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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:50 am 
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Hi my name is James,

I really hope this is the right place to post this, and if not Mods, please feel free to move :)

I'll just introduce myself quickly as i'm new to the forums, and i've come here with a couple of purposes. Firstly, i want to learn about development for the NES. I'm 30 now, and i've been playing games since my first machine, which was a Donkey Kong Game and Watch, back in 1984. My first NES came along in 1988 and i've been addicted ever since. I'm no programmer, but being both a musician (production and performance) and artist (freelance illustrator and graphic designer, currently embarking on a Masters Degree in the latter) i'm incredibly interested in these aspects of production for the NES. What facinates me most is actively working within both strengths and limitations of the machine, and of course the thrill of delving deep into the heart of something that helped shaped the course of my life.

The second reason i'm here is because i'm currently looking into hiring a programmer to work on a NES based project.

As i mentioned, i'm a musician. I play in a band called The Wailingest Cats: http://www.facebook.com/thewailingestcats?sk=info

Currently we're working on ambitious multimedia concept.

The central focus of this project is a film that we are producing.

We have also written and are currently in the process of recording the film's soundtrack.

The idea behind this is the integration of music and cinema. The story of the film is split into several different acts; each act is represented by a different piece of music.

This is where the video game side of things comes in.

Part of what i wish to explore as an artist is the notion of how a property such as a film is then disseminated into various different medium.

Essentially, i wish to create a video game version of the film.

I don't want to talk too much about the concept of the film on a public forum as it is still in development, but rest assured, it is very cool and would work exceptionally well in the context of a game.

This is where i need a programmer. Art direction, script/story, and music will all be handled by myself and my writer. What i need is someone who is able to code NES games and would be able to competently and coherently pull my ideas together.

This is a very serious project. The NES game will form part of a much larger conceptual body of artwork. It will be funded, and since i am essentially looking to outsource the programming, you will be paid for your work fairly and as the project progresses.

What i am looking for is interested and competent programmers and also recommendations from the community as to who might be a good fit for this kind of job.

I know i'm new here, so i hope i've gone the right way about this, and i'd really appreciate the help of the community in finding the right person for this project.

I'm happy to discuss it further here, but bear in mind much of the artistic and aesthetic direction of the film is still under wraps. Anything else is cool though.

If anyone wishes to get me on email to discuss further, just give me a shout: graphicblandishment@gmail.com.

Cheers guys, and nice to meet you all :)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:24 am 
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Why don't you make and post some mockup screenshots to illustrate what you'd want from the game? Even crude stick figures will do.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:58 am 
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There has already been several people with a post count of 1 to propose a "very serious paid project" and that never make a second post, this guy is probably just one more of those.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:00 am 
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Hey! Thanks for your response.

As for what i'd want from the game; i guess this would depend slightly on the programmer and what genre he felt comfortable working with.

What i am most concerned about is that the game is fun, relatively simple in concept and well put together and flows well.

The nature of the film's story is that it encompasses a journey and a chase between two protagonists. This journey progresses deeper and deeper through variously themed levels of hell. It is not necessarily a traditional view of hell, but an underworld, another place. Think David Lynch, David Chronenberg, John Carpenter.

The tone is dark and surreal, but certainly not without black comedy.

I envisage some kind of story driven game, with elements of action and puzzle solving.

For these reasons i feel like a traditional point-and-click could work well; think Maniac Mansion.

Maybe a platform RPG such as Wonderboy In Mosterland.

Perhaps even better, something like Sweet Home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhRBXLn5lis.

Possibly a traditional Final Fantasy type RPG, albeit on a smaller scale.

I guess part of the reason i have come here is also definitely to seek help from you guys on matters like this. For example;

What would you say are practical genres to work within?
What is a realistic goal in terms of gameplay?

etc

I'm aware that creating a game like this is an ambitious project and i want to work with the limitations of the system and the development scene as opposed to imaging something so grandiose it wouldn't be possible, if that makes sense!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:07 am 
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Sendo wrote:
I'm aware that creating a game like this is an ambitious project and i want to work with the limitations of the system and the development scene as opposed to imaging something so grandiose it wouldn't be possible, if that makes sense!

