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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 5:29 pm 
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Oziphantom wrote:
The issue is the vast majority of titles being released are "my first game"

Yeah, it kinda bothers me when people can't tell the difference between a personal accomplishment and something worth releasing to the public that can actually be enjoyed by others.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:40 pm 
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Hot take: If you're afraid of your game being overshadowed by a "no coding required generic NES engine" game, maybe you should try harder.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 6:46 pm 
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Or the fear might be that any polished game release at all would get pushed off the list of recent free-to-play ROM releases by a supermajority of no-effort "hello world"-class ROMs released by the novices tokumaru mentioned who can't tell a private accomplishment from a public-worthy one.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:56 pm 
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ndiddy wrote:
Hot take: If you're afraid of your game being overshadowed by a "no coding required generic NES engine" game, maybe you should try harder.

That's a pretty ignorant statement.

It's not about being overshadowed by these games, it's about being ignored because of these games, because people might not bother to look at your game and simply assume right from the beginning that it's just another beginner's NESMaker game. Or maybe they don't notice it at all among all the other games.

I have no doubt that my adventure game will be better than the first timers' NESMaker games. But for people to notice this, it requires them to have a look at my game. Which might be more difficult if NESMaker will cause a lot of shovelware.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:05 pm 
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I don't think you need to be worried DRW,on the c64 majority just ignore the maker games as they understand the quality of those games,nobody needs to point it out as most everyone can tell.People will eventually know the difference and the ones that can make good games on nes maker will stand out,the only games I'll even play made in seuck are games made from a few that make good games,they've proven they can create good games and continue to do so.They rest I don't bother with unless someone( member's' that I know can judge a good game from a terrible one) that plays it and recommends the others try it.There will be a few that will create very good games with it though and I'm interested in seeing what these people do with nes maker.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:57 pm 
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I think DRW is talking about people with zero (or close to zero) technical knowledge, who just want to play games and don't really care about how they're made. If there's a sudden influx of bad NES games and they keep pouring in, that could maybe cause people to pay less attention to NES releases in general.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:07 pm 
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Unless the is a deluge of such games I wouldn't worry too much about it. The only difference is, you cannot make a sample like "junkrom" and call that an accomplishment anymore :lol:

How many active project right now? It will either grow or fade. I'm not worried at all. Maybe some of them will graduate to be member here and make more advanced game, others, they had their fun making their "first game". For some people, that will be more than enough.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:54 pm 
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As the creator of NESmaker, the director of The New 8-bit Heroes, the programmer for Mystic Origins, Mystic Searches, Troll Burner, and several other small projects, the full on advocate of this community, Nintendo Age, RetroUSB, all of the homebrewers that we've met along the way (right now, my collection is at about 20 games and counting), and everything you amazing people are doing, I thought I would chime in on what seems to be a very divisive post, with a long, thorough response.

First and foremost, I've been preaching the gospel of NESdev and all of its figureheads for five years now. We spent three years traversing the country meeting and interviewing homebrewers, chronicling what they've been working on, bringing their games to conventions and letting people know that development for this system is alive and well. Folks like Kevin Hanley, Derek Andrews, Brian Parker, Beau Holland, Memblers, Tepples, John White, Brad Smith, the entire Collectorvision team, Brian Provinciano, and several others, I've not only met, but some I've become fairly close friends with. I'm not some separate entity from this community, I am an active member of this community, and have been for about 5 years now. Memblers even has the link to our documentary front and center on the main page of NESdev, and I consider it a badge of honor that he feels that our project gave outsiders at least some indicator of what goes into this.

I have said, still say, and will continue to say until I retire from all of this altogether that the single best way to develop a NES game is to dig your heels in, spend a few years really learning not only 6502 ASM, but all of the particulars of how it interfaces with the hardware. I've continued to post this throughout our campaign. However, as a long time educator of game design and development at both the high school and collegiate level, I noticed a horrible barrier between the average young developer and the potential to create for the NES. Some of you consider this barrier a good thing. Some of you want to horde development in this medium in some elitist way, that you've worked so hard to deconstruct. I understand this and appreciate it, but fundamentally disagree.

