Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Reality64" - A Journey into Nintendo 64 Development

This is a bit of an intro post for something new I'm working on...

The time I spent working on "Cloak n' Dagger" gave me a lot of inspiration to expand my research into the console that I grew up with: the Nintendo 64.  If it wasn't obvious from the header image of this blog and my recent research into 3D Platformers, I have immense feelings of nostalgia for this system and the games that were made for it.  The idea of studying the system to better understand why I enjoyed it so much as a child is an exciting undertaking for me, personally.

This is, of course, a huge jump in regards to complexity, and I'm sure the learning curve is going to be incredibly steep, but I can't fight my curiosity into seeing what the homebrew and hacking communities for this system are like.  Unfortunately, there isn't much of a universally accepted starting point, like there was with the NES, but I'm hoping that spurring some interest in this field may change that.

For now, I'm hoping to start off on a path similar to the one I followed for CnD:

  • Study and (try to) understand the N64 system architecture.
  • Pick apart some pre-made examples, or do some basic hacking of already made games.
  • Create new/tweak objects for pre-existing games (similar to Kaze's work on Super Mario 64).
  • ???
  • Create a game.
Obviously, I don't have this all worked out yet, but I get the feeling this will be an iterative process.  As long as I have goals in mind, my experience should branch outward as I learn new things.

The most difficult thing will probably be the timeline...  I recently started my first 8-5, salaried job and don't have a lot of time and energy when I get home in the evenings.  I plan on reserving Saturday mornings for this project, which means that progress will be incredibly slow.

As with my previous posts, I'm hoping that what I share will help others who are looking to learn more about the system as well.  If there is anything that requires correction, PLEASE call me out on it, so that myself and future readers can learn.

While I am a little bothered that Cloak 'n Dagger is still unfinished, I still haven't given up on it.  From the research I've done already, I hope that getting back into ASM programming will aid in completing it as a fully functional game.  While creating a game for the N64 is also the overall goal, I'm more interested to see what I learn along the way.

Hopefully, the next post will be up next Saturday.

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