Here's a guide to the impact of NES limitations on some genres, along with an old discussion about the complexity possible in a freeware project by a single hobbyist with a day job.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:21 am 
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Bregalad wrote:
There has already been several people with a post count of 1 to propose a "very serious paid project" and that never make a second post, this guy is probably just one more of those.


Hi. I understand that you guys have probably seen plenty of people like that. I staff a forum myself and i am more than used to time-wasters.

I didn't want to put too much in the first paragraph, but i can only try and tell you a little bit more about myself and my work. Hopefully you'll be able to understand a little more about me and what i've done over the years in music, art and also videogames. I am well known and trusted by the communities i am involved in, and i contribute heavily in all cases.

Bit of a long post coming up, sorry about that.

As mentioned, i'm 30 years old. I'm not a young guy with loads of illformed ideas and deluded ideas of how things might work. I'm fully aware of how ambitious a project like this and hopefully so far you can see i've treated it with the respect it deserves.

As i also mentioned i am going to be studying for an MA in Graphic Design at Camberwell College Of Arts in about a weeks time. This is one of the worlds foremost design colleges. I have been working on my research project for the past 8 months or so. The NES project i am proposing here is a larger part of this research project. Which also includes the film itself, the music and various other collaborations in the world of music art and contemporary dance to name a few.

Furthermore i am a professional freelance graphic designer and illustrator. My new website is under work, so my portfolio hasn't been updated for a while but if you'd like to check it out much of my older work (including a lot of video game related stuff) can be found here: http://www.graphicblandishment.com/ If you're interested in my more recent work in things like character concept art, record artwork etc i'll happily post up some new stuff.

Musically, i run a record label: http://www.facebook.com/Decorumrecords
And have been in countless bands over the years. I've already linked you to my main one (The Wailingest Cats), but some other older ones if you're interested: http://www.myspace.com/anaxe http://www.myspace.com/capuchinorkitano http://www.myspace.com/justicehchrist I have worked within the DIY scene promoting shows and independent music for years.

I also staff the forums over at Neo Empire: www.neoempire.com as well as helping to plan and run the UK's largest fighting game tournament, Super Vs Battle: www.supervsbattle.com. I'm Sendo over there too, so come and say hello :)

This is just a bit of what i do, but hopefully you can see that when it comes to working with individuals and within communities i am most definitely not a time waster. This project has the potential to be enormously exciting, i am offering someone the potential to earn some money doing what they love, and i really appreciate any help you guys can give me with it.


Last edited by Sendo on Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:24 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:22 am 
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tepples wrote:
Sendo wrote:
I'm aware that creating a game like this is an ambitious project and i want to work with the limitations of the system and the development scene as opposed to imaging something so grandiose it wouldn't be possible, if that makes sense!

Here's a guide to the impact of NES limitations on some genres, along with an old discussion about the complexity possible in a freeware project by a single hobbyist with a day job.


Brilliant. Thanks for this, will give these a read now. Very much appreciated :)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:29 am 
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OK now that you made more post I guess I can trust you without a problem.
This kinds of projects are interesting, however it's so bad to have to collaborate with someone on the net strictly without ever knowing him in real life. I wish I'd be part of a band or something in real life that make games so I could program games and other people would design them however things didn't go as well as I'd liked them to do.

So yeah this project might be a little interesting, however I haven't done much nesdev lately so I don't know if I could start such another big project. Although if other people do the hard work and I just have to program what I'm supposed to program it might make things much easier than doing an entiere game.

A point and click game should be especially simple to code, although I haven't tried to actually code one so I can't really know but it sounds one of the easier genres to implement.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:55 am 
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tepples wrote:
Sendo wrote:
I'm aware that creating a game like this is an ambitious project and i want to work with the limitations of the system and the development scene as opposed to imaging something so grandiose it wouldn't be possible, if that makes sense!

Here's a guide to the impact of NES limitations on some genres, along with an old discussion about the complexity possible in a freeware project by a single hobbyist with a day job.


