A New Tower Defense Game for the 8-bit NES
Tower Defense 1990 is a new homebrewed game from Retro Wonder Workers. It is designed for the North American Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It is currently in development.
The game is part action, part puzzle, and part strategy.
Build towers and defend your castle from hoards of marching enemies. Lose all your peasants and it's game over!
The protagonist in the game is a wraith who still protects his old kingdom. He watches over his previous lands and protects his fellow peasants from monsters.
The player can move the character in the four cardinal directions. There are two speeds of traveling: regular and turbo. The player can build new towers or modify old ones.
The game will feature approximately 20 levels. The levels will run in sequence.
The player begins with a large number of peasants. The player must maintain at least one peasant in the castle. The peasants carry over between levels.
Each level features horizontal scrolling between two screens' worth of background. Enemies march towards the castle in waves. The waves begin at various locations and always end at the castle. A level typically has 6 to 10 waves of enemies, and a wave can have up to 8 enemies.
The levels will feature various terrains, including grass, night, snow, and desert.
The game will feature about 16 enemies. In RPG fashion, each type of enemy has hit points and a unique speed. Enemies also have weaknesses to fire, water, ice, high energy, and earth weapons. They also have elevations: ground or air.
The player builds towers over trees. The player has 10 towers to choose from, and each tower has a cost in gold coins.
Each tower automatically fires projectiles at the approaching enemies. The towers attempt to kill the enemies before they reach the castle.
The player can level-up towers. A tower has levels 1-4. Each level gives the tower a farther range and faster reload. Each level also has a different color scheme. The player can level-up a tower by standing on it or using gems to purchase a magical upgrade.
Coins: Begin each level with a fixed number of coins. Use coins to buy towers. Pick up coins from enemies killed. You can also sell towers to recover coins. Get hit by an enemy and lose your coins.
Gems: Use gems to upgrade towers. Enemies sometimes give gems upon their destruction.
Promise of an Amazing Soundtrack
Bleep Bop Records will provide the music for Tower Defense 1990. The composer, Zi, is famous for writing music for other homebrew NES games.
Infinite NES Lives (InfiniteNesLives.com) will supply materials for the cartridges. I will use all-new parts for manufacturing the carts. This includes the printed circuit boards and shells.
In addition, the printed boxes, manuals, foam blocks, and dust sleeves will be brand new.
Significant Work Already Done
I began work on this project in March 2016. I already completed the kernel/engine, which I programmed in 6502 assembly. I also completed most enemies, towers, and sound effects. In addition, I completed several levels. I intend to finish the project by early 2018.
Remaining work includes levels, music, and transitions between parts of the game. I might also add a story.
The Tree Hugger: Don't want a physical copy? Save the planet by getting just digital copies of the game and manual. I will provide a download to a binary ROM file, playable in any NES emulator. I will also provide a download to the manual.
The Bare Cartridge: Get a copy of the game on a gray cartridge. The cart will feature the special, limited edition label designed just for this Kickstarter campaign. Also includes a dust sleeve.
The Cartridge Complete in Box (CIB): Includes a gray cartridge with the special, limited edition label designed just for this Kickstarter campaign. Also includes a printed box, printed manual, foam insert, and dust sleeve.
The Collector's Gold Level: A level for the true fan of homebrewed games and collectible items. Details...
Includes a cartridge complete in box (CIB). The cartridge has a special color shell (not gray). The cartridge has the special, limited edition label designed just for this Kickstarter campaign. Also includes a printed box, printed manual, foam insert, and dust sleeve. This particular combination of cartridge color and the label will never be produced again.
Each game has a serial number, which is included in the game's binary and will appear on the TV. The cartridge will also contain the serial number on a back label.
You can include a message (up to 128 characters) which will appear near the start of the game. The character set is limited. I can currently allow for the 26 uppercase English letters, the 10 numerals, a space, and a period. I will not restrict the content of your message, as it would be your copy of the game.
To show appreciation, your name (or an alias) will also appear in the manual as an ultimate supporter. All copies of the manual, for this Kickstarter campaign and after, will contain your name. Your name will appear in the printed, digital, and any other future versions of the manual.
If funding surpasses the marks below, I will provide additional rewards:
$7,000: I will program a sound test screen within the game where players can listen to the music tracks. The screen will allow players to choose individual songs or auto-play them all.
$9,000: I will program passwords into the game that allow players to continue the game from where they left off. I will include a screen for entering passwords, and a password will appear after completing a level. This would be a useful feature as the game has no battery backup.
$11,000: I will print custom dust sleeves for this Kickstarter campaign. The design will feature the game's name and a logo. These sleeves will be exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign and will never be released again.
$13,000: I will write a strategy guide for the game. The guide would be available in digital format, and I would sell a printed version at cost. It would be available a few months after the game's release.
Note about the Limited Edition Labels
All physical cartridges for this Kickstarter campaign feature a special, limited edition label. The label is the same for all contribution levels that include a physical cartridge. I am still designing the label, but it will not be a "black box" label.
I started programming computers in 1996 when I was 13 years old. I worked with BASIC and QBasic for several years and then moved onto higher level languages. I have written games in C, C++, and Java. While initially creating games for PC's, I have moved onto mobile platforms including games for Android and iOS.
I have always been a fan of retro video games, and I feel Nintendo's NES/Famicom represents the golden age of video games. Since I first began programming, my goal has always been to create side scrollers in the style of those seen on the NES.
I started programming NES games in early 2012. I program in 6502 assembly using my own assembler. I wrote a number of tools to help in developing games, including a pattern table editor and a nametable editor. I have created a number of prototypes and short concept games which are unreleased.
My primary interest outside classic video games is computer vision. I went to graduate school at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) for computer science, where I specialized in applied computer vision. I created the vision modules for several robots. I also worked on automated video surveillance.
In industry, I am a research and development engineer. I have worked on dozens of computer/machine vision projects. I filed about 20 U.S. patents. I primarily work on software, but I have also contributed to camera hardware.
Need for Kickstarter
A Kickstarter project will allow me to offer the game at lower prices. It will help me determine quantities of supplies needed. With numbers in advance, I can order the appropriate numbers of materials and receive discounts on larger quantities.
I also need to hire artists for the cartridge label, box art, and instruction manual illustrations.
Risks and challenges
I do not foresee any remaining technical challenges in creating the game. I already conceived a working prototype that contains a few levels. I achieved all the difficult objectives in writing the code, including allowing towers to aim and fire at enemies, letting enemies take damage and vanish, and letting the player buy, upgrade, and sell towers.
Creating physical cartridges will require deliverables from a number of suppliers. I depend on a supplier for the printed circuit boards and shells. Another supplier will provide the boxes, manuals, sleeves, and foam inserts. I'm also depending on music from a well-known composer. I trust these suppliers and have not had any supply issues in the past. If a supplier is unavailable, I will find another.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)