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Author Topic: Balloon fight (VS system port)  (Read 2313 times)

mr287cc

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Balloon fight (VS system port)
« on: April 05, 2021, 06:53:48 pm »
Hi all!
I recently disassembled and compiled one of my favorite retrogames: Ballon fight. It seems to me that the arcade version was much better due to the use of scrolling and a two-screen playing field, but for obvious reasons, the official NES port is single-screen.

This NES port has one major drawback:
- The arcade machine had two CPUs, two PPUs and two screens, the console didn't. Therefore, the two-player mode is disabled, since the scrolling camera cannot be used for two players at the same time on the same screen.

However, there are some VS's game benefits:
- Scrolling of the playing field. It's automatic, but you can adjust the camera  with the up / down buttons as you see fit.
- Completely different, "arcade" physics of the player than in the console version.
- More advanced AI of enemies.
- More agressive sea monster.
- Additional animation of enemies and some sprites that you will not find in the console version of the game.
- DIP switches. Adjust the number of lives, the number of points for an extra life, the level of difficulty of the game, etc.

Hopefully, you enjoy it.

The sources and ROM can be found here.




Da_GPer

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2021, 03:59:35 am »
How do I access the DIP switches? You showed a screenshot yet no info on how to access it.

Pethronos

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2021, 10:29:18 am »
Sorry for my clumsiness, how I'm supposed to obtain the rom? Thanks in advance!!

ifightdragons

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2021, 10:42:51 am »
Same here, don't see any ROMs in that download.

Cyneprepou4uk

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mr287cc

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2021, 01:51:58 pm »
How do I access the DIP switches? You showed a screenshot yet no info on how to access it.

Controller #2, start button.
I thought that if only the owner of the arcade had access to the switches, then it would be better to hide these switches too.

Sorry for my clumsiness, how I'm supposed to obtain the rom? Thanks in advance!!
Same here, don't see any ROMs in that download.

Click "releases" on the github page, or use this direct link.

Pethronos

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2021, 04:33:02 pm »
THANKS!!! Very nice hack! :D

Da_GPer

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2021, 11:40:16 pm »
I don't know if this is a bug or not but I noticed that on Mesen, if you have the controller settings have the second controller slot be empty, on controller one, select inserts a coin and start begins the game. If you put a standard controller in the second slot, then start inserts a coin and select starts the game. To be honest, I prefer having select insert a coin and start beginning the game, but I was wondering if you were aware about this?

mr287cc

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2021, 02:56:25 am »
I don't know if this is a bug or not but I noticed that on Mesen, if you have the controller settings have the second controller slot be empty, on controller one, select inserts a coin and start begins the game. If you put a standard controller in the second slot, then start inserts a coin and select starts the game. To be honest, I prefer having select insert a coin and start beginning the game, but I was wondering if you were aware about this?

It's all kind of weird.. I've tried every combination, but could not reproduce this.
No such issues were found when I was debugging the game using the same emulator (Mesen 0.9.9 beta). I'm sure all this time, both slots were set for standard controllers in the settings, since I needed to add a DIP menu, which is activated using the second controller.
Also, I just tested the game on real hardware (NES NTSC) with both joypads connected, and did not find anything like that, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is an emulator bug.
It will be much worse if you are right, and there is a bug in my ROM, but its reason is not the second controller connected.

P.S. I can't reply promptly because each of my posts is pending moderator approval.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2021, 03:10:39 am by mr287cc »

ifightdragons

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2021, 07:25:11 am »
https://www.emu-land.net/forum/index.php/topic,85459.0.html

Thank you :)

And thanks to the author for posting the link afterwards.

Looks like a fun and very cool little hack!

vhr2121

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2021, 12:51:41 pm »
Awesome stuff! I've bookmarked your github site just in case for when you release new updates of this hack.

sics

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2021, 02:03:36 pm »
Just great, I never thought I'd see a VS game. Famicom, ported to the NES, certainly an excellent idea, I hope they do the same with other classics like Ice Climber :thumbsup:
twitter | deviantart | Better a small finished project than a thousand giant ideas stuck in your system.

mr287cc

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2021, 02:11:02 pm »
Just great, I never thought I'd see a VS game. Famicom, ported to the NES, certainly an excellent idea, I hope they do the same with other classics like Ice Climber :thumbsup:

Thanks!
Btw I think, Ice Climber looks the same for both the arcade and the console.
There is another game that could also be ported for the NES: Wrecking Crew. But strangely enough, the console version is much better, and this is the reason to not make such a port.
The arcade version is single-screen, unlike the console version - two game's screens plus a camera.

But remembering Climber, I thought it would be nice to enable two-player mode for Balloon fighters. The first player controls the camera, and the second one helps to defeat enemies.
Playing together, the players themselves took care not to be off the edges of the screen.
We know this style thanks to games like Contra.  Easy mode can allow players not to burst each other's balloons.

sics

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2021, 03:05:23 pm »
I thought the same thing, until a friend recommended it to me, VS. Ice Climber is a more challenging game, with double the number of levels, plus it incorporates random snowfall, a super bonus stage that is activated by successfully completing 5 regular bonuses.

