Author Topic: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA  (Read 5023 times)

Offline Ethridel

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I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« on: February 13, 2019, 07:40:22 am »
Hello, I am Michalius A'Chapelo, and I made the homebrew game as seen here: http://segabits.com/forums/index.php?topic=3865.msg92716#msg92716

I made this game as a final project for my bachelor's thesis, and I got my software engineering degree with it. I'm still studying for a master's programme in digital media. To prove myself, here's my report on it: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dwsWGEF10lWLnviEhuodA-DSndh33zq3/view?usp=sharing

First, thank you for making listing upcoming Sega Console games and including my game on it! I had no idea people were still interested in projects such as mine. Then, I've updated its YouTube description such that you can download and try it out. Finally, I'm not developing on it any longer, so please consider it as complete and finished. It was always intended to be a prototype and nothing more.

How did I do it? I developed the game with the programming language C and the development kit SGDK. Look them up with an internet search. The latter has a Github page with simple tutorials to get you started. Despite popular belief, programming isn't only for geniuses and high intelligent individuals; Given time, it's a skill you can learn like any other. Programming for a Mega Drive seemed impossible when I first started, but my thesis supervisor helped me change my mind.

Feel free to ask away, but please keep the questions relevant, such as games, Sega, consoles, game development etc., and then I'll answer if I can.  :)

Offline Mystic Monkey

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2019, 08:06:12 am »
I've been considering making a homebrew for the Master System or Mega Drive, a puzzle/survival horror set in Dracula's castle. But I don't have the education for it. I'm probably better off just making it as an independant game.
But if I did made an independant game, if it's the right specs can it be exported as a homebrew?

Offline Ethridel

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2019, 08:40:56 am »
I've been considering making a homebrew for the Master System or Mega Drive, a puzzle/survival horror set in Dracula's castle. But I don't have the education for it. I'm probably better off just making it as an independant game.
But if I did made an independant game, if it's the right specs can it be exported as a homebrew?
I developed the game on my own and had to do my own research. My supervisor was only a guide. Of course the education helps, but it's in broad strokes. Most of what you need is in your own research and discipline.

Depends on what you mean by homebrew. Most development kits export to a ROM that emulators can run, because we test things in emulators since it's quicker than burning the game to CD/cartridge and running it on console every time. If you want a physical copy of your game, you still need the ROM anyway; You put it in a flash cartridge, which is a cartridge that you can rewrite data to. Obviously physical hardware requires some cash, but developing the game as a ROM and emulating it is free and just about any PC will do for that.

I haven't tried breaking the specs on emulator - never got that far - but realistically you'll notice it on emulator before making any physical copies anyway.

Offline Mystic Monkey

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2019, 08:44:08 am »
I'm not thinking of making physical copies.. though it would be nice to think of. But I will admit I don't have the same education as you on how to make it all happen. It be nice if I could make a game on a program I'm familiar with and capable of and then turning it into a Mega Drive rom.

Offline Ethridel

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2019, 09:40:30 am »
Oh, you meant using modern game makers and engines etc.. Yeah, most are too modern to export to old consoles. If any exists, I'm unaware of them.

This is a side note, but when I worked on this project, I kept as much of the game logic independent of the console as possible. This way, if I wanted to, I could port the game logic to SNES with another development kit and only have to program between the console specs and the game logic. And I could make it a library and put it in something modern like Unreal, Unity or whatever. Old languages are somewhat compatible with modern ones, but modern ones aren't with old consoles. So unless any of your work has anything to do with Assembly (shudder!) or C programming, chances are your previous work doesn't directly transfer over.
I will however say that the logic behind making games work well is the same. I used a game maker like Engine001 and learned lots before transitioning into programming as part of my studies. Any experience with game development counts. The mindset to communicate with a computer is the same regardless of whether it's Game Maker or any programming language.

You can dip your toes in and make a "Hello World" ROM. You don't need education or coding skills to do that. It is just installing stuff and following instruction from a tutorial.

Offline Mystic Monkey

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2019, 12:33:06 pm »
I might give it a go once my computer is more up for it.
My game idea is an isometric survival horror where you play as Johnathan Harker trapped in Draculas castle. Button 2 allows you to hold up the cross you're holding to ward off vampires while Button 1 gives you the option to hang your cross on a doorhandle so that vampires cannot enter through certain doors. Somewhere in the castle is a second holy cross but as the player you have to decide when to use your crosses for self-defence or for securing a doorway.

There was a time when I really wanted to make games. I still do really. But it's like fate doesn't want me to succeed given it's I don't have the money for it, my computer crashes and loose all my work etc.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 12:55:43 pm by Mystic Monkey »

Offline bizulk

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2020, 07:35:40 am »
Hello !
Thank you for sharing you thesis, I'm reading it carefully with a lot interest.I've not finished reading the content but I noticed some inexact information :
  • You wrote page 7 that the cartridge addressable space limits it to 1 MB long : 0x400000 Bytes actually is 4 MB.
  • You wrote page 11 : "Note that SGDK has their own types such as s16 (signed 16-bit size) equivalent
  • to int32,". No it is int16.
I'm french so I am not sure of the exact Bachelor level, but according to google tip, I think you could explain bits, and C basis at the end of the document and just point them in case of.... But that is detail, I say it because I did jump some parts and miss some important information about the console arcthitecture, and theses parts are not specific the the console.
regards.






Offline Berto

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2020, 10:07:07 pm »
Hi Michalius, so that means Purple Hybrid : Arcade is your game, right?
I've already put it on 2019 finished game, so that's why it's not on TBA list anymore.
Thanks for your introduction and sharing.  :-D

Offline samuelddarden

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2020, 12:32:24 am »
These Subway Surfers download make me smile while playing.  At the same time  it getting much more challenging while yiou moving to the next levels .

Offline Ethridel

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Re: I developed a Mega Drive game, AMA
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2020, 08:30:45 pm »
@bizulk: Yes, my examiners liked the engineering work but had valid criticism of my writing. Specifically, I did not list what options I had and the reasons behind my choices. And as you pointed out, I don't explain the terms I use and I assume too much from the reader's knowledge.
I'm fundamentally a software engineer, so the hardware aspects were admittedly difficult for me - not during development, but while writing the paper. There's also an inaccuracy where I conflated the term 'bit' with 'byte' during the RAM discussion.

@Berto: Yup, it's my game, but I finished the prototype in 2018 to be exact.

@samuelddarden: Not sure what the relation is, but I've met some of the developers related to Subway Surfers. They're quite the topic in the Nordic game industry due to how much money they earned from in-game advertisements alone.