NESmaker - Make NES Games. No coding required. project video thumbnail
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$112,478 pledged of $32,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

$112,478 pledged of $32,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About

NESmaker is a software tool for creating brand new, hardware playable, cartridge based games for the Nintendo Entertainment System...without having to write a single line of code. 

A few years ago, while developing our NES game engine in the archaic 6502 Assembly language, our team (made up of mostly non-programmers) realized that we needed a much more efficient method for rapid prototyping and testing.  Instead of digging into the assembly every time we needed to make changes, we conceptualized wysiwyg tools for common tasks that would output, reorganize, and manipulate the underlying code; developing screens, building animations, altering AI...things like that.  We recruited Josh Fallon, tool developer extraordinaire, to help realize these tools.

Before we knew it, we had inadvertently created NESmaker.

Creating with ASM versus creating with NESmaker
Creating with ASM versus creating with NESmaker

Currently, what can you do with NESmaker?

  • Design sprite graphics and color palettes that are automatically constrained to the NES limitations. 
  • Create assets with properties and behaviors to give developing for the NES an object-oriented feel, similar to modern tools such as GameMaker and Unity.
  • Use a text editor to create text strings for NPCs or other narrative devices your game might have.
  • Create *special screens* like start screens, end screens, menus, maps, and more.
  • Customize AI
  • Set initialization parameters (items obtained, player strength/defense,  starting screen, etc) for easy testing.
  • Use the base engine to create adventure games, basic RPGs, basic platformers, basic brawlers, and several other types of games.
  • Assemble with one click for testing in an emulator.
  • Flash to cartridge in one click for play on actual hardware.

Additionally, you can check out videos of us walking through the basics of NESmaker on our website at www.TheNew8bitHeroes.com

Check out NESmaker Videos at our site!
Check out NESmaker Videos at our site!

So why do we need Kickstarter? 

  • NESmaker is currently a little rough around the edges.  It was originally designed to meet our needs, but now that we're attempting to expand it, it needs some UI work and a bit of streamlining.  This will require a joint effort between our artist/designer, Josh our tool developer, and myself (the ASM programmer).
  • We want to build upon the tool to expand its current capabilities.  One of the core ways we intend to do this is by building genre modules, which will optimize the tool and the core ASM for that style of game.  We will use stretch goals to work on adding optimization for each genre.  Below are our target goals.

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NEW GOAL ADDED**:

**One of the most frequently asked questions has been about creating music and sound effects using NESmaker.  Up until now, my answer has been that it is one element NESmaker is lacking natively, and that we create music using FamiTracker.  I promised that as part of the project, I would give an in depth look at how we integrate new music / sfx using FamiTracker, but that I'd love to add support for in-tool music creation that aims to create music in a more musical way (whereas FamiTracker, awesome as it is, is more like a spreadsheet generator).  Well, with the overwhelming support from you amazing backers, and after some long conceptualizing with Josh, I'd like to propose that our in-engine music creation environment be our next stretch goal, so that one never has to leave the tool to create basic music and sound effects.

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These base engines cover many genres.  For instance, with tweaking to the base module, both the adventure game engine and platform engine could be utilized to create a "Metroidvania" style side-scroller.  A shooter could be cleverly modified to create a runner.  A brawler could be manipulated to create a versus game.  Additionally, for those who are interested in really digging in and playing with the ASM, we'd like to offer a blank module that has only the necessary tethers to make the game function alongside NESmaker, but will allow the user to completely program his or her own module.

Where will the funds be going, exactly?  

We'll keep it incredibly simple.  Just about 30% of funds raised through this crowdfunding campaign will go towards Kickstarter fees and taxes.  A small portion (less than 10%) will be relegated towards further marketing.  The rest will be split between paying our team and hardware rewards.  We can't make an accurate prediction at this time, because we're not sure how many people will pledge for just the software (no hardware rewards) versus pledge for the software plus cart flasher and blank cartridge.

Still Have Questions?

There are a lot of logical questions one might ask at this point on a project such as this.  We polled our supporters and got a list of questions they wanted answers to, and compiled this video response.  See if your question is answered here:

 

Risks and challenges

I know more than anyone that developing for the NES takes time. We've spent an unexpected three years developing and refining our current engine, and have continually had to morph it to work with an evolving tool. This is one of the reasons that Mystic Searches itself is still in development! It is possible that each genre module presents new challenges to tackle that take more time than anticipated. However, since the engine and the tool are digital deliverables, and are able to be patched and updated, we will be able to deliver the tool in the state that it's in at the time of expected delivery, adding potential genre modules and updated features as they are completed.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Just showing support...

    For those that are just interested in helping see this come to fruition, every little bit helps. Those pledging at this level will get a thank you message from the team as well as digital images to share on social media, use as desktop wallpapers, etc.

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    NESmaker - Software

    Get started creating NES games with the NESmaker software! You can always add on hardware components later.

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    Pledge $88 or more About $88

    NESmaker Toolkit

    Get NESmaker software, a kazzo usb cartridge cart flasher, and a blank, reflashable cartridge. This provides all of the software and hardware you need to make your NES game!

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    NESmaker Pro

    Make NES games in style! Get NESmaker Software, a kazzo usb cartridge flasher inside of a fancy, retro inspired housing, and be part of the NESmaker beta testers, who will have access to every beta version of the software beginning within a month of the Kickstarter's end.

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    Pledge $2,048 or more About $2,048

    Sponsor a module - be immortalized

    Is your vision a specific platform game? An RPG? A space shooter? By sponsoring a module, we will not only work hard to create the module for use with the tool, but you'll be immortalized in the foundation of NESmaker, People will be able not only use, for instance, the "Platform Engine", but they'll be able to specifically create using "Joe's Eat Your Neighbors Platform Engine". This reward comes with all others featured as well.

    Shipping costs and NESmaker Pro reward tier included.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Your Game, created.

    Your project will go in cue, to be created by the alpha team at The New 8-bit Heroes. All of the art, the music, the narrative, the mechanics...everything you've dreamed of creating, without lifting a finger.

    Delivery date will be determined by many factors. Please ask for details.

    Shipping costs and NESmaker Pro reward tier included.

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    NESmaker Pro-Gold

    For those not afraid of being a little ostentatious, we're going to make a limited run of gold flasher housings. This is the gold edition of the NESmaker Pro reward.

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