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Author Topic: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project  (Read 1883 times)

Spindaboy

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Hey all, I've had a project I've been designing on and off for a few years now and am finally looking for staff to assist in the implementation phase. I will only be providing a brief synopsis of the project and skills I am searching for as I'd like to keep the details of the project confidential for the time being.

The project is being developed as a Game Boy Advance game under the title Final Fantasy: A New Beginning. The gameplay draws heavily from the class Final Fantasy titles (I-VI) though the scenario is being written from scratch with the exception of some recurring locations, plot points, etc. mixed in. The majority of assets will be taken straight from the GBA ports of Final Fantasy IV and Final Fantasy V, including sprites, tilesets, sound effects, and music. Concept art of the original characters is currently nearing completion. The project will be released for free online, ideally sometime within the next 2~3 years, though this is a very rough estimate.

The primary position I'm currently looking to fill is for a software developer well-versed in C with preferred additional experience in ARM assembly or past experience with GBA development. Duties will include building the game's engine from the ground up, presenting the audiovisual elements in such that they will be indistinguishable from the original works (perfectly emulated battle HUD, correct animation timing, etc.), and the creation of a comprehensive editor akin to pinkpuff's Final Fantasy IV editor FF4kster, allowing abstract editing of virtually all aspects of the game, such as map layouts, weapon/armor data, and story events.

This work is ultimately a labor of love and as such requires that those involved be motivated solely by the completion of the project. I realize this is a monumental task for anyone, much less for free, however I do believe there exist fans, few as they may be, who are as dedicated to a revival of these classic titles as I am. It's my hope that through this post I might be able to find one of the few individuals who possesses both the skill and ambition needed to make this project a reality.

For those who are interested in assisting in the project's development but lack the necessary programming skills, there are still a few miscellaneous positions that need to be filled. Among them is a composer capable of translating tracks from various FF games into sheet music by ear for conversion into MIDI format (this could technically be separated into two roles), a pixel artist to assist with designing sprites of the original characters, and finally a map designer with a good understanding of what classic FF map design typically looks like.

I'll be checking this post for replies though you can also contact me directly if you'd like by either sending a PM or shooting me an email at nberger99@gmail.com.

Oh, and here's a sneak peak of the logo just for funsies ;)

« Last Edit: June 20, 2021, 05:08:15 pm by Spindaboy »

Chaos Rush

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2021, 11:46:26 pm »
Quote
Duties will include building the game's engine from the ground up, presenting the audiovisual elements in such that they will be indistinguishable from the original works (perfectly emulated battle HUD, correct animation timing, etc.), and the creation of a comprehensive editor akin to pinkpuff's Final Fantasy IV editor FF4kster, allowing abstract editing of virtually all aspects of the game, such as map layouts, weapon/armor data, and story events.
And you expect someone to do all of this for free?
Creator of STARLIGHT LEGACY intended to be released on Steam.
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Spindaboy

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2021, 12:24:18 am »
And you expect someone to do all of this for free?

Correct. Not because I wouldn't be willing to pay, but because offering compensation for work is against forum policy it seems. Against all odds though someone interested in the programming position reached out to me via PM not too long after I initially posted which I have to admit was way sooner than I had anticipated!

MysticLord

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2021, 01:08:08 am »
Are you planning to open source it?

Spindaboy

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2021, 05:09:15 pm »
Are you planning to open source it?

The game itself will not be open source however the dev who's making the all-in-one editor says he's likely to release it alongside the game when they're both completed. It'll be akin to an RPG Maker for GBA homebrew.

MysticLord

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2021, 09:25:38 pm »
Sweet, looking forward to it.

Rabite890

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2021, 11:30:02 pm »
Releasing an editor too? Neat. Wonder if it'd be possible to finally have FF3 on GBA this way without having to use an emulator.

Spindaboy

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2021, 02:14:52 am »
Releasing an editor too? Neat. Wonder if it'd be possible to finally have FF3 on GBA this way without having to use an emulator.

