Ever wanted to make a game for the PCE?
Sorry for the lack of updates. This semester is a bit tough (two big credit tough classes pushes me above normal fulltime enrollment).
On top of that, I found out that I’m forced to take a computer science course this summer because my school’s CS program sucks (not really). You can’t take two introductory courses at the same time, so what I could get done in one semester, turns out to be a full year.. and I can’t take any other CS related courses until these two are met, which opens up two more, which opens up three more, which opens up all the rest… wooh! I’m supposed to be transferring into this university as a junior, yet I’m behind because of this. Apparently most other fields/majors don’t have this problem.
The problem is not time, but actually money. I have enough aid left for two years and one semester (and not full time for this last semester either). So basically, taking this summer course helps meet that goal, but is going to financially kill me (summer classes are expensive; $1750 for this one class). Apply for scholarships you say? Yeah, I’m doing that but that’s never a guarantee. I actually did receive a small transfer scholarship, but that’s already factored in. And the requirement for that is I take 15 credits a semester (12 is full time).
So what options do I have? Well, one option would be to do a crowd funding project. My brother is making his own pencils and pens from titanium and other metals. His campaign already hit over $10k. I know a little bit about machining, and could learn to use his CNC setups, but probably wouldn’t be as nice as his stuffs (he has more experience with designs).
The other option I thought of, and have had kicking around in the back of my mind, is a PCE project. The draw back to doing a PCE project, is that I’m neither an artist or musician. It’s not that I don’t have some talent and capabilities in either of these two areas – it’s that I’m not up to snuff compared to people that specialize in these areas. I can copy/emulate these two areas on my own – but they will never be on the level of dedicated people in these fields. There are a billion and one shmups for the PCE, and I want to add one more – lol. This has always been a goal of mine. I definitely have the capability to do a great technical shmup on the PCE. But that’s not enough to make a good game.
So why not just make the damn shump already? Well, I kinda have. The problem though, is time. Making a game engine is easy. It’s one of the easiest parts. But the real work is polishing a game until it’s fun to play, etc. 10% of the work is making the game, 90% of the work is polishing and tweaking it. Ever play a technically impressive game, but you’d rather play something that’s not as fancy simply because it’s soo much more fun? Well, I sure have. Homebrew community tends to be more forgiving, but I hold myself to the same standards at the commercial softs of the system’s era. I.e. I will always find fault in the presentation of my own stuff.
Where all this rambling is going.. PC Engine Shmup Maker. I would create the game engine. I would create a suite of tools to create a shump for this game engine. You wouldn’t need to know how to code in assembly, or small C, in order to create an awesome shmup for the PCE. You would get the benefits of speed and flexibility, like a game created from scratch. I’ve been researching the most popular features of shmups from that era (16bit), and have been working on design implementations of those features. For this first project, the shmup will be vertical scrolling. There will be a whole range of effects capable on a stage by stage basis, as well as hsync effects and dynamic tiles, split screen scrolling, BG used as objects for large enemies or bosses, enemy and horde AI behavior, etc. The engine would be one giant script interpreter. This is how I’ve made my engines in the past (makes development soo much easier). The tools will be gui/mouse based, but create files that content text with definitions and scripting language structure (which means people can create new/additional tools as well). The tool set will also have a WYSIWYG approach for designing the levels; you can simulate the play through of the level without having to constantly export to rom format. There will be chip tune engine, with script format (and probably a visual editor as well), SFX editor, sample support, etc.
So this is the kickstarter or whatever crowd funding project I want to make. This, to me, is much easier to do than the time it takes to polish a game, let alone rely on other people on a team to get assets in time. I want to give back to the community and I’ve always wanted fans to be involved in making stuff for the PCE – what better way than this!? I’m sure many of you that can’t code for the PCE have always wanted to make a game for the PCE. Because this would be a crowd funding project, I’d break it down into free version and licensed version (sell your own game, etc). The free version will definitely be capable and you can freely distribute your work with the community. The licensed version will be for those who wish to sell you game. Have you guys seen the recent advances in repro hucards? Totally doable. I’ll have support for SF2 mapper as well, for those that want it. What about CD? That will probably be a goal marker thing – hucard development first.The complexity of the engine AND the toolset capability will be broken down into goal sets. Basically because it takes longer to implement more features and/or more advanced features.
I’ll be working up the details and prototyping some stuff to show. I want to open the crowd funding thing around the end of May. If you’re excited about this kind of project/idea, please share this post. I’d like to get feedback from the community.