maandag 18 februari 2013

Homebrew on the Nintendo 3DS

When I started programming and development for the Nintendo 3DS, I was really annoyed. The tools provided by Nintendo are not really sufficient and there are tons of things a developer needs to do by himself.
Developing all these tools by yourself take up a huge amount of energy, time and money. This would not be a problem if you are a big developer/publisher knowing you will release at least a few big retail titles (you will earn back the year you invested in creating a framework).
But for a indie developer this is almost undoable. You basically have to work for a year or so to create a framework. And when that is done, you cannot really make any money since a framework is not a sellable game. You still have to build that on top of the framework.
And this is why Goodbye Galaxy games has not released anything yet on the Nintendo 3DS.
Anyway, I have been very busy the last few months building a framework and tools so I can easily create games for the system. Hopefully we will announce some games really soon :)
The biggest thing I was missing are emulators (or simulators) that would allow me to run roms on my computer. Now obviously most readers only know emulators and roms as something bad. But official developers also use emulators to quickly check their own games.
Sure you can use official development kits for this, but it’s not always efficient to do so. You see, loading your game code into a devkit takes up quite some time. Before anybody panics and thinks the devkits are slow; they are not. But it still takes up between 30 to 60 seconds.
This does not sounds like much but here is how the process goes during development :
-          Wait 30-60 seconds to boot game
-          Check if enemy is standing in the correct spot
-          Nope, he needs to be bit more to the left
-          Make change in code
-          Wait for compiling code
-          Wait  30-60 seconds to boot game
-          Nope, still needs a bit more to the left
-          Wait for compiling code
-          Wait 30-60 seconds to boot game
As you can see this becomes quite annoying quickly.
And this is where emulators come in. Doable click on the rom icon and ‘BOOM!’ your game is running on your screen. No more waiting!
So next to a framework I wanted to build something that I could use to quickly prototype with. And I came up with my own awesome BASIC interpreter. It works a bit more like Visual Basic as in the fact that it has sub routines and functions and no line-numbers.
It also is more than just a interpreter there is a complete suite build around it. You can basically load in any kind of graphics asset file into the library (just like you can do in Adobe flash)  and then use it in your game.
And the best part of course; you can run your code straight from the program by pressing ‘run’. It even comes with a debugger (although many improvements could still be made).
When you’re done you can save the pre-compiled data + assets into something that you can save on a SD card or read as a QR code. Making it super easy to test it out on real hardware.
The program/app on the 3DS that can read the pre-compiled data and assets, works a bit like the Petit Computer DSiWare app (except you cannot write code within the app).
And now for the title of this blog post; I’m thinking about releasing the program/app in the Nintendo 3DS eshop for maybe a small amount (2$ or something?). And release the programming-software for the PC for free.
This way, just like with Petit Computer, anybody who would like to create little games for the 3DS could do so! This could be an amazing break through!
We had all these talks about piracy and homebrew the last few weeks. And the problems with homebrew is that most of these hacks later get abused for piracy means.
Now image you can just use your retail 3DS to make games for, and you don’t need to hack it! No need for a R4 card! No need for weird custom hardware or tools! No need for piracy!
Would that not be amazing ?
The reason for this blog post is to see how many people would actually want to use this. Since it will still take quite some effort to create something really perfect (debugger needs work, the overall editor functionalities could be expanded, there’s no 3D engine at the moment only 2D games that can have a different Z axe for a 3D effect).
So let me know what you guys think!
Here are two screenshots of the suite :

vrijdag 15 februari 2013

Color Commando Trailer!

Today I would like to show off the Color Commando trailer! Please take a look.. it’s awesome :)



The game is currently in LOT-check so there’s no release-date yet but expect it soon. For everybody that’s wondering; the game is going to cost 200 Nintendo points. Although the game is not bigger than Ace Mathician, it is a lot harder (specifically a lot of hardcore platforming) so I expect it to take a bi longer for most players to finish!
For more information please check :