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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:22 pm 
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hawken wrote:
Just a thought on this but the majority of Famitracker NES tunes use the VRC6 chip and that was used in 3 games? So based on that I think it's an artists job to get the most out of what the NES could do, not what the NES is characteristic of (like with chip tunes).


Well, there's what you would do with a VRC6, what you would do with unrestrained use of an NES, and what you would do in the context of an actual NES game. I've made music in all of these situations, and for me it's a very different approach on each of these.

1. The first approach is just trying to make some good music, inspired by the NES sound and somewhat related to it, but this really isn't about proving what the hardware can do. Does anyone really care what the limitations of VRC6 are? It's awfully powerful, not much of a constrained music platform, just a fun set of sounds to work with.

2. The second approach involves proving it could actually be done on the NES, but at the same time you're allowed to sacrifice all other considerations for just the music. This stuff doesn't sound like NES game music, for very good reason, but at least the constraints here are severe enough that it's a lot of fun to try and see what you can do within them. Doing this well really involves getting to know the hardware very well.

3. The third results in something that sounds authentic, and is authentic. It's running on an NES, in a game, and meeting all the other constraints that entails. Every piece of a game is sharing the resource budget of the whole, and you can't really get a feel for this without working within a complete project.


So... I mean, I am interested in all 3 of these things, but there is different motivation for each type of thing.

1 is something like Shovel Knight or Volgarr. Maybe you like 3-colour sprite palettes, and square waves, and other artifacts of the NES limitations, but you just use them as stylistic elements and make something fun using those.

2 is Demoscene, Famicompo, tech demos, etc. People who really care about what the hardware could do, and usually want to make the most out of a relatively focused scope.

3 is retro game development. You care very much that it works and fits on the console. The scope is usually too large to apply a Demoscene level of technique to every element; you have a lot of content to make for a user experience of many hours. It's a different kind of art entirely from number 2, though it shares the need to know the hardware and prove it works.


So, like... some of the answers you've got in this thread fall into the mode 2 category, as I see it. Things that are technically possible, but very advanced and not actually seen in games. If I wasn't going to build the demo, though, I'm automatically in category 1, and in category 1 it doesn't really matter if something was marginally possible on the NES or not-- I would just do it if it looked/felt good. If I was in category 3, I would have to make a serious decision about whether the technical effect was worth implementing, whether it would be better to spend your limited development time or ROM budget or other resource on something else. It's a very different mindset.

I don't know what you're looking to do, or how you'd categorize these acts, but that's how it's organized in my own headspace, and why I'm interested in each of them differently.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 11:31 pm 
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Thats a very astute observation, a could almost serve as an official guide.

I guess my project falls in-between 1 & 2.

I've been updating a thread for it on pixelation but here's the current state:

Image

Image

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W81cXeh_WGM

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Last edited by hawken on Tue Feb 03, 2015 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:19 am 
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Quote:
(pirate walk-cycle)
Very nice, particularly the use of color to show whether the foot or peg is in front. (I don't think I've seen a nine-frame walk-cycle before, either.) The (5) colors are a bit less NES-simple...not that you can't do it with overlapping sprites. Easily doable with 4 sprites per line, and often with 3- though some of the 4s are only "by-one-pixel" affairs. (The eye/lapel pixels are obvious ones, and similarly obviously change the image significantly in their absence, so shouldn't be "optimized" out).

The hat is so neatly self-contained (without seeming it, thanks to the bounce) I almost expect it to be removable.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:48 am 
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Myask wrote:
Quote:
(pirate walk-cycle)
Very nice, particularly the use of color to show whether the foot or peg is in front. (I don't think I've seen a nine-frame walk-cycle before, either.) The (5) colors are a bit less NES-simple...not that you can't do it with overlapping sprites. Easily doable with 4 sprites per line, and often with 3- though some of the 4s are only "by-one-pixel" affairs. (The eye/lapel pixels are obvious ones, and similarly obviously change the image significantly in their absence, so shouldn't be "optimized" out).

The hat is so neatly self-contained (without seeming it, thanks to the bounce) I almost expect it to be removable.


Thanks for the feedback, really appreciated.

The cycle is a standard 8 frame loop. I use a tool called Pixen for animation, its a bit scrappy and crashes like crazy but I've not found a tool that can replace it in terms of workflow. Definitely a bit more relaxed when it comes to sprites per line, I like the NES look of games that use limited palettes on their sprites so will try to keep the colours low.

Hat wasn't originally removable but now I'll have to make it so! Was thinking the hat and beard are his health.

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Last edited by hawken on Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:28 am 
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hawken wrote:
Thanks for the feedback, really appreciated.

The cycle is a standard 8 frame loop.

Oops. 0-based thinking strikes again. My mistake.
hawken wrote:
Was thinking the hat and beard are his health.
If he gets too un-bearded whatever he's got under the coat will become visible, though. I have no idea what manner of shirt he is wearing, if any.
(Wario Land did have a losable hat, after all.)

*cough*


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:39 am 
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hawken wrote:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W81cXeh_WGM

This looks really good! I have to say this though: you seemed so concerned about the colors an NES would accurately be able to generate but used a resolution twice as wide as the 256 pixels of the NES? This alone already makes the game more like Shovel Knight than an actual NES title, so you probably shouldn't worry about these hardware limitations.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:58 am 
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tokumaru wrote:
This looks really good! I have to say this though: you seemed so concerned about the colors an NES would accurately be able to generate but used a resolution twice as wide as the 256 pixels of the NES?

Eh. I'm probably going to do the same (or use 427x240) if my actual NES game ever makes it to other platforms. 256x240 is not a great resolution to scale to HD (1920x1080). Would need a border, or very horizontally scaled pixels.

If the levels are actually larger than 256x240, there's not much reason not to. Wouldn't work for a game like Battle Kid, though.

Edit: Though scaling could affect how enemies spawn across the two versions, which is something I struggle with. Get used to speed running one, enemies aren't where you expect in the other.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:22 pm 
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The picture generated by the NES (which fills the 4:3 screen) is 280x240, with 24 pixels at the side of each scanline in a border that's normally hidden in overscan. Thus the pixel aspect ratio (the width of each pixel divided by its height) is 8:7. If you want to extend this to HDTV wihle keeping the same pixel aspect ratio, you end up with about 373x240, with 352x240 of actual picture inside the border, or 44x30 tiles. If I remember correctly, this is about the same res you'd get out of a TurboGrafx-16 in "medium resolution".

The other option is to make your game for 256x160, letterboxed, and then expand a 280x180-pixel window of this to the 720p or 1080p frame. You could have it draw the status bar over the playfield on 16:9 HDTVs and out of the letterbox frame on 4:3 SDTVs.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:51 pm 
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yep the game is 427x240

according to rainwarrior's quite succulent 1 2 3 strictness chart, my game falls somewhere between 1 & 2.

I would love to add artefacts like tile palette errors when scrolling left and right but it's too taxing to reverse engineer NES shortcomings in modern game engines.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:00 pm 
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Kasumi wrote:
If the levels are actually larger than 256x240, there's not much reason not to. Wouldn't work for a game like Battle Kid, though.

Besides the enemy spawning that you mentioned, there are also bosses and other scenes that take place in a single screen. If the resolution is bigger, you'll either have to give characters more freedom (which could completely change the dynamic of a boss fight) or invent some sort of visible barrier to keep everything locked in.


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