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Author Topic: Hacking my own homebrew NES games  (Read 2068 times)

sixxgunner81

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Hacking my own homebrew NES games
« on: July 09, 2015, 08:23:24 pm »
Hey everyone!

I'm Bill - new to the forums.  I own a little company called Greeting Carts - we produce new NES (and soon SNES/Genesis games) based on birthdays, holidays, occasions, etc.  Right now, we offer the games in regular format, plus a text-customized version for a slightly higher price (i.e. when you beat our birthday game, the ending screen scrolls text in which a personalized message would go).

I do not program these games myself.  Shiru has done all of our programming work to date, but I am learning slowly as we go.  My expertise lies more in the business side of things and the actual cartridge production.

But enough about me - let's get to the good stuff.

The next big step for our business is to offer a truly customized game for our customers.
*Customer uploads a pic of the person on our website, we make an 8-bit sprite of the person (or 2 people) and put them in the game
*Customer chooses their cart shell color (we had our own mold made for NES shells)
*Customer chooses their label design (we have about 10)
*Customer also gets the aforementioned personalized in-game text
* (MAYBE) Customer gets a printed (or hand-drawn) pixel drawing of themselves (or the person they're buying it for)

So, why am I posting here?  I'm an idiot.  Seriously, it took me over 8 hours to mod my Wii and it still didn't work right.  I've tried to arrange all of the different sprite animations in my games in Tile Layer Pro and I can't ever figure out which tiles go with which other tiles in each animation.  Apparently this just isn't in my skill set.

I would really like to learn how to do these sprite hacks myself so that the business is more streamlined, but I'm VERY open to someone doing these for us on a commissioned work basis (commission meaning we'd hire you to do each custom job at a flat rate).

These are my questions:

1) If I decide to keep trying to do the hacks myself, is anyone willing to get paid to give me some kind of easy-to-read sprite chart detailing which tiles match up for each animation in my game?  There are two characters and I believe 5 or 6 animations for each character.

2) If someone out there is willing to do these on a regular basis, what kind of ballpark pricing would I be looking at?

Thanks so much!
Bill

Jorpho

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Re: Hacking my own homebrew NES games
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2015, 01:01:43 am »
The first question that pops into mind is, why wouldn't Shiru (whoever that is) be interested..?

Quote
If I decide to keep trying to do the hacks myself, is anyone willing to get paid to give me some kind of easy-to-read sprite chart detailing which tiles match up for each animation in my game?
That depends on how complicated the job is.  Perhaps you could provide a screenshot in Tile Layer Pro (or Tile Molester) ?
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henke37

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Re: Hacking my own homebrew NES games
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2015, 06:37:49 am »
I doubt that you want to edit the tiles directly. Instead, you load up the project file in a special application that has a dedicated animation editor. It will then generate the data the game needs, which isn't just the tiles, but also the palette, object definitions and animation details.

FAST6191

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Re: Hacking my own homebrew NES games
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2015, 06:48:37 am »
" I've tried to arrange all of the different sprite animations in my games in Tile Layer Pro and I can't ever figure out which tiles go with which other tiles in each animation.  Apparently this just isn't in my skill set.

I would really like to learn how to do these sprite hacks myself so that the business is more streamlined"

If you are aiming for streamlined, and a dedicated application like what henke37 is speaking of is not on the cards (though it should be), then the base homebrew should have been coded to have all the sprites in a nice easy to view format (if you have 5 frames then 5 complete sprites one after the other should be how it looks). If you were designing a game in the 80's/90's then there are reasons for the complexity, doubling up on sprites and whatever but assuming you are not going all high performance demoscene here then there is little reason to go that way today.

M-Tee

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Re: Hacking my own homebrew NES games
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2015, 08:16:07 am »
The most efficient way to do it would be to use photoshop actions. At least, that's how I'd do it.

snarfblam

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Re: Hacking my own homebrew NES games
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2015, 05:29:24 pm »
Seeing as you're working with Shiru, I'm a bit surprised you're not looking for help on NesDev, instead. Like henke said, ideally, the customizations would be part of the build process rather than hacking them in afterwords. The degree to which things are automated (slicing graphics into tiles, laying them out in the CHR, palette data, etc) depends on what Shiru has set up. Hacking changes in afterwords would still be doable. From the sound of it, you should be able to whip up a rather straightforward utility that will arrange the CHR, provide basic tile editing capability, and basic palette editing capability. But if you have a repeatable build process in place, creating a new utility is just a redundant effort.

sixxgunner81

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Re: Hacking my own homebrew NES games
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 08:25:01 pm »
Thanks for all the help, guys!  I did talk to Shiru about editing the game, but let's face it, he's a busy guy and I'd rather have him working on development for our next couple games.

I think the photoshop idea is great, gonna work with M-Tee on that.  Also gonna see how it works out having someone do them for me.