Our new game is FINISHED and works on a real NES console! We are raising funds to produce physical cartridges.
Project Blue is an action platformer set in post-apocalyptic Hong Kong. You play as Blue, an orphaned street boy who has been kidnapped by a nefarious multi-national conglomerate as part of a secret weapons project. You must escape your captors, fight your way across Neo Hong Kong, and confront your enemies at their corporate HQ.
Aside from running and jumping, Blue can fire projectiles, bounce on trampolines, glide using parachutes, climb ladders, swim, and more. We have striven to create a dynamic main character that is fast to learn, easy to control, and fun to play.
The world of Neo Hong Kong is sprawling, with 256 screens and 4 distinctive graphic themes throughout. There are two difficulty settings as well (normal and hard), adding a significant amount of extra content, including changes to the level layout itself!
The physics and gameplay of Project Blue are strongly inspired by some of our favorite NES platformers, particularly Mega Man II and Super Mario Bros.
The pixel art in Project Blue was done by the very talented Frankengraphics, AKA Ellen Larsson. You can check out some more of her work at her blog. The pixel art she made perfectly accentuates the dystopian, cyberpunk setting of the game.
Early NES games had a very limited amount of memory to hold graphics. However, as time went on, developers found ways to make cartridges that could access extra graphics data in order to create worlds that were more compelling and detailed. This is one reason why the graphics in later games such as Super Mario Bros 3 look better and more varied than the graphics of earlier games like Super Mario Bros 1.
For Project Blue, we have opted to mimic these techniques to fit extra graphics into our game. The extra memory on the cartridge allows us to devote more space to each set of graphics in the game, giving us a high level of detail in the backgrounds that would otherwise be impossible.
In addition, we have implemented some fun tricks in the graphics system, such as palette animation, that allow us to create more vivid and dynamic backgrounds for our game. By alternating the colors used to draw the backgrounds, we have created moving components, allowing for objects like conveyor belts, laser arrays, and streams of water that can drag you in their current:
In addition to normal and hard mode, we wanted people to have the ability to create their own levels. Hence, we will be releasing the level editor that we used to layout the levels for this game.
The level editor is a PC program, which allows you to use the provided graphics to build your own levels, screen by screen! You can edit the backgrounds, and the placement of enemies, coins and other objects.
Finally, you can export your custom levels to a ROM file with the click of a button. Run the ROM on your emulator of choice OR load it onto an NES flash cartridge such as the Everdrive. Tinkerers will be able to even patch the original cartridge, provided they have a proper tool such as the INL cartridge flasher. We'll publish a tutorial how.
The soundtrack of Project Blue was written by Toggle Switch. In the same way that we allocated extra space for graphics on our cartridge, we also gave ourselves some extra memory for the soundtrack.
This allowed us to turn in a massive soundtrack, with 20 songs, clocking in at over 25 minutes without looping! You can check out the whole thing here:
The digital version of the game is available for people without an NES. This includes a ROM file that will work on either a Mac or a PC, a copy of the soundtrack, digital art files and a digital copy of the instruction manual.
The physical version includes an NES cartridge, a box, a manual, and a dust sleeve. The cartridge will work on a real NES console (US and Euro versions both supported), or on high quality clone systems like the AVS. Lower quality clone systems like the Retron have not been tested.
The special edition comes with a special box and cartridge design that will be limited to 100 copies each, with a limited edition poster included as well. These will never be made available again after the campaign is finished.
UNLOCKED! All-new demo released now - celebrating the funding of the project, we've prepared and released a special new game demo. Read more about it and download it from here.
UNLOCKED! Retro Desktop Icon Set. Finally, you can browse your files on windows 10 (or whatever accepts an .ico file) in style! A custom icon bundle themed from Project Blue graphics to add to your collection.
UNLOCKED! - Gender Swap GFX patch. Who says blue is a boys' colour? Bundled in with every pledge and the level editor, you'll get an additional "romhacked" digital copy of Project Blue with a gender swapped protagonist. Final design may vary from the stretch goal concept art.
UNLOCKED! - Original tech demo included. When Donny first contacted Ellen about working together on this, he had already prepared a short, but fully functional mini-game concept. With this stretch goal unlocked, you'll get a unique, interactive glimpse into the making of Project Blue. We'll bundle it along with the other digital rewards.
$32k - Free limited edition enamel pin with every CIB reward. It will be a full coloured, high ridged, debossed 1" pin based on M-Tees' manual ink art for one of the enemies found in the game; the poor OmbiBot mk1. We'll order as many as we need for the campaign, rounded up to the nearest bulk order tier. When they're gone, they're gone.
If you want 2 pins rather than 1, you can add 9 usd to your CIB regular or special pledge tier.
$35k - Heartless mode in custom slot. The custom slot was originally intended as a vacant space for users to patch in their own levels. But with this stretch goal unlocked, we'll prepare a new hardcore difficulty setting that knows no mercy. This will come pre-loaded in the custom slot and also be available as a level pack for the level editor so you can restore it.
$38k - Special NES music digital album by FrankenGraphics. This album will include songs from coming and even secret NES game projects, composed by yours truly. Shipped with every pledge!
$41k - Themed Winamp Skin. With this stretch goal unlocked, you'll be able to play the Project Blue OST and my bonus album in great mid-90s style. I still consider winamp to be the best, most straighforward media player on PC and it is actually preferred by many for playing chiptune files as well as regular audio; via plugins.
$44k - PDF strategy guide over Normal Mode. I'll provide a pdf zine filled with maps, hints, trivia, tips and tricks. Spoiler alert issued! Read at own risk.
$47k - PDF strategy guide for Hard Mode. I'll add a guide for hard mode as well!
NEW ADDON (optional) - Personalized title screen / become a Patron of the Arts
We'll ask you for a name or moniker that is at most 20 characters long and that may include A-Z, 0-9, and blank space. FrankenGraphics will make a titlescreen that says "backed by [your name]" and build your ROM file with it. This will in case of physical copies also be burned onto your cartridge by our manufacturers Joe and Antoine. In addition, we'll list your name in our list of authenticity / hall of fame as a "Patron of the Arts" on our coming Project Blue website.
Thanks for making it possible for us to set aside a little bit of our dayjobs to work on new NES games through this pledge addon.
For digital and regular physical copy backers: change your pledge to one of the new tiers that fit your description the best.
For Special Edition pledgers, we naturally want to maintain the limit of 100 copies. So the way to solve this is to go to "manage my pledge" and add the required amount (25usd).
Project Blue was created by two people who have never met in real life - Ellen Larsson and Donny Phillips.
Donny did all of the coding, wrote the music, worked on level design, and came up with the initial idea for the game.
Ellen did all of the pixel art, worked on level design, and helped shape Project Blue from a vague idea into a more fully fleshed out world.
Additionally we hired on M-Tee to handle the box art and illustrations for the manual.
Together we created something that we're all very proud of!
...lastly. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to chat with us and other friendlies live on our discord if you prefer that over the comments section!
Risks and challenges
We made sure to get the mass bulk of our work done before running this campaign, in order to reduce stress on our part, and to reduce waiting time on yours.
With that in mind, we have completed our game. We have partnered with two experienced and talented builders of NES cartridges - one for domestic (US) orders and one for international orders.
Domestic cartridges will be created by Membler Industries, who has made cartridges for some recent Kickstarter campaigns, including Nescape, Rollie and the Candelabra series.
International orders will be handled by Broke Studios, who handled the cartridge production for their game Twin Dragons, as well as producing Micro Mages.
We made an effort to overestimate how long it will take to deliver these, just to account for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)