I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Discuss technical or other issues relating to programming the Nintendo Entertainment System, Famicom, or compatible systems.

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Gamers
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I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by Gamers » Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:20 am

Hello, happy march 31, 8 days before the world ends. :shock:
I just got back into so much stuff recently, and that includes interest in NES homebrew, I was wondering how to make it, and what types of games I can make with it. :)
Please respond, because I am kind of impatient, and don't want to wait a very long time to potentially get "I don't know" as a response, thank you! :D

Pokun
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by Pokun » Tue Mar 31, 2020 4:14 am

Your first step is to learn 6502 if you don't already know it, and the NES hardware.

I recommend to do the Nerdy Nights tutorials (that's where I started) and supplement with some other generic 6502 document or tutorial. Then ask about things you don't understand. If you are a beginner (like I was), be prepared for a lot of hard work (and patience) and you probably have to go through the tutorials more than once. Knowing any kind of programming at all helps (I knew C++ before I started), but it's not a requirement.

There are some good 6502 links here.
Here is my favourite reference page.

If you start with Nerdy Nights you will be using the assembler nesasm which is fine. But the two most popular assemblers here are ca65 (powerful but a bit advanced) and asm6 (as simple as nesasm and my favourite), so once you have learned the basics you might want to look into those.
For graphics I recommend NES Screen Tool.

Templates for asm6 (NROM, UNROM and CNROM)
Example ROM for ca65 (NROM and FDS)
Example ROM for ca65 (NROM, SGROM, SNROM, UNROM and UOROM)


What kind of games can you make? About any type of 2D game, although memory is quite limited (2 kB without extra RAM on the cartridge). The NES is a sprite-based system which means it can make great looking games without a lot of expensive hardware and memory, but for example a lot of animations on large parts of the screen is hard to do. Also colors are quite limited. It has smooth scrolling in all directions and can have up to 8 sprites (8x8 movable images) in a row. There is only one background layer (and a single-colored backdrop behind it), but each sprite can be either in front of or behind the background. The background is made of a grid of tiles that are selected from a table of tile patterns.

boonutgames
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by boonutgames » Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:47 am

Look up nesmaker from the new 8 bit hero’s. I think you will be glad you did. [url][url][url][/url][/url][/url]

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tokumaru
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by tokumaru » Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:09 am

Gamers wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:20 am
Hello, happy march 31, 8 days before the world ends.
Then I guess you don't have enough time to learn NES development.

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gauauu
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by gauauu » Tue Mar 31, 2020 1:25 pm

boonutgames wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:47 am
Look up nesmaker from the new 8 bit hero’s. I think you will be glad you did.
If your goal is to focus on graphics and level design, or just to get a game out there, this is good advice.

If the goal is to learn how programming for the NES happens, and really understand how the NES works, it's probably not the route you'd want to go. (Pokun's advice would be better in this case)

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Alp
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by Alp » Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:16 pm

tokumaru wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:09 am
Gamers wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 3:20 am
Hello, happy march 31, 8 days before the world ends.
Then I guess you don't have enough time to learn NES development.
I finished my first NES game in only 3 days, to learn attributes, back when I was still making Cat Quest. 8 days is plenty of time. :lol:

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DRW
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by DRW » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:55 am

Question to the original poster:

Do you know the C programming language? If yes, this might help you a lot. You still need to learn the basics (Assembly, NES hardware), but when it comes to game logic, using C can be a huge boost in productivity. And don't let people tell you that you can only do "Space Invaders"-kind of games with C on the NES.

Alp wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:16 pm
I finished my first NES game in only 3 days, to learn attributes, back when I was still making Cat Quest.
Of course you did.

You also developed a platformer that looks five times as advanced as "Super Mario Bros.", but uses only a fraction of its level size:
https://www.furaffinity.net/view/21878258/

You developed a game for a contest:
https://www.furaffinity.net/view/18026892/

A science fiction platformer:
https://www.furaffinity.net/view/17824156/

A functional level of a "Giana Sisters" clone:
https://www.furaffinity.net/view/16425711/

Another platformer that "puts those mapper-based games to shame":
https://www.furaffinity.net/view/16213176/

"Cotton & Candy" was "90% complete":
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=16588&start=30#p208378

In a private message, you even showed me a screenshot of a "Castlevania" clone that you're working at, but for some reason, this game isn't referenced anywhere else.

