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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:02 am 
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Okay, I don't know if this is sweet/awesome, or crazy, but I do know it is an idea. Anyways, I was thinking when I was making my game: "Gee, I wish I had a level editor for this. And I don't know C completely, or Qbasic, or any other programming language for the PC." Then I had a wonderful idea. A NES ROM that IS a level editor. How could this be done? Simple. Make the level editor ROM battery packed, and store the information in SRAM! Then just copy/paste the data from the .SAV file. This is a very wonderful thing, in my opinion. Now making level editors will be easy. Or easier. What do you all think of my idea? Has anyone already come up with this idea?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:15 am 
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Celius wrote:
Has anyone already come up with this idea?

Excitebike. Lode Runner. And there was a J-only Vertical Shooter Maker game for the Famicom that was similar to RPG Maker (PS1) and Fighter Maker 2 (PS2).


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:23 am 
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...Oh... Now I don't feel special... But that's okay! It's still a great idea. How do you know excitebike does that?


EDIT: Also, this will be here, and people that are in my kind of situation that want to make a level editor can see this, and go oh, that's a good idea (if they think so.).


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:59 am 
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Good points :
- When testing your level, you're sure that it will be tested accurately by the same hardware than the final compilation
- You can do it while knowing only one programming language and one hardware setting

Bad points :
- While copy the sav game is the only solution to do this on a PC, it is a non-sence for the real hardware.
- Edit features would be pretty limited on the NES. I mean, you have no mouse, you you'll have to do all your editor trogh the NES controller.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:55 am 
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I think it's a good idea also, I was going to do that a while back but never really did. Since I'd know how to do it rather than writing some PC program. It would work on the real system too, with an NES to RS232 adapter you could save/load files. Maybe even write them to flashrom.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:29 am 
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I don't know... I think making the editor run on the target system creates unnecessary extra complication. The map will most likely take the whole screen, wich means you'll have to code the interface separatelly and switch between it and the editing area. Also, implementing multiple levels of zoom would pratically impossible.

And it would be overall harder, if you keep in mind the simplicity of coding point and click interfaces due to the so called "visual" way of programming.

I think the idea is interesting, but more in a novelty kinda way, as I think it isn't very practical at all.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 12:19 pm 
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Well, this would be a good idea for 2x2 meta tile level editors. And I would not be putting this on the real NES. It'd just be a ROM on my PC, because I CAN'T copy/paste data from the real hardware of course. But I'd have the screen for the level editor start out as a .nam file. Here's what it'll look like:
Image
This is a .nam file that I made. Notice how there are 8x8 tiles. That's because it only shows the top left corner of each meta tile for the pattern table select thing. My 1 screen 2x2 meta tile level engine has it so you put like $80 in a .db string, and it will be loaded to the screen as:

$80,$81
$90,$91

So it allows you to select tiles: 0,2,4,6,8,A,C,E,10,12...etc. Because it is a 1 screen 2x2 meta tile level editor that uses the engine that I described to you all. And the tiles are 8x8 so everthing can fit on 1 screen. I'm sorry, I kinda need to get off this computer for a sec to go do something, so I explained that kinda really bad...


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2006 1:13 pm 
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Bregalad wrote:
- While copy the sav game is the only solution to do this on a PC, it is a non-sence for the real hardware.

Could you program the editor to use a cable between the PC and the NES? Using real hardware would let you see for certain how colors interact.

Quote:
- Edit features would be pretty limited on the NES. I mean, you have no mouse, you you'll have to do all your editor trogh the NES controller.

NES and Super NES controllers are electrically compatible. Could you program the editor to use one of these in port 2?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:10 am 
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Hey! I've gotten my level editor up and running, I just need to make the finishing touch where it can save the level. That will be easy to do. But it's pretty good. You can see for yourself here: http://www.freewebs.com/the_bott/cynthi.nes . This must be played with full view of the screen, like in Nintendulator. There are weird graphics choices, you can hack into it with a graphics editor to change the graphics of course. Instructions:

Press select to alternate between Pattern table and Level editor.

