Let’s get dangerous!

Posted by (twitter: @morphcat)
August 22nd, 2013 1:20 am

Hey there, first Ludum Dare for me.

I’ve been into 8-bit console development for a while. While making an actual game on such a console is a time-consuming task, it is tremendously fun and rewarding.

Can a decent NES game be made within 48 hours? I’d like to find out.

Here is what I will be using:

  • Languages: C, Assembly for timing-critical bits
  • Library: Shiru’s NES library
  • Text Editor: Notepad++
  • Art: GraphicsGale, YY-CHR
  • Sound and Music: FamiTracker

While using C instead of pure Assembly makes coding quick, it has two huge drawbacks: slow speed and bulky code. C compilers, at this time, are not able to emit fast and well-optimized code for the NES’s processor (and may never be).

I will try to restrict myself to the NROM cartridge board that most of the earliest NES games used. So, for all you technical buffs out there or anyone coming from modern HLL-coding looking to get their minds blown, these will be the specs the game has to deal with:

  • Processor: 6502 (with no decimal mode), clocked at 1.79 MHz
  • RAM: 2KB
  • 32KB ROM for code and data
  • 8KB ROM for graphics

I might stream development and respond to questions at http://www.twitch.tv/morphcat

EDIT: I should also mention that I am going to use this Makefile which I adapted a bit. It calls some command-line tools I’ve written, mainly for converting VICE label files to the format used by the emulator FCEUX, making debugging easier.

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2 Responses to “Let’s get dangerous!”

  1. rxi says:

    I had a play with Shiru’s NES library and the that dreadful NES C compiler a few years ago. It drove me nuts having to avoid structs due to accessing their members being so slow!

    I look forward to seeing how your entry turns out! Good luck.

  2. inkajoo says:

    I’m developing an NES game but not for LD48. I was thinking about doing a small one for LD48 but the pressure of coming up with a doable idea on top of the trickiness of NES dev scared me away. I’m really interested in seeing how this turns out.

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