Funnily enough I was thinking of doing just that :laugh: And it should even easier once the pixel remasters come out next month!

MysticLord

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2021, 06:44:38 am »
1. Do you intend to implement the engine entirely in C and ASM, and use a custom scripting language for field and battle events? Or will you implement the things that are universal to all S/NES Final Fantasies in C/ASM, and use an embedded scripting language (albeit one optimized for the GBA) to implement more arbitrary mechanics like Espers, Classes, and so on?

The former will be smaller and I'm guessing faster or less resource intensive, but the latter is much easier to mod if you include a scripting language de/compiler.

2. Do you intend to have all of your field data, scripting, and images centralized in one location? Or will each field map have all of it's data/scripting/images contained therein?

The former saves a lot of space but is very hard to expand (or shrink to make more room to suit the modder's needs), while the latter allows for greater customization and works very well with GUI field map editors since such an editor only needs to emulate/interpret-on-screen one field map at a time and all it's resources are right there.

3. Do you intend to do grid 1 character per tile movement, or I guess more complex sprite movement/collision akin to the later Romancing Saga games and Secret of Evermore?

4. If you do the latter in question number 3, will sprites have all 8 facings (4 if you mirror them)?

5. What sprite sizes do you want to use?
« Last Edit: July 01, 2021, 07:16:18 am by MysticLord »

Bregalad

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2021, 07:46:33 am »
You know that Final Fantasy is a registered trademark and that you cannot just take the franchise (and logo) without Square Enix' approval, right ? The only exception is if this is clearly a parody of their games.

Other than that, very cool, I always liked the FF series so I'd love to play a clone on the GBA. Some time ago I wanted to develop an FF clone for the NES (and possible sequels on the SNES) with a very close friend of mine, but back then I didn't even know programming. In the mean time I decided to move to less ambitious projects I didn't even finish, and the friend vanished away.

I'd be interested in the sound/music part ;)

YourNerdyJoe

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2021, 09:09:00 pm »
And you expect someone to do all of this for free?
(...) Against all odds though someone interested in the programming position reached out to me via PM not too long after I initially posted which I have to admit was way sooner than I had anticipated!
Hi, I'm that idiot.

Releasing an editor too? Neat. (...)
So the plan is to make a general 2d rpg engine that's going to be used to make this game. The reason I decided to do this (for free lol) is that we are keeping the engine and fan game as separate projects: one that I have control of and can do whatever I want with in the future (maybe make my own games or release for others to use), and one that Spindaboy has creative control of.

1. Do you intend to implement the engine entirely in C and ASM, and use a custom scripting language for field and battle events? Or will you implement the things that are universal to all S/NES Final Fantasies in C/ASM, and use an embedded scripting language (albeit one optimized for the GBA) to implement more arbitrary mechanics like Espers, Classes, and so on?

The former will be smaller and I'm guessing faster or less resource intensive, but the latter is much easier to mod if you include a scripting language de/compiler.
So the engine will be mostly C++ and implement everything universal to 2d rpgs. So, for example, you won't need to create the battle system in the scripting language, but you can script all of the specifics of the battle system. I'll be weighing the pros/cons of being implemented in C++ or needing to be scripted on feature by feature basis, so things are subject to change. Only just started so it's in like pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-alpha or something.

2. Do you intend to have all of your field data, scripting, and images centralized in one location? Or will each field map have all of it's data/scripting/images contained therein?

The former saves a lot of space but is very hard to expand (or shrink to make more room to suit the modder's needs), while the latter allows for greater customization and works very well with GUI field map editors since such an editor only needs to emulate/interpret-on-screen one field map at a time and all it's resources are right there.
Everything will be centralized. It doesn't actually make anything more difficult for the editor since everything will be in the same project directory tree. Each area will just reference the resources it needs, so each area can still have customs scripts to e.g. spawn a boss if certain conditions are met, etc.