Go to pattern table, and put cursor over the desired tile.

Press select to go back to the Editor.

Move cursor to select desired position.

Press A to place tile there.


It's really simple. But I will have one where you can save it. But this is what it will be like. It's not the most user freindly thing, but it's pretty okay. Better than manually coding maps. I'm not making this for everyone's use, I'm making it for me, and showing it to people. If you wanna use it, go ahead.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:27 am 
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Okay! It's done! Same link to it, and it saves when ever you put a tile down. It takes your position number on the level editor, and when you put a tile down, it saves the byte of that number in $6000+position on level editor. It's hard to explain. But it works! I'm so proud! I'm going to go make levels for my game now!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 3:38 am 
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Pretty good. Now, you would probably improve it to be able to make custom format of levels, and add custom tiles ? Have a tile layer style programm running on the target system would also be cool !

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:14 pm 
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You mean like have a 30x32 editor? Well, It'd be real annoying to code, though. I was feeling lazy last night, and I realized I could get the pattern table selection to be in 1 PPU section $2000-$20FF. if it were lower down, It'd be SO much harder to code. Well, it is pretty good I think. Like NSA, the meta tile version! I'm thinking of making more than just map editors like this. Like other types of editors, like item editors, enemy editors, things like that. I did make that editor in a day, so you have to at least give me credit for that. But I don't know if these other editors will be able to be whipped up like that in a day...

EDIT: What do you mean by custom tiles? Like tiles of your own? Or custom tile IDs? The editor is built around a format that allows you to put a byte down like this:

$80

And it would show on the screen:

$80,$81
$90,$91

And the pattern table just shows these tile IDs:

$00,$02,$04...$0E
$20,$22,$24...$2E
$40,$42,$44...etc.

Because those are the corners of each 2x2 meta tile. Do ya get it? There's a weird bug in this editor though. It allows you to press a over a tile on the pattern table, and it will show up where you just were on the editor. But, when you do it over tile 0, it the screen just shakes, and nothing happens. But you can still just press select and go put tile 0 down like a normal tile, just when you try pressing a over on the pattern table while the cursor is over tile 0, it doesn't work!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:37 pm 
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I meant that you could allow larger maps and test them with scrolling, and also make a homebuilt tile editor (trough it would be hard to edit tiles with the controller, you rather would do it with a real tile editor and paste it in your ROM). Are maps based on tiles or metatiles ? It would be better to be based on metatiles, so it can be used in an actual game.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 7:12 pm 
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Bregalad wrote:
Are maps based on tiles or metatiles ? It would be better to be based on metatiles, so it can be used in an actual game.


What do you mean by that? Like, are they written to memory as tile #s or meta tile #s? Well, if that was your question, They are written as the first tile in the meta tile. So if $36 is written to memory, this is what it will appear as when loaded on the screen:

$36,$37
$46,$47

Because my format takes 1 number, and shows the 3 around it on screen. Like what I said up there. I've made maps with this that I've loaded on my game, and they work just fine. My editor is successful. But yes, I want to make a 2x2 metatile map editor with scrolling and stuff like you suggested. I will use that for our project. And I'll probably make a magic editor, enemy editor, and all that stuff, because I don't know C yet, and it would be much harder for me to make a program with C than it would with the NES.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 8:02 pm 
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Celius wrote:
Because my format takes 1 number, and shows the 3 around it on screen.

But then you get only 64 blocks out of the 256 tiles, right? And you will not be able to share tiles between blocks (well, you may BE able, but will most likely get strange results). I think you should use only 6 bits to represent your blocks (since you have only 64 of them) and use the other 2 bits to represent some information regarding that block. Maybe if it's solid or not, and stuff like that. I know you didn't ask, but that was just an idea, that's what I'd do, you know?


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