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 Post subject: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:36 pm 
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Now that NESMaker is officially out, have you seen any reviews on it?

Whenever I see anything about NESMaker, it's either by the people who created it or it's some stuff from January.

I myself have no use for the NESMaker since I create my games from scratch (and use C for the most part anyway), so I won't do my own analyzation on it. But I'd really like to know what the people who desired it think about it.

So, are there already product reviews and people presenting the tool in videos or articles?

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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 4:49 pm 
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I backed NEsmaker. While I know some assembly I am a very visual person who needs to see a world map and have a level editor for making games. Also the assembly that I know is very basic, I can do things like when the player touches the block kill him or give me a coin in the coin counter. Easy stuff like that.

I backed the early versions so I had access to the version before its official release. I actually haven't played around with the official version yet so my review below is for the pi beta and the info may or may not reflect what the program currently has.

- Overall the program was very difficult to understand without a help guide. There are many hot keys and other small details that if you don't know them then its hard to make anything.

- Many things were janky and sketchy. For instance you can place tiles in a level editor by clicking on the mouse button, but there are other tiles to place in the level that require you to use the 1 key on your keyboard. It is the equivalent of closing a window in windows 7 by moving the mouse over to the X and pressing enter on the keyboard to literally close out a window instead of just clicking the mouse button. Seriously! I mean WTF???

- There are options like zoom in and out while editing on the overworld, but you have to know the hot keys to do this. There is no way to do it by the mouse like clicking on a button. So if you don't know the hot keys then you can't do jack crap.

- The level/overworld editor in my opinion needs work. Currently you can only edit 1 single screen at a time. I repeat only edit one single screen at a time. When I do this I forget what things I created on the other adjacent screens. In Lunar Magic (Super Mario World editor) you can view and edit an entire level at a time (like 30 screens). Just think if you could only edit one single screen at a time without looking at the other screens while making a game.

- There is a graphics editor, but it is so messed up in my opinion that I don't even want to use it at all. Like nothing works like you think it would. Like I try and select some pixels and it just paints over them. There are two different paint bucket icons and each do something differently and you can't even tell that they are paint bucket icons. I tried to copy and past an image from photoshop into nesmaker and it didn't allow this! However I talked to Josh the programmer and I think he will fix this later. In my opinion the pixel/graphics editor in nesmaker is disgusting and I only use the bare minimum of that just to get the graphics into the game.

Sorry for all of the negative points if Joe and the 8 bit team are reading this, but I think I have many valid points. Also remember this was my review for the pi beta and I haven't tested or used the official release yet. Overall if they keep on polishing up the program it might be decent, but from what I experienced it seemed like the program needed a lot of work. Also the logical choices that were made in some cases baffle me and it seems like the organization could have been a lot better. The logical organization of the program is something that I would never create if I were designing a program. Nothing is intuitive.


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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:43 pm 
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Quote:
Currently you can only edit 1 single screen at a time


This makes sense, because these tools were first developed to make a single screen at a time game (which many early NES games were).

Hopefully, if they don't write a multi screen editor, they will allow some kind of export / import system...or at least a preview screen, where you could at least see the rooms stitched together, even if you can't edit them, like a zoomed out map view.

Same with the tile editor. If it's difficult, I really hope they add an import / export feature, since other tile editors are easy to use.

I don't want to "add to the dog pile"*, but being stuck with mapper 30 seems to be an issue with other potential users.

By the way, I was very impressed with the nesmaker tools, and the modular system they built. It might be too early to judge this product, which may be improving with time




*To dog-pile someone is to gang up on a person in mass criticism.

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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 8:15 pm 
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Erockbrox, thanks for your review.

Apart from the usability of the level editor, the thing that interests me the most is the whole "Make your NES game. No coding required" aspect:

Can you really define, for example, enemy behavior, items and game physics without altering Assembly code, either by a visual GUI or by using a simple script language?

Let's say I want to program an opponent who always does the following:

Running around in clockwise formation, then in another counter clockwise formation, and all this between two and five times.
Then shooting into the general direction of the hero either in a straight or diagonal line.
Then moving in a random straight line between six and 18 tiles.
Repeat.