And so on and so forth. And yet, nobody has ever seen anything of your games besides screenshots.
Isn't this strange?
My game "City Trouble": www.denny-r-walter.de/city.htm

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cpow
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by cpow » Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:27 am

Alp wrote:
Tue Mar 31, 2020 5:16 pm
I finished my first NES game in only 3 days, to learn attributes, back when I was still making Cat Quest. 8 days is plenty of time. :lol:
And we 'finished' (ie. not 'polished') Super City Mayor in 48 hours. ;)
Yes, I'm tooting my own horn but damnit, with only eight days left in this world at least I finally managed to use nesicide for what I created it for! :beer:

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Alp
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by Alp » Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:42 am

DRW wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:55 am
And so on and so forth. And yet, nobody has ever seen anything of your games besides screenshots.
Isn't this strange?
You were rude and dismissive towards my Castlevania game, so I didn't bother sending you a link to the demo.
(I *did* send links to at least 2 other users, here.)

The large majority of my games can easily be found on DLsite and DMM, with a simple search.

aureus123
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by aureus123 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 11:00 am

As someone else has said, you have the "fast way" and the "good way". The fast way is to use some canned platform (such as NESmaker) but you'll be learn a little about programming the NES.

The good way is to learn programming itself, it may involve assembler and (usually) C language but it doesn't end here, and you're goint to get stuck quickly only with that. I'd also recommend to know about algorithms (at least basic things such as sorting algorithms) and data structures (e.g. arrays, linked lists). A very good book (used in undergradutes courses of computer science) is Introduction to Algorithms by Cormen et al.

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DRW
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by DRW » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:11 pm

Alp wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:42 am
The large majority of my games can easily be found on DLsite and DMM, with a simple search.
Care to give me an actual name? Neither "Cat Quest", nor "Cotton & Candy" gave me any results on DLsite.

Also: The site doesn't provide an option to search for the NES format, only EXE. And in my previous post, I wasn't talking about some DirectX or Flash games, but about your NES programs.

And DMM is Japanese, so I don't even know where to seach for games there.

Alp wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 9:42 am
You were rude and dismissive towards my Castlevania game, so I didn't bother sending you a link to the demo.
I didn't say anything about receiving a ROM. I pointed out that I haven't seen this game referenced anywhere else, which is a bit strange if this is really one of your projects and not just a mockup screenshot you whipped up in an hour.

Alright, here's a question: fceux can create videos. Would you be willing to create a 10 seconds video of the gameplay of your "Castlevania" clone? Some actual gameplay where you kill an enemy and the player character gets hit by one.
My game "City Trouble": www.denny-r-walter.de/city.htm

tepples
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by tepples » Sun Apr 05, 2020 5:06 pm

I asked a related technical question about recording video of NES games in this topic.

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DRW
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by DRW » Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:23 am

Alright, Alp. No reply, I see. (Despite you having written in another thread in the meantime, so you were definitely online.)

So, yeah, looks like you are just a dazzler. You haven't programmed any NES game, have you? You just draw the graphics and pretend to work on the actual game because you like the praise that people give you. That's the reason why nobody has ever seen any ROM from you or at least a gameplay video. Those games of yours simply don't exist.
My game "City Trouble": www.denny-r-walter.de/city.htm

turboxray
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by turboxray » Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:19 am

Is drama really necessary in this thread?

OP: What's your experience with retro console development, or any game development? What languages and hardware have you worked with? I like the nesmaker recommendation, if you're just looking to try something out real quick.

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gauauu
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Re: I am interested in making homebrew, what is my first step?

Post by gauauu » Thu Apr 09, 2020 7:28 am

turboxray wrote:
Thu Apr 09, 2020 12:19 am
Is drama really necessary in this thread?
Well, it has veered a bit off-topic, but I think DRW's original challenge is fair. Alp is making really bold claims about how easy NES homebrew is to learn, so pushing back against that is quite reasonable, particularly if it appears that his claims are untrue.

That said, further discussion about the possible existence of Alp's games would probably be better suited to continue elsewhere.

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