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M-Tee's NES Graphics Projects

Started by M-Tee, March 23, 2013, 12:14:43 PM

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Reckon I should start a thread for what I've been working on.

In terms of romhacking, I'm primarily interested in it from an art-and-design aspect. As I begin each hack, I set a work brief as if I were a period-era employee of the game's publisher. My primary goal is always to produce entirely or near-entirely new graphics from scratch while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic and hopefully achieving commercial-level results.

The brief for my most recently completed project, Box-Art Bomberman, was as follows: I'd been given a copy of the NES Bomberman prior to its US release and a copy of the American box art and have been told to produce new graphics, manual, and storyline for the game to match the feel given by the box art.

The result:

...and a spread from the manual:

My next project is of the Japanese-only game, Ikki. It uses a lot of simple x-flipping animations, and like Bomberman, has very little in terms of graphics. 

The pitch is to produce a complete Western-themed localization of the game, and should eventually include manual, cart, and box-art. I'm calling it "Ruckus" as the original title apparently translates into something like "riot" or "revolt." In it, (as best I can tell from the google translate of the official manual) you play as a farmer throwing sickles as you revolt against an oppressive magistrate and his waves of ninjas.

In my version, you'll be playing as a ranch-hand  throwing horseshoes and resisting waves of bandits.

So far, I've made the following Western-themed font for it:

...the logo for the title screen (My earlier attempts were in the same style as the font shown above, but I finally decided on the following inspired by the text on Sergio Leone movie posters):

...and some sprites (P2 palette up top, P1 pal on the bottom, a bandit, and a mayor):

I'm currently not quite satisfied with the mayor sprite. As always, feedback welcome on all.


Looks better than the original already.


Impressive; really liking the font. Your player sprite reminds me of Flint from Mother 3. Perhaps the Mayor could use a monocle? Top-Hat? Something to set him apart as a bit more aristocratic than the others.


Fantastic hacks! You've got a new fan.  :)


Thanks. Never played it. Googled it and see the similarities, yeah. As for the mayor, my original drawing had him with a monocle and watch chain, but all the characters' running animations are x-flips, so asymmetrical designs are pretty much out of the question. I think I'll give a hat a try. Right now I think he looks more like a barber or bartender.

Also, I've designed a custom graph paper optimized for romhacking. I print and bind a stack at a time with a chipboard back and clear cover to use as a sketchbook. It was rejected as a submission to the site, but I may include it with a graphics tutorial later. Until then, here's my previous submission and a download link if anyone else would find it useful.

QuoteSketch, brainstorm, and doodle from concept to the pixel on this custom graph paper created with the retro game artist in mind. Print and bind a double-sided stack for a notebook optimized for level design, tile arrangements, and sprite art.

  • Utilizes shades of cyan and magenta consistent with standard US loose leaf paper
  • Light enough lines to be unobtrusive while maintaining functionality
  • Line width divisions at every 8 pixels for tiles, and color divisions at each 16 pixels for metatiles
  • Available in both A4 and US Letter paper sizes
  • Bordered on all four sides to allow ample space for either vertical or horizontal binding

Download (ZIP with both sizes in PDF)
I highly suggest toting it around with a cheapo pack of colored pencils for anyone wanting to improve their graphics work.


I'm really impressed with your work- I can tell you've put a lot of care into it.  :thumbsup:


QuoteI'd been given a copy of the NES Bomberman prior to its US release and a copy of the American box art and have been told to produce new graphics, manual, and storyline for the game to match the feel given by the box art.
I can't wait for Mega Man 1 or 2 to get the same treatment  :laugh:


Quote from: Bregalad on March 24, 2013, 10:17:44 AM
I can't wait for Mega Man 1 or 2 to get the same treatment  :laugh:

Funny you'd say that. I worked on the idea a bit and decided if I were to do so, I'd have to restructure the sprite tiles and that's above me. I'd love to take the in-game art style to that of something like Shatterhand, Kabuki Quantum Fighter, or Power Blade 2. The main difference is that I would go with a daytime color palette. It would require taller, narrower sprites though.

However, I did mull around the idea of redesigning the megaman 1 art to coincide with the Captain N design and put together the following sprite:

I'd planned on doing a complete graphics rehaul and stick with vibrant, colored outlines instead of black outlines. The problem is that to truly do original sprites, I would have to change the x,y coordinates of the face sprite in relation to the body at the very least... and I believe the Megaman games only store new palette data for two colors for his sprite, and the black outline stays the same... two hurdles I felt kept it from being worth doing, so all I have is the above sprite and some palettes I worked out for it.

Starting from the top left would have been:
normal, ice, fire, elec, guts, cut, bomb, item
heat, air, flash, wood, bubble, clash, metal, quick

Anyways, following are some updates for Ruckus. I've found the sprite data, so I've been able to reassign some tiles to expand animation, but there're some that I won't be able to. For example, the bandit uses the same bottom tiles (legs) for running down and up, so it means when running upward, his hands and legs don't move correctly (left arm and left foot both go back together instead of opposing each other). Small annoyance. The animation speed is high and the enemies run down more than up, so it's not really that noticeable in the game. Also, here's a revised Mayor, the horseshoe (main weapon) and some items.

I've opted for the 1-cent piece and the highlight on the side as opposed to the 5-cent piece... and the beer bottle (was trying for something more clearly "whiskey," but settled for this) is used for a speed upgrade.


May or may not change him up. Dude sitting at a table making and throwing burritos.


Speaking of Captian N i am surprised no one has tried stick that version of Simon Belmont in any of the Castlevania games.


The variations of the horseshoe I went through before deciding on the top right.

The game has three ghosts:

I've come up with designs for two, but haven't thought a 3rd:



A ghost with a poncho and sombrero.


If you're going to be a tad silly (throwin' horseshoes, drinkin' beers) why not try a Ghost-Bull. Died on the long cattle drive and back for revenge! If it needs an accompanying headstone, you can use two crossed bones. If Bovine spirits are too weird, maybe a cowboy with an arrow through his head; probably put there by the native ghost.


I just gotta say: this is exactly what I love about romhacking. That you can take one finished product and make it into something incredibly different, without actually restructuring any significant data, is something really interesting, exotic, and important, I think. I've done similar things in the past, but on a much smaller scale, but your stuff--I can't wait to see more of it :)

Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us.


Quote from: keithisgood on March 26, 2013, 03:38:52 PM
(throwin' horseshoes, drinkin' beers) why not try a Ghost-Bull.

Reckon so.

I think there's only two "graves." Originally, they're some type of holy statues. I have to check the 4 stages and see.

Also, there's my first pass at a peyote plant. I wanted it to have a black outline, but I didn't want black on the ghosts and the ghosts look pretty lame as only two colors, so I'll have to settle.



Quote from: macbee on March 24, 2013, 01:11:46 AM
Fantastic hacks! You've got a new fan.  :)
And you're the number one fan I could ask for. The aesthetics standpoint from your romhacks are top-notch.


Some doodles out of the sketchbook and some background tiles. Removing black from the dirt tiles and simplifying the fence. The game looked very distracting with it in there.


Quote from: Tsukiyomaru0 on April 04, 2013, 09:25:33 PM
sounds like a dumb idea, but someone could REALLY get around to translating Sugoroku, Go and Shogi games for GB, GBC, NES, GBA and SNES. Not only just translating, of course, but also changing pieces visually sometimes to make it easier to understand what is what.

The above suggestion popped up in the Hack Ideas thread, and where translating doesn't interest me, modifying an NES Shogi to make it very beginner-friendly does. I'll be modifying a 1985 famicom title, and plan to stick to my goals of near 100% complete custom art.

The goal is that for a complete beginner, after a couple of trial-and-error attempts at moving pieces and being denied by the computer, that these pieces would become self-explanatory--removing piece memorization from the  initial learner's curve.

Black represents single-space movement, Red-continual movement, and Orange denotes initial position (with the exception of the Knight, on which an additional orange square shows the skipped or jumped space.)

Using wikipedia's piece names and order:
0-King, 1-Rook, 2-Bishop, 3-Gold General, 4-Silver General,
5-Knight, 6-Lance, 7-Pawn, 8-Promoted Rook, 9-Promoted Bishop

If anyone actually plays Shogi, please drop some feedback on this.  I own a couple of sets, but have never gotten around to playing it.


Realizing there was nothing to set the King apart from the rest, I've put together these.  I'm leaning towards number 4, different in that his starting position is red and the movement still reads clearly. However, there's appeal to #1, although I don't like not displaying the movement on the tile.


Oh... These pieces are very well drawn...


What can I say..... both the Bomberman graphics remake and this cowboy game both look awesome! I would love to give them both a run.

Quote from: M_tee on March 26, 2013, 12:01:56 PM

The variations of the horseshoe I went through before deciding on the top right.

The game has three ghosts:

I've come up with designs for two, but haven't thought a 3rd:


Id say the third ghost should be a Mexican guy, complete with a huge sombrero. I mean, you have a Native American and a cowboy. Why not complete it with a stereotypical old western Mexican guy?


Thanks. I considered it, but I already have a guy in a sombrero throwing burritos.