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 Post subject: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 1:42 am 
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Does the NES homebrew scene suffer from Platfom-a-lotis too. From looking around it seems to me that there is a new kickstarter and oh look its another platform game where you walk through doors and collect the things?

What other game types would people be interested in?


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 1:48 am 
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Some nice Contra like run'n'gun would be great ~

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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 1:51 am 
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Do you refer to eskimo bob? I think the door mechanic is really a "place where you're allowed to swap character" mechanic. That's pretty neat, i think.

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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 1:56 am 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
Do you refer to eskimo bob? I think the door mechanic is really a "place where you're allowed to swap character" mechanic. That's pretty neat, i think.
No title specificity just more a blanket observation of a trend... (a cross platform trend, the C64 scene also suffers from platform-a-lotis)
I love a good platformer as much as the next person ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 2:11 am 
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I see. I haven't noticed it, but it might be that straightforward platformers are easy to explain and sell. You can focus on the theme or identity in your salespitch, rather than getting 'nerdy' with mechanics, designs and elements. Compare with, say hypothetically, a stealth-based top-down cooperative escape game for two. It might bring more variety to the platform, but will it attract enough people?

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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:38 am 
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I also got this impression, though I discounted it on me hating platformers and so them sticking out to my eyes.

Even the latest compo had 38% platformers, with the top 5 being entirely platformers.


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 3:40 am 
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Well, Betelgeuse, aside for being the name of one of the biggest known stars is also a nice single screen Contra-like game.
I have to agree that there are a lot of platformers, but in my own an not-so-significant opinion that's fine.
It seems to be the easier way to tell a simple story and if well done, it just becomes great.


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 8:34 am 
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I can't complain, I love platformers.


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 8:53 am 
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But look how far the scene has come. Years ago, it was single screen-osis.

One thing making platformers the flavor of the year for Action 53 volume 3 is that a platformer fits easily in the technical requirements.

  • Game size: 512 kbit
    Platformers' level geometry constraints make it more practical to compress more gameplay into a smaller space without making maps as repetitive as those of the first Legend of Zelda. (If only Cat Quest hadn't been canceled...) In addition, side view allows storing only those cels needed for one facing direction.
  • Work RAM: Not available
    In a platformer, a four- or eight-way scrolling engine and long-term memory of destroyed areas are less necessary.
  • Input: Standard NES controller
    Simulations are more convenient with a mouse, and interactive fiction is more convenient with a keyboard, but platformers are more convenient with a controller.
  • Save type: Password
    Platformers don't usually have a lot of state to save from one play session to the next. In an overhead adventure or RPG, you have to save things like cash in wallet, inventory, event flags, and experience.
  • Effort scale: Hobby, not day job
    It takes time to draw animation cels. A side view game needs only one set of animation frames, not three or five sets, one for each facing direction.

Even games released outside the competition still feel some of these requirements. To make development practical, a game has to target the intersection of those features available in debugging emulators and those features available in reproduction cartridges that are affordable to manufacture. "Intersection" means that if a feature isn't available in both, it can't be used. Last I checked, battery-backed WRAM was fairly expensive to add to a cartridge, prompting a search for alternatives, and save to the first flash sectors (as in RetroUSB's 4 Mbit oversize UxROM) wasn't in FCEUX. Has this changed since 2010 or thereabouts?

TmEE wrote:
Some nice Contra like run'n'gun would be great ~

Except:

  1. A run-and-gun game would still be a "platformer".
  2. Look at how detailed the animations in popular 1990s run-and-guns like Gunstar Heroes and Metal Slug are. I get the impression from Espozo and others that some of those would have trouble fitting in the Super NES, let alone the NES.
  3. And some people just aren't big fans of violence.

I'm not trying to throw shade on your preferences. I'm just trying to find the factors that led to the present situation.


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 9:45 am 
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We made a deliberate choice to target the NES rather than just making a PC game, whether due to nostalgia or other reasons, so those reasons probably affect the games we make. I wouldn't be surprised if people who came here after a childhood of playing famous games like Mario, Mega Man, Metroid, Contra and such ended up taking inspiration from those sorts of games.


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 9:48 am 
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tepples wrote:
Look at how detailed the animations in popular 1990s run-and-guns like Gunstar Heroes and Metal Slug are. I get the impression from Espozo and others that some of those would have trouble fitting in the Super NES, let alone the NES.


The cartridge sizes of the GBC era (up to 8MB) are enough to make room for tons and tons of animation frames. And if you went with today's 64GB SD cards, that's enough for 38 hours of 2bpp uncompressed video.

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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 9:58 am 
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My much bigger gripe was how difficult it would be to fit everything in vram on the SNES, which is why I devised my idea of having every sprite have its own slot and identical sprites using the same slot for basically perfect space usage. However, you don't even have to deal with this on the NES.


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 10:17 am 
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I guess platformers are generally easy to pick up and play, without the need for manuals or complex strategies, so it's no surprise it's one of the most popular types of game.

Also, the NES is particularly well suited for this kind of game, with its blocky NT/AT design and limited number of sprites that basically requires them to be scattered around vertically.


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 10:19 am 
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Dwedit wrote:
tepples wrote:
[Detailed run-and-guns] would have trouble fitting in the Super NES, let alone the NES.

The cartridge sizes of the GBC era (up to 8MB) are enough to make room for tons and tons of animation frames.

By "trouble fitting", I was also referring to inability to fit "tons and tons of animation frames" across the bus to the PPU.

  1. CHR RAM loading slowdown
    Tons of animation frames might get stuck in the PRG ROM because of limited bandwidth to the PPU. The NES can copy about eight tiles to the PPU per frame, plus OAM and whatever map updates are required for scrolling. Unlike the NES, the GBC has HDMA to CHR RAM at one tile per scanline.
  2. CHR ROM juxtaposition lockout
    You might work around lack of CHR RAM bandwidth by using CHR ROM instead. But tons of animation frames might get stuck in the CHR ROM because frames for four other objects being displayed are already switched into PPU $1000, $1400, $1800, and $1C00. Unlike the NES, the Neo Geo has more than 8 sprite tile number bits in each OAM entry and many more address lines for CHR ROM.
  3. Sprite flicker
    The NES allows sprites to cover 25% of a scanline. The PPU will refuse to touch tons of animation frames if other large sprites are in front of them. Unlike the NES, the GBC has 50% sprite coverage.

Animating many distinct, large, horizontally aligned sprites without flicker would require hardware compositing of tile data to the background CHR stream fed to the PPU. That'd be the NES counterpart to a SuperGrafx second VDC or a Super FX GSU. If you think such a compositor would fit in an affordable CPLD, I'd be interested to read your new topic explaining how. In addition, the developer would have to hire programmers who know, or train programmers in, several technologies: C++, FCEUX's code base, Verilog, the obsolete Xilinx IDE used to develop PowerPak mappers for daily play testing on hardware, and an up-to-date CPLD IDE used to develop the production mapper. This is probably far beyond "Effort scale: Hobby, not day job".

And a run-and-gun would still be...

a platformer!


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 Post subject: Re: Platform-a-lotis
PostPosted: Tue May 23, 2017 10:35 am 
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Seems like just as many if not more non platformers upcoming.


;-------------------------
C64 platformers
;-------------------------
Sam's journey
Soulless II
Steel Ranger
Knight & Grail
Hyperion
;-------------------------
C64 non platformers
;-------------------------
Argus
Cruiser X-79
Citadel 2
Caren 2
Cilvilization
Galencia
Organism
Planet Golf
Crimson Twilight
Unkown Realm
Planet X2


Last edited by OmegaMax on Tue May 23, 2017 11:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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