In the five years I've been traversing the country working on this project and all of its outgrowths, I've heard endless stories of people who have started down the road of designing a NES game, found the constraints and limitations absolutely unscalable, given up, and either started to build their vision in a more user friendly environment (like GameMaker or Unity), or just abandoned it altogether. This doesn't serve the purpose of keeping some level of sanctity about NES development as I think some of you believe that it does...all it does is make the NES a less viable option for developing games. And as us old heads who grew up with nostalgia for the system begin to age out of this ambition, the next generation of potential developers may not have the same desire to create for the NES when there are so many other ways to create. In that, everyone loses. People aren't buying the consoles. Therefor people aren't getting the hardware. Therefor people don't have any need or desire for new games, negating interest in what homebrewers are doing. And it becomes a tiny little niche hobbyist cult rather than the inviting passion project that I firmly believe it should be.

I took many of the lessons that I learned from teaching wysiwyg tools like GameMaker and Unity and figured out many ways to apply them to NES development. But here's the thing. Even though NESmaker is a front end, it's really mostly just a user friendly asset organizer. If you guys are making serious NES games, you're all building your own (and if you're not, you're either needlessly moving at a snails pace, or you're some sort of masochist! haha). Even if you haven't built your own tools, if you have ever used any of Shiru's screen tools or space checkers, or have ever used famitracker with FamiTone or some other pre-existing sound engine, or got started using Nerdy Nights tutorials...hell, reading this forum right now and having access to the wiki, then you, too, have take a proverbial shortcut that those who came before you may have scoffed at. For those of you who have some sort of contempt for NESmaker, consider this: I'm sure that some of the actual NES composers would look at the famitracker tunes you're making and scoff at how the ease of it took away the art of it. I'm sure that some of the nes artists would watch you use Shiru's NES Screen Tool or YY-CHR and scoff at the fact you weren't doing it with graph paper and long hex tables. We've just taken that to another level...a suite of tools that are as customizable as we can make them within the constraints of the system. It is absolutely designed to be editable on the code level in bite sized, manageable chunks as an ASM learning tool. Rather than the 15 year old kid spending a month bashing their head against code they don't understand trying to get their first screen built, then shrugging and jumping ship to make a GameMaker game for their iPhone, they have a working, assemblable skeleton up and functional, and are able to see immediate visual feedback of code changes they make. They are able to assign script definitions, so they can A/B scripts...using scripts they know work, and then checking them against custom scripts they create. They could conceivably write an entire engine in ASM from the ground up using these tools, though the UI of the tool may constrain them as far as what they can edit from the front end. But the point is, they don't have to.

In the last 30 years, one of the major things that has changed for video games is they're no longer just a computer science geek's weekend project. They are legitimate forms of expression and entertainment. Unlike in the NES days, not everyone who creates games is a programmer. There are storytellers and musicians and artists, all equally contributing to game development teams. There are so many amazingly evocative (and financially successful) game experiences today that are created utilizing 90% of a pre-existing engine, but where the assets give it a uniqueness and a voice. Why wouldn't we, as NES developers, want the NES to be able to be used as a creative outlet as well? Would we presume that someone who may not be the best at programming couldn't have the capacity to build an amazing game experience using other tools? Of course they could...so why not for the NES?

These were some of the considerations that went into building NESmaker. We brought it to retro gaming events for 18 months before deciding to officially greenlight it. Portland Retro Gaming Expo, Seattle Retro Gaming Expo, Retropalooza, Retro Game Con, PAX South, Emerald Coast Con...I did ASM workshops at University of Baltimore, UCLA, Ringling College of Art and Design, Towson University, and a bunch of others...all getting feedback, gauging needs, enthusiasm, and trying to find the right balance between capacity for complexity and ease of use. A lot of thought went into this, and with it, all of the passion that we have for NES development, just like the rest of us here.

Lastly, I'll leave you with a thought, for those of you who think this will just end up producing a bunch of shovelware and not actually teach people anything about game development. Here's just one of the many examples of users who have NEVER used ASM prior to this, always wanted to make a NES game, thought it would be impossible because they're an artist not a programmer...doing something WAY outside of the box using ASM, after just working with the beta for a few weeks...

A first time ASM user going DEEP to completely rewire the pathing system to fit their game's needs, and sharing with the community:
http://nesmakers.com/viewtopic.php?f=3& ... hing#p1770

And there are many more of these stories if you check in on those forums or the facebook group.

Some of you may still think that somehow this will somehow corrupt this community or this passion. I appreciate your devotion to this thing that we do, but I definitely hope to prove you wrong with it. And for those who have met me, who have worked with me, who know what it is that we're trying to do here, I appreciate all the support and the kind words in the face of this weird condemnation for trying to bring a new tool to the tool belt for creating new NES experiences...

