Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Discussion of programming and development for the original Game Boy and Game Boy Color.
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GradualGames
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Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by GradualGames » Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:56 am

I got an urge to check out what's going on in the gameboy homebrew world today and, it looks like a lot of things are somewhat falling by the wayside or not updated as much as in the NES world---or I just don't know where to look, yet. Is there anything as interesting as a full-size platformer game or RPG going on in the gameboy world? Is there anybody who can produce cart plastics and boards for the system? I'd like to see that happen some day. I'm not sure when or if I'd do it myself, but, the game boy is amongst the systems I hold very dear from my childhood..it certainly deserves a homebrew scene as vibrant as the NES's.

The only things I've found are:
-a variety of very old emulators
-gambatte emulator (seems more up to date, in use on mobile devices these days)
-gbdk (old)
-rgbasm (somewhat more up to date?)
-everdrive gb
-a few random tutorials from more than 10 years ago (asmschool, gdbk's examples, and game boy devrs...which seems to have some updates from this year, but all the code there is from 15 years ago or so in most cases)

...so now I find myself obsessively mirroring any information I can find about GB dev locally in case its all gone by the time I have the motivation to build a game for it :)

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by lidnariq » Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:56 pm

GBDK contains an outdated copy of SDCC. I'd recommend using a current build of SDCC and the SDCC libc instead of the 14-year-old copy that's in GBDK.

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by Shonumi » Sun Nov 15, 2015 1:47 pm

Yeah, GBDev isn't as active as it could be. The demo scene is actually more active in my opinion. I'm currently working on a DMG demo for the 20th anniversary of Pokemon (in the US at least, already 20 in Japan). Depending on how comfortable I get with GB development, I might want to jump into homebrew.

I'm interested in a Golden Sun-type RPG for the GBC (lots of animation during battle) but who knows if/when I'll get the time...

I'm very interested in making physical carts, at least for limited runs. Making a manual + box would be great too. I can fogure out that part (used to work in a print shop, still got connections) but I have no idea where to go about the carts themselves.

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by nicklausw » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:32 pm

Shonumi wrote:I'm interested in a Golden Sun-type RPG for the GBC (lots of animation during battle) but who knows if/when I'll get the time...
I wish I could make fun little RPGs and stuff, and kinda have the coding (and musicish) skills necessary but am the worst artist on earth. Ugh.

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by Shonumi » Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:42 pm

nicklausw wrote:I wish I could make fun little RPGs and stuff, and kinda have the coding (and musicish) skills necessary but am the worst artist on earth. Ugh.
My sister is an artist (as in, she went to college for this kinda stuff) so she can give me pointers on pixel art. My creative strong-point is writing stories (and code), not music, but I can wring some decent tunes every now and then. The problem is time for me. I'm busy getting into DS emulation, a sci-fi novel, and this demo project. There'd be nothing "little" about trying to make an RPG :P It'd be a huge time-sink to say the least, but that's what dreams are for, or something like that.

It'd be cool if I could get just a portion done, just to give people a taste of "what could be". Kind of like how some games start in media res, giving you a cast of leveled up characters at the start (like the 1st Lufia on the SNES) and having you fight some enemies, then a boss before the game really "begins". That much would be doable and fun.

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by Dwedit » Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:54 am

The TVTropes term for that is "A Taste Of Power".
Here come the fortune cookies! Here come the fortune cookies! They're wearing paper hats!

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by tepples » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:09 am

But once A Taste of Power is over, the following Early Game Hell may give the player a headache. In any case, showing that you can produce enough engine and assets for a pilot chapter offering A Taste of Power may help you secure funding.


Why miraheze

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by psc » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:30 pm

Gunman Clive is a platformer (although just one stage right now): http://pdroms.de/news/gameboy/

Pandocs, BGB emulator, and RGBASM are what you would need to get started.

Most GameBoy projects, such as the GB Jam, tend to be computer programs dressed up in a GB style. It seems there are fewer collectors of GB compared to NES, and there is less of a community, so those factors probably contribute to the lack of activity compared to NES and Atari homebrews.

Here's a site with GB demos for you: http://gameboy.modermodemet.se/

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by GradualGames » Fri Nov 20, 2015 8:17 pm

I spent the evening reading through those old "asmschool" tutorials, at least what was ever completed of them. Nice little intro. It seems like there's a lot of things somewhat similar to the NES, just arranged differently. I liked that the video ram was mapped directly to the cpu rather than having to indirectly talk to a ppu through a few registers as on the NES. I imagine that makes certain things a bit easier...! There actually seems to be quite a wealth of info out there and even a debugging emulator. So it seems like there's no shortage of tools or information to get started. Probably not quite as hand holding as the NES scene has become (that is not a bad thing), but...I think I can work with it, at this point. It also appears there's a common music player called blackbox that one could leverage.

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by GradualGames » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:09 pm

Looks like there isn't much out there for composing gameboy music, or anything comparable to FamiTracker, or FamiTone...that I've been able to find, anyway. Looks like I have some work to do! :lol:

...I mean there are things you can compose with that work on the GB itself, but...for game dev, I'd want something super convenient like FamiTracker, and a corresponding driver suitable for games. This always seems to be the first big hurdle for homebrew game dev.

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by Memblers » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:17 pm

I've never really used it, but I remember briefly trying out this tracker when it was first released:
http://www.vgmpf.com/Wiki/index.php?tit ... oy_Tracker

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GradualGames
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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by GradualGames » Mon Nov 23, 2015 11:08 am

That looks promising, looks like they even have instructions for how to use their player in an rgbasm program. Thanks memblers!

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by GradualGames » Mon Nov 23, 2015 5:20 pm

Ah, this is apparently one of those ultra oldschool trackers. Feels like using Emacs or vi or something, all keyboard shortcuts. Looks like it may have a pretty steep learning curve. FamiTracker is so great because you can start using it even if you know jack squat---I did back in 2008 when I got into NES coding...now I feel like I can write halfway decent music with it. But with this thing...I'm poring over the instructions...got it to make a sound, but now it won't play my song :) Maybe someday I'll make something like FT for gameboy. Really makes you feel an ultra sense of gratitude for all the hard work that went into making NES arguably one of the most inviting retro consoles to make games for!

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by Memblers » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:41 pm

I remember when I tried it forever ago, it reminded me of Impulse Tracker, which I was never able to get into (could have been a superficial resemblance, not sure). I was a heavy user of Fast Tracker 2 though.

I just remembered there is this tracker, I've been meaning to try it out for a long time but have never gotten around to it. It does support Gameboy among other soundchips, but I have no idea what it provides, if anything, as far as replay code or data exporting.
http://www.delek.com.ar/deflemask

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Re: Any fullsize gameboy homebrews? Cart production?

Post by GradualGames » Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:08 pm

Wow, you haz all teh trackerz memblers! This looks great. Ran without a hitch on my ubuntu box at work. It appears to have a nice ui that works with the keyboard and mouse. True gameboy sound preview. MIDI input, which is a must for me (I like to use my nanokey2!). And finally, they provide a detailed file format for their module format and instrument format. That proably gets me 80% of the way there, now I need to learn the gameboy sound hardware and write a nice little lite sound engine for games :)

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