3. Do you intend to do grid 1 character per tile movement, or I guess more complex sprite movement/collision akin to the later Romancing Saga games and Secret of Evermore?
4. If you do the latter in question number 3, will sprites have all 8 facings (4 if you mirror them)?
Going to do grid-based movement for the actual game (same as the 2d ff games). Though I'm sure I'll get around to supporting 8-direction, free movement in the engine at some point.

Ofc these are just my week 1 thoughts on things, so things are subject to change and don't want to promise anything. But it should give an idea of what's being planned.

Spindaboy

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2021, 02:44:58 am »
5. What sprite sizes do you want to use?
Same as FFIV/V so 16x24 for battle sprite and 16x16 for overworld sprites (characters only of course).

You know that Final Fantasy is a registered trademark and that you cannot just take the franchise (and logo) without Square Enix' approval, right ? The only exception is if this is clearly a parody of their games.

Right, I am 100% expecting to get hit with a C&D shortly after the the game is released which is why I attached virtually no details to this post. I'd like to keep it under wraps until the full-release so I don't catch the attention of Square's lawyers prematurely.

I'd be interested in the sound/music part ;)

PM sent! :thumbsup:

MysticLord

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2021, 03:15:47 am »
So the plan is to make a general 2d rpg engine that's going to be used to make this game. The reason I decided to do this (for free lol) is that we are keeping the engine and fan game as separate projects: one that I have control of and can do whatever I want with in the future (maybe make my own games or release for others to use), and one that Spindaboy has creative control of.
A generic JRPG engine? Very cool. Plan to port it to something other than GBA, or set up a Patron/GoFundMe/whatever?

So the engine will be mostly C++ and implement everything universal to 2d rpgs. So, for example, you won't need to create the battle system in the scripting language, but you can script all of the specifics of the battle system. I'll be weighing the pros/cons of being implemented in C++ or needing to be scripted on feature by feature basis, so things are subject to change. Only just started so it's in like pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-alpha or something.
There's a third option - besides hardcoding all engine features while having a minimalist scripting system, or having a minimalist game engine with a more powerful scripting system - modules/plugins. But that requires an API, doesn't it?

If you want to go full 'tism (or see me do the same) maybe draw up an table of pros/cons for each so we can gush over it.

Everything will be centralized. It doesn't actually make anything more difficult for the editor since everything will be in the same project directory tree. Each area will just reference the resources it needs, so each area can still have customs scripts to e.g. spawn a boss if certain conditions are met, etc.
FF6 has all the shops data in one place; Saga Frontier has a field script engine that you can use to make menus, fiddle with a subset of ram addresses (used for inventory, character data, and other things), and do conditionals and loops. No need for a ton of data if you design the script engine well and optimize it.

Going to do grid-based movement for the actual game (same as the 2d ff games). Though I'm sure I'll get around to supporting 8-direction, free movement in the engine at some point.
Well technically it's all grid based movement, but with 8-direction you control a multi-coordinate blob that you roll across the grid. But I digress.

Ofc these are just my week 1 thoughts on things, so things are subject to change and don't want to promise anything. But it should give an idea of what's being planned.
No worries, I just like chatting about this stuff.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2021, 06:00:04 am by MysticLord »

Bregalad

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2021, 05:36:01 am »
Right, I am 100% expecting to get hit with a C&D shortly after the the game is released which is why I attached virtually no details to this post. I'd like to keep it under wraps until the full-release so I don't catch the attention of Square's lawyers prematurely.
Literally, the only thing you have to do to make this game and your work (along with the work of other people helping you) 100% legal is to change the title. It is also a mark of respect for the original autors of retro Final Fantasy games (most of them are not Square Enix employees anymore) to not take over the name of their games. Copying the concept in a new franchise is perfectly fine and has already been done dozens of times.

I don't think many people are wishing to contribute if there is a high risk that they'll recieve a C&D and that would make all their work done during free time to trash.