Thanks for listening to the rant. Hopefully it at least gives some perspective. :-)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:05 pm 
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Maybe the "junkrom" example above may have been abrasive if you don't know that it refers to Tony Young sample that was done around 1997 (?) when it was a proof of concept and people didn't know much about the platform. It was just a snarky comment for joking around that now with nesmaker you can show something on the screen with no effort compared to that era. So we went a long way if we take things in perspective. I remember in 2008 when I shown some nametable captured from bionic commando and was all excited about it but I'm sure most people must have been "duh" seeing that sample :lol: We all started somewhere.

As I have mentioned before in other threads, any tools is fine as long that you reach your goal (we had many debates about nesasm, ca65 etc) so I have no issue with NesMaker at all, on the opposite, if it make great games, why not?

Personally, I wouldn't use it since I want to develop the low level code and that is what I find interesting. I'm not an artist so I will use other tools that exist when required. In 10 years, a lot of new editors, drivers came out so it does save me a lot of time that I don't have ^^;;

I think what people are afraid of is the "app store" effect: when anybody and their grandma can make a game, will it become cesspool affecting the discoverability of current homebrews or a lot of great game came out of it and promote it even more. I can see why some people are concerned about that. But since people are quite vocal and we always derail the thread (^^;;) sometime a simple message become a long debate with all kind of "hairy" contents.

It will be interesting to see how NesMaker progress and what it will become. Some people "maybe" elitist like you mentioned but I don't think that everyone think that way. Some are just concerned on the impact since compared to 10 years ago, we are now starting to see more and more homebrew these days.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:42 am 
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Revenant wrote:
I don't think NES Maker is any more liable to bring "lazy noobs" to the scene than, say, Game Maker, RPG Maker, nbasic (remember that?), etc. are.

Uhhhh huh. An "RPG Maker situation" is pretty much the worst possible outcome I can imagine from NES Maker.
But I don't really think it's likely to happen that way. NES Maker is too limited with what you can do to command the same kind of lazy shovelware that RPG Maker (and a lot of other "easy to make games" products) produces.
In other words, to make something satisfactory with NES Maker, you still need to put in a lot of effort. Or at least that's my impression.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:03 am 
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I'd like to address the fact that some of the posts here, jumping to the defense of NES Maker (most obviously 8bitMicroGuy's large post, and JoeGtake2's own), seem to take the stance that a lot of people here are actually against NES Maker.

But I think it's very obvious that that is not the case, and I think darkhog, in creating this thread, is just addressing the elephant in the room. A discussion that's only healthy to get out of the way, now that NES Maker is finally happening.

I myself expressed a bit of a worry about the devaluation of the product of a homemade NES game, but that is not the same as to say that I am not in favor of NES Maker. In fact, if you didn't make NES Maker, I would very likely have ended up making something similar myself, as creating dev tools is probably a bigger hobby for me (as well as my fulltime job) than actually finishing a game.

Rather, the "worry" is completely subjective and very biased. Something that I'm ready to admit, but unable to ignore.
In smalltime hobby game development communities there is often a split between games made by programmers, and games made by game designers and/or artists. The former might result in technically impressive demos, but games completely lacking the nice finish and sensible user interfaces, while the artists create beautiful games that are never finished, or feel terrible to control, etc. At the end of the day you obviously need either the rare individual who masters all aspects of game development (someone like Konjak or Matt Thorson, etc), or of course the classic team made up of people of various skills. Those are the games that take off and hopefully get popular because, well, they deserve it.

So I think it goes without saying that a tool, that essentially removes the programming skill from the equation, easily comes across like it is a "threat" to the value of those of us whose most useful skill is that of programming. All of a sudden it is no longer cool to just make something run on the NES - if you want to showcase whatever makes you, as an individual, relevant, you need to specifically target something that NES Maker is unable to do, which actually takes away a bit of our freedom.

I think that is a very relevant perspective to keep in mind, even if you might not like to think that way.
It doesn't mean that I don't think NES Maker is beneficial to the homebrew scene. There is no way that opening up the potential of creating NES games to a ton of new people isn't a good thing, and you'd be a fool to ignore it.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:26 am 
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Maybe it becomes my charge, then, to figure out a quality metric and some sort of proper sounding board for those that have risen to the top as far as quality (not just NESmaker games, but all new NES games). This is not something I’d ever want to or be able to take on personally (time and conflict of interest), but I am jacked in to enough outlets that this might be both a solution to the concern and a promotional point for those who have done something awesome and worthy of praise (because let’s face it - self promo beyond these forums is most NES homebrewers achilles heel...).