Can I do this via a simple script that looks something like this?
Code:
(
    (
        TURN(RIGHT)
        MOVE, 2
    ), 4
    (
        TURN(LEFT)
        MOVE, 4
    ), 4
), RAND(2, 5)
SET_HOR_DIR(GET_HOR_DIR_BY_X(HERO_X))
SET_VERT_DIR(GET_VERT_DIR_BY_Y(HERO_Y))
SHOOT
TURN(RAND)
MOVE, RAND(6, 18)

Or is the NESMaker just a tool to create graphics and build more screens for the adventure (or platformer or shooter) template program and every actual game behavior change is only done by altering the real Assembly code?

Or another example: How easy is it to change the slippery default game physics of "Mystic Searches" into a "Zelda"-like "Press d-pad and immediately walk, release d-pad and immediately stop"?

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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:24 pm 
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DRW: https://youtu.be/eHmw8RitQFs?t=20m52s (If the link doesn't automatically take you there, it's 20 minutes 52 seconds in)

It's not as robust as what you describe.

You can also change the movement speeds with sliders. You can see the sliders here https://youtu.be/eHmw8RitQFs?t=7m44s (7 minutes 44 seconds in)

There are parts of it that are cool, but I do think especially the beginning setup is extremely complicated. I also think importing graphics is really, really harder than it needs to be.

Music import seems neat. Load txt, and you even get preview playback. https://youtu.be/nRTRWwJu8jc?t=3m40s (3 minutes 40 seconds in)

I wish graphics were as easy as music to get in. I think a lot of the beginning setup can and should be easier. As it stands I think there are people that might give up before they get to the better parts of it.

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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:12 pm 
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Quote:
I think a lot of the beginning setup can and should be easier. As it stands I think there are people that might give up before they get to the better parts of it.


I took off for the summer so I had a lot of free time. It took me like 2 weeks to get a game up and running and to try and understand the program. That is 2 weeks of off time. The average person works full time and has just a few hours here and there. I could see several people who simply don't have the time to learn the program who just end up getting frustrated with it.

I expect several people to just not make anything at all. This is why I am suggesting that some modules just come pre-made with a character, enemies, blocks already set up. Yes, you don't get as much customization because its pre-made, but at least some people could make a game out of it, where otherwise they wouldn't.

Nesmaker is a cool program because of what it can do, make NES games, but in my opinion it has a steep learning curve and I personally struggled to learn some of the core concepts.

I personally think that it is too technical for the average user. Like you have to be a game developer already to use it.


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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:35 am 
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It looks like NESmaker has it's own forum.

http://nesmakers.com

28 WIP projects, and 1 completed (as of Aug 16)

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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:05 am 
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I opened the program, realized I can't do anything without watching tutorials and closed it hoping to reopen it on version 2.0. The interface is too raw and unintuitive.

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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:02 pm 
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Quote:
Same with the tile editor. If it's difficult, I really hope they add an import / export feature, since other tile editors are easy to use.


To correct myself...the NES maker can import .chr files and can import nametables. Here's a video of using NES Screen Tool to make graphics for the NES maker.

https://youtu.be/V2DAFi2-cxI

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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:11 am 
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nesrocks wrote:
I opened the program, realized I can't do anything without watching tutorials and closed it hoping to reopen it on version 2.0. The interface is too raw and unintuitive.


I 100% agree with you. When I first opened the program I was confused as hell and struggled to get the basics understood.

Start watching these videos here. These are the newest ones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N31cfM2 ... e=youtu.be


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 Post subject: Re: NESMaker reviews?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:19 pm 
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Kasumi wrote:
DRW: https://youtu.be/eHmw8RitQFs?t=20m52s (If the link doesn't automatically take you there, it's 20 minutes 52 seconds in)

Thanks for the information.

I'm really curious when there will be general reviews in the form of actual articles or videos.

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Trailer: https://youtu.be/IYXpP59qSxA
Gameplay: https://youtu.be/Eee0yurkIW4
German Retro Gamer article: http://i67.tinypic.com/345o108.jpg


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