Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

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

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aureus123
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Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

Post by aureus123 » Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:38 pm

Hi,

I was wondering which computers did use people in the 80’s to write and compile Nes games, and if it is possible to recreate part of that experience. For instance, I’ve a c64 with sd2iec and I’m thinking in writing a Hello World rom (merlin assembler maybe?) and then extracts the executable from the .d64 and put it into an N8 for testing it on the Nes (moreover I think the sd2iec allows to directly write a file on the root directory so maybe it is not necessary to use a PC for processing that, one compile it in the c64, press the reset button of the sd2iec, drop the file in the memory card (as far the file fits in the c64 memory), extract the card and put in directly into the everdrive :) ).

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Dwedit
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Re: Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

Post by Dwedit » Sat Mar 27, 2021 3:59 pm

I know that a few devs made their own assemblers and linkers to run on MS-DOS machines. I think some of them used RAM-based cartridges as well.
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tokumaru
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Re: Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

Post by tokumaru » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:38 pm

AFAIK we have no records of the C64 being used for NES development back in the day, but you can certainly give that a go if you want. You don't need very sophisticated tools to write 6502 programs, but they do make the whole process much more convenient.

lidnariq
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Re: Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

Post by lidnariq » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:50 pm

Maybe just read this past thread: viewtopic.php?t=19368

Oziphantom
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Re: Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

Post by Oziphantom » Sat Mar 27, 2021 8:56 pm

Commodore 128s were used in NES development. so you could use a C64 it would just be a lot slower ;)
Nasir used an Apple ][ with mini assembler, so anything could be used.
But MS-DOS, PDS or Software Creations assemblers were also used.

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rainwarrior
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Re: Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

Post by rainwarrior » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:23 pm

I've also heard of Atari ST, PC88 and PC98 being used to develop NES games.

There's a story about the first Kirby GB game being largely developed on a Famicom Disk System with a custom trackball accessory.

You could really use more or less any computer that was available at that time to make your game. There were fairly powerful computers available even in the early 80s, but what people actually ended up using would have been dependent on budget and availability of tools. Like the FDS thing might seem bizarre, but it would have been a lot less expensive than some kind of PC.

Making your own tools, especially an assembler, was very common to do.

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dougeff
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Re: Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

Post by dougeff » Sun Mar 28, 2021 5:28 am

I think a lot of people at that time learned programming on 6502 computers (Apple II, Atari 800/900, C64, or BBC Micro), and likely had one of those at home. They were probably experts in 6502 assembly before they even saw an NES.

By the way, in the earliest days of NES, it wasn't uncommon for graphics to be hand drawn on graph paper, and then converted to hex numbers by hand, and then typed as a string of hex values.
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Gilbert
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Re: Experiencing a real development of a Nes cart with 80’s computers

Post by Gilbert » Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:16 pm

Hudson Soft initially assembled their Famicom games using ACT65 on some "expensive CP/M86 system" (probably something in the Sharp X series, as they're an OEM contractor who wrote system software on these systems, and they later moved to using PC9801VM running CP/M), before eventually writing their own assembler and graphics tools on native PC9801 (which later also ported to MS-DOS).

You can check the original source of a certain game to experience what it was like at that time. I think if you can set up an environment to successfully recreate the ROM using old tools (instead of say, converting the files to be assembled something newer like ASM6) you're right on track.

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