If I had the support of the community for this, I’d look into this. If nothing else, I’ve developed a bit of reach and some pivotal contacts for something like this.

That way, we are to a GOOD point of “anyone and their grandmother” can be toying with NES development and feel that magic of games on real hardware, and new generations understand why it’s so cool, yet there is also a benchmark of successful games that separate them from the young learners shouting “i made a game!”.

Thoughts?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:33 am 
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I think the biggest issue for me is.

NES games and by virtue 8bit games are quick and easy to make. Being "at the metal" is the 'joy' of making them. Things happen quick and fast during development. We can make games of the '8bit god' variety. The time sink is not coding, its protyping, designing and testing, so even though coding the games is really fast and easy, it still takes 6 months to make something good. but its a lot faster and easier than on other more modern platforms.
If you are not here for the challenge of the machine, to find and push it in new ways... why come?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:56 am 
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Sumez wrote:
In smalltime hobby game development communities there is often a split between games made by programmers, and games made by game designers and/or artists. The former might result in technically impressive demos, but games completely lacking the nice finish and sensible user interfaces, while the artists create beautiful games that are never finished, or feel terrible to control, etc. At the end of the day you obviously need either the rare individual who masters all aspects of game development (someone like Konjak or Matt Thorson, etc), or of course the classic team made up of people of various skills. Those are the games that take off and hopefully get popular because, well, they deserve it.


Yeah, i think collaboration is key for most of us to get to the next level. The nesdev compo brings a lot of impressive solo efforts, but i think we're going to see more and more co-labs, because people have their specializations - and ambitions. Nesdev is predominantly made up of programmers. NESmaker seems to bring in more artists, who are also getting a tool to train themselves in technical limitations. Sounds like a match.

revenant wrote:
I don't think NES Maker is any more liable to bring "lazy noobs" to the scene than, say, Game Maker, RPG Maker, nbasic (remember that?), etc. are.


I remember nBasic. I did my first hello world for the NES using it in 2008, inspired by what it could do with small demo games like sack of flour/heart of gold, that penguin game etc. Granted, i didn't look to continue in so many years (i think i joined up in nesdev 2016, after i felt i grew out of romhacking for a few years), but it was the personal starting point. I'm pretty sure NESmaker will work the same for some people, except NESmaker allows for a smoother transition (both allows you to get something working quickly and allows you to grow out of its GUI front end) and is a much more expanded tool than family basic or nBasic ever were.

oziphantom wrote:
If you are not here for the challenge of the machine, to find and push it in new ways...

idk. My ambition is to make experiences that will impress, something that takes the library of nes games in a bit of a new direction. Part of it is aesthetic, part of it is doing things the original hardware designers wouldn't have expected/anticipated. Whether i succeed is another story, but just making a game/part of a game in itself has no charm for me. That's why i don't do much pc game stuff. But just to have something working on the nes might be a charm in its own for some.

JoeGtake2 wrote:
Thoughts?

Just some stray ones.
-Maybe a curated "new NES game news" channel... with guest appearances from known youtube faces doing a second opinion?

-The assembly line is a podcast that sort of does this in a different take on it; chronicling homebrew history, talking about rumours, and interviewing homebrewers, but it is also a bit of an internal affair amongst homebrewers and users of the NintendoAge homebrew subforum (a subportion of all homebrew gamers). I like the cozy club feeling, even if the guys behind it go out of their way to make it digestive for anybody. Maybe promoting this podcast can be part of a wider strategy? They don't do reviews per definition, but it's a great effort towards extending homebrew awareness.

-Another thing i've pondered much about is what to do with the european backwater market. I'm sure there is untapped potential here, it's just that we don't have a proper distribution network/publishing system/news channels in place to tackle logistics and duties. I guess this task is more up to me and other fellow euros.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:03 am 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
idk. My ambition is to make experiences that will impress, something that takes the library of nes games in a bit of a new direction. Part of it is aesthetic, part of it is doing things the original hardware designers wouldn't have expected/anticipated.
So the challenge then ;) To push the pedal to the metal and do that which was though impossible ;)


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