About this project
Lizard is a new game for the Nintendo Entertainment System, but if you don't have one of those it will also run on your PC, Mac, or favourite emulator.
Download the demo:
It's a platforming adventure about free exploration while wearing a lizard. You'll meet a variety of creatures, friendly and unfriendly, travel to many different places, and maybe try on a few other lizards if you can find them.
The primary target is the NES, but it is simultaneously being developed for PC and Mac as well, aiming for an identical experience on all platforms. You can also run the NES version on any platform that has a suitable emulator.
This music is from the already completed soundtrack of Lizard:
I'm a professional video game developer from Canada. I've done programming for several commercial game projects on various scales, but for a long time I've wanted to make a game of my own: one I can be responsible for every part of from start to finish. After my last contract ended, I decided to take some time for myself to make it happen. I chose the NES as a target because it has become a personal interest.
My website: http://rainwarrior.ca
I played a lot of Nintendo as a kid, and video games have always been a part of my life, but four years ago I became actively involved in NES development.
It started with a cover of Pink Floyd's album Dark Side of the Moon, which got me interested in making music on the Nintendo. After meeting other people who were into the same thing, a lot of questions came up about details of how the original hardware behaved and whether current emulation was accurate. When nobody could answer some of these questions, I decided to get an NES for myself and learn to program for it.
It's a couple of years later, and I'm now well acquainted with the machine. I maintain an open source NES sound emulator called NSFPlay, and I've even released a couple of albums of NES music in cartridge form.
I started from an interest in making music on this machine, but over time I learned the rest of what it does, and when I saw an opportunity to make a game of my own, I decided it would be great platform to work with.
So far I have happily self funded this project from my own savings. Development has been going well, all the difficult technical challenges have already been met, and I am steaming along finishing the remaining content.
The main problem that I need to address with funding is that this game needs a cartridge release on the system it was made for. To be able to create cartridges in a cost effective way will require funding up front. I also need to cover my living expenses as I work full time to finish the game.
I have set the funding goal as low as I can to finish the project while covering the materials and labour for the smallest viable production run of cartridges.
This is a bare minimum, and it's not intended to recover my own funds already spent on development. Any additional funding will make it much easier for me to finish the game.
- $12,000 - Minimum funding goal.
- $20,000 - Open source.
If I can meet my minimum funding goal of $12,000 I will be able to finish the game, and manufacture cartridges for backers.
At $20,000 I will make the source code of the game publicly available within a year of the game's release. Over the years I have gained so much from open source projects, I would like to make this one available as a contribution to the future development of new NES games. I have enjoyed meeting new developers in the NESDev community and trying to help them learn. I want to see what they can do!
Any funding above $20,000 will be greatly appreciated. This project has a restricted scope, though, and I don't want to make promises that would exceed the technical limitations I am working with. However, I do have many plans for the future, and any additional funding will go into my next project.
Additionally, if the game is greenlit on Steam Greenlight, I will attempt to integrate the game with Steamworks, and provide Steam keys to backers, if feasible.
Other platforms may be considered if there is sufficient funding and interest.
I've tried to make a demo that shows what the game is, and is a "complete" experience within its limited scope. It is a substantial portion of the game, but smaller and with less variety than the full game.
To give you an idea of the size of the finished game: there are 6 different lizards, and each will have its own intended end path. In the demo only 2 of these paths are present, as well as much of the early part of the game and connecting areas. In the final game many of the routes that are now dead ends will be connected to new areas. See Update #2 for a map and more details.
If your NES emulator does not run the demo ROM, contact your emulator's author and request support for "oversize BNROM". It is a simple mapper to support, but not all emulators have it yet.
The game ROM has been tested with both the PowerPak and Everdrive N8, but may require updated mapper files to run.
The cartridge will play in an NES (front or top loading) in both NTSC and PAL regions, and will also play on a Famicom system with a suitable adapter. It is likely to work with clone systems, but this cannot be guaranteed.
The minimum requirement for the PC version is Windows XP or later.
The minimum requirement for the Mac version is OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).
The following rewards are available at corresponding pledge amounts:
- $10: Digital download of the game and manual. You may download the NES ROM, as well as PC and Mac executables.
- $25: Your name in documentation included with the game download. Your name will appear in a thank you section in the downloadable documentation.
- $55: Nintendo NES cartridge of game. A physical cartridge of the game will be shipped to you, for play in your NES.
- $70: Printed box and manual. Your cartridge will come in a printed box, and include a printed manual.
- $100: Your NES cartridge will be customized to include your name on the info screen. The text will appear in the form of: "THIS GAME BELONGS TO --------------------" Maximum two lines of 20 alphanumeric characters each. Capital letters only.
- $500: Your name included in the ending credits of every copy of the game. This will appear in-game during the end credits. Maximum one line of 26 alphanumeric characters. Capital letters only.
If you would like more than one physical reward, simply add the amount for that additional reward to your pledge, and you will be able to specify multiples when your receive your backer survey.
A limited edition white cartridge will be available as an option to Kickstarter backers only.
Names to appear in documentation or credits should not be obscene.
I have been programming since I was young, and I have been a professional game programmer for many years now. Development is done largely with a collection of free and open source software, as well as custom made tools for this project. If the open source funding goal is reached, I will share more details of my process.
I plan to be finishing the game around the end of January of 2015.
After a period of beta testing, digital downloads will be available immediately, and cartridge production will begin. Cartridges should begin shipping a few weeks after beta testing ends.
The soundtrack is already complete. You can listen to it here: Soundtrack
Please direct all questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send bug reports to: email@example.com
Help this get greenlit: Steam Greenlight
My twitter feed will have Lizard stuff: @bbbradsmith
Please use the hashtag: #LizardNES
I welcome any feedback or questions, though I cannot guarantee a response to all of it. If sending a bug report, please explain the problem, steps to reproduce it, and which platform you are using. If you encountered a blue crash screen on the NES version, please include a picture of it.
Risks and challenges
As you should be able to see from the demo, the difficult technical challenges of this project have already been addressed. All of the tricky programming work is done; finishing the game is more of a content creation task than a technical problem.
There is a limited amount of space in the 256 kilobyte ROM size that this game targets, but I have planned and budgeted accordingly for this. So far, my size estimates have been accurate, and I should be able to fit the game I've planned into the space I've got.
The software is developed using a source control repository, so all of the work on this project is continually backed up to a remote server. There is no risk of losing work because of a hard drive failure, or otherwise. My development hardware needs are modest, so it is easy to replace tools if they fail.
Manufacturing the cartridge has its own set of risks, but InfiniteNesLives has successfully released several NES cartridge projects already, and I have complete confidence that this one will go just as well. I have also specifically chosen a target NES mapper that has low complexity to minimize the risk of hardware problems. In the unlikely event of a problem, as a backup plan I do have enough skill with electronics to build them myself.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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