Spindaboy

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2021, 05:06:48 pm »
Literally, the only thing you have to do to make this game and your work (along with the work of other people helping you) 100% legal is to change the title. It is also a mark of respect for the original autors of retro Final Fantasy games (most of them are not Square Enix employees anymore) to not take over the name of their games. Copying the concept in a new franchise is perfectly fine and has already been done dozens of times.

I don't think many people are wishing to contribute if there is a high risk that they'll recieve a C&D and that would make all their work done during free time to trash.

So this is something I've been recommended by several people now and I'd like to preface this by saying that I understand why doing so would the safer decision. Even if I did change the branding however, virtually every weapon, spell, job, etc. is explicitly Final Fantasy, not to mention the fact that nearly all graphics/music are taken straight from the GBA FF titles.

Setting that aside though, I am personally invested in this being released as a continuation of the classic FF style. Ever since the jump to 3D, classic FF has been pushed aside and what I believe to be the core of the classic titles was never seen again after VI (with two notable exceptions, namely The After Years and Dimensions, not counting spin offs/remakes/ports). So much so, in fact, that I believe VII onward to be connected to the originals in name only. I could write an entire video essay (and probably will at some point tbh) about this irreversible transition, but the point is that I intend to make this the truest FF game since the originals - yes, even more than Square's own titles - and that is the reason I am both unabashed and resolute in my calling this a Final Fantasy game (tangent over).

After recently speaking with the creator of the Blackmoon Prophecy games (arguably the largest and most successful FF fan games out there) my concerns about the project getting shut down have actually abated a fair bit. Apparently, while Square has taken down fan games of some of their other properties, there hasn't been a single instance of them taking down an FF one. That's not to say that it could never happen, of course, especially if the project does grow significantly in popularity, but I'll likely be more open to releasing details from here on out. I still stand by my original thinking though which was basically that, assuming the game does gain enough traction, it will be hosted on various sites across the internet long before Square catches wind of it. Therefore it wouldn't matter whether or not I took down the original link since the project would already be available for download in so many other places.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2021, 05:12:03 pm by Spindaboy »

MysticLord

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2021, 11:53:49 pm »
There are tons of free art assets with very reasonable licensing. OpenGameArt.org alone has everything you'd need, and there are no shortage of spriters and musicians to modify those assets to suit your needs. Even then there are plenty of assets from games like Wesnoth that are open source.

It really seems like you're making this as difficult and risky as possible for yourself, for no discernible benefit.

Spindaboy

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2021, 01:50:46 am »
There are tons of free art assets with very reasonable licensing. OpenGameArt.org alone has everything you'd need, and there are no shortage of spriters and musicians to modify those assets to suit your needs. Even then there are plenty of assets from games like Wesnoth that are open source.

It really seems like you're making this as difficult and risky as possible for yourself, for no discernible benefit.

Like I said, I acknowledge that this is not the most logical decision if I want to be 'safe' about things. However I'm not making a product to be sold, I'm making it for my fans like myself as a passion project - fans who are tired of being neglected by Square and crave a new Final Fantasy title specifically. Whether it be plot, graphics, music, etc., if it isn't indistinguishable from the classic FF titles in quite literally every way, shape, and form, it misses the entire point. Hence why I am deliberately filtering every suggestion/idea I get through my refined intuition of what makes classic FF what it is, and any idea that doesn't pass is discarded for the sake of remaining as close to the source material as possible (absolutely NO creative liberties are being taken here aside from those related to the original characters/plot). The finished product conforming not just to my own vision but also the vision of FFI-VI is of the upmost importance. In other words, if it's not explicitly and in no uncertain terms Final Fantasy, I have no interest in publishing it.

aqualung

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2021, 06:06:06 am »
Hello, Spindaboy. I also think like you. The best FF for me were the ones from I to VI and, apart from IX which is a nice throwback to the first FF, the rest of the games have almost nothing in common from X and onward (in fact, I stopped playing FF since X, albeit I enjoyed FF Dimensions 1 and FF Blackmoon Prophecy, and I have yet to play The After Years when I get a new cellphone beefy enough to emulate PPSSPP on it).