On the other hand, the behavior of the enemies is different, not to mention that it also incorporates an additional enemy, which in this case is a bee, the truth I ignore if it has other changes, since the ones I named are only the ones I found when I played it on my own :thumbsup:
twitter | deviantart | Better a small finished project than a thousand giant ideas stuck in your system.

mr287cc

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2021, 03:54:02 pm »
Hm, looks like you're right, also I noticed different OST ans SFX. Yeah, I think, it would be nice to make this port in the near future.

Quick Curly

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Re: Balloon Fight (VS System Port)
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2021, 08:00:02 pm »
This is amazing! I've had the desire to try to modify the VS port for a while, but unfortunately, I haven't had the free time to commit to anything. Thank you very much for your efforts with this project! :beer: :cookie:

There is another game that could also be ported for the NES: Wrecking Crew. But strangely enough, the console version is much better, and this is the reason to not make such a port.
The arcade version is single-screen, unlike the console version - two game's screens plus a camera.

There is this hack on the site:

"VS Wrecking Crew" by Morgan Johansson, released March 17, 2021

Code: [Select]
This ROM-hack makes “VS Wrecking Crew” playable in one-player mode on your NES.
Mapper is converted to MMC1, palette is patched and coinslot-emulation is included.

Not sure if the changes in this hack are exactly what you would have had in mind and account for everything that you would have wanted to change, that is, if you did ever decide that a port would have been worth making, but I've always felt the VS versions certainly deserve more attention than they seem to receive, though that's not to say that they haven't received any entirely, and I'm probably thinking back to more than a decade ago when I was initially interested in them.

But remembering Climber, I thought it would be nice to enable two-player mode for Balloon fighters. The first player controls the camera, and the second one helps to defeat enemies.
Playing together, the players themselves took care not to be off the edges of the screen.
We know this style thanks to games like Contra.  Easy mode can allow players not to burst each other's balloons.

It would be amazing if a 2-player mode could be implemented, but it's understandable that a simple application may not be entirely practical or straightforward given the technical limitations and whatnot, and/or not come without any drawbacks and shortcomings.

I'm not sure how it could work out due to the available space on the screen, but if you've ever heard of and/or played the NES version of Nintendo World Cup, playable with up to 4 players, there is a section of the screen dedicated to a mini-map display, and if players are off-screen, they can still tell where they are. Understandable as well, it might still not be such a practical or straightforward solution, as there are enemies that would be off-screen, any interactions with ground, objects, enemies, and other players might not be so easily handled and accounted for, and there really just doesn't seem to be any good part of the screen to commit a miniature map for location tracking.



In theory, with some crazy, super technical status bar IRQ implementation (mapper dependent for compatibility), a map could maybe be added, but it probably still wouldn't be practical or pretty, as everything would probably be squished together and unsightly. I don't know. Just typing on autopilot, I guess. My apologies.

I look forward to any additional ideas and potential future updates you come up with for this hack, as well as any other projects you create that we have the honour of receiving and being able to enjoy.

I wish that there was some way that I could contribute something given that I was intending to try to look at this port, and how much I enjoy Balloon Fight overall, but again, I'm afraid that I just wouldn't be able to promise anything, unfortunately.

However, for what it's worth, if anything, I was really, really excited about this when it was first posted. I was following the original progress for the early attempts for the VS-to-NES conversion that started years ago over at NesDev, and to see the progress now, it is truly a blessing. So, again, thank you very much. :angel:

mr287cc

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Re: Balloon Fight (VS System Port)
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2021, 08:45:23 pm »
This is amazing! I've had the desire to try to modify the VS port for a while, but unfortunately, I haven't had the free time to commit to anything. Thank you very much for your efforts with this project! :beer: :cookie:

Thanks man, I think I'll implement two-players mode for BF soon. I'm not sure about the minimap, but I will definitely be able to enable the second player and his controls.
I also looked at the VS Ice Climber code, and its style looks very similar to Balloon Fight. It seems to me that soon we will be able to play this game on the NES. This is a really fun game that differs from the official NES version.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2021, 09:22:05 pm by mr287cc »

manksalot

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2021, 09:58:15 pm »
Great work here, NES balloon fight is still one of my favorites to play and this is a fun change of pace.

SuperFeistyFox

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2021, 02:52:45 pm »
It actually looks like someone already has done a patch to make Vs Ice Climber playable on real hardware as well as some other Vs games.
https://nes.goondocks.se/patches2.php

mr287cc

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Re: Balloon fight (VS system port)
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2021, 12:21:24 pm »
It actually looks like someone already has done a patch to make Vs Ice Climber playable on real hardware as well as some other Vs games.
https://nes.goondocks.se/patches2.php

Yeah, this ROM is relatively easier to patch than Balloon Fight. It seems Climber arcade was not using shared RAM and synchronization between two CPUs. But still, it would be fun for me to make not just a patch, but to rebuild the game, make the code relocatable, and add DIP switches. Also I would not like to use such mappers as MMC1, I am sure CNROM will be enough, but I am not sure that there will be enough free space for additional code, since the cartridge is almost completely full.
I recompiled this game for the NES, here's a video showing some of the game differences: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0b9UNi1Dqs


April 11, 2021, 12:45:44 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Btw, I noticed a bug in that NES port (nes.goondocks.se).
In a two-player game mode, the first joypad binds to the second player (wearing a red coat), and the second joypad to the first player (blue coat).
The arcade version works fine.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2021, 12:45:44 pm by mr287cc »