Thanks again for this man. I read through the limitations. It sounds like my genre suggestions might be feasible?

I'm also working through the other thread, it's a bit more to read but what i've been interested in is the amount of people who have suggested that making a game is a lot easier if you have someone to do all the music and art for you. Just so you guys know, this is exactly what i'm offering. All i need is a programmer, just as i would hire a session a musician to play on a record.

Bregalad wrote:
OK now that you made more post I guess I can trust you without a problem.
This kinds of projects are interesting, however it's so bad to have to collaborate with someone on the net strictly without ever knowing him in real life. I wish I'd be part of a band or something in real life that make games so I could program games and other people would design them however things didn't go as well as I'd liked them to do.

So yeah this project might be a little interesting, however I haven't done much nesdev lately so I don't know if I could start such another big project. Although if other people do the hard work and I just have to program what I'm supposed to program it might make things much easier than doing an entiere game.

A point and click game should be especially simple to code, although I haven't tried to actually code one so I can't really know but it sounds one of the easier genres to implement.


Hey again man, glad i could help show you that this is a serious proposal :)

I agree with your concerns about location. I hear so many stories about games i was looking forward to seeing being cancelled because a member of the team in another country went AWOL and took their work with them.

For this reason, being UK based in an ideal world, i would imagine it would work best to do work with a UK programmer.
Are there any UK guys that you guys could recommend me of the top of your heads that you feel might be interested?

Having said that, as i've already mentioned i am also prepared to work with the the scene functions. And i realise that finding a UK programmer might be a tall order.

I understand that you're based in Switzerland Bregalad, if this project interests you i'd definitely be interested to see your work. Do you have anything on the net, YouTube maybe, that is viewable?

I'm glad to hear you think something like point-and-click sounds simple. What did you think to the other genre suggestions?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:59 pm 
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I currently don't have any videos of my current game project on Youtube, but adding one is a good idea, although I don't want to reveal too much about the game, but again I haven't progressed on it for a year or so and this sucks.

Quote:
I'm also working through the other thread, it's a bit more to read but what i've been interested in is the amount of people who have suggested that making a game is a lot easier if you have someone to do all the music and art for you.

Well it depends, while I'm not expert I like to compose music once in a while even if sometimes they end up sucking, sometimes it turns out ok. Graphics aren't easy but I was able to pull out some decent ones by looking carefully at existing games and note a few tricks.

The really hard part to do is the AI for me, in a game where you should make enemies move in real time this is quite hard to implement, especially if you want them to do something original.

If the game is a point or click game or an RPG this problem does not arise, althoguh other problems I haven't encountered will probably arise as well.

Really the reason I haven't advanced on my project for a so long time is that nobody forced me to. If there was someone to actually force me to continue working on it I'd do it, so if I do a project for someone maybe it could end up help me for my own project and make me known as a good programmer...

Is it planned to put the game on a real cart or to distribute it as a ROM ?

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:26 pm 
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Sendo wrote:
I envisage some kind of story driven game, with elements of action and puzzle solving.

For these reasons i feel like a traditional point-and-click could work well; think Maniac Mansion.

Maybe a platform RPG such as Wonderboy In Mosterland.

Perhaps even better, something like Sweet Home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhRBXLn5lis.

Possibly a traditional Final Fantasy type RPG, albeit on a smaller scale.

You should give this more thought. Since you didn't even decide the kind of game you want to make, you'll still need a long time to actually design the game before any development can begin.

Quote:
What would you say are practical genres to work within?
What is a realistic goal in terms of gameplay?

There are many talented programmers here, and I really think that the lack of free time is the most limiting factor for most of them. Making a big game (as opposed to single screen puzzle games, which is the most common type of NES homebrew) requires a level of commitment that few people are able to give. The technical knowledge is here, it's the time/motivation we lack.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:17 pm 
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tokumaru wrote:
You should give this more thought. Since you didn't even decide the kind of game you want to make, you'll still need a long time to actually design the game before any development can begin.


Thanks for you response man. I've actually given it a lot of thought, like i said i've been working on the ideas for this project for 8 months. I have many, many ideas. I have a basic structure in place for the progression of the game, level design ideas, themes, etc.

And, as i mentioned these are the genres i believe would work well with the subject matter. I could decide on exactly the kind of game i want to make right now now if i was asked to...

But surely that would force a situation where i'm asking a programmer to fit himself into a box i've created? In an already difficult situation, surely it's best to leave something like this more open ended at this stage to increase the likelihood of finding the right programmer? If there's one out there who could say: "Hey i saw your idea, sorry i can't do RPG or point-and-click, but i've got experience doing platform stuff, and some great ideas that would work with yours; we could go with that if you're happy"?

I don't want to then say: "No, sorry. I've already decided on what game i want to make".

See what i mean?

Or is that the wrong approach? I could happily do all the art and design the game myself in advance. Is that when it's better to approach a programmer? If that's the case then cool i see where you're coming from.

My only worry is that I guess i thought it would be better to work together from the ground up?

Would really appreciate feedback on that. This is why i'm here :)

Quote:
There are many talented programmers here, and I really think that the lack of free time is the most limiting factor for most of them. Making a big game (as opposed to single screen puzzle games, which is the most common type of NES homebrew) requires a level of commitment that few people are able to give. The technical knowledge is here, it's the time/motivation we lack.


I truly understand. I'm asked to collaborate in music and art projects all the time, and often i simply have to say no. Unless it's a really really interesting proposal (which i believe this is) and/or i'm offered enough money to make the project worthwhile. This is obviously a huge part of why i'm offering to pay fairly for work undertaken.

I'm hoping the person i work with would see this is a combination of the two; an exciting project that he wants to work with, and one where the financial recompense is a great part of the proposal as it justifies time spent.

I know it's hard to persuade people of the value of a project. I'm keen to do just that. I'd honestly be very surprised if there wasn't someone out there who would love to do it.

I really appreciate where your coming from. I hope you see my side too.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:30 pm 
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Bregalad wrote:
I currently don't have any videos of my current game project on Youtube, but adding one is a good idea, although I don't want to reveal too much about the game, but again I haven't progressed on it for a year or so and this sucks.

Quote:
I'm also working through the other thread, it's a bit more to read but what i've been interested in is the amount of people who have suggested that making a game is a lot easier if you have someone to do all the music and art for you.

Well it depends, while I'm not expert I like to compose music once in a while even if sometimes they end up sucking, sometimes it turns out ok. Graphics aren't easy but I was able to pull out some decent ones by looking carefully at existing games and note a few tricks.

The really hard part to do is the AI for me, in a game where you should make enemies move in real time this is quite hard to implement, especially if you want them to do something original.

If the game is a point or click game or an RPG this problem does not arise, althoguh other problems I haven't encountered will probably arise as well.

Really the reason I haven't advanced on my project for a so long time is that nobody forced me to. If there was someone to actually force me to continue working on it I'd do it, so if I do a project for someone maybe it could end up help me for my own project and make me known as a good programmer...

Is it planned to put the game on a real cart or to distribute it as a ROM ?


Hey man. The plan is absolutely to put it on cart. There's a very specific reason for this which relates to the artistic goals of the project.

What you said about AI etc is exactly why i figured point-and-click or RPG would work well in terms of programming. It just happens to work well that the game i want to make is story based, due to the nature of the source material.

I understand your difficulties with motivation, believe me! It's always hard, but as your portfolio of work increases the easier it gets. Really appreciate your feedback so far man.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 5:08 pm 
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Well, here's my three fiddy.

Sendo wrote:
This is where i need a programmer. Art direction, script/story, and music will all be handled by myself and my writer. What i need is someone who is able to code NES games and would be able to competently and coherently pull my ideas together.

By art direction you mean making the actual pixel art? You have to remember there are a lot of limitations when it comes to making NES graphics (and moreover, designing the graphics so that they can actually be used in a game), some of the limitations are discussed here. It'll take some time to learn those limitations and to learn to work with them.

Quote:
What would you say are practical genres to work within?
What is a realistic goal in terms of gameplay?

Personally I don't think the genre really matters much if the programmer knows what he's doing. That is, of course, given that you can find a skilled programmer. Both of the questions also depend on how well the game is designed and how much additional design work the programmer has to do.

By design I mean every little detail about how the game should function. Something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_design_document

tokumaru wrote:
You should give this more thought. Since you didn't even decide the kind of game you want to make, you'll still need a long time to actually design the game before any development can begin.

Was my first thought as well. At the moment it's hard to tell what parts of the process the programmers job would cover exactly. There are a lot of other unknowns as well (about the pay etc), but that's understandable.

That said...

Sendo wrote:
My only worry is that I guess i thought it would be better to work together from the ground up?

I agree with this, you will need feedback from the programmer to know what can and cannot be done, and the programmer will need feedback from somebody else to know if what he has been doing is what you want. :) There's no way you'll just be able to hand over the completed graphics, music and a design document and expect anything good to come out, communication is key.

Anyway, count me in as interested.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 5:26 am 
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thefox wrote:
Well, here's my three fiddy.

By art direction you mean making the actual pixel art? You have to remember there are a lot of limitations when it comes to making NES graphics (and moreover, designing the graphics so that they can actually be used in a game), some of the limitations are discussed here. It'll take some time to learn those limitations and to learn to work with them.


Thanks for your response. Yeah, the limitations of NES graphics are what i'm excited about working with. If you check out my artwork for example (linked above) you'll see that much of it hinges on limitation. I only ever use block colours, and generally tend to limit myself to 3 or 4. I'm more than happy to learn and work with what the NES is capable of.

I relish a sense of limitation in everything i do. When producing music i always work with 8 microphones on a drum kit for example, instead of throwing 2 or 3 up on each drum. I like to limit the amount of tracks i use in the DAW, limit the inserts i use etc etc.

I find that these limitations create a tighter framework within which to work, which the decision process then hinges on. When you've got a stricter set of rules within which to operate this process becomes a lot clearer and more efficient than when you have infinite options.

Sorry for the long post, but honestly what you described is what excites me about making graphics for the NES. And thanks for the link man, it makes a good read. I'm definitely going to need a bit of help understanding how all this pertains to the NES specifically.

Quote:
Personally I don't think the genre really matters much if the programmer knows what he's doing. That is, of course, given that you can find a skilled programmer. Both of the questions also depend on how well the game is designed and how much additional design work the programmer has to do.

By design I mean every little detail about how the game should function. Something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_design_document


Again, great link, thanks. It seems that even without knowing the specifics of genre i can start to pull my written ideas into a draft plan format, and that this should be my first step.

tokumaru wrote:
You should give this more thought. Since you didn't even decide the kind of game you want to make, you'll still need a long time to actually design the game before any development can begin.


Quote:
Was my first thought as well. At the moment it's hard to tell what parts of the process the programmers job would cover exactly. There are a lot of other unknowns as well (about the pay etc), but that's understandable.


You answered this really well below. In a programmer i'm looking for someone who can pull my graphics, music, level (and overall game) design into a coherent package. But yes, this role would also be one that would rely on mutual feedback.

I guess until the specifics of the game are clear and thoroughly ironed out this will be a little bit fuzzy. In that sense i suppose this would also be a part of the role: someone who is capable of helping hone the idea in that initial stage into something he is able to work with.

Quote:
That said...

Sendo wrote:
My only worry is that I guess i thought it would be better to work together from the ground up?

I agree with this, you will need feedback from the programmer to know what can and cannot be done, and the programmer will need feedback from somebody else to know if what he has been doing is what you want. :) There's no way you'll just be able to hand over the completed graphics, music and a design document and expect anything good to come out, communication is key.


As above, this is very much what i'd be looking for in a relationship with the programmer.

Quote:
Anyway, count me in as interested.


That's great that you're interested. Do you have any stuff that you've worked on before that i could check out? Is there anything more i can tell you? Or anything more i can do specifically to help explain what i'm looking for?

If for example you did want to get involved, how would you approach the project in terms of what you would ask of me in the initial stages?

Thanks again for your post man.


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