Apart from that, let me wish you good luck finding people willing to collaborate steadily in such ambicious project without getting paid. This place is a lot more useful for finding help with small, specific problems (for instance "I need a walk through walls code for X game", "I need to find if Y game's text is compressed", etc). For such things, this site works like a charm, imho.

I wish you luck with this project, though, and I'll be looking forward to any update from it. A new 2D FF inspired in the classic ones would be a godsend, as I mostly rely on fantranslation of early and mid 90s jrpgs given it's my favourite period for this genre (you know, games like Super Shell Monsters Story 2, Last Bible 3, Tengai Makyou Zero, etc).
« Last Edit: July 03, 2021, 08:31:17 pm by aqualung »

PowerPanda

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2021, 10:07:20 am »
I appreciate this sentiment, but let me offer another perspective here. The name "Final Fantasy" sort of accidentally rebranded itself with FFVII. When you look at the sales numbers of that title, they total pretty much the first 6 entries combined. That made it clear that "Final Fantasy" needed to go in the direction of FFVII from there on out. However, that doesn't mean that the traditional games died. There was FFIX, and then Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light on the DS. But the 4 Heroes of Light spun off into Bravely Default, Bravely Second, Bravely Default II, which are Final Fantasy games in everything but name. The Alliance Alive is the same deal. Final Fantasy IV got a sequel in The After Years, plus the Interlude with the PSP version. Final Fantasy V got its spiritual sequel in Final Fantasy Dimensions, a true underrated gem. (Note: FF Dimensions II, while a completely different game than FFD, has the distinction of using scrapped scenarios for Chrono Break.) Most recently, Sakaguchi and Uematsu played FFVI together and said, "Let's do another game like that before we retire." The result was Fantasian, which, even though I haven't played it, seems to be raking in the critical reviews. We gamers are far from starved for "traditional Final Fantasy" games. They just don't carry that name.

It sounds like you have a passion for creating a story with a set of characters that you thought up. Why not just go for that? Use RPG Maker to at least put out the first chapter so that people can catch the vision for your project. Don't worry about wasted effort; if you actually create a full game, you'll waste FAR more effort than THAT. Also, don't worry about people stealing your ideas; if they're good enough to steal, then you'll have your crew in no time flat. For inspiration, look into the fan game Final Fantasy: The Blackmoon Prophecy I and II, which have the same premise as your idea.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2021, 10:27:01 am by PowerPanda »

Spindaboy

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Re: Looking for Development Staff for Final Fantasy GBA Homebrew Project
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2021, 03:48:31 pm »
It sounds like you have a passion for creating a story with a set of characters that you thought up. Why not just go for that? Use RPG Maker to at least put out the first chapter so that people can catch the vision for your project. Don't worry about wasted effort; if you actually create a full game, you'll waste FAR more effort than THAT. Also, don't worry about people stealing your ideas; if they're good enough to steal, then you'll have your crew in no time flat. For inspiration, look into the fan game Final Fantasy: The Blackmoon Prophecy I and II, which have the same premise as your idea.

Funnily enough the project actually did originate as an RPG Maker project when I first thought of it a few years back, though at that time I didn't I really have a concise idea of what I wanted it to be. I then contemplated doing a ROM hack but released the changes/additions necessary warranted their own engine built from the ground up, hence the reason for this post.

Just to clarify, people stealing my ideas wasn't my concern about putting more information out there. I was simply afraid of catching Square's attention and having to shut down the project prematurely. After speaking with the creator of BMP (who hasn't ever heard a word from anyone at Square) recently, however, I've warmed up to the idea and will likely put together a site, subreddit, etc. to start sharing some of the nearly 200 page long design document I have sitting on my PC :laugh: