this way.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:01 am 
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slembcke wrote:
Personally I wish people would try making simple engines for simple games instead of writing twice as much code to get Unity to do something simple it wasn't made to do, but that remains but a wish. :p

Is it still "twice as much code" once you realize you'd end up having to make engines for all nine platforms that support Unity? Currently, these include Windows desktop, Windows UWP, macOS, iOS, X11/Linux, Android, and all three current consoles.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:12 pm 
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rainwarrior wrote:
In direct response to OP: No, I think it's great that NES Maker exists and I will be glad to see more noobs coming this way.


Yeah, I agree, though I'm not exactly a long-time member here. There are a few local people I've tried to convince that they should try NES dev, but the thought of programming in C (forget assembly) makes them really apprehensive. I sort of like the idea that you used to need Nintendo's blessing to make a NES game, but now anybody could do it. Wouldn't it be frustrating if Nintendo got to choose who can and can't make homebrew for the NES. ;)

tepples wrote:
slembcke wrote:
Personally I wish people would try making simple engines for simple games instead of writing twice as much code to get Unity to do something simple it wasn't made to do, but that remains but a wish. :p

Is it still "twice as much code" once you realize you'd end up having to make engines for all nine platforms that support Unity? Currently, these include Windows desktop, Windows UWP, macOS, iOS, X11/Linux, Android, and all three current consoles.


Obviously it depends on the project. Most games created (not necessarily released) are single platform, and small in scale. Having worked on about a dozen highly cross-platform Unity projects I'm not really sold on it being an awesome cross-platform tool that somehow magically works. It's a lot like Java in that regard, some stuff sort of magically works, but a lot of the parts that should don't. Mostly I just mean that it's frustrating when you know somebody is struggling with something simple due to tool they are using making something that should be easy, difficult. I realize that's not exactly fair given the benefit of hindsight bias. Until you know the best, simplest, fastest, or (fill in the blank) way to do something, you'll always be doing it "some other way".


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:26 pm 
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Really nothing original, it's the new "BASIC".

But even back in the day, games made in BASIC were sold by publishers and no kid was any wiser. It was just another game. Maybe it took a turn when game studios gravitated towards c and then c++ and qBasic became a field seemingly purely for hobbyism. Yet i've had some really fun times and still have fond memories with .bas games from my childhood.

I don't play too many computer games these days and i'm getting old so i might not be the typical consumer, but i wouldn't be able to tell a unity game from a custom one. I *might* be able to sometimes detect GameMaker games occasionally, because that's something i've used a bit to learn the ropes myself. But i'm sure i could be fooled a lot there too.

That makes me think that even if the band of options is more narrow on the NES, just maybe only people who've been working on NES projects for some time might be able to spot a NESmaker game from whenever its genepool surfaces. For what difference it even makes towards attitudes.

Anyway - i'm pretty happy with the prospect of nesmaker on a personal level. For wholly ground-up games, i've kind of come to the conclusion that if i want to get to results i like, i need to team up with people so i can spend my time doing something i'm already decent at (graphis, music), and someone can do the things they're good at (coding), share the design burden/delight, and then eventually, games will come out. NESmaker on the other hand just might let me try out some ideas that line up decently with the modules and get something out the door, eh, "quickly", on my own, and learn something valuable from the process. I'm pretty sure the same goes for many other artists out there.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:06 pm 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
But even back in the day, games made in BASIC were sold by publishers and no kid was any wiser. It was just another game.


That's definitely not my experience. Basic interpreters were pretty slow on 8 bit machines compared to assembly. It was usually pretty obvious which games were using it even for text games. Infocom games were praised for their "lightning fast, assembly language based parsers". (Play one today, it is not snappy, lol)

FrankenGraphics wrote:
That makes me think that even if the band of options is more narrow on the NES, just maybe only people who've been working on NES projects for some time might be able to spot a NESmaker game from whenever its genepool surfaces. For what difference it even makes towards attitudes.


Is the implication that it's bad that only experience NES programmers will be able to tell if they are made with NES Maker or not?

Put another way: I really like model aircraft (planes, traditional helis, quadcopters, all of them!). A lot of longtime modelers are worried that drones have made it too easy to get into flying, and that these new people are going to ruin the hobby (give it a bad rep, cause new regulations to be passed, etc). Instead of trying to get these new people to join existing communities that have experience to share, safety rules, and safe locations to fly, they are trying to distance themselves from them. "MY airplanes are built based on real airplanes, so it's *way* different than a drone." Well... nobody else sees it that way. I have a nice scale model biplane that several random people passing by have commented "That's a really nice looking drone." If somebody does something dumb with their drone (like trying to assassinate the Venezuelan president) it will reflect badly on me flying my airplanes too. The perception that they are linked in somebody else's mind is out of my control, but how I welcome/train/help new people entering the hobby is not. I might as well do what I can to make things better than worrying about what I can't change.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:36 pm 
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Is the implication that it's bad that only experience NES programmers will be able to tell if they are made with NES Maker or not?

I guess that'd depend whether you worry if your game is going to be called a nesmaker game when it isn't or not, and what practical effect that actually might have for the success (or reputation) for your game... which is kind of hard to tell beforehand, i think. I guess we'll see. But what i really meant simply to state that i'm not so sure if people (nes gamers) will care all that much. If it's fun, it's fun. If it is interesting, it is interesting.

What i think is still missing from this discussion is that the more people who produce games, the more they create social outreach for getting it known that nes games are still made to this day. The more outreach, the more the interest grows.

Every trader knows this: if you want to sell, you go to town. Banding together breeds commerce. Commerce breeds incentive to keep producing. On a market fair, both you and your competitor is the reason people show up.

Talking about it as if it was a commercial activity actually feels a bit silly since NES development is largely an at-loss activity and friendly hobby, but that's just the thing. We need a bigger market to thrive, even when the market is an attention economy.

Your model aircraft analogy is rather striking. I should probably go over to nesmakers and offer a welcoming casserole, because last visit i got soured up by someone calling GGsound "lackluster" for not supporting expansion sound and all the effects in the world, haha. tbh it still irritates me a little. I guess i have too little to complain about in my regular life.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:41 pm 
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slembcke wrote:
Is the implication that it's bad that only experience NES programmers will be able to tell if they are made with NES Maker or not?

Whether it was made with NES maker should only matter to NES programmers who are trying to understand how it was done.

For everyone else all that matters is whether it's a good game or not. The engine used is an unimportant implementation detail.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:54 pm 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
Quote:
Really nothing original, it's the new "BASIC".

But even back in the day, games made in BASIC were sold by publishers and no kid was any wiser.

Case in point: MECC's The Oregon Trail was in BASIC.


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