- Battle City
- Balloon Fight
I started working in december 2016. I had a lot of fun making the first screen. Took me about 20 days to finish it. I posted a teaser THD forums, which sparked some interest.
One of my friends on that forums even volunteered to draw the title screen for me. A nice collaboration ensued. He quickly came up with a first concept sketch:
It has been then refined a few times and adapted to NES limitations
After around 10 days the final version emerged:
I have finished programming that screen soon after. And my friend also drew a great panel for Battle City, but was unable to draw one for Balloon Fight. For Contra we just used ripped game assets. But then i encountered a problem when attempting to test it on hardware. Motivation plummeted, development slowed down. I tried to finish it for my friend's birthday, but there was still to much to do and the issue with hardware tests was still unresolved. The project died.
I've revived it in late 2019. With the help i got from folks from here i managed to solve my issue, patching a few emulators in the process. I have arduously compressed the title screen nametable by hand to save like 20 bytes compared to compressing it using "that should be ok" algorithm.
The fact that i still didnt have a panel for Balloon Fight was starting to block me. This was all i got:
I started to look for artists, with some success, but i ended drawing that missing panel myself. It was a painful process full of self-doubt, obscenities and tears, and the outcome was terribad, but considering my nonexistent art skills im still proud of it:
The project in nearing completion, however i still miss some critical features, as well as optional ones. That's one of the reason for this post. Most important matter for me now is that i need music (and sfx). I thought i would be able to convert a track from MIDI, but getting a result of acceptable quality was still way beyond my skills.
Another issue is that i still have a lot free space on the cart and decided that i should add more games that would be selectable from a (perhaps hidden?) simple game list screen similar to those on most multicarts. So i'm looking for suggestions for good 2 player games (either commercial or homebrew) that can be put on mapper 15 cart without much problems (mostly NROM and UNROM).
I also wanna add some quirky features and easter eggs to make this cart more interesting. One idea is to a put 2 diodes inside the cart, hidden behind the front label picturing waterfall level boss from Contra (the one seen above). Those diodes would be where the boss's eyes are and during that boss fight they would blink in sync with the eyes on TV screen. That would require hacking Contra to add logic to signal the blinks to the cart by writing to $6000, which is quite simple and i've already done that. But it also requires adding logic on the mapper side and i would prolly need help with designing that logic, because i dont have much experience with electronics.
Another feature that involves hacking ROMs was adding "life borrowing" mechanism (same as that present in Contra) to BF and BC. That was quite challenging in case of BF due to lack of enough free space. But i somehow managed to squeeze it in together with a feature of bonus lives every 100k points.
I wanted to change the names on game title screens to Brontra, Bro City and Balloon Bros. In case of BC that's just a matter of changing 6 bytes in the ROM, but for BF and Contra it would be pretty difficult and i'm not sure if it's worth it.
Similar in vein was my idea replace death sounds with Wilhelm scream. I doubt it would be possible in BF because of the mentioned tight space and it would make no sense in BC, but i'm still considering adding it to Contra.
As for the easter eggs - i came up with some actions what would trigger them, but i have trouble thinking of what could they be. Among my trigger ideas were: konami code, resetting the console 7 times (or maybe 10% chance per reset for something to occur), stuffing a microphone inside the cart and having to yell "BRO IN ONE" while holding select, and lastly mounting an inertial switch in the cart that would require yanking the cart sideways to activate it.
I'll gladly welcome your ideas for easter eggs and ways to trigger them. I was considering having certain easter eggs alter the behavior of the games (like only changing title screens to their BROified variants only if BRO mode has been activated, same with Wilhelm scream), but that might not be feasible.
And last issue: i need a front and back label for the cart. I might be able to design it myself despite being artistically challenged, but if someone was willing to make it, then i would be very grateful.
To sum up - i need:
someone that would help with musicdone!
- someone that would design front and back label for the cart
- recommendations of good 2 player games that i could include in this multicart
- your ideas for easter